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Woman: I dread the experience. It’s the anticipation that gets me. Once I start I’m usually OK but beforehand I panic . I think that my mind will go blank and everyone will stare at me. This happened once. I was trying to speak and listen to my own voice at the same time but all I could hear was silence. I seemed to have forgotten how to speak and I felt my face go red . I fumbled for my notes and simply read out the rest of the speech.
Man: Well, fear of public speaking, or what is called ‘representational anxiety’, is normal . If you think about it, public speaking is not a natural thing to do. You don’t want to humiliate yourself in front of people . But with preparation and practice, even the most stressed public speakers can conquer their fears. There are very few people who are quick, intelligent and extrovert enough to just get up and deliver something spontaneously. If you’re giving a speech, you must carefully plan what you’re going to say.
Woman: I find it also helps not to think of yourself the whole time. Once you shift the focus on to the people you are speaking to, you feel the pressure lift.
Man: As part of a huge publicity drive in the 1920s and 1930s, London Transport launched a poster campaign to persuade people to move into the suburbs and make use of the rapidly expanding Underground network. Tell us about that, Zoe.
Woman: Well, the posters were used to encourage people to live in and enjoy the quiet and domestic life of the suburbs and travel into London for work and leisure. They helped to shape people’s perceptions and expectations of London and what it meant to live there in a period of great change.  As well as persuading people to move out to the suburbs, there was a drive for people to make use of the city at a time when the leisure industry was expanding.
Man: What kind of things did these posters show?
Woman: Well, despite the fact that many women worked in the 1920s and 1930s, the posters depicted a domestic ideal, with pictures of women playing with their children in the park and preparing meals for their husbands’ return. More and more people were becoming middle class and part of this ideal was that the husband would go to work and the wife would stay at home, even though this was not the case for many families. 
Man: Of course, the cliche is ‘don’t believe everything you read in the papers’, and I guess there’s some truth in that. But in many ways that’s not backed up by the evidence.  Look at all the times when stories would never have come out if it hadn’t been for the much maligned news media.
Woman: I don’t know about that. Personally I’m always pretty sceptical when it comes to all these revelations. I mean, look at medical stories. It sometimes seems as if every day brings some new health scare – you mustn’t eat that, you should drink that – and most of these things you never hear about again. I think it’d be really interesting to find out how many of these stories actually turn out to be true. I reckon they just write these things to create a stir. I mean, lots of them are in the entertainment industry really, aren’t they? ‘Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story’ is the joke in the trade isn’t it?  I think lots of them live by that.
Man: I don’t think that’s really fair. There are lots of investigative journalists who’ve done the public a great service by exposing things they otherwise would never have known about.
Man: One day in spring 1945, physics engineer Percy Spencer was walking past a switched-on piece of radar equipment when he felt something sticky in his pocket. It turned out to be a chocolate peanut bar he had been saving for his coffee break. Intrigued, he set out to discover why it had suddenly melted.  The equipment concerned was a magnetron tube – the heart of a radar set. Radar had been invented by the British in World War II to detect enemy aircraft at night using short waves, or microwaves. But it wasn’t until Spencer, an engineer at a small-time firm called Raytheon in Boston, US, worked out a way of mass-producing the tubes, that radar made a real difference in the war .
The day after the chocolate incident, Spencer sent a boy out to buy some popcorn. He placed the kernels near the magnetron tube.  They immediately started popping round the lab. His next experiment was with an egg, which he put inside a kettle. Curious colleagues gathered round to watch it quaking – one unlucky director bent down to take a closer look just at the moment the egg exploded.  Spencer came to realize that the microwaves were heating the food by agitating its water and fat molecules, which meant that the inside cooked just as fast as the outside. Raytheon engineers soon refined the idea: the first microwave, 5ft 6in tall and weighing 7501b, was installed in a Boston restaurant for testing in 1946. 
The first commercial microwave hit the market the following year. It was named Radarange following a competition among Raytheon employees.  Spencer and his colleagues confidently expected a cooking revolution. But the machine was primitive, enormous and, at $3,000, too expensive. All too soon, chefs realized its main drawback: meat refused to brown and food emerged limp and flabby.  The company chairman’s chef quit in disgust because he was told to use the Radarange. Not until the 1960s, when the first countertop microwave was produced, did sales at last begin to take off.  The first model in 1967 was 100 volts and cost just under $500. By 1975, sales of microwaves overtook gas cookers in the US. Now, nearly 90% of households in Britain and the US use a microwave oven.