*radio, radio*

I love RadioLab…

I love RadioLab…

I love RadioLab…

I am smitten for RadioLab. The show has tackled queries about time, what makes us human, cloning, limit of the mind and body and beyond. I have a bit of a nerd crush on Jad and Robert and find their banter endearing and engaging. I feel like they are discovering the wonders of science with me and we are like school kids in amazement and disbelief.  There was some point in time when science was cool-ok first Bill Nye came to my mind and second great minds of science and philosophy (uh no, that doesn’t speak highly of my mind). I really think that science lost its coolness for a period of time and now science is the cool kid who can buy alcohol.

Most people who don’t know science hold some belief that it’s hard. It is too abstract, too many numbers, too much of this and too much of that-they just don’t get it. It’s pretty common for people to assume that their brain can only process a certain kind of knowledge and some people are math people and the rest of us, just aren’t. Sometimes this can steer people away from science and the wonderful thing about RadioLab is that it isn’t for people who necessarily know science-it’s for regular folks. The beauty of it, is yeah it’s fun to listen to with interesting audio and music, but what it does is explains some pretty complicated stuff in really easy to digest ways.  That, to me, is genius.  Bfd if someone can spew out some study that they are working on or some new finding-true knowledge is when you are able to momma bird it to people-what I mean is you chew it up, process it and then spit it back out in easy digestible clumps.

I am not the only one who sings the praises of RadioLab, according to the NYT it is revolutionizing the medium.

Now let’s travel on a bit of a tangent it is pretty obvious I am fan of RadioLab and if you just delete Lab, I am a fan radios.  I have even made one. ok, so it was from a kit for little kids and it didn’t work, but I hooked up diodes and resisters like, whoa.  My college town has the largest radio collection that there side of the Mississippi-aptly named, American Museum of Radio and Electricity. I use to volunteer there and helped teach little ones about radios, magnetism and all sorts of fun stuff. Too bad this was at a time in my life when 8am on a Saturday was like a hot summer day in hell and I only volunteered for 4 months or so.  The way that I became familiar with the place was actually by preparing for a physics test. In preparation for the test, the teacher gave us some “hints” of what our final would be about. All there was on the sheet of paper was a picture of a radio-something like this but simpler.

So I went to the radio museum and talked to this sweet older man, Carl. He sat me down at a table in the back and he talked to me all about radios. It was probably nothing that I actually needed for the test but it a really interesting and completely sweet of him. I think I brought cookies later to thank him…it probably would of been more appropriate if I had brought my test and had them put it on the fridge next to that table in the back.

So, back to RadioLab. I found this video from open culture . It is a little clip inspired by an episode-about symmetry.

you can listen to desperately seeking symmetry at RadioLab’s website.

*eeny meeny miny mo*

I am totally fascinated with the decision making process…

I think this interest sprouted after graduating from college and thinking, “crap, what now?” I researched all these possible careers and life paths and one day I was going to be a doctor the next a yoga teacher the next a neuro-scientist and the next…I joined the peace corps. I have found it really interesting to understand how I personally process all of these options and how,  contrary to intuition, most of the time having all of these options can be like quicksand. It seems really great to have a million choices in every aspect of our lives-from the cereal aisle to my sexual orientation but the reality is that it causes, sometimes, a feeling of being overwhelmed and our little animal brain-freaks the hell out.
I don’t mean to get all 2012 but I think we are in a state of crisis-similar to the kind of stuff I would read about as an idealist college student and maybe….. Herman Hess was on to something in books like Steppenwolf. The over-processed, overstimulated, over-consumption that fuels our lives puts us in a state of panic and disconnects us from something that we truly are, mother fuckin animals.
There is as well, really fascinating research done on happiness. I had this idea that happiness was something you can obtain. You got it through the “choices” that you made and maybe other things too, like sweet outfits or cute hairstyles. Now, I sort of think that happiness is total bull- Not in a ‘I wear black eyeliner (though I often do) kind of way’ but I think it gives this illusion that happiness comes in some form that you have to consume when you get to some place that you aren’t at, yet. It feels like a point on  a plan, like I could make some power point demonstration and say, “there it is, the illusive, Happiness.” Instead, I like the idea of contentment-it is subtle and sweeter and sticks around even when I don’t have the flossiest of digs or my perfect 9 to 5.
Here are a few gems on the topic…

1. Radiolab-“Choice”

2. Definitely Not the Opera- “The Big Decision”

3. Ben Schwarts-“Paradox of choice” (tedtalks) and “Paradox of choice” (book)

4. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”

5. Dan Gilbert “Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?”

6. Dalai Lama, “The art of Happiness”

7. Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The how of happiness”

I only included in this list things I have personally; read, watched or listened to. There is a slew of stuff out there on this topic so if you are so interested you can find loads of books and talks on why you make those little decisions that make up your day to days.
picture from opendrawer