The Man Who Lost Touch

the-man-who-lost-touchWhat happens without our innate ability to know where and how our body is moving through space? And what can we learn from those who have lost it?

At the age of 19, Ian Waterman had a bout of severe gastric flu and his body produced antibodies which attacked his nerves. Though still able to feel temperature and pain and with normal movement or motor nerves, he lost all touch and sense of movement and position sense below the neck. Without feedback from the limbs, he could not coordinate movement and move in a controlled way. He spent the next 17 months as an inpatient learning to think about movement again. He realized that if he looked at, say, his arm and thought about moving it then it could move, but that the mental effort to do this was huge.

Choreographer and dancer Siobhan Davies tells us what she has learned from Ian Waterman.

Presented by Hannah Devlin and produced by Max Sanderson

The Guardian’s Science Weekly | 27th September 2016


longboxIn 1990, a Federal district judge in South Florida ruled that the rap group 2 Live Crew’s album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” was so obscene that it couldn’t be sold or performed within his jurisdiction in South Florida. Three days after the ruling, 2 Live Crew played a show in a county within his jurisdiction, and afterwards two members of the group got arrested.

When Jeff Ayeroff, an executive at Virgin Records, watched this all play out on TV, he felt offended. Not by the raunchy lyrics or the twerking on stage, but by the arrests and the blatant censorship of the artists’ work. Shortly thereafter, he got the idea for “Rock the Vote.”

The idea behind Rock the Vote was simple: get young people to vote for politicians who wouldn’t censor music. Ayeroff got about sixty people together in a Los Angeles hotel to talk about launching Rock The Vote. Frank Zappa was there, past and present California Governor Jerry Brown was there, as well as a bunch of record executives.

Illustration: Front of R.E.M.’s Out of Time

99% Invisible | 27th September 2016

Editing Our Pasts

editing-our-pastsOur memories influence what we think we’re capable of in the future. Dr. Shaw argues that if we start to question the accuracy of our memories we’re then forced to question the foundation of who we think we are. In this episode that is based on her new book, The Memory Illusion, she shows that not only are we capable of co-opting other people’s memories as our own, but we can also be easily persuaded by the power of suggestion that we’ve committed acts that have never actually occurred. Can the science of memory help us deal with our brains’ tendency to rewrite the past?

Dr. Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist and senior researcher in the Department of Law and Social Science at London South Bank University. Her research on false memory has been published in several international academic journals.

Illustration by Patrick Smith

Point of Inquiry | 26th September 2016

The Primitive Streak

the-primitive-streakLast May, two research groups announced a breakthrough: they each grew human embryos, in the lab, longer than ever before. In doing so, they witnessed a period of human development no one had ever seen. But in the process, they crashed up against something called the ’14-day rule,’ a guideline set over 30 years ago that dictates what we do, and possibly how we feel, about human embryos in the lab.
This piece was produced by Molly Webster and Annie McEwen, with help from Matt Kielty.

Radiolab | 23rd September 2016

Eye in the Sky

eye-in-the-skyIn 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 mega-pixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom onto that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see – literally see – who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the Air Force, and brought this technology back home with him. Should we use it?
Produced by Andy Mills. Guests: Alex Goldmark and Manoush Zomorodi

Radiolab | 12th September 2016

Seneca, Nebraska

seneca-nebraska-1Back in 2014 the town of Seneca, Nebraska was deeply divided. How divided? They were so fed up with each other that some citizens began circulating a petition that proposed a radical solution. If a majority wanted to they’d self-destruct, end the town and wipe their community off the map.
Producer Simon Adler goes to Seneca to knock on doors and sit down with residents for a series of kitchen table conversations. What happened in this tiny town and what its fracture says about America?
Produced and Reported by Simon Adler.

Radiolab | 12th October 2016

The Sum of All Human Knowledge

the-sum-of-all-human_1“In the 15 years since its inception, Wikipedia has become as much a global community as a business venture — a living organism with a mission statement to make “the sum of all human knowledge available to every person in the world.” And a conversation with co-founder Jimmy Wales — one of the architects of that philosophy and the world-changing project that has grown up around it — is full of surprises. What Wikipedia is learning has resonance for our wider public life —about the imperfect but gratifying work of navigating truth amidst difference, ongoing learning, and dynamic belonging.”
Illustration by Giulia Forsythe / Flickr

On Being with Krista Tippett | 8th September 2016

Anger and Forgiveness

Anger is among the most familiar phenomena in our moral lives. It is common to think that anger is an appropriate, and sometimes morally required, emotional response to wrongdoing and injustice. In fact, our day-to-day lives are saturated with inducements not only to become angry, but to embrace the idea that anger is morally righteous. However, at the same time, were all familiar with the ways in which anger can go morally wrong. We know that anger can eat away at us; it can render us morally blind; it can engulf our entire lives. So one might wonder: What exactly is the point of anger?

In Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (Oxford University Press, 2016), Martha Nussbaum argues that, in its most familiar forms, anger is not only pointless, but morally confused and pernicious. Drawing lessons from the Stoics, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Nussbaum advocates replacing anger with forms of generosity, friendship, justice, and kindness. She develops her critique of anger across the spectrum of human experience, from the intimate, to the interpersonal, and eventually the political. Along the way, she proposes important revisions to common ideas about punishment, justice, and social reform.

New Books in Philosophy | 1st September 2016