Undoing the Damage of Chronic Sitting

undoing-the-damageWhat the latest medical research says about the dangers of chronic sitting. Dr. Kelly Starrett explains what happens to your body when you sit too much, how sitting is getting in the way of your athletic goals, and what you can do to undo the damage of sitting. Lots of actionable ideas to take away from this podcast.

Dr. Kelly Starrett is the owner of MobilityWod and has written a book Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World.

The Art of Manliness | 28th June 2016

The Personality Myth

the_personality_myth_2Personality is often seen as destiny. Whether you’re a famous CEO like Steve Jobs or a serial criminal like Hannibal Lecter, most of us think that our position in life has a lot to do with our personality. This episode looks more closely at this belief.”

It starts at a Court House “where lines of people who are getting married describe the personality of the person with whom they are to be joined for life. Then travel to a prison in Ohio where a woman has struck up a work relationship with a prisoner who it turns out did something far worse than she imagined. Finally Lulu talks to a scientist to come up with a complete catalogue of all the things about us that actually do stay stable over the course of our lives. They look at everything from cells to memories until ultimately they come up with a list — but it’s a really short list.

Invisibilia | 26th June 2016

Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin?

is_a_stradivariusViolins and violas are like living, breathing things. Many are hand-crafted with wood from a tree. Each one is different. And you know the story—Antonio Stradivari was the master. Some say he was the greatest maker of stringed instruments to ever live. The Stradivarius is one of the most powerful and expensive brands in the world. And, certainly, the guy made really nice instruments. But…how nice, exactly?

This is a question that comes up all the time with all kinds of products: Coffee, clothes, dish washing detergent, jeans, shoes. How much of a brand is real? And how much is in our heads?

Of course, you could do a test with a Stradivarius to answer this exact question. See whether people can tell the difference between the sound of a Strad and the sound of a cheaper, less famous violin. And in fact, in 2010, researchers did just that.

Planet Money | 22nd June 2016

David Remnick – the editor of The New Yorker

david_remnick A Conversation with David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. “I think it’s important — not just for me, but for the readers — that this thing exists at the highest possible level in 2016, in 2017, and on. That there’s a continuity to it. I know, because I’m not entirely stupid, that these institutions, no matter how good they are, all institutions are innately fragile. Innately fragile.”

Longform | 20th June 2016

Flip the Script

flip-the-scriptIs flipping the script – doing the opposite of what the natural instinct commands, a way to transform a situation? “Usually, when someone is hostile to us, we are hostile right back. The psychological term is “complementarity.” But then, in rare cases, someone manages to be warm, and what happens as a result can be surprising. The episode starts with a story about a dinner party in DC, when an attempted robbery was foiled by… a glass of wine and some cheese.”

Then it moves to Denmark, where police officers are attempting to combat the growing problem of Islamic radicalization with… love. And finally, to a man who attempted to flip the script on one of our most basic animal functions: finding a mate.

Invisibilia | 15th July 2016

The Mind Is a Difference-Seeking Machine

the-mind-is-a-difference-seekingHuman mind as a “difference-seeking machine” with implicit biases as a result. While helping us to order and navigate the overwhelming complexity of reality, the mind also makes errors, as we fill in what we don’t know with frequently wrong assumptions.

Krista Tippett talks to the psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, the co-author of Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.

On Being with Krista Tippett | 9th June 2016

Lawless Lands

lawless-lands-3What happens in the absence of government and who or what comes in to fill the void? Sometimes, it’s a strongman enforcing his will; other times, it’s just anarchy, and occasionally it’s something completely unexpected.

This episode starts in Libya, where police no longer can maintain the rule of law, and the only thing people can do is call for help from the dozens of armed groups that keep order – but they operate according to their own rules.

Next, we head to the rural West – Josephine County in Oregon – where budget cuts have stretched law enforcement to the breaking point. There’s no detectives division, the jail runs on a skeleton crew, and deputies patrol just 10 hours a day. Fixing the problem would mean raising local taxes, but residents refuse to do so.

Then follows Crystal City in Texas. The town’s mayor has been arrested – several times – and the FBI took away most of the city council in handcuffs after they allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for awarding permits and city contracts. Without a functioning government, things have spiraled out of control.

The final stop is a swath of desert wedged between Sudan and southern Egypt – Bir Tawil (beer tah-WEEL) – the last unclaimed territory on earth, and it’s been that way for more than 100 years due to a dispute over competing maps and a neighboring stretch of desert. A farmer from Virginia has decided to make this place his very own kingdom.

Reveal | 6th June 2016

How the Pentagon Punished NSA Whistleblowers

To understand why Edward Snowden leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, you have to know the stories of two other men.

“The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed. Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored. “The government spent many years trying to break me, and the more I resisted, the nastier they got.””

Written by Mark Hertsgaard, read by Christopher Ragland and produced by Simon Barnard
Illustration by Nathalie Lees

The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads | 3rd June 2016