Radiolab Favorites: Listening List

Our group of eight founding PBClubbers met on March 28, 2015 at a standard Chicago brunch spot, Deleece, in Lakeview. On the podcast menu was a Radiolab smorgasbord:

Mr. Bliss: The story of Charles Bliss, an Austrian Jew who survived World War II with the belief that Hitler had twisted and perverted language to manipulate the German people. Ultimately Mr. Bliss developed a set of symbols that he felt could not be shaped and worked by the user like mainstream language could. His mission was to share the system with the world and achieve universal adoption, thereby eliminating the possibility of miscommunication. Instead a teacher at a Canadian school for children with cerebral palsy began using the system with much success to help her students communicate. This episode tells the story and the incredible surprise ending. Spoiler alert: it involves a lawsuit!

Cut & Run: Why are Kenyans the boss in long-distance running? There have been many theories, but this episode puts forth a fascinating and quite disturbing theory. It starts with the premise that an elite athlete must be able endure a great amount of pain. So, the question becomes “why are Kenyans so good at enduring pain?” The posited answer takes into account generations and generations of sexual selection that revolves around an extremely painful coming-of-age cultural practice.

Limits: An exploration into the seemingly superhero-esque abilities of humans. The human mind is truly an incredible thing and this episode delves into the minds of a few unique individuals who have the capacity for mental and physical feats that seem utterly impossible.

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