Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) in Wilmington, Delaware, and US President Donald Trump (R) in Washington, DC both pumping their fist during an election night speech early November 4, 2020.

Photo: AFP

8:10 Alex Burns: Is Trump preparing to leave the White House?

Alex Burns

Alex Burns Photo: supplied

More than three weeks on from election day, the US is creeping towards a transition of power.

There've been lawsuits, bizarre press conferences, accusations of voter fraud, recounts, and a mysteriously dripping Rudy Giuliani.

Now the head of the General Services Administration has signalled the start of a formal transition process: a sign, perhaps, that Donald Trump is moving towards acceptance that he has lost.

So how will the transition process work from here, and what could the incumbent do to destabilise things?

Joining us is Alex Burns, the national political correspondent of The New York Times. He's a regular on The Times' news podcast The Daily and a political analyst at CNN.

8:35 Francesca Goodman-Smith: tackling supermarket food waste

Francesca Goodman-Smith

Francesca Goodman-Smith Photo: supplied

26 year old Francesca Goodman-Smith is on a mission to tackle New Zealand's food waste problem.

Working for Foodstuffs, one of the country's biggest supermarket chains, she's designed an award-winning waste minimisation programme across 130 stores.

Goodman-Smith's thesis at the University of Otago focussed on the issue of supermarket food waste; she also volunteered at the food rescue organisation KiwiHarvest, and taught on the university's pioneering food waste course.

She recently won the 'change maker' category in the Sustainable Business Awards.

9:05 Sir Michael and Mike Parkinson: Like Father, Like Son

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Photo: supplied

In his prime, Sir Michael Parkinson's eponymous UK TV talk show attracted more than 8 million viewers a week, making 'Parky' a household name.

The son of a Yorkshire coal miner, he left school early and joined the BBC with a Northern accent and without the benefits of an Oxbridge education.

He had to fight impostor's syndrome and people's preconceptions as he made it as an interviewer, going on to speak to thousands of the biggest celebrity names.

In Like Father, Like Son: A Family Story Sir Michael (now aged 85) and his youngest son Mike reflect on the fathers they had, the fathers they were, and the fathers they are trying to become.

Sir Michael and his son Mike Parkinson

Sir Michael and his son Mike Parkinson Photo: supplied

9:40 Dr Chris Smith: Finish line in sight for COVID-19 vaccine race

A third promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate has released promising trial results this week.

Although its efficacy numbers are less impressive than the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has some important advantages in its favour.

At the same time there's increasing scrutiny of the Oxford trial results with concerns around an accidental low dose sub-group and the method for calculating the results.

To weigh up the pros and cons of the various vaccine candidates is Dr Chris Smith. Chris is a consultant clinical virologist at Cambridge University, and one of BBC Radio 5 Live's Naked Scientists.

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Photo: Verwendung weltweit/ AFP

10:05 Iris Eichenberg: medals for healthcare workers on the pandemic front line

The Hand Medal Project was devised by friends and artists Iris Eichenberg and Jimena Ríos to thank medical staff and caregivers for the sacrifices they were making to treat people infected with COVID-19.
Trained as a nurse, Eichenberg had the idea while stuck at home in Michigan at the start of the pandemic feeling 'helpless and frustrated'.

So she and Rios appealed to fellow artists, jewellers, and students around the world to make medals to a traditional Argentinian 'ex voto' design (ex voto are objects of devotion or gratitude offered to a saint or divinity).

Participants in the project get a hand-shaped template that's simple enough for anyone to make from any kind of metal.

Since the plan began in April, thousands of these medals have been made and distributed around the world.  You can find her Instagram page here.

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Photo: Supplied

10:30 Ben Lowings: unsung Pacific explorer David Lewis

Ben Lowings

Ben Lowings Photo: supplied

David Lewis might be the greatest explorer you've never heard of.

Born in England in 1917, but raised in New Zealand and Rarotonga, Lewis' exploits included climbing 19 South Island peaks, kayaking solo around the North Island, circumnavigating Earth in a catamaran, and being the first person to sail to Antarctica alone.

His studies of traditional Pacific navigation systems outlined in his book We, the Navigators, introduced these methods to a wider audience and contributed to a resurgence of interest.

Journalist Ben Lowings started hearing stories about the the sailor, adventurer, doctor and Polynesian scholar while covering the Pacific for RNZ

Now working for the BBC, Lowings has written a biography of Lewis called The Dolphin.

David Lewis

David Lewis Photo: supplied

11:05 Semicolons; the most misunderstood punctuation mark

Whether you love them, hate them, or just don't know when to use them; the semicolon can be a divisive and contentious punctuation mark.

That's what Cecelia Watson discovered when she spent 10 years researching a book on what's claimed to be 'the most feared punctuation mark on earth'.

Watson is a historian, a philosopher of science, and a writing teacher who's currently Scholar in Residence at Bard College.

She traces the semicolon's birth to Venice in 1494. Since then it's been used, abused, and neglected by the likes of Henry James, Herman Melville, David Foster Wallace, and Martin Luther King.

Watson's book is called Semicolon: How a Misunderstood Punctuation Mark Can Improve Your Writing, Enrich Your Reading and Even Change Your Life.

Cecelia Watson

Cecelia Watson Photo: supplied

11:40 Cory Newman: Sit Down in Front(man)

Sit Down in Front

Sit Down in Front Photo: supplied

Gisborne punk band "Sit Down In Front" formed in January 2017 and its members are all still in high school.

Fronting the four piece is 17-year-old Cory Newman who uses a wheelchair.

His energetic live performances have been likened to a young Johnny Rotten.

"Sit Down In Front" recently released their second album, "Confessions Of A Pie Thief".

Books mentioned in this show:

Like Father, Like Son: A Family Story
By Michael and Mike Parkinson
ISBN: 9781529362466
Published by Hachette

The Dolphin: The life of David Lewis
By Ben Lowings
ISBN: 9781907206511
Published by Lodestar Books

Semicolon: How a Misunderstood Punctuation Mark Can Improve Your Writing, Enrich Your Reading and Even Change Your Life
By Cecilia Watson
ISBN: 9780008291587
Published by  Fourth Estate

Music played in this show

Harlem River Blues - Steve Earle

Rain - Sit Down In Front