Radiolab: The Art and Science of Digital Shamanism
Jad Abumrad loves collecting sounds and playing with high-tech gadgetry, but he deploys his geekery in service of a higher calling – creating in Radiolab a hybrid medium that is a natural evolution of the ancient art of storytelling.
I marvel at Radiolab when I hear it. I feel jealous. Its co-creators Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have digested all the storytelling and production tricks of everyone in public radio before them, invented some slick moves of their own, and ended up creating the rarest thing you can create in any medium: a new aesthetic.
– Ira Glass, Creator and Host of This American Life
Science is fun. It's a grownup extension of the playful curiosity about the world we're all born with. So why do so many teachers, authors, and media producers excel at making it deadly boring?
Still, every now and again the world produces that rare individual who not only understands the complexities of cutting edge science and technology, but possesses the storytelling power to share the passion with the rest of us.
What's the Big Idea?
Interestingly, and not coincidentally, many of science's "great communicators" are interdisciplinary thinkers – as fascinated by the arts, literature, and/or philosophy as they are by "hard" scientific fact. Einstein was a fine amateur pianist and violinist. Carl Sagan inhabited a kind of binary between rational skepticism and wild imaginings about extraterrestrials.
Jad Abumrad, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and co-creator of WNYC's Radiolab, started out as a musician and composer. Indeed, his groundbreaking show is an unprecedented and wholly cohesive hybrid of multilayered soundscapes and traditional storytelling on a theme that shouldn't seem unlikely, but does – the wonders of math and science (mostly). A random sampling of recent episodes includes Colors, Guts, Crossroads, and The Turing Problem.
Watch Radiolab's Jad Abumrad on ancient storytelling with high-tech gadgetry
Research in plant neurobiology shows that plants have senses, intelligence and emotions.
- The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
- Plants were found to have 15-20 senses, including many like humans.
- Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.
- Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
- In nature, properties of Particle B may depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
- In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.