HALLELUJAH“In 1984, Elvis Costello released what he would say later was his worst record: Goodbye Cruel World. Among the most discordant songs on the album was the forgettable “The Deportees Club.” But then, years later, Costello went back and re-recorded it as “Deportee,” and today it stands as one of his most sublime achievements.

“Hallelujah” is about the role that time and iteration play in the production of genius, and how some of the most memorable works of art had modest and undistinguished births.”

Malcolm Gladwell | Revisionist History | 29th July 2016

Us and Them: Are We Biologically Primed to Fear Outsiders?

Are we biologically primed to fear outsiders? And can science help us bridge the divide when conflicts arise?
Last year, an estimated 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes and forced to seek refuge. In many of their new home countries they are unwanted outsiders. Ian Sample is joined in the studio by social psychologist Professor Miles Hewstone and primatologist Dr Kit Opie to discuss group behaviour and the divisions that define us as human.

The Guardian’s Science Weekly | 22nd July 2016

Frame of Reference

frame-of-referenceWe all carry an invisible frame of reference in our heads that filters our experience. This episode looks at the role it plays in how we feel about our lives.

The main story is about a recent experiment that took place at Harvard. Researchers wanted to see if they could get people with Aspergers to see emotional and social cues in the same way that neurotypical people do if they stimulated the brain with magnets (a treatment called TMS). They found that some of the subjects in the study were able to see social cues in the world around them that had been entirely invisible to them before, but only for a brief window of time.

Alix and Hanna talk to a woman with Aspergers that took part in the study, and who gets a glimpse of what she’s been missing.

Invisibilia | 8th July 2016

Carlos Doesn’t Remember

carlos_doesnt_remember“Carlos is a brilliant student from South Los Angeles. He attends an exclusive private school on an academic scholarship. He is the kind of person the American meritocracy is supposed to reward. But in the hidden details of his life lies a cautionary tale about how hard it is to rise from the bottom to the top—and why the American school system, despite its best efforts, continues to leave an extraordinary amount of talent on the table.”

Malcolm Gladwell | Revisionist History | 7th July 2016

Abdi and the Golden Ticket

abdi-and-the-goldenA story about someone who’s desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a US visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.

This American Life | 3rd July 2015

Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet

adventures-in-protecting-the-futurePeter Willcox, Captain for Greenpeace for over 30 years shares some of his most dramatic stories. In 1985, for example, French spies blew up his ship as it sat peacefully in dock. A photographer was killed, and the vessel sank. The ship, the Rainbow Warrior, was on its way to French Polynesia, where the Greenpeace crew planned to protest nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Russian special forces seized a Greenpeace ship in the Arctic Circle in September 2013. It was there to protest Russian oil drilling. They rappelled from helicopters onto the ship and showed their weapons before locking the captain and his crew inside the cabins. The intruders looked around, pillaged the crew’s booze, and started drinking. What began as a terrifying attack slowly turned into a rowdy encounter with intoxicated Russian commandos. Then followed a four-day tow back to shore, an arrest on charges of piracy, and a hard time in one of Europe’s oldest prisons.

Greenpeace has been using dramatic, nonviolent actions in pursuit of its environmentalist mission since the 1970s. The situation in the Arctic three years ago was no different. The activists’ goal was to hang a banner near the steel sides of a Russian oil rig to protest the country’s drilling practices. So-called “banner actions” aren’t Willcox’s protest of choice: He prefers missions that are more straightforward like the time he chained himself to a harpoon gun.

Peter Willcox is author of Greenpeace Captain: My Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet.

Inquiring Minds | 1st July 2016

Photo by Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace