From Our Listeners

Letters: Northern Lights; John McCarthy

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Michele Norris and Melissa Block read emails from listeners.


Now, your emails. First, about a rare show of Northern Lights. Earlier this week, they illuminated the sky, much further south than usual.


I spoke with Robert Moore of the University of West Georgia, who was lucky enough to catch the display.

ROBERT MOORE: What we saw was the whole northern horizon pretty much light up with this gorgeous red curtain of light that stretched from horizon up to about the North Star.

NORRIS: That brought back memories for Mary Gray of Bellingham, Washington, who tells us that she grew up on a farm in North Carolina.

BLOCK: A place, she writes, that had at that time no light pollution. My father called me outside sometime in late fall or early winter and said: Look at the sky. It's the Aurora Borealis. Imagine all of the syllables elongated in the Piedmont accent. I looked up and saw a deep red, shimmering sky.

NORRIS: And one other story also brought back memories of a simpler time. Becky Hanks, of Pinson, Alabama, heard our remembrance of the man who coined the phrase artificial intelligence. And it reminded her of another kind of intelligence, something she learned from her father, an electrical engineer who loved his job.

BLOCK: She writes this: I liked my job, too. But there were some tasks I just didn't care to do. I asked him if there was ever anything he didn't particularly care for in his job. He said, of course. I said, but how do you do such a good job on even those things you don't like to do? His answer: Little girl, you have to generate artificial enthusiasm.


NORRIS: Well, our enthusiasm for your letters is never artificial. Write to us at


BLOCK: You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

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