Virginia Insight

Aired on WMRA 2006 - 2015
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Virginia Insight has a rich history of archives to peruse. From politics to culture, technology to religion, entertainment to relationships, Virginia Insight inspires understanding.

Eclectic Conversations: ‘Purpose’

Nov 17, 2014

Maybe you’ve already got one.

Or maybe you have been looking for one.

But you’ve certainly got an opinion about whether having one is worthwhile.

The idea of a "sense of purpose in life" is the starting point for the next in our occasional series Eclectic Conversations.

It's a time when we gather a panel from widely different disciplines, get them started on a topic, then watch to see what else comes up.  And your help in taking the conversation to fascinating places will be most welcome.

An Hour with Emmett

Nov 13, 2014

As one of the longest serving legislators in Virginia state government, he has become something of a bridge between political factions that might otherwise never communicate.

Behind the scenes his views are frequently sought out by public officials and journalists.

He has been with us before.  But it has often been for just a few minutes at a time, as part of a panel of guests.

On this edition, we will be going for a much deeper understanding of the perspectives of state Senator Emmett Hanger.

A Fireman's Tale

Nov 10, 2014

You saved lives as a medic in Vietnam... explored the deepest seas as a Navy salvage diver... and even spent time as a theater director in New York. 

But your favorite job? 

Your years as a Virginia firefighter.

Digital Humanities

Nov 6, 2014

Are you a techie, or are you artsy?  Do you like the latest digital gadgets, or is a good novel more your thing?

Maybe you don't have to choose.

What if we could use the power of digital technology to open up new worlds in the arts, in literature, and in history?

It turns out we can.

Digital humanities people use the latest technology to map time as well as space, and to experience and explore creative works in unexpected ways. Some of them you can try for yourself.

The Brain on Friends

Nov 3, 2014

If you remember brain researcher Jim Coan, it may be for his landmark study showing how people under threat do better when someone is, quite literally, holding their hand.

On "Becoming American"

Oct 30, 2014
Andrew Jenner

If you heard any part of the WMRA News Department’s recent series of stories on new American citizens, you probably found yourself moved with emotion as you listened.

Here there were tales of hardship, of hard work, of dreams, of determination, and of joy.

You may also have found yourself thinking, "I never knew how much people like this went through to become part of our society."

A Drive Through Beauty

Oct 27, 2014

Millions of people have been coming to Virginia this month.  They come from all over the United States. Some come from halfway around the globe. They come to take a drive along one of America’s most incredibly scenic national parks at a time of year when the colors along the roadway can be absolutely breathtaking.

Maybe you have made this drive yourself.

If you have, you are cordially invited to share your story of the Blue Ridge Parkway, too.

Zach’s 'Revolution'

Oct 23, 2014

As a kid he once thought he would spend his life rebuilding cars. Then, while on a missionary trip to the Philippines, he discovered medicine.   

These days he says he is determined to help people rebuild their health.

His approach includes unusual and even controversial methods, all stemming from his belief that, "our separation from nature has led to huge health problems," and that, "inflammation is the root cause of all human disease."

We pursue further detail from the founder of the Scottsville, Virginia based Revolution Health Center.


Oct 20, 2014

Some believe it could become for environmental science what the Super Collider was for physics. 

Its name, N.E.O.N, stands for the National Ecological Observatory Network.  It is a network that will collect massive amounts of scientific data about changes in ecology taking place all across the United States. 

And in this new future of super science, Virginia will play a key role.

A Virginia Politics Update

Oct 16, 2014
David Shankbone

A Supreme Court NON-ruling changes the face of marriage in Virginia, and many other states across the nation. You probably heard about that. 

But did you hear about the ruling in a different federal court case that could change the face of Virginia’s Congressional districts? 

We will get detailed briefs on the importance of these court cases, and much more, when we meet with our Politics Update Team.

The State of Virginia’s Economy

Oct 13, 2014

It would seem that “conventional wisdom” does not always stay in effect indefinitely.  
For example, there was the long-held idea that Virginia would continuously outperform the rest of the country economically because we could depend on the federal government to supply so many jobs.
That notion is certainly changing now.  And it is just one of the factors we consider as we take a close up look at the state of the Old Dominion’s economy.

Difficult People

Oct 9, 2014

You have met them.  Perhaps even lots of them. Interpersonal skills researcher Brian Charette has long consulted on how to deal with them. 

Foundation Examination

Oct 6, 2014

As the theory goes, all of us have hidden foundations to our personalities.  Those foundations start getting built early.  And they most always have cracks in them.  Places where things did not come together as perfectly as we may have liked.

Are You a Professional?

Oct 2, 2014

What does it take to make someone a professional?   Our guest says that question was easier to answer in the Middle Ages... when the term first came into usage.

But he also says if we give serious consideration to the historical meaning, many people would begin to see their work differently. 

Eclectic Conversations: “COMMUNITY”

Sep 29, 2014
Dendroica cerulea (Flickr)

What does “community” mean to you?  What would your ideal community be?  If you really wanted to, how might you go about creating that ideal?


Sep 25, 2014

For more than 30 years she has traveled the globe to research reports of so-called “near death experiences.”  Her findings have filled ten volumes. But now number 11 is out,  and it is her most personal account yet.

Recalling the “War To End All Wars”

Sep 22, 2014
Library of Congress

It got underway one hundred years ago.  (Although the U-S wouldn’t join in until almost 3 years later.)
Our question -- are there lessons from World War One that are relevant in today’s universe?
And if there are, what might those lessons be?  

Autumn Gardening

Sep 18, 2014

Soon it will be time to hang up the gloves, put the hand-spade on hold, and start picking your salad makings out of a bin at the grocery store.

The Madison Center

Sep 11, 2014

Wouldn’t it be nice if local government could find ways to be more efficient and effective without spending tens of thousands of dollars on specialized consultants?  Enter in the new Madison Center for Community Development:  college students and their professors helping out in town halls across the commonwealth.

A Case for Leadership

Sep 8, 2014

First off, he is not the man with the similar name who is now running for re-election.  

Although if you have ever thought about holding public office, he could probably help.  

But he will also tell you that, no matter what your station in life, you already have exceptional opportunities to become a leader.

James Madison University’s longtime “Leadership Guru”  is our guest.