Thursday, December 16, 2010

Podcast Rollcall: Radio Lab

Genre: Philosophy

What It's About: Existing at the intersection of science, philosophy and metaphysics, RadioLab addresses topics from two angles: what we know about it, and what we don't. And then it digs into why we don't know what we don't know, and how we're working to figure it out. How do ants determine their roles in the social order, and how does that relate to the way our individual brain cells organize themselves? Why do we laugh and why is it contagious? What does sleeping accomplish for us? The latest research is addressed, but then things are taken a step further: what does it all mean to us as sentient, emotional beings capable of abstract thought?

Why You Should Care: This is the most unique show I've ever encountered. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich deliver the hard facts expertly, but are not afraid to delve into metaphorical and existential ruminations. This makes the show more rounded and complete than most. The show also experiments with sound design, creating a wholly original audio experience that both reinforces the subject matter, and creates a lively, witty, engaging listen.

Frequency: Varies, at least once per month

Average Length: 1 hour

As always, if you become a regular listener to a podcast that solicits donations, try to find a way to make the occasional contribution.

[ Special note: At the beginning of this year, I committed to the Podcast Rollcall feature as something that would run every first and third Thursday of every month. I hope you've enjoyed this feature, and found the rate of twice monthly to be just right.

Now that I've highlighted the bulk of the podcasts I listen to, I'm going to reduce the Podcast Rollcall feature to once a month in the coming year. I hope you'll continue to enjoy the feature, and that running it less often will make each podcast stand out more, and give you time to check it out.

I'll be back with more podcasts in 2011! ]

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