Radiolab*: Radiolab is a nationally syndicated science radio show which is quite creatively produced. You can download and listen to their podcasts for free - FREE I TELL YOU!

Below, I have listed out podcasts I use as artifacts in class.  Sometimes these are stand-alone and just supplement our learning; other times these are mandatory listening for your projects (and subsequently your grade).  Check your course calendar to see which podcast you should listen to.

I place them here for folks who are absent and need to make up work.  I also place them here in the hope you will become naturally curious about something - anything - they discuss and that you get addicted to their show.  They are one of the reasons why I know so much about thinking, evolution, human nature, life, the universe, and everything.

*Radiolab Terms of Use and Copyright Information Page


Singled Out (0:00-10:30): Malcolm Gladwell questions the notion of picking our 'gifted and talented students' at the age of 9, debunks the concept of "natural talent," explains the Matthew Effect, and explains why love (and hard work) is at the heart of what makes a genius, a genius. Some of the content in "Singled Out" is taken from "Secrets of Success" below.

Secrets of Success (0:00-24:00): The first six minutes is the same as Singled Out above because they are from the same interview.  The two segments have a different focus though. Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Krulwich discuss generational success and the Janklo family is covered around 7:00 minute mark: why does the son succeed where the father failed?   The 10,000 hour rule is discussed at the 12:00 minute mark: In order to be good at something, you have to practice 10,000 hours.  Regarding Bill Gates: "Here's a teenage boy who is willing to surrender his sleep five nights a week to program from two to six in the morning.  THAT'S what's special about Bill Gates." Talent + persistence +  the Matthew Effect + practice = GENIUS! 17:00 minute mark = talent as the "magic dust" that turns hard work into "something."  Maybe what makes someone a genius is an extraordinary LOVE for a particular thing.  Hmmm?

Your Future in a Marshmallow (0:00-18:24): "Rhyming Events" are oddly coincidental events - do they point to the concept of fate (0:00-4:30)?  Robert and Jad also revisit a famous experiment with marshmallows, children, and delayed gratification.  Can a marshmallow determine your success?  Choice vs. fate (4:30-14:15).  We can learn techniques that may affect our fate - a bag of tricks can make a difference (14:15-18:24).


Words that Change the World:

bulletWe hear of an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter & the story of a 27-year-old man who didn't even know words existed - he had no language (0:00-10:10).
bulletExperimenters place rats in a room with white walls and have them find a biscuit.  Then, they paint one of the walls blue and...nothing really happens.  :)  But, rats  can't connect bits of knowledge.  For example, they know the concept of "left" and know the concept of "blue" but can't put those together in a thought like "left of the blue wall." How does this experiment prove that small children are just like rats?  Listen to find out (10:10-18:10).  I
bulletIf language allows you to construct thoughts, how do you think about things you don't have the words for? (18:10-22:11)
bulletFinally, how did Shakespeare create so many of the words you use today?  You use Shakespearean-speak every day and don't know it! Shakespeare was a word-smasher; he came up with "eyeball," "love is blind," "what's done is done," etc.  (22:11-28:56).

Voices in Your Head
bulletIn a follow up to "Words that Change the World," researchers ask, can you think without words?  Think about it: can you?  Whose voices comprise a majority of your thoughts (0:00-5:30)
bulletThe second half of this episode focuses on schizophrenia and people who experience auditory hallucinations and literally hear voices in their heads. 
bulletBorger is more interested in the first half about the external dialogue children have with their parents and how that dialogue becomes our own inner-monologues.  How we dialogue with our self is important and we probably don't think about it enough.

bulletWhat's the role of laughter?  Why does it exist?  Why does it feel so good? Aristotle argues that what makes us separates us from the animal kingdom is our capacity to laugh; not logic, not reason, not language, but laughter.  Aristotle believed that we do not become human being until we laugh on the 40th day of our existence (0:00-7:30).
bulletAre human beings the only creatures capable of laughter? Jaak Panksepp believes he found evidence that rats can laugh (7:30-17:00)
bulletLaughter is a social phenomenon; we do not laugh when we are alone.  Why do we laugh? People do not actually laugh when something is funny.  85% of the time, laughter is not proceeded by anything funny at all (17:00-20:50).  
bulletHow did "The Nanny Laughers" keep an actor safe & revolutionize the lives of laughers (22:28-31:48)
bulletThere is an individual in the world who studies the different sounds humans make when laughing.  What are the evolutionary purposes of laughter?  What is a subglottal whistle (and do you make one when you laugh)?  Listen and find out (31:48-36:15).
bulletWhat's the connection between laughter and power?  Barry Sanders discusses how laughter helped him as a child stay safe from the heavy abuse of his father (36:15-38:15).
bulletLaughter causes laughter - it's contagious.  They tell a story about a village in Tanzania in 1962 in which all the girls in the villages around Lake Victoria were infected with laughter.  The laughter was so contagious that schools had to be closed. How mass hysteria manifested itself in the form of a laughter epidemic  (40:00-58:30).

Deception:  Are all lies created equal?  Are all lies negative and harmful?  How do lies help Olympic athletes succeed?

Musical Language: Listen to spoken words that suddenly burst forth into song.  How does music affect our brains?  How does sound get processed in the brain?  How did music cause old ladies to riot in the 1800's? Good stuff!


Wild Talk:
bulletCan animals be bi-lingual?  Can animals communicate on an inter-species level?  If animals can communicate in specific ways - in ways we've never thought possible before - what exactly does that mean? Prairie dog chirps have more subtle variation among them - they can describe individual humans.  Don't believe it?  Give a listen (0:00-13:35)
bulletIn a later segment, a scientist overheard Diana monkeys warning him that he was being stalked in the jungle as he made his way back to camp one night (13:35-20:00).

Is Laughter Just a Human Thing? Can animals laugh?  Why would one even ask that in the first place - how silly! (or is it?)  This is a smaller segment within the larger episode called Laughter.  Jaak Panksepp believes he found evidence of rats laughing.

Animal Minds: Where does empathy come from?  Is sharing an exclusively human trait or does it have evolutionary roots?  How are thoughts and feelings connected?


Talking to Machines: Chatbots, Furbies, & Bina48, oh my!

Emergence:  How do ants accomplish their amazing feats without thinking? 

Cities: Cities have an "intelligence" which can be measured by how quickly its inhabitants walk.  Take a listen and try to think about what these characteristics communicate about your hometown.