The sudden lack of familiar media has exposed me several new things in the last two weeks, not the least of which is a bunch of new unfamiliar Colombian media. However as hard as old habits do die, I have turned to some of the Podcasts on my computer to catch up on months of NPR’s Health & Science briefs as well as some forgotten episodes of This American Life. Now I’m keeping up with my subscriptions to such things and also finding some new ones and I must say I am impressed at the breadth of topics covered and the availability of so much information that this relatively young media (Podcasts) affords us.
If you listened to last week’s episode of This American Life on Who Can You Save? (and you probably did given that it was the most downloaded Podcast that week) then you no doubt were introduced to Radiolab. Señor Glass, as he’s known down here, played an excerpt from Radiolab’s show on Morality and also gave it a resounding endorsement. Now, I know that some people treat finding the next ‘it’ thing like a race (against their own friends), but I subscribe to the ideology which says that the important is to know why you think it’s ‘it’, if you eventually do find it. So even though it’s in its third season, now’s as good a time as any to give it a listen. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
I have been trying to catch up on episodes back at my apartment where we don’t have broadband internet. The Podcasts are a great way listen to new media offline, meanwhile my roommate probably thinks I never listen to music, just news. I have been involved in a weeklong love affair (sorry Lauren) with this show. And I don’t think I’m alone because guess what was the week’s most downloaded Podcast last I checked. But why is this show so interesting; so ‘it’. First, it’s good radio. The two hosts, Jab Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (who has his own short NPR science Podcast) are enthusiastic, honest and creative. The way they unravel curiosity around the subject using audible performance to accompany the sound bites from their interesting contributors (Oliver Sachs, Steven Johnson, Alan Rabinowitz, etc.) adds to the stories, relevant as they are. Finally, it asks big questions about being human, about having feelings and thoughts and instincts. And to investigate those questions it turns to the scientific experiments designed to test such things, the history of the issue, and the real life experiences of people (ie This American Life).
Here is a clip from a show on memory that made me question what I really remember about some seminal experiences in my life.
So give the program a listen and tell me what you think. If it’s not like I said, it probably had something to do with how my brain interprets things differently than yours, or the way I constructed the memory of the show. Of curse to find out why that is, you’ll have to listen to more of the show.