Radiolab for Kids

By WNYC

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Reviews: 1


 May 24, 2022

Description

A show where we uncover the strangeness right here on Earth

Episode Date
Introducing: Flip and Mozi's Guide to How to be an Earthling
6:41

Mozi is about to turn... 900 years old, and he's having a tough time with it! So, Flip introduces him to some of the oldest earthlings around, the Bowhead Whales! Featuring new songs from the Pop Ups like "How You Are Old," learn more about these 250 year old swimmers in the Arctic Ocean.

Nov 24, 2022
Introducing: Brains On
33:22

Today’s episode is all about one of the most dynamite dinosaurs, the Brontosaurus! This long-necked icon has been featured in books, cartoons, movies, and even logos. But did the Brontosaurus really exist in the first place? We’ll dig into that question and uncover the history of Brontosaurus with science writer and bronto-enthusiast Riley Black. We’ll also learn about taxonomy from a ghost and catch up with Mr. Bone Jangles. Plus, a new mystery sound to discover!

Nov 10, 2022
Terrestrials: The Hybrid
34:59

In the game of life, every species is like an action figure. You got your dogs and your dung beetles, your bald eagles and your blueberries. And for a long time scientists believed it was pretty much impossible for those action figures to mix and make a new kind of action figure that was able to have its own babies (dog beetles? Baldberries? Nah). But, today we tell the story of a four-legged beast in Kentucky whose existence is upending scientific beliefs. If you want a big fat SPOILER, here it is: the creature in question is a mule! After almost 20 years of living her life as a hybrid (a mix between a horse and a donkey), believed to be incapable of having babies, Peanut the mule shocked the world by doing the impossible. Peanut’s owners, Teresa and Jerry Smothers, tell us the story of her life. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Molly Schumer explains how scientists’ understanding of hybrids has changed dramatically over the course of Peanut’s lifetime. And no mule episode would be complete without a cowboy-hatted mule packer leading us deep into the rocky trails of the American West on muleback to explain why mules are the best of both worlds of their parents.

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org.

Watch a hybrid gameshow and find even MORE original Terrestrials fun on our Youtube.

Badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 

More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!

If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw -  Get creative with a special listen from our friends from DrawTogether

Do - We've put a bunch of concrete - and even kinda fun - things we can all do to help protect the nonhuman life on this planet IN BINGO form!

This week’s storytellers are Jerry and Teresa Smothers, Dr. Molly Schumer and mule packer James Reeves.

Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the sure-footed, stubborn hybrid helper that is the MULE:

Watch a TV news report about Peanut and Miracle
Ligers and Zonkeys and Narlugas, Oh my! Read an article about hybrids in nature and whether being a hybrid helps or hurts your genetic success.
Learn the story of the first narluga (narwhal and beluga) spotting. 
Learn more about James Reeves, Mule Packer to the stars! Or, rather, to the mountains.
Follow Mule Packer James Reeves’ instagram, full of videos of him and mules!
Is breeding hybrids (like Ligers) unethical?
Did you know mules are STILL used in the military? Check out Susan Orlean’s wonderful article about that.
A video about the myth of Pegasus vs. The Chimera
“Mules and More” Magazine
Detailed list of reports of fertile mules over history


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Natalie Meade. Sound design by Phoebe Wang with additional engineering by Joe Plourde and Andrew Dunn. Our storytellers this week are Jerry and Teresa Smothers, Dr. Molly Schumer, and mulepacker James Reeves. Special thanks to the punks at the Music Resource Center in Charlottesville, Virginia: Riles, Susie, Jack, Tate, Tiny, Cheyenne, Zina, Bray, Jordan and Orion

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, Liza Steinberg-Demby, and Tara Welty.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org

Oct 27, 2022
Terrestrials: The Water Walker
29:39

The ocean can be a scary place: the waves are so strong, the water so deep. But surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo tells the story of an earthling who figured out how to walk on water and literally defy the rules of gravity. If you want a big SPOILER, here it is: It’s only human for the season, the grandfather of modern-day surfing, Duke Kahanamoku. Duke’s great grandniece, Heather Kina’u Paoa tells us about what Duke’s life was really like. We learn about the physics of surfing, and how surfing is an escape, not just on a spiritual level, but a physical one too. Finally, we learn how Duke’s story of learning to conquer the waves while remaining true to his Hawaiian heritage inspired AJ to get through one of the hardest times of his life. 

TW: this episode deals with the loss of a loved one and grief.

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org.

Watch a music video for “It Comes in Waves” and find even MORE original Terrestrials fun on our Youtube.

Badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 

More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!

If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw -  Got the big feelings? Drawing can help. This week's drawing prompt from Wendy Mac at the DrawTogether podcast is a three part series called Emotional Doodles all about how to translate feelings into art (and, in turn, maybe even help you move through the hard feelings).

Play 🎶 - Learn how to play the chords to the song “IT COMES IN WAVES

Do - Get crafty with a fun activity sheet!  

This week’s storytellers are AJ Dungo and Heather Kina’u Paoa.

Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the gravity-defying history-maker, Duke Kahanamoku:

Check out Makani Tabura's Culturised podcast (about Hawaiian culture and history!)
Check out AJ Dungo’s comic book (aka graphic novel), In Waves
Watch the new documentary about Duke, Waterman

Resources on Grief:

Guide to Helping Children Cope with Grief from the Child Mind Institute is a resource available for families navigating the loss of a loved one. 
When a Loved One Dies: How to Help Your Child  (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth
I Cannot Heal My Children’s Grief, but I Can Help Them Name It
“Do Animals Experience Grief?” from Smithsonian Magazine
A Guide for Grown-Ups Helping Children Through the Toughest Times from Sesame Street in Communities

 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 988. If you’re outside the U.S., you can visit findahelpline.com to find resources for your country.


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Natalie Meade. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storytellers this week are AJ Dungo and Heather Kina’u Paoa. Transcription by Russell Gragg.

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, and Tara Welty.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org 

Oct 20, 2022
Terrestrials: The Unimaginable
26:25

Over a billion lightyears ago, in the darkness of outer space, a collision of black holes sent out a fleet of invisible waves that were headed right toward planet Earth. The waves were so powerful they could ripple spacetime but most people on Earth didn't believe the waves were real. SPOILER ALERT: The waves are called gravitational waves and…they are real! Astrophysicist Dr. Wanda Díaz Merced tells the story of what happened when they hit Earth in 2015 and how scientists came to learn to use senses beyond eyesight to detect the waves. We also learn from Dr. Stavros Katsanevas about the building of a giant gravitational wave catcher called “The Interferometer.” This episode also explores how to persist in the face of doubt as we learn Wanda's tale of going blind and learning how to listen to the stars.

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org

Watch the interferometer come to life, disco style, and find even MORE original Terrestrials fun on our Youtube.

Badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 

More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!
If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw -  Use your ears to draw! In this very special drawing prompt, Wendy Mac and the DrawTogether team pull in an actual rockstar to play you various favorite sounds to draw. It's a feast for the mind, ears, and hands. Grab a pencil, pen, crayon, marker, anything, and check it out here!

Play 🎶 - Learn how to play the chords to the song “UNIMAGINABLE

Do - Get crafty with a fun activity sheet!  

This week’s storyteller is Dr. Wanda Díaz Merced.

Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the time-bending power that is the gravitational wave:

Get to Wanda a little better; watch her TED talk!
Take a tour of the world’s first interferometer! (Free monthly tours in person in Richland, WA)
Train yourself to use sound for signal detection in astronomy. 
Learn more about asteroseismology with the wonderful Hank Green!
Spooked by the idea of the infinite universe? Listen to John Green’s “Against Nihilism” (probably best for 13 and up)!

Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Natalie Meade. Sound design by Phoebe Wang with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storytellers this week are Dr. Wanda Díaz Merced and Dr. Stavros Katsanevas. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, Alice Wong, and Tara Welty.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org

Oct 13, 2022
Terrestrials: The Trio
27:04

High above the banks of the Mississippi river, a nest holds the secret life of one of America’s most patriotic creatures. Their story puzzles scientists, reinforces indigenous wisdom, and wows audiences, all thanks to a park ranger named Ed, and a well-placed webcam. If you want to spoil the mystery, here ya go: it’s a bald eagle. Actually, it’s three bald eagles. A mama bird and daddies make a home together for over a decade and give new meaning to our national symbol. 

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org

Watch “I Wanna Hear the Eagle” and find even MORE original Terrestrials fun on our Youtube.

And badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast  

More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!

If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw Journey up into the clouds like an eagle with a special drawing prompt made by artist Wendy Mac and the DrawTogether team that will get you thinking about the weather (both inside and out).

Play 🎶 - Learn how to play the chords to the song “I WANT TO HEAR THE EAGLE.”

Do - Get crafty with a fun activity sheet!  

This week’s storytellers are Ed Britton and Nataanii Means.

Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the complex lives of the bald eagle:

Check out The Trio Bald Eagle Nest Cam yourself!
An interview with Nataanii Means in Native Maxx Magazine
The funny history of how the bald eagle became America’s national symbol
An article called “Dirty Birds” about what it’s actually like to live with America’s national symbol. 
Did you know it’s illegal to keep a bald eagle feather? Learn more in this AWESOME short video about the National Eagle Repository.


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Diane Kelley. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storytellers this week are Ed Britton and Nataanii Means. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, Liza Steinberg-Demby, and Tara Welty.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org

Oct 06, 2022
Terrestrials: The Guardian
31:43

A singing entomologist, Dr. Sammy Ramsey, and a biologist with a knack for inventing things, Dr. Paul Mireji, tell us about one of the most fearsome animals on our planet. If you want a SPOILER of what it is, read on: It sucks our blood, spreads diseases; it's the tsetse fly. Both Sammy and Paul were afraid of this creature, but share the story of what can be gained by looking close at what scares you. In the case of the tsetse fly, we learn that these creatures give live birth, produce milk, protect entire ecosystems, and just might hold the solutions to some of our planet’s biggest problems

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org.

Watch Lulu and Dr. Sammy drink roach milk (!!!!!) and find even MORE original Terrestrials fun on our Youtube.

Badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 

More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!
If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw Listen to a very special drawing prompt created by artist Wendy Mac and the DrawTogether team to explore just that
Play 🎶 - Learn how to play the chords to the song “Yum Your Yuck”
Do - Get crafty with a fun activity sheet!  

This week’s storytellers are Dr. Sammy Ramsey and Dr. Paul Mireji.


Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the gnarly guardian that is the tsetse fly:

In The Fight Against Tsetse Flies, Blue Is The New Black
A Tsetse Fly Births One Enormous Milk-Fed Baby | KQED
New Tool to Fight Deadly Tsetse Fly - The New York Times
Cockroach Milk: Yes. You Read That Right : The Salt : NPR
Kenyan 'junk artist' recycles rubbish into artworks - CGTN


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Diane Kelley. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storytellers this week are Dr. Sammy Ramsey and Dr. Paul Mireji. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Special Thanks to Phoebe Wang for the filming and production of "Lulu Tries Roach Milk."

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, and Tara Welty.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org

Sep 29, 2022
Terrestrials: The Mastermind
23:55

Sy Montgomery, an author and naturalist, shares the story of a color-changing creature many people assumed to be brainless who outsmarts his human captors. If you want a SPOILER of what the creature is, read on: It’s an octopus. We hear the story of one particularly devious octopus who lost a limb, was captured by humans, and then managed to make an escape from its aquarium tank—back into the ocean! The tale of “Inky” the octopus calls into question who we think of as intelligent (and kissable) in the animal kingdom.

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org 

Find MORE original Terrestrials fun on Youtube.

Badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 


More from Terrestrials 

The Shovels: Dig Deeper

For each episode of Terrestrials, we provide a selection of activity sheets, drawing prompts, musical lessons, and more. We call them “shovels” because we hope they will help you (and your friends, family, students, neighbors, etc) dig more deeply into the world! You can do them at home, in the classroom, outside, or in the privacy of your own mind. We hope you enjoy!

If you want to share what you’ve made, ask an adult share it on social media using #TerrestrialsPodcast and make sure to tag @Radiolab

Draw -  Octopus brains are in their arms. What would happen if you got out of your head and let your limbs draw the world they saw? Listen to a very special drawing prompt created by artist Wendy Mac and the DrawTogether team to explore just that

Play 🎶 - Learn how to play the chords to the song “1800 Little Kisses!” Plus, the kindly Songbud has put together a video teaching you, yes you, how to play 1800 Little Kisses (and you get to see an insider glimpse of his office)!

Do - Get crafty with a fun activity sheet!  

This week’s storyteller is Sy Montgomery. Sy is an author, speaker, and naturalist who has published 31 books! She writes for adults and children, for print and broadcast, in America and overseas in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at what she considers a critical turning point in human history.

Want to keep learning? Check out these resources to learn about the brilliance that is the octopus:

Inky's Amazing Escape, a picture book by Sy Montgomery
“Deep Intellect,” a beautiful essay on octopus intelligence by Sy Montgomery
The Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery’s science book all about octopuses
”Why The Octopus Brain is so Extraordinary,” a video by Claudio L. Guerra
”If Your Hands Could Smell, You’d be an Octopus,” a video by TEDEd


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-check by Diane Kelley. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storyteller this week is Sy Montgomery. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, Tara Welty, and Alice Wong.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org. 

Sep 22, 2022
Terrestrials: A New Kids Show from Radiolab
1:50

Radiolab for Kids and WNYC Studios present Terrestrials, a six-episode miniseries hosted by Lulu Miller (co-host of Radiolab). Each episode introduces you to a creature or earthly phenomenon that will defy your expectations of how nature is supposed to work. Along the way, you'll encounter a chorus of experts, including scientists, surfers, hip hop artists and…a "Song Bud" named Alan Goffinski who creates original songs for every episode. New episodes drop Thursdays starting September 22, 2022. Listen with everyone you know. Or all alone.

Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org. 

And badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast 


Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick and Phoebe Wang with additional engineering by Andrew Dunn. Transcriptions by Caleb Codding.

Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz , John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, Tara Welty, and Alice Wong.

Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Have questions for us, badgers? Badger us away! Your parent/guardian should write to us along with you, so we know you have their permission, and for maybe even having your ideas mentioned on the show. Email terrestrials@wnyc.org 

 

Sep 15, 2022
Forests on Forests
21:42

Hey Radiolab for Kids listeners! We’re back after a long hiatus with one of our favorite episodes from earlier this year. And a surprise... 

We're cooking up something new and looking to get your feedback. Join our Radiolab for Kids listener panel by taking this 5 minute survey (https://airtable.com/shrjoLpn13qCHlXh0). We're listening and want to create more awesome stories for you and your families!

ABOUT THE EPISODE:

For much of history, tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. It was as if researchers said collectively, "It's just going to be empty up there, and we've got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!"

But then, around the mid-1980s, a few ecologists around the world got curious and started making their way up into the treetops using any means necessary (ropes, cranes, hot air dirigibles) to document all they could find. It didn't take long for them to realize not only was the forest canopy not empty, it was absolutely filled to the brim with life. You've heard of treehouses? How about tree gardens?! 

This week we journey up into the sky and discover Forests above the forest. We learn about the secret powers of these sky gardens from ecologist Korena Mafune, and we follow Nalini Nadkarni as she makes a ground-breaking discovery that changes how we understand what trees are capable of. 

A FEW VISUAL TRE(E)ATS:

We first learned about the magical world of the canopy from this beautiful video from Michael Werner, Joe Hanson, and the PBS Overview team. It features Korena Mafune’s research up in the treetops, as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to saving what’s left of the old growth forests. We highly recommend checking it out! 

And, if you’re hankering to go climb a tree after this episode, you might enjoy browsing Hallie Bateman’s wonderfully illustrated guide to the best climbing trees in NYC for a little inspiration.

OTHER WAYS TO CONNECT WITH THE SHOW: 

Radiolab’s newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and other fun ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support our show by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.

Jun 29, 2022
Octomom
31:29

In 2007, Bruce Robison’s robot submarine stumbled across an octopus settling in to brood her eggs. It seemed like a small moment. But as he went back to visit her, month after month, what began as a simple act of motherhood became a heroic feat that has never been equaled by any known species on Earth.

This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen. 

Special thanks to Kim Fulton-Bennett and Rob Sherlock at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Center. And thanks to the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra for the use of their piece, “Concerto for Bassoon & Chamber Orchestra: II. Beautiful.” 

We're cooking up something new and looking to get your feedback. Join our Radiolab for Kids listener panel by taking this 5 minute survey (https://airtable.com/shrjoLpn13qCHlXh0). We're listening and want to create more awesome stories for you and your families!

Radiolab’s newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and other fun ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support our show by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.

If you need more ocean in your life, check out the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams (especially the jellies!): www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

 Here’s a pic of Octomom sitting on her eggs, Nov. 1, 2007.  

 

May 15, 2020
Behaves So Strangely
18:43

We'll kick off the chase with Diana Deutsch, a professor specializing in the Psychology of Music, who could extract song out even the most monotonous of drones. (Think Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller. Bueller.)

For those of us who have trouble staying in tune when we sing, Deutsch has some exciting news. The problem might not be your ears, but your language. She tells us about tone languages, such as Mandarin and Vietnamese, which rely on pitch to convey the meaning of a word. Turns out speakers of tone languages are exponentially more inclined to have absolute (AKA 'perfect') pitch. And, nope, English isn't one of them. 

What is perfect pitch anyway? And who cares? Deutsch, along with Jad and Robert, will duke it out over the merits of perfect pitch. A sign of genius, a nuisance, or an evolutionary superpower? You decide. (We can't).

Do you want to hear Dr. Deutsch's musical illusions? Check them out here!

We're cooking up something new and looking to get your feedback. Join our Radiolab for Kids listener panel by taking this 5 minute survey (https://airtable.com/shrjoLpn13qCHlXh0). We're listening and want to create more awesome stories for you and your families!

Radiolab’s newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and other fun ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support our show by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.

Mar 27, 2020
Never Quite Now
20:02

We kick things off with one of the longest-running experiments in the world. As Joshua Foer explains, the Pitch Drop Experiment is so slow, you can watch it for hours (check out the live cam) and not detect the slightest movement. But that doesn't mean nothing's happening. Professor John Mainstone tells us about his desperate attempts to catch the flashes of action hiding inside this decades-long experiment.

Then, Carl Zimmer joins us for a little recalibration. It’s hard to imagine anything faster than a thought that just pops into your head. But that kind of thinking is actually wrong-headed. In reality, thoughts are achingly, even disturbingly slow. Seth Horowitz, author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, helps us discover our fastest possible thought, and fight our way back into the now.

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Mar 27, 2020
The Distance of the Moon
39:00

According to one theory, the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth. After the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact, it was much closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to it's fanciful limit in Italo Calvino's story "The Distance of the Moon" (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). The story, narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two.

This reading was part of a live event hosted by Radiolab and Selected Shorts, and it originally aired on WNYC’s and PRI’s SELECTED SHORTS, paired with a Ray Bradbury classic, “All Summer in a Day,” read by musical theater star Michael Cerveris. Hosted by BD Wong, you can listen to the full show here.

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Mar 27, 2020
Dark Side of the Earth
19:29

Back in 2012, when we were putting together our live show In the Dark, Jad and Robert called up Dave Wolf to ask him if he had any stories about darkness. And boy, did he. Dave told us two stories that became the finale of our show.

Back in late 1997, Dave Wolf was on his first spacewalk, to perform work on the Mir (the photo to the right was taken during that mission, courtesy of NASA.). Dave wasn't alone -- with him was veteran Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev. (That's a picture of Dave giving Anatoly a hug on board the Mir, also courtesy of NASA).

Out in blackness of space, the contrast between light and dark is almost unimaginably extreme -- every 45 minutes, you plunge between absolute darkness on the night-side of Earth, and blazing light as the sun screams into view. Dave and Anatoly were tethered to the spacecraft, traveling 5 miles per second. That's 16 times faster than we travel on Earth's surface as it rotates -- so as they orbited, they experienced 16 nights and 16 days for every Earth day.

Dave's description of his first spacewalk was all we could've asked for, and more. But what happened next ... well, it's just one of those stories that you always hope an astronaut will tell. Dave and Anatoly were ready to call it a job and head back into the Mir when something went wrong with the airlock. They couldn't get it to re-pressurize. In other words, they were locked out. After hours of trying to fix the airlock, they were running out of the resources that kept them alive in their space suits and facing a grisly death. So, they unhooked their tethers, and tried one last desperate move.

In the end, they made it through, and Dave went on to perform dozens more spacewalks in the years to come, but he never again experienced anything like those harrowing minutes trying to improvise his way back into the Mir.

After that terrifying tale, Dave told us about another moment he and Anatoly shared, floating high above Earth, staring out into the universe ... a moment so beautiful, and peaceful, we decided to use the audience recreate it, as best we could, for the final act of our live show.

 

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Pilobolus creates a shadow astronaut during Dave Wolf's story on stage (photo by Lars Topelmann):

The audience turns Portland's Keller auditorium into a view of outer space with thousands of LED lights (photo by Lars Topelmann):

Here's Dave Wolf in the dark darkness of space, performing a spacewalk in 2009 (courtesy of NASA):

To give you an idea of what it looks like during the brightness of day, here's another photo taken in 2009 -- more than a decade after the adventure described in our podcast -- this time of astronaut Tom Marshburn (Dave Wolf is with him, out of frame, photo courtesy of NASA):

This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler. 

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Mar 27, 2020
Poop Train
21:23

This all started back when we were working on our Guts show, and author Frederick Kaufman told us about getting sucked in to the mystery of what happens to poop in New York City. Robert and producer Pat Walters decided to take Fred's advice and pay a visit to the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant... which turned out to be just the beginning of a surprisingly far-ranging quest.

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Want some more sewer fun?

Read: As Robert and Pat report, some of that sewer sludge made it out into the ocean. Wonder what happened to it?

Play: Try out our Poop Quiz:

 

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Mar 27, 2020
The Septendecennial Sing-Along
17:13

While most of us hear a wall of white noise, squeaks, and squawks....David Rothenberg hears a symphony. He's trained his ear to listen for the music of animals, and he's always looking for chances to join in, with everything from lonely birds to giant whales to swarming cicadas.

In this podcast, David explains his urge to connect and sing along, and helps break down the mysterious life cycle and mating rituals of the periodical cicadas into something we can all relate to.

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David Rothenberg making music with the cicadas.Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music

A visual breakdown of the cicada mating calls:

Courtesy of John Cooley and David Marshall at UConn. For more on cicada mating calls, take a look at this paper from Cooley and Marshall.

A close-up of cicadas getting down:

Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music

Enjoy a free download of our favorite track from David's CD Bug Music -- here's the description from the liner notes:

Katydid Prehistory: Named in honor of Archaboilus musicus, the 165 million year old prehistoric katydid, whose fossil remains reveal an ability to sing distinct pitches.

 

Mar 27, 2020
For the Love of Numbers
19:38

In this short, writer Alex Bellos tells Robert how, from the very first time humans ever used numbers, we couldn’t help but give them human-like qualities. From favorite numbers to numbers that we’re suspicious of, from 501 jeans to Oxy 10, our feelings for these digits may all come down to some serious, subconscious inner-math….a deeply human arithmetic buried in our heart.

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Mar 27, 2020
For the Birds
14:31

When the conservationists showed up at Clarice Gibbs’ door and asked her to take down her bird feeders down for the sake of an endangered bird, she said no. Everybody just figured she was a crazy bird lady. But writer Jon Mooallem went to see her and discovered there was much more to this story. Mrs. Gibbs tells us her surprising side of the tale, and together with Joe Duff, we struggle with the realization that keeping things wild in today's world will be harder than we ever would’ve thought.

We're cooking up something new and looking to get your feedback. Join our Radiolab for Kids listener panel by taking this 5 minute survey (https://airtable.com/shrjoLpn13qCHlXh0). We're listening and want to create more awesome stories for you and your families!

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Mar 27, 2020
Goo And You
18:17

On a quiet, warm summer day, somewhere in the soil beneath your feet, tucked into a nearby plant, or at the edges of a pond, a tiny little cataclysm is happening: an insect is transforming, undergoing metamorphosis. The chrysalis is easily nature’s best known black box, but it turns out, it’s one of the least understood, and most complicated: when producer Molly Webster peers inside a pupa, she witnesses some of the most complex biology happening on earth...and catches sight of an ancient question of change.

Special thanks to Lynn Riddiford, over at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and to Father James Martin, S.J., editor at large for America magazine.

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Mar 26, 2020
Space
56:36

We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are.

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Mar 24, 2020
Zoos
56:55

What's with our need to get close to "wildness"? We examine where we stand in this paradox--starting with the Romans, and ending in the wilds of Belize, staring into the eyes of a wild jaguar.

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Mar 24, 2020
Mapping Tic Tac Toe-dom
14:27

When Ian Frazier was a kid, he (like most 6-year-olds) mastered the art of tic tac toe. Pretty soon, every match was a draw, and the game lost its magic.

Then one day, many years later, he met a 6-year-old named Igor who lived deep in Siberia. On a whim, Ian drew a tic tac toe board in his notebook and showed it to Igor...who had no idea what it was. Ian taught him how to play, then joyfully went about clobbering his new opponent.

Then, Ian started asking around...and it turned out none of the Russians he talked to had heard of tic tac toe. Could it be that huge swaths of the globe just didn't play? Jad and Robert wanted to find out just how widespread this seemingly universal game really is--so they rallied listeners from all over the world to help them do some legwork.

Ian Frazier's most recent book is Travels in Siberia.

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Mar 24, 2020
The Times They Are a-Changin'
20:16

With the help of paleontologist Neil Shubin, reporter Emily Graslie and the Field Museum's Paul Mayer we discover that our world is full of ancient coral calendars. Each one of these sea skeletons reveals that once upon a very-long-time-ago, years were shorter by over forty days. And astrophysicist Chis Impey helps us comprehend how the change is all to be blamed on a celestial slow dance with the moon. 

Plus, Robert indulges his curiosity about stopping time and counteracting the spinning of the spheres by taking astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on a (theoretical) trip to Venus with a rooster and sprinter Usain Bolt.

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Mar 24, 2020
A War We Need
11:00

Reporter Ari Daniel visits with Willie Wilson, who studies phytoplankton--aka microscopic plant-like creatures--at Bigelow Laboratory in Maine. There's a war in Willie's test tubes. A certain sort of phytoplankton known as coccolithophores are engaged in a surprisingly complicated arms race with deadly viruses. A virus is problematic enough when you're a human. Now imagine being a single-cell plant and mixing it up with the hugest virus you've ever seen. The coccos (as we've taken to calling them) are outgunned, but they won't go down with out a serious fight.

Ari and Willie explain how our itsy-bitsy heroes take arms against (literally) a sea of troubles--and how this battle, and others like it, make life on Earth possible.

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Mar 24, 2020
Super Cool
24:03

When we started reporting a fantastic, surreal story about one very cold night, more than 70 years ago, in northern Russia, we had no idea we'd end up thinking about cosmology. Or dropping toy horses in test tubes of water. Or talking about bacteria. Or arguing, for a year. Walter Murch (aka, the Godfather of The Godfather), joined by a team of scientists, leads us on what felt like the magical mystery tour of super cool science.

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Mar 24, 2020
Bite the Dust
16:08

Whatever your feelings on Disco, it's hard not to root for the resurgence of one particular track that started taking CPR classes by storm. Producer Ellen Horne explains how one aptly named 70s mega-hit could help you save someone's life.

Then, Jad and Robert pit physics against an ancient tale. In the bible, the sound of seven shofar players (shofars are basically trumpets made of rams' horns) blasts down the walls of Jericho. To find out how many shofars it would actually take to level a Bronze Age wall, we call on engineer and sound expert David Lubman. And we pay a visit to Cantor Daniel Pincus to hear him and his students blow some powerful shofars. Finally, we talk to inventor Woody Norris about a modern twist on this biblical challenge.

Many thanks to the 2010 Shofar All-Stars who played for us: David Liebowitz, Daniela Drakhler, Miriam Frank, Adam Hametz-Berner, Rachel Kelk, Ed Kerson, Anna Levy, Richard Scheiner, and Robert Wine.

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Mar 24, 2020
Parasites
36:08

Could parasites be the shadowy hands that pull the strings of life? We explore nature's moochers, with tales of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe). And we examine claims that some parasites may actually be good for you.

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Mar 24, 2020
Mischel’s Marshmallows
14:58

Psychologist Walter Mischel explains how one little test involving a marshmallow might tell you a frightening amount about what kind of person you are. And Radiolab favorite Jonah Lehrer helps us make sense of the results. This one's all about our will power (or lack thereof).

Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the kids who performed better on the marshmallow test had higher GPAs in high school and went to better colleges. Those elements were not a part of Mischel’s original study. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.

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Mar 24, 2020
Everything and Nothing
17:09

Math can get pretty loopy, at least when we try to explain it. But according to author Alex Bellos, the most straightforward mathematical concept might be the loopiest. Then producer Mark Philips introduces us to William Basinski, a composer who loops analog tape to create a unique sort of music. One day, Basinski dug up some of his old tapes, stuck them into his player, and heard a melody in the throes of death.

Life and death are a very long loop of their own, as producer Lynn Levy discovered in talking with oceanographer Craig Smith. His career began with a simple question: what happens to a whale when it dies and sinks to the sea floor? Turns out nobody was quite sure. Craig describes the curious interplay between death and life at the bottom of the ocean.

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Mar 24, 2020
Loop the Loop
16:01

For most of human history, flight was an impossible dream. In this short, the dizzying rise and fall of a pilot whose aeronautic feats changed aviation forever and turned chancy stunts into acrobatic mastery.

Lincoln Beachey is one of the most famous men you’ve never heard of. Born in 1887 in San Francisco, Beachy was lonely, chubby kid who, as authors Sam Kean and Frank Marrero tell us, nobody would have suspected of becoming a hero. But he was fearless. By the age of 10 he was hurling himself down San Francisco’s stomach-churning Fillmore Hill on a bicycle with no brakes. 

But what Beachy really wanted to do was fly airplanes. Then one day, while working as a mechanic at an airshow in Los Angeles, he got his big break: a star pilot got hurt, and Beachey leaped in to take his place. He shot upwards, 3,000 feet into the air…and his motor failed. He went into a nose-diving spin that no pilot had ever survived. And he did what no pilot had ever done: he turned into the spin, regained control, and landed safe and sound.

After that, Beachey became a superstar. At a time when the entire population of the US was 90 million people, 17 million came out to see him fly in just one year. He invented figure 8s and the vertical drop, and was the first pilot to achieve terminal velocity by flying straight toward the ground. In fact, what Beachey did was so extraordinary, and so dangerous, that a wave of pilots died trying to imitate him. After the death of a dear friend of his, Beachey finally vowed to retire. And he did. For three months. Until he finally buckled…and strapped himself back in a cockpit to master the trick of all tricks: the loop the loop. Lincoln perfected it—looping so effortlessly he seemed to own the sky. Until his final flight in 1915, where he stunned the crowds—a quarter of a million fans at the World’s Fair in San Francisco—one last time.

Related reads:

Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon

Frank Marrero's Lincoln Beachey: The Man Who Owned the Sky

Thanks to the talented jump-ropers at CS 200 in Harlem, and singers at LaGuardia School of the Arts!

 

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Mar 24, 2020
KILL EM' ALL
21:30

They buzz. They bite. And they have killed more people than cancer, war, or heart disease. Here’s the question: If you could wipe mosquitoes off the face of the planet, would you?

Ever since there have been humans, mosquitoes have been biting us, and we’ve been trying to kill them. And, for the most part, the mosquitoes have been winning. Today there are over 3000 species on pretty much every corner of Earth. Mosquito-borne diseases kill around 1 million people a year (most of them children) and make more than 500 million people sick. But thanks to Hadyn Perry and his team of scientists, that might be about to change. Producer Andy Mills talks with author Sonia Shah about the difficulties of sharing a planet with mosquitoes and with science writer David Quammen about the risks of getting rid of them. 

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Mar 24, 2020
Is Laughter Just A Human Thing?
21:16

Aristotle thought that laughter is what separates us from the beasts, and that a baby does not have a SOUL, until the moment it laughs for the first time. Historian Barry Sanders, author of Sudden Glory, says that according to Aristotle, this moment of "human ensouling" is supposed to happen when a baby is 40 days old. We follow radio producer Amanda Aronczyk as she tests this theory on her newborn baby. 


Then we go to Bowling Green State University in Ohio, to tickle rats with psychobiologist Dr. Jaak Panksepp. It's his notion that laughter is found all across the animal kindgom. Boom, Aristotle! Then Dr. Robert Provine, author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, shows us chimps who seem to be laughing. Boom Boom!


We also get the giggles with a bit of archival tape from comedians Elaine May and Mike Nichols. And Tyler Stillman, a psychologist at Florida State University, eloquently delineates the awesomeness of laughter.

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Mar 24, 2020
Holey Cow
4:23

Not long ago, writer Mary Roach got a real hands-on lesson on the gut: she got to stick her hand inside a real live cow stomach, and experience digestion from the inside. When we heard about her adventure, we had to try it ourselves—so producer Tim Howard headed to Rutgers University to see, feel...and smell...a fistulated cow firsthand.

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We're cooking up something new and looking to get your feedback. Join our Radiolab for Kids listener panel by taking this 5 minute survey (https://airtable.com/shrjoLpn13qCHlXh0). We're listening and want to create more awesome stories for you and your families!

Radiolab’s newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and other fun ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support our show by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

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Mar 24, 2020
Ghosts of Football Past
38:36

It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs.

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Mar 24, 2020
Colors
70:32

To what extent is color a physical thing in the physical world, and to what extent is it created in our minds? We start with Sir Isaac Newton, who was so eager to solve this very mystery, he stuck a knife in his eye to pinpoint the answer. Then, we meet a sea creature that sees a rainbow way beyond anything humans can experience, and we track down a woman who we're pretty sure can see thousands (maybe even millions) more colors than the rest of us. And we end with an age-old question, that, it turns out, never even occurred to most humans until very recently: why is the sky blue?

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Mar 24, 2020