This week, we have three stories about the life-changing, transformative power of sound. First, we look at brain activity during moments of silence in music. Then, a student investigates the healing powers of traditional Cambodian chants. Finally, a class of Stanford students led by John-Carlos Perea find a new community while learning the art of the powwow drum.

Host: Hannah Krakauer
Producers: Angela Castellanos, Bonnie Swift, Hannah Krakauer 
Featured: Trent Walker, Vinod Menon, Daniel Levitin, Jonathan Berger, Chris Chafe, Gabe Turow, Pat Moffitt Cook, Sherwood Chen, John Carlos-Perea, Michaela Raikes, Ben Burdick, Luke Taylor, Jidenna Mobbison 
Music: Chloe Krakauer

Release Date: 26 May 2008



Story 1: Silence Speaks Volumes

We take a look at how our brains are able to process the huge number of sounds we hear every day. Turns out that if noises are interspersed with a few moments of silence, we may be much better off.

Producer: Angela Castellanos


Story 2: Healing Sounds


After a long, stressful day, listening to music can make us feel more relaxed. But there’s a traditional form of Cambodian chanting, called Smote, that claims to be able to do much more than relax us. A Stanford student recounts his experiences with the music, and how his skepticism about its healing power changed.
Producer: Trent Walker



Story 3: People Find the Drum Who Need the Drum

John-Carlos Perea came to Stanford for 10 weeks to teach Stanford students the art of Native American pow-wow music. They learned how the music has served as a bond within the Native American community, and created a new community of their own.

Producers: Bonnie Swift and Hannah Krakauer
Featuring: John-Carlos Perea, Michaela Raikes, Ben Burdick, Luke Taylor and Jidenna Mobbison

Science and the Supernatural

Where does the physical end and the metaphysical begin? This week’s show is about scientists who use traditional methods to investigate untraditional questions. We start in Special Collections of the Stanford Libraries, with a brief history of para-psychology and spiritualism at Stanford, and continue with the story of three contemporary researchers who study psychic phenomena. Today’s one-hour journey reveals some of the social aspects that come into play in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

Host: Bonnie Swift
Producer: Bonnie Swift
Featured: Margaret Kimball, Robert Jahn, Brenda Dunne, Helen Longino and Dean Radin
Music: Noah Burbank, Ambika, Jimi Hendrix, Thelonius Monk, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers

Release Date: 5 May 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: Seeds, Rocks, Ink Blocks

In the early 1900s Stanford had a special fellowship dedicated to ‘psychical’ research. Money was donated by Leland Stanford’s younger brother, Thomas Welton. Besides money, Welton also sent his collection of ceremonious objects, mysterious items purported to have appeared, or been altered during seances.

Featuring: Margaret Kimball

Story 2: They Proved It?

The Thomas Weltons of the world have largely disappeared. At least from the academy… But not entirely. At the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratories, or PEAR, decades of research, and thousands of experiments may have demonstrated evidence for the existence of psychic phenomena.

Featuring: Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne

Story 3: The Guards at the Gates

After PEAR decided it had found evidence of psychic phenomena, researchers needed to generate a theory for how the mind could influence the physical world. To do that they probed the nooks of physics, quantum mechanics and neuroscience. What happens when a body of evidence doesn’t fit within a dominant framework? How are theories made?

Featuring: Helen Longino and Robert Jahn

Story 4: Vibration Isolation

A visit with Dean Radin at his current headquarters at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California. Also, a discussion about the nature of scientific fraud, and what is consciousness?

Featuring: Helen Longino and Dean Radin

Story 5: At the Margins

As Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things under heaven and earth, then are dreamt of in your philosophies.” It’s a fitting quote for our last story, a consideration of what science can and can’t answer. Institutions like PEAR expand our notion of what is science and what questions science should be asking.

Featuring: Helen Longino, Robert Jahn and Dean Radin

Telling Other People’s Stories

What’s at stake when we try to tell another person’s story? We explore this question in two parts. First, a class at Stanford works to tell a real woman’s tragic life story in graphic novel form, discovering huge challenges collaborating as a group and getting the story right. Second, Emily Prince takes on the overwhelming and somber task of drawing a portrait of every American soldier who has died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Host: Micah Cratty
Producers: Dan Hirsch, Hannah Krakauer
Featured: Emily Prince, Tom Kealey, Adam Johnson, Eric Pape, The Stanford Graphic Novel Project
Music: Dengue Fever, Cambodian Cassette Tapes vol.1, Brother
URLs: Emily Prince, Shake Girl

Release Date: 12 May 2008

Story 1: Doing Justice for Shake Girl

A class at Stanford has 10 weeks to tell a real woman’s tragic life story in graphic novel form. They discover the huge challenges of collaborating as a group and getting the story right.

Producers: Dan Hirsch, Lee Konstantinou
Featuring: Tom Kealey, Adam Johnson, The Stanford Graphic Novel Class.
URL: Shake Girl

Story 2: A Portrait of War

Emily Prince is an artist who took on an enormous and somber task: drawing portraits of every American soldier who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Producer Hannah Krakauer visited Emily to learn why she decided to do this, and what she learned in the process.

Producer: Hannah Krakauer
Featuring: Emily Prince

Mind Control

We usually think of mind control as part of the realm of fantasy, with witches and alien species as its perpetrators. But actually, mind control is all around us, in almost every area of our lives, and the consequences of ignoring its power range from failed pick-up-lines to genocide. In this episode, you’ll hear stories of Stanford students who tried to out the calculated techniques of a famous pick-up artist at a campus party, poet Elizabeth Bradfield discuss how being a tour guide in Alaska involves mind control, and some of her and Emily Dickinson’s exquisite poetry. You’ll also hear about mind control taken to its most extreme, from controlling the minds of whole cultures through fairy tales, to controlling only your own mind through lucid dreaming.

Host: Rachel Hamburg Producers: Elizabeth Bradfield and Noah Burbank
Featuring: Joshua Landy, Lanier Anderson, Fred Burbank, James Fearon, James Sheehan, William Dement, Christopher Collette, Ellora Karmarkar, Amber Davis and Lea Yelverton

Release Date: 28 April 2009

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Story 1: The Game

A series of techniques compiled in a book called ‘The Game’ promises any man the ability to date any woman he chooses. The techniques have been developed by pick-up artists for dozens of years, and expounded by a man named Mystery. It’s mind control, in a sense. But how does it work at Stanford?

Producers: Rachel Hamburg

Story 2: Fairy Tales and Modern Politics

Would it surprise you to hear that Sleeping Beauty, a fire-breathing dragon and the president all have something in common? This story takes you from Wonderland to modern international politics, which might, in one sense, be the same place.

Producers: Noah Burbank, Ellora Karmarkar and Amber Davis
Featuring: Joshua Landy, Lanier Anderson, Fred Burbank, James Fearon, James Sheehan

Story 3: Nature is sometimes a bit like a fairy tale

Poet and nature guide Elizabeth Bradfield reads two poems about showing tourists around Alaska, and what that experience taught her about mind control.

Story 4: Control Your Mind While Dreaming

Dreams seem the most beyond our control of all experience. But they’re not. We have the power to influence our dreams through a technique called lucid dreaming. What would you do if you had that power?

Producers: Lea Yelverton
Featuring: William Dement, Christopher Collette

Times of Our Lives

Today’s show is about the different ways we experience time. In our first story, we explore the evolution of nostalgia and how it has become a way for us to cope with our rapidly changing lives. Then, we interview families about how one particular kind of time, ‘the time of grieving,’ has been changed radically by advances in medicine. Finally, we hear the story of how two people decided to make the time of their own personal lives synchronize with major historical events.

Host: Micah Cratty
Producer: Micah Cratty
Featured: Aaron Zarraga, Hanna Michelsen, Rachel Dowling, Daniel MacDougall, Tom Wiltzius, Nadja Blagojevic, Kirstin Ganz, Sam Tanzer, Amy Freedman, Chris Noxon, the Dowling family, the Vantrain family
Music: Chris Ayer, Brad Wolfe and Dave Chisolm

Release Date: 21 April 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: Ache for Home

This story explores the evolution of nostalgia and how it has become an essential time of our lives. What are the implications of our need to constantly walk down memory lane?

Producers: Aaron Zarraga and Hanna Michelsen

Story 2: Time of Grieving

The time before death has become extended, prolonged even for years. Can you finish grieving even before a person dies?

Producers: Rachel Dowling, Daniel MacDougall and Tom Wiltzius

Featuring: Rachel Dowling, Daniel MacDougall, and Tom Wiltzius

Story 3: Into the Blast

Some are drawn to making their lives part of history. This story is about people whose time was warped, frozen and looped by the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens.

Producers: Nadja Blagojevic, Kirstin Ganz and Sam Tanzer


Campaigns are about getting people to vote for your candidate, and today’s show is about the missteps that can happen along the way. First, we tell the story of the musical jingles that help put people in (and keep others out) of office. Second, we answer the question you’ve always wondered: why is there so much negativity in most campaigns? And last, one student goes door-to-door and the people who answer either don’t vote, or won’t vote, for her candidate.

Host: Micah Cratty
Producer: Micah Cratty
Featured: Gabe Winant, Kalani Leifer, Jonah Berger, Elissa Morales, Wesley Lim, Monica Uddin, Jeremy Newman, and Omair Saddat
Music: Brad Wolfe, Taylor Murchison, Rego Sen, and Kissing Johnny

Release Date: 10 March 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: We’re Not Jim Webb’s Guy

Two eager young citizens go canvassing for Virginia Senator Jim Webb. They meet a woman who puts all polling, demographics, strategy, any political tactics whatsoever to shame. It’s a lesson in democracy.

Producer: Micah Cratty
Featuring: Gabe Winant and Kalani Leifer

Featuring: Gabe Winant and Kalani Leifer

Story 2: Get on the Raft with Taft

Jingles have been used to sell products for as long as there have been commercials. But they’ve been used to sell candidates even longer. The history of campaigns songs from the 19th century to Billy Ray Cyrus.

Producers: Alissa Morales and Wesley Lim

Story 3: Flip Flopping

In every election cycle, people bemoan the mudslinging and negative campaigning. With all the backlash, why do candidates persist in doing it? This story brings us one answer, and the surprise that negative campaigning may even be good for us.

Producers: Monica Udine, Jeremy Newman, Omar Sadat

Story 4: Fellow Blue State Folks

Stanford student Melissa Leavitt tells a story about going door to door in Nevada canvassing for John Kerry. Along the way she learns about the dark side of trying to get people to vote, and a way to do it better.

Producer: Micah Cratty
Featuring: Melissa Leavitt

Remaking The World We Live In

Remakes are all around us. This week’s show is made up of stories of remaking sound– through instruments, living organisms, and other means. First, an experimental instrument designer brings joy to our ears with some of his wackier creations. Then we speak with some innovative inhabitants of Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, who have turned old junk into something truly exquisite. And, stay tuned, tomatoes sing…

Host: Daniel MacDougall
Producers: Charlie Mintz, Noah Burbank, Daniel MacDougall
Featured: Bart Hopkin, Sasha Leitman, Jen Carlile, Chris Chafe
Music: Johnny Hwin, Bart Hopkin

Release Date: 3 March 2008

Story 1: Is Anything Truly Original?

We ask a few friends how they’re remaking the world. Along the way we encounter a question about the nature of creativity, and some insights about Lindsay Lohan, I-beams, and hip hop.

Producer: Daniel MacDougall
Featuring: Jade Wang, Karen Warner, Hannah Krakauer, Shelly Ni

Story 2: Instrument Remade

Creative organologist Bart Hopkin remakes the sounds of the world. He is the founder of Experimental Musical Instruments, an organization that explores the acoustic potential of metals, woods, string, tubes, and anything else that makes a sound.

Producers: Charlie Mintz
Featuring: Bart Hopkin

Story 3: Bicycle Battle Station, Breathing Tomatoes and Snapping Shrimp

Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics is one of the foremost sites for exploration of the digital potential of music. We are taken on a tour of some of the center’s more unusual creations.

Producer: Noah Burbank
Featuring: Sasha Leitman, Jen Carlile

Story 4: Punishment Remade

Everyone, at some point, has to deal with angry parents. Usually you deal with it alone, or with your brothers and sisters. But when you happen to record your father’s tirade, then you can share the experience with your entire school.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Saint Valentine’s Day Special

A Valentine’s Day special. The unlikely story of Saint Valentine, but as it turns out, most good love stories seem just as improbable. Second, we stood in Stanford’s White Plaza and asked passersby about just who – or what – they love. You’ll hear their strange replies, followed by a story about the risky and rewarding world of online dating. But that’s not all: four splendid love poems are dispersed throughout this episode.

Host: Rachel Hamburg
Producers: Bonnie Swift, Elizabeth Bradfield, Tom Freeland, Christina Ho, Danielle Spoor, and Lily Kornbluth
Featured: people passing through White Plaza
Music: Side by Side (Maxine Tang, Michelle Goldring, Deri Kusuma, Madalyn Radlauer, Alison Herson, Jose Araneta, and Michael Hsueh), Talisman, Matt Anderson

Release Date: 11 February 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: Love in White Plaza

SSP producers brave the bicycles of White Plaza to record stories of love from passersby. Featuring music from Side by Side.

Producer: Bonnie Swift

Story 2: Endurance

Elizabeth Bradfield, Stegner Poet, reads an original poem describing one woman’s harrowing journey of love.

Story 3: Love at First Site

Stanford students explore the world of online dating and discover more than a few surprises about deception, chemistry, and fairytales.

Producers: Christina Ho, Danielle Spoor, and Lily Kornbluth

Story 4: Two Poems

Tom Freeland reads “I knew a woman” by Theodore Roethke and “Love One Another” by Khalil Gibran.

Story 5: Sonnet 138

To close the episode, Tom Freeland reads Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare.

story 1 image via flickr | story 2 image via flickr | story 3 image via flickr | story 4 image via flickr | story 5 image via flickr

Getting Schooled

Stories of the education system struggling, and sometimes failing, to adjust. First, a look at how some high schools are responding to the increasing presence of gangs, and how their policies are often backfiring. Second, we assess the progress of schools in fulfilling their educational mission while facing increasing numbers of minority students. And third, English lecturer Adam Johnson tells a true story involving a bloody murder, police detectives, and a fiction writing class.

Host: Micah Cratty
Producers: Bonnie Swift, Elizabeth Bradfield, Tom Freeland, Christina Ho, Danielle Spoor, and Lily Kornbluth
Featured: Micah Cratty, Molly Roberts, Britton Caillouette, Richard Norte, Adam Johnson, Lee Konstantinou
Music: Supergreen JellyBean, Zach Katagiri, Taylor Murchison, Kissing Johnny

Release Date: 4 February 2008


Story 1: From the Schools to the Street

A look at how some schools are responding to the increasing presence of gangs, and how school policies are often backfiring.

Producer: Molly Roberts


Story 2: A Closed Gate

We assess the progress of schools in fulfilling their educational mission while facing increasing numbers of minority students.

Producers: Britton Callouette and Richard Norte


Story 3: Killer Fiction

A true story involving a bloody murder and a fiction writing class.

Producer: Lee Konstantinou
Featuring: Adam Johnson


story 1 image via flickr | story 2 image via flickr | story 3 image via wikipedia