Letters: Celebrity Web Slams, Leftie Snails Day to Day senior producer Steve Proffitt joins Alex Chadwick to discuss listener comments on recent stories, including a celebrity-slamming Web site, the evolutionary advantages of left-handed snails and the debate over changing national immigration policies.

Letters: Celebrity Web Slams, Leftie Snails

Letters: Celebrity Web Slams, Leftie Snails

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Day to Day senior producer Steve Proffitt joins Alex Chadwick to discuss listener comments on recent stories, including a celebrity-slamming Web site, the evolutionary advantages of left-handed snails and the debate over changing national immigration policies.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And I'm Alex Chadwick. NPR's Steve Proffitt is here to share some of your letters.

STEVE PROFFITT reporting:

"Alex, men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humor?" That comes to us from Frank Moore Colby.

CHADWICK: He's a listener?

PROFFITT: No, Alex, that's actually a quote I found on the web, but we did get some letters about our interview last week with the co-author of a humorous website that had just won a best-written blog award.

CHADWICK: I recall this, gofugyourself.com. It publishes bad pictures of celebrities with some really funny commentary about what they're wearing.

PROFFITT: Adam Barnes of Blacksburg, Virginia wrote: "I enjoy many of the humorous pieces broadcast on NPR."

CHADWICK: But he says, picking up, "What does it say about our society when the pinnacle of humor consists of petty ridicule based on unflattering pictures?"

PROFFITT: A story we aired last week about left-handed snails was also funny in the peculiar kind of way.

CHADWICK: It turns out that snails whose shells spiral to the left rather than to the right are far less likely to be eaten by crabs. But left-handed snails are rare, and that, says NPR science reporter David Malakoff, presents a problem.

DAVID MALAKOFF reporting:

If being left-handed prevents you from getting eaten, why aren't there more left-handed snails?

Professor GREGORY DIETL (Biology, Yale University): This is something that has boggled the minds of malocologists, or naturalists in general, forever.

PROFFITT: That's a biologist David interviewed, Gregory Dietl of Yale. We hope you're listening, because listener, Brian Mize(ph) of Cincinnati sent us a possible answer.

CHADWICK: "I might be wrong," he writes, "but perhaps the very thing that kept left handed snails safe from the crabs made it more difficult for them to mate."

PROFFITT: And on to last week's student demonstrations against proposed changes to toughen immigration laws.

CHADWICK: Listener Megan Dalton says, "I live all the way out here in Collingdale, Pennsylvania, yet the students message made its way here. My message to these kids: job well done.'

PROFFITT: And Scott Brenner of Appleville, Illinois reminds us that many of the people who migrate to this country are among the best and the brightest of their native lands.

CHADWICK: "It makes it that much harder," he writes, "for other countries to solve the economic and social problems caused by the migration in the first place."

PROFFITT: Finally, Alex, "When will you get the name right?" asks listener, Brian Gardener.

CHADWICK: He's from San Francisco. He's referring to our musical commentator, David Was, and specifically about the way we pronounce the name of David's band, Was not Was.

PROFFITT: Mr. Gardener insists we should pronounce it "Wahs Not Was."

We contacted David by phone at an undisclosed location.

DAVID WAS reporting:

Well, in Germany, actually, they asked us if the name was actually pronounced Vahs not Was, and we had to disabuse them of that notion. It actually came from the mind of a two-year-old, my partner Don's son, who was saying stuff like hot, not hot, cold, not cold. Thus, Was not Was.

PROFFITT: And that's it for letters. If you have thoughts, comments, or pronunciation suggestions, send them to us.

CHADWICK: And just go to our website, npr.org. Click on the 'contact us' link.

PROFFITT: It's at the top of every page.

CHADWICK: DAY TO DAY letters editor, Steve Proffitt. Thank you, Steve.

PROFFITT: Alex, you're welcome.

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