2011
Barking up the Wrong Tree

Have you ever kept pursuing an idea even when everyone else told you it was wrong? So have most of us. There's no doubt about it, as a species, we've got a lot of conviction. But conviction can also lead to years spent howling on a cliff covered in rattlesnakes in the middle of a swamp, searching for Bigfoot. It can lead you to ride a motorcycle into the dangerous, illegal gold mining camps of Peru. It can make you stay in a relationship that doesn't make you happy. And finally, it can make you vote for one of the most absurd, offensive, and hilarious mascots to almost ever exist: the Stanford Robberbarons. On this week's episode, stories about barking up the wrong tree.

Host: Xandra Clark

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Jane Reynolds, Xandra Clark

Featuring: Mike Greene, Katy Ashe, Christina Ho, Yaa Gyasi, Jerry Lee, Glen Davis, Lee Rosenbaum, Vlae Kershner, Bob Ottilie, Chris Gray

Release Date: 9 November 2011

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Trial and Error

Firsthand, empirical knowledge is a way of knowing we modern humans have gotten away from. The atomic number of carbon, the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro, how ant colonies work--these are things most of us never figure out ourselves. And fortunately, we don't have to. Yet, on that tricky matter of how to be a human, how to live well, what to do with ourselves, we are left all alone. There's no blueprint, no roadmap. We have to figure it out ourselves. Today on our show, three stories of people doing just that--making mistakes to learn how to live. First, a graduate student comes to a professor with a problem involving men. How does she solve it? Trial and error. Next, a story about a drastic case of trial and error, trepanation, the drilling of a hole in the skull. Last, the story of one man who spent fifteen years trying to believe something he just didn't know if he could believe. Who succeeds? Who fails? And was it worth it?

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Xandra Clark, Will Rogers

Featuring: Professor John Krumboltz, Pankaj Tandon, Galen Menzel

Release Date: 23 May 2011

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Space Craft

Unless you're a hermit living under a rock, you almost certainly spend your days passing in and out of spaces crafted for human use. You leave a bedroom designed for sleeping and go to a bathroom designed for washing and... you know. You enter an office designed for working or a store designed for buying. It's easy to forget just how much the space we're in shapes us. So this week's show is a cold-water, slap on the face, static-electric jolt reminder of just how powerfully spaces can affect the way we think and act. We have stories about paranoia in an outhouse, ghosts in an abandoned building, conformity at the mall, creativity in the classroom, memories in an apartment, and the space that separates us from everyone else, until it doesn't.

Host: Rachel Hamburg

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Alexis Petty, Larry Leifer, Kai Carlson-Wee, Chelsey Little, Aaron Thayer

URLs: d.school; Carville Annex

image via flickr

Release Date: 26 October 2011

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The Human Voice

The human voice was once considered sacred. Priests and shamans would speak into ceremonial vessels made to preserve its magic. But now every Tom, Dick and Sally vibrates air like they're scratching their elbow. In this show, we try to make the voice weird again. We hear how one voice transforms its owner when he starts speaking a new language. We also hear about a parakeet who speaks like a deceased grandmother, a young man who makes a sound that baffles his neighbors, and the future of synthesized speech. Plus a story about lipreading that's guaranteed to make you pay a lot more attention, from here on out, to mouths.

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producer: Charlie Mintz, Will Rogers, Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Claire Woodard, Rob Ryan, Rachel Kolb, Bronwyn Reed, Clifford Nass

Release Date: 19 October 2011

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