Saturday, February 02, 2008

Radio Lab

I listen to too many podcasts. In fact, I'm going to throw a podcast-roll on the side there to keep track of it. Well, no. I can keep track of it just fine with iTunes. I'll throw a podcast-roll on the side there because I feel like it.

Anyway, yes. I come across these things long after everyone else has found out they're awesome and worthwhile and terrific. Which happened this last week, when I finally added Radio Lab to the things I listen to. Thankfully, there are only about five full episodes a year, so I'll be able to catch up with it. Anyway, yes. Fantastically produced show which deals with science topics in a very accessible way. I'd first heard of it a while ago when an episode of This American Life excerpted their bit on a thought experiment which attempts to analyze the roots of morality in humans and their episodes on how we as a species experience things are fantastically interesting. They seem to have Brian Greene from Columbia on speed-dial, their "Space" show included some interesting clips from Ann Druyan on the Voyager probe and Neil deGrasse Tyson and their episodes on Time are very interesting. I think part of that is that I, as someone who doesn't study it and rather blogs about podcasts that mention it, don't understand a lot of the concepts that go along with how time works.

So I suggest you listen to it. It's fun. And, specifically, even if you're not really into science and things that explain other things, at least give their "Beyond Time" show a listen. You'll learn some things about time dilation later in the show, sure, but it's more worth it to hear the raving goddamn lunatic who lives in the past and rides his 19th century bicycle to the bank because he refuses to use the internet and is really proud of that and goes on and on about old shirts he has. He starts the piece of by stating "Most people do not need to live in the present." which becomes more emphatic as he declares "Everybody doesn't need to live in the Present!" He seems to be taking the whole "there was a Golden Age" argument that I'm not fond of as far as it can. He throws away toothpaste caps because they're plastic (isn't the tube as well?) and appears utterly convinced that everything he's saying is absolutely common sense and gets weirdly argumentative sometimes. They tie in his segment to the rest of the show because he talks about the concept that moments don't fade into the past or come into existence in the future, but just exist. Which Professor Greene agrees with, that moments don't pop into being or fade away, but just exist. Eventually, they tie it in with a quote from Einstein given at the eulogy of a friend which has some interesting implications for dealing with time and how to comprehend it.

That doesn't make his obsession with old shirts less weird. He appears near the end of the clip to acknowledge and want to live in an imaginary world, but yeah. Interesting dude. Maybe he's right and I'm just a square because I am not obsessed with throwing out my toothpaste caps. Listen to it.

Maybe he just seems weird because he's from Tralfamadore.

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