Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I love public radio

I might have already shouted out about this program, but I have renewed interest in it lately and it deserves another shout-out. M and I were channel surfing one Sunday evening as we were driving around town running errands. And we stumbled upon a fascinating radio program whose topic that evening was Morality. How humans deal with it, how they define it, if it's unique to humans. It was FASCINATING. Sorry, are caps used like that annoying? I am a little at a lost on how I can convey just how compelling this program was. We sat in the car in the middle of a supermarket parking lot for an extra 30 minutes before we reluctantly shut off the radio and continued with our Sunday evening grocery shopping. We found out later on that this show is called Radiolab and is produced out of WNYC. And later on, we found out that there were podcasts, so I signed up.

I'm not sure what I was saving these up for, but I subscribed to the podcasts and never really listened to them. I listened to one once when I was knitting and wanted something to listen to. It was an episode called Musical Language and it totally jazzed that nerdy linguist part of me. I've been listening to one nearly every day as I go out for my daily constitutional. The shows are fascinating. They sort of remind me of This American Life where they take a theme and explore the ideas in the theme and produce stories for the theme. But where This American Life deals with more every day life, human interest type stories, Radiolab deals more with science and how it related to humans in themes.

So far I've listened to stories about stress (the human biology as well as psychology behind it), what happens when the brain stops communicating with the rest of your body, theories on the expanding universe (jenn: it's basically the raisin bread theory, so stuff you and I discussed all those years ago but still fun to hear other people talk about it and also the behind the scenes dirt on Carl Sagan's love-life, it's sweet actually), dominance of a genetic mutation (which I might be a part of incidentally. cool!) and the psychological effects of a placebo.

I really enjoy the two hosts' (Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich) personalities. They play off of each other well. And they also produce the program with a lot of audio textures that paint a visual picture for you sort of the way a good movie has a great cinematographer or production designer. I read in their bios that Robert Krulwich has won awards for his science reporting and has a particular knack for explaining really complicated scientific things clearly for the everyday person which I would have to agree with.

PS. Good logo.

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