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Radio Lab

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“Design in art, is a recognition of the relation between various things, various elements in the creative flux. You can't invent a design. You recognize it, in the fourth dimension. That is, with your blood and your bones, as well as with your eyes.” - David Herbert Lawrence

Radio Lab

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Radio Lab (iTunes podcast link) is what you’d get if you put Freakonomics, Malcolm Gladwell, and This American Life in a blender.

Each episode of the folksy science show is “a patchwork of people, sounds, stories and experiences centered around One Big Idea.” The banter between hosts Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich can be slightly grating at times, but, overall, they do a great job of boiling down complex subjects and keeping things interesting. The way they use sound is intriguing too.

A few recent episodes:

Time
Jorge Luis Borges wrote, “Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire,” and it’s as close a definition as we have. But maybe if we slow time down enough, or speed it up enough, we can unlock its secrets. On this week’s Radio Lab, we’re using our hour to try and do just that.

Emergence
What happens when there is no leader? Starlings, bees, and ants manage just fine. In fact, they form staggeringly complicated societies, all without a Toscanini to conduct them into harmony. How? That’s our question this hour. We gaze down at the bottom-up logic of cities, Google, even our very own brains. Featured: author Steven Johnson, fire-flyologists John and Elizabeth Buck, biologist E.O. Wilson, Ant expert Debra Gordon, mathematician Steve Strogatz, economist James Surowiecki, and neurologists Oliver Sacks and Christof Koch.

Morality
Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? We peer inside the brains of people contemplating moral dilemmas, watch chimps at a primate research center share blackberries, observe a playgroup of 3 year-olds fighting over toys, and tour the country’s first penitentiary, Eastern State Prison. Also: the story of land grabbing, indentured servitude and slum lording in the fourth grade.

More show descriptions at the Radio Lab archive. If you’re a pop science fan, check it out.

About

Born in Africa, raised in North Carolina, and of Indian decent, I am a cultural smorgasbord. For the last 7 years, I have worked in San Francisco at agencies that focus on user centered design such as Hot Studio, Creative B'stro and Noise 13 and have had the privilege of working with clients such as eBay, NEC, Johson & Johnson, Symantec, Roku, Zone Alarm, SOMA Magazine and Mezzanine.

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