Today, we generate data with every mouse click, phone call, and even every breath. This week on State of the Human, you’ll hear about how an 18th century historian, a poet, a computer scientist, a composer, and a mysterious future being are all trying to interpret that data to understand something about the human experience. We’re asking: what do we learn from seeing ourselves as data? And what is lost in translation?


Host: Kate Nelson

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Miles S, Charlie Mintz, Kate Nelson, Rosie La Puma

Featuring: Dr. Daniel Rosenberg, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jonathan Berger, Raven Jiang, Alec Glassford

Release Date: 18 June 2014

Music used during transitions: Aboombong (Drag Along Behind), Chuzausen, Koona (Starkey), Kai Engel

image via wikimedia



Story 1: Straws on the River of Time

Joseph Priestley was an 18th Renaissance man who helped discover oxygen. But he also invented something: the Chart of Biography. Here’s why he shouldn’t get too much credit for doing either of those things. It’s a story about one of the first times that people were turned into data.


Producers: Jess Peterson and Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Dr. Daniel Rosenberg

Music: Jared C Balogh, Ergo Phizmiz, Dexter Britain, and Circus Marcus



Story 2: Exposed

Kyle is on a mission to scrape every last piece of his data off the internet. He’s devoted to navigating cyberspace without leaving a trace – but privacy has a cost.


Producers: Niuniu Teo and Charlie Mintz

Featuring: “Kyle”

Music: Rod Hamilton (Bird); Pork Secret (Cool Crocs); Podington Bear (Operatives, Clouds Pass Softly); Marcel Pequel (Seven)

Image via wikimedia



Story 3: Search Terms Leading to a Bigger Life

Naomi Shihab Nye is a novelist, songwriter, and wandering poet. She tells a story about staring at people on planes, and how googling strangers can lead to a bigger life.


Producers: Justine Beed and Will Rogers

Featuring: Naomi Shihab Nye

Music and Sounds: Podington Bear (Deep Pools, Respiration), Airport Ambience

Image via wikimedia



Story 4: Breathing Data

Jonathan Berger, a composer, teams up with a radiologist who needs to figure out a way to help calm anxious patients. His solution – have patients listen to their own data.


Producer: Kate Nelson

Featuring: Dr. Jonathan Berger

Music and Sounds: Advent Chamber Orchestra, SJ Mellia, deef, Plurabelle, ZOE.LEELA, Gustav Landin, Coffee Shop, Deep Breath

Image via flickr



Story 5: A Single Lifetime

A new consciousness has just emerged – a product of all data and the interactions between it. That consciousness exists as a detached force, until falling in love teaches it to be human.


Producer: Alec Glassford and Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Alec Glassford, Raven Jiang

Music and Sounds: YACHT (Ring the Bell (Instrumental), The Afterlife), Podington Bear (Rythn), The Shivers (Kisses, Only Mine), Owl (Uppsala Streetbusker accordion 1.wav), Damsteegt (Thai Island Beach II), hanstimm (URSU01.ffB.m7.f2.ed.aiff)

Image via wikimedia





Sometimes you’re in your own country, your own home, and you know in your bones you don’t belong. That feeling pushes you to change something. This week we bring you four stories of people who don’t quite belong in the world where they live, and who take matters in their own hands to construct their own belonging. A very young girl finds a sense of belonging while running away from an angry mob. A student creates a bridge between the Jewish and Irish sides of her family. Seven gender-defying divas share what it means to belong to yourself. And a young man discovers how to prove you belong, when the numbers are against you.


Host: Leslie Nguyen-Okwu

Producers: Will Rogers and Natacha Ruck

Featuring: Justine Beed, Carla Lewis, Eileen Williams, Josh Hoyt, Winona Azure, Raya Light, Macy Rodman, Peaches Christ, Alexis Blair Penney, Heklina, Sissy Spastik, Mathu Andersen, and Cher Noble.

Release Date: 3 June 2014

Music used during transitions: Welcome Wizard, Monk Turner, Johnny Ripper, Zachary Cale, Mighty Moon, & Ethan Schmid, Blue Ducks

image via flickr



Story 1: Owning It

Carla Lewis grew up in the baptist south, feeling very much like an outsider. As a child, Carla knew she didn’t believe in God, but she still believed in something bigger than herself and the world she grew up in. This is the story of the day she shared her beliefs with her classmates, and how violently they reacted. Carla reflects on this event in her life with wisdom and grace and she shows how to achieve a sense of belonging from within.


Producer: Justine Beed

Featuring: Carla Lewis

Music and sounds: Kids Laughing, Books Hitting Floor, Pages Flipping, Church Bells, Transition Piano, Backflip Woosh, Synth Music, Retimbrage, Noah’s Stark  by krackatoa (build-up Soundtrack), Water Splash 1, Water Splash 2, Organ, Kids YellingAmbient drone, Chimes, Breeze, Sounds of Me by Malt. Tabulated Sounds, (Rough) sketch for Autumn by Freiband (running soundtrack), Bought an old twelve string anno 2009 by BeatMeister (main soundtrack), Fire burning, Wild horses running, Kids yelling, Mob yelling, Throwing books

Image courtesy of Carla Lewis


Story 2: In on the Joke

In this story, we’ll travel from broom closets to carousels and witness a public arrest and the destruction of an expensive Lexus. Associate Producer Eileen Williams explores how these shenanigans come to pass–and how they helped her to belong.


Producer/Featuring: Eileen Williams

Links: Ligandal

Music: Podington Bear, Jaze Baqti, Sláinte, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Kevin MacLeod, Zoe Leela, Markus Strübbe

Image via flickr



Story 3: Beyond the Rainbow

What is the trajectory from misfit to show-stopper, fringe to the spotlight, boy to beautiful woman or creature? Is drag the sparkling manifestation of an less-pretty past, the alchemy of the alienated? Brittany Newell has sought to record the oral history of 7 dazzling American queens and gender-artists working today. This is a tale of the other, the queer, the blunt, and the brave. Their stories investigate how to belong against the grain and beyond the rainbow.


Narrator: Raya Light

Producer: Brittany Newell

Featuring: Macy Rodman, Peaches Christ, Alexis Blair Penney, Heklina, Sissy Spastik, Mathu Andersen, & Cher Noble.

Special thanks: to all the beautiful people and amazing artists who made this possible! The Braden Grant for the Study of Oral Narrative, the Stanford Storytelling Project, Ziva Schatz, and Eric Eich

Image via Ziva Schatz (of drag queen Alaska Thunderf*ck)



Story 4: Blood Quantum

How do you prove you belong when the numbers are against you? Producer for State of the Human Joshua Hoyt Investigates what makes him a true Native American, beyond blood culture, family and language. He discovers that belonging sometimes means to long, and to be.

Producer: Joshua Hoyt

Featuring: Winona Azure

Music: Bensound (Better Days, Funky Suspense), Podington Bear,Vavrek, The Architect, and Jahzza

Beyond Human

Humans aren’t the fastest or strongest animal, but we do make the best tools. From plows to pacemakers, we’ve always used technology to transcend our human limits. This week, we ask how far that project can go. We’ll tell you how the first farmers in history transcended the limits of meat and muscle, only to create a very different kind of boundary. And we’ll present the story of two scientists excited to leave their human skin behind. Also, the story of a man who cannot walk, but who can fly; why PCs can be our friends; and finally, robot phenomenology.


Host: Mischa Shoni

Producers: Charlie Mintz and Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Ian Morris, Byron Reeves, BJ Fogg, Edward Maibach, Shyam Sundar, Laurie Mason, Henry Evans, Jackson Roach

Release Date: 20 May 2014

Music used during transitions: Fabrizio Paterlini (Veloma); Gillicuddy (Porthlaze Glove); Podington Bear (Delphi); Latché Swing (Hungaria)

image via flickr



Intro story: Feeding Back Into Us

After the last ice age, we humans moved from hunting and gathering to farming. With the plow, farming became a whole lot easier — but there was a dark side too.



Producer: Charlie Mintz, Bojan Srbinovski

Featuring: Ian Morris 

Music:  Broke For Free (Night Owl, The Gold Lining, Only Knows); Wilted Woman (Turing); Podington Bear (Dole It Out); Black Hoods (Talking Cure)

image via web



Story 1: Robots Are My Freedom

As an adult, Henry Evans suffered a medical trauma that left him paralyzed and unable to speak. Then the second half of his life began. 


Producers: Eileen Williams, Miles S.

Featuring: Henry Evans

Links: Robots For Humanity

Music: Broke For Free (My Always MoodOne And, Budding), Audionautix (Atlantis)

Image via web



Story 2: With 18 Arms and Compound Eyes

A scientist visits a relative in the hospital and finds the best available cures lacking. He and a partner go to work at the next frontier of medicine. They wind up bumping into the question of what makes us human.


Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Xander Honkala, Andre Watson

Links: Ligandal

Music: Podington BearChristian BjoerklundRolemusic

Image via wikimedia



Story 3: Sympathy for the Dell

This story is a tribute to the late Stanford professor Clifford Nass. Friends and colleagues described him as one of the most human humans you could ever meet. He discovered ways that computers can be human too, and one consequence of that research is coming to a hospital near you.


Producers: Charlie Mintz, Josh Hoyt

Featuring: Clifford Nass, Byron Reeves, BJ Fogg, Laurie Mason, Edward Maibach, Shyam Sundar, Chris Corio

Link: Engineered Care

Music: Podington Bear (Lake Victoria, Formless)Broke For Free (Note Drop, Like Swimming, Luminous, Blown Out, One And); memotone (This Is The Room, Fractal, Sleeping With the Insects); 2ndMOUSE (Arc Reactor); Audionautix (Namaste);

Image via wikimedia



Story 4: The Simulation Deck

A radio play about the strawberry-sized gap between humans and machines.


Producer: Jackson Roach

Featuring: Andrew Brassel, Matthew Libby

Links: Robot voice created by Cepstral Voices


When we joke with our friends, our coworkers and our family, it’s not just about hearing them laugh. More often than not we’re looking for something beyond laughter. We’re after acceptance, bonding, release, shaming… and sometimes even more. This week on State of the Human we’re investigating how people use joking to create new realities for themselves and the people around them.


We have six stories, exploring the way jokes, pranks, and even puns can change our lives. We’ll hear stories from stand up comedian Tig Notaro and humor theorist Marvin Diogenes, and we’ll travel from Stanford’s cafeterias to the presidential suite on Air Force One. We’ll hear stories about how jokes can help us and synchronize our minds, stare cancer in the face and make us question our humanity along with everything we take for granted. And also, we’ll laugh a lot.

Producers: Natacha Ruck and Nina Foushee

Featuring: Rosie La Puma, Jackson Roach, Nina Foushee, Miles S., Justine Beed, Charlie Mintz, Ken Grobe, Lora Kelley, Marvin Diogenes, David Demarest, Sam Roach, Jay Roach, the La Puma family, Claire Slattery, Nathaniel Nelson, Reggie Watts, and Tig Notaro.

Release Date: 8 April 2014


Music used during transitions: BLEO, Candlegravity, LASERS, Will Bangs

image via flickr



Intro story: The Joking Revolution

Marvin Diogenes explores how some comedians use jokes to change the world. 


Featuring: Marvin Diogenes

Music: Podington bear (Pretty Build, Fantasy and Movin On Up)

Image via Neebo



Story 1: Joking Material 

Justine Beed interviews comedian Tig Notaro about how turning hardships into joking material changed her life.


music: Origamibiro

Image via flickr



Story 2: The Android Among Us

A bizarre running joke makes Sam Roach worry that he might not be a human. Jackson Roach, his older brother, investigates.


Producer: Jackson Roach

Featuring: Sam Roach and Jay Roach

Music: Deef, Slowmotions, Chris Zabriskie

Image via flickr



Story 3: A Strange Kind of Love

Nina Foushee knows why she fell in love with comedian Reggie Watts: He saved her from her world. But falling for an absurdist is like finger painting on a jellyfish: confusing, messy, and a little painful.


Producer: Nina Foushee

Featuring: Reggie Watts

Music: Slowmotions, Chris Zabriskie, Nicolas Chientaroli Trio, Michal Hambourg

Image via flickr



Story 4: All Puns Intended

Join Rosie La Puma as she scours historical humor to try and find a “good” pun. Along the way, she discovers that these joking underdogs may have a hidden ability.


Producer: Rosie La Puma

Featuring: Julia, Cece, Debbie, Chris, Phil and Cyndy La Puma

and Sheila, Karen, Addison, Tynan, Gerardo, Bianca, Jackson and Connor

Music: Kevin McLeod (Batty McFaddin, Monkeys Spinning Monkeys, Pamgaea)

Simon Mathewson (Convergence Point)

Image via Rosie La Puma



Story 5: For all the Wrong Reasons 

Miles S., a producer for State of the Human sits with the former White House Communications Director for the 40th President of the United States. Together they discuss how presidents use jokes (and speech writers) to make you like them.


Producer: Miles S.

Featuring: David Demarest, Vice President of Public Affairs for Stanford University and Professor of Political Communications in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Former White House Communications Director for the 40th President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.


Music: Modern Antiques, Thiaz Itch (Ghost n’ Goblins, Hailfire Peaks, Super Mario 2), Kevin MacLeod

Image via Wikipedia



Story 6: The Best Medicine 

We all know that sometimes practical jokes hurt. In our next story, we learn how they can also heal. Or can they?


Producer: Charlie Mintz and Ken Grobe

Featuring: Stanford Alumni Claire Slattery and Nathaniel Nelson

Music: Silence is Sexy, Person, Lulo



Crises can take many shapes, from earthquakes, to chest pain… to a strange absence of strawberry blonde creatures in the forests of the Dominican Republic. In this show, four very different crises appear at four very different scales, affecting a person, a species, a city, and a human body. In each story, there is no emergency procedure, no obvious way out, and one person must make a choice: what are they going to save, and what are they going to sacrifice?

Host: Rosie la Puma

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Will Rogers

Featuring: Meg Smaker, César Abril, Nicolás Corona, Simon Winchester, Julian Lozos

Release Date: 20 November 2013

Image via Wikimedia

Music used during transitions: Chuzausen, Gustav Landin


Intro story: Pixelated Apocalypse

Jackson Roach shows us an old arcade game called Missile Command, where in order to last as long as possible in a nuclear onslaught, sacrifices must be made.

Featuring: Jackson Roach

Music: deef, Christian Bjoerklund

Inspiration: This movie from Extra Credits on youtube

Image via flickr



Story 1: Put Some Gloves On, Let’s See What You’ve Got

Meg Smaker found herself in a crisis when she returned to the United States after six years in the Middle East. And when things got really bad, she decided to put on a pair of gloves and practice her overhand right.

Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Meg Smaker

Music: Bosch Purvis, Podingon Bear, Broke for Free

Image via flickr



Story 2: Strawberry Blonde Forever

Some 76 million years ago, an asteroid wiped out three-quarters of the Earth’s plants and animals. The solenodon, a quirky, venomous mammal, lived through the impact.  But now, human activity on its small island is placing it in danger of extinction. To help it survive, an unlikely hero will have to put down his gun and pick up his guitar.

Producer: Laura Cussen

Featuring: César Abril, Nicolás Corona

Music: Chuzausen, Sunsearcher, Marco Raaphorst, Urbano A. Zafra, Lo Ka Ping, Nicolás Corona

Image via flickr



Story 3: Fighting Fire with Fire

San Francisco almost burned to the ground in 1906 after the big earthquake. Out of the chaos emerged General Frederick Funston, who decided to literally fight fire with fire. But did his risky plan save the city? This piece was originally produced by Generation Anthropocene producers Leslie Chang, Miles Traer, and Mike Osborne as part of the 24 hour Radio Race from KCRW’s independent producer project.

Producer: Leslie Chang

Featuring: Simon Winchester, Julian Lozos

Image via wikimedia



Story 4: The Cold Tub

Your body is pre-programmed to react to all sorts of extreme environments. Sometimes this means making sacrifices to protect what’s most important. Corey, a teaching assistant for a human physiology course, takes us through his experiences, showing how a crisis of the body has taught him to deal with a crisis of the mind.

Producer: Kate Nelson, Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Corey

Music: Alright Lover, Deef, Gillicuddy, Augustus Bro & Gallery Six

Image courtesy of Kate Nelson



Bonus Story: Catch 311

On March 11th, 2011 Justine Beed was sitting in an English classroom outside of Tokyo, when the 9.0 Earthquake hit near Fukushima. This sound poem tries to capture part of that experience, the ensuing media storm, and the resilience of the Japanese people in the wake of being shaken to their core.

Music: Dexter Britain

Effects: Cello Loop, Time Transition, Earthquake Tremor, Siren, TV On Switch, Newsreel 1, Japanese Reaction to Earthquake, Breaking sound, Time Transition, Newsreel 2, TV Off and Blip Out, Hammer 1, Slow Beat

Image via flickr



We can’t live without stories, so today on State of the Human, we’re investigating what stories do to us and for us. When are we in control of our story? When does our story control us?  We explore these questions with four stories. First, a woman is asked to come up with a story that will create life. Then, Buffalo Bill creates another kind of story: the American cowboy. Next, a cancer patient finds a new story. After this, children go beyond telling stories, and become them. Finally, two children look into strangers’ houses and see stories.

Hosts/Producers: Christy Hartman, Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Nina Foushee, Richard White, Jess Peterson, Terri Wingham, Beth Wise, Jackson Roach, Tom Kealey

Release Date: 20 November 2013


Image via flickr



Intro Story: A Tale of Two Stories

State of the Human Producer Nina Foushee was asked to tell a story to change someone’s life. What she did offers a lesson on the uses of storytelling.

Producers: Christy Hartman, Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Nina Foushee

Music: Los AmparitoPodington BearThiaz ItchJared BaloghPlurabelleRy-Man

Image via flickr



Story 1: Consider Eating Dust: A Cowboy Tale

You know the story of the cowboy, right? — the All-American Badass, the guy who does what he wants. Or do you? Stanford student Jess Peterson investigated. And the cowboy he found is very different.

Producer: Jess Peterson

Featuring: Richard White

Music: Alex Cebe, Mason Bayne, Blue Suede Through

Image via flickr



Story 2: A Fresh Chapter

Sometimes we fall into stories we don’t like. When that happens, sometimes the only thing that can pull us out is another story.


Producers: Christy Hartman


Featuring: Terri Wingham

Music: Igor KluchnikovArgasikThe FishermanDan Warren

Image via flickr



Story 3: Fight, Flight, and Storytelling

State of the Human Producer Jackson Roach visited Stanford’s Bing Nursery School to discover what we can learn from the stories children tell.


Producers: Jackson Roach, Natacha Ruck, Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Beth Wise, Jackson Roach, children from Bing Nursery School

Music: Thiaz Itch, Kevin Macleod, BOPD, Revolution Void

Image via flickr



Story 4: Nobody

Tom Kealey tells us a story about what happens to two teenagers when they choose to see the stories all around them.

Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Author: Tom Kealey

Image via flickr




Recovery can be pretty straightforward – you take medicine, you sleep, you wait. But sometimes getting back on your feet requires a radical act. The stories in this show are about those acts: people who have to do something surprising in order to recover.

This week on State of the Human, people are changing radically in order to recover. They are learning about interior decoration for home recovery, how to get by in the emergency room, how to let go of a loved one, and how to trade broken legs for a set of hooves.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Xandra Clark

Host: Sophia Paliza

Featuring: Zubair Ahmed, Ryoko Hamaguchi, Lucas Loredo, Carlos Loredo, Nina Foushee, and Greg Wrenn

Release Date: 2 October 2013

Image via flickr


Intro Story: The Happiness Project

Zubair Ahmed was sad, and he wanted to be happy. He heard that to be happy, you should love where you sleep. So he took that idea to the extreme.

Featuring: Zubair Ahmed

Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Image courtesy of Rachel Hamburg



Story 1: I Thought I Would Be an Angel of Compassion

Ryoko Hamaguchi is a premedical student at Stanford who spent much of last year volunteering in the emergency room. She thought she would find it easy to feel compassionate for her patients, but then she discovered something that plagues many medical professionals and first response teams: being a witness to suffering is hard. This is called “compassion fatigue”, and this story is about how Ryoko learned to deal with it.

Featuring: Ryoko Hamaguchi

Producer: Xandra Clark

Music: Steffen Basho-Junghans, Podington Bear, Nic Bommarito, Matt Baldwin, Gillicuddy, Augustus Bro and Gallery Six, The OO-Ray, Candlegravity, Alright lover

Image courtesy of Rachel Hamburg 


Story 2: River Road

Stanford student Lucas Loredo talks to his father for the first time about the long process of recovery after Lucas’s mother passed away.

Featuring: Lucas Loredo, Carlos Loredo




Story 3: The Surfaces of Things

How do you help someone recover when they can’t remember who you are, or what you’re doing to help them? Nina Foushee brings us this story, from the Mental Health Ward of the Menlo Park Veteran’s Hospital.

Written by: Nina Foushee

Producer: Sophia Paliza

Music: Waylon Thornton, Stella Wahlstrom, Dexter Britain, Johnny Ripper

Image via flickr



Story 4: Centaur

This poem, by Stanford Jones lecturer Greg Wrenn, features a character who takes the idea of “radical recovery” to the extreme. He’s tried all sorts of ways to become a new man, and he’s got one last idea left: stop being a man; stop being a human; become something else entirely.

Written by: Greg Wrenn

Producer: Rachel Hamburg



Story 5: Concession

Zubair Ahmed discusses the difficult transition when he and his family moved from the capital of Bangladesh to a small town in Texas. His recovery from that transition was kind of an accident. It involved a gift that he didn’t quite know he had, until he was getting requests from publishing houses.

Written by: Zubair Ahmed

Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Music: Podington Bear and John Voigt


Seeing in the Dark

This week on State of the Human, we’re hearing stories about people whose vision changed, first throwing them in the dark, then revealing something new. When the lights go out, at first we can’t see anything, but eventually our eyes adjust. We slowly begin to see again, but the world looks a little bit different than it did before. This week, we’ve got four stories about people who learn to see in a new way after finding themselves in different kinds of darkness. A young kid has a superpower to see things no one else can see, but then he loses that ability. A mythologist embarks on a retreat in darkness on a mountain in Wales. An art student learns to see the human body in a new way. And an Oxford University student finds himself, unexpectedly, in darkness.

Producers: Xandra Clark and Sophia Paliza

Host: Xandra Clark

Featuring: Martin Lowenthal, Martin Shaw, Lauren YoungSmith, Ala Ebtekar, Tom Skelton, Dougie Walker

Release Date: 19 June 2013

Original music: John Hollywood

Additional music used during host narration: Johnny Ripper, Robin Grey, Gillicuddy

Additional production assistance: Rachel Hamburg, Darlene Franklin, Lemiece Zarka, Natacha Ruck, Christy Hartman, Charlie Mintz, Victoria Hurst, Josh Hoyt, Nina Foushee, and Jonah Willihnganz.

Warning: This episode contains strong language, and may not be suitable for all audiences

Image via wikimedia



Story 1: The Third Eye

A skeptic has forgotten to see the world he saw as a child, but his mystic mother encourages him to remember.

Featuring: Guru Matt

Editors: Lemiece Zarka and Sophia Paliza

Warning: This story contains strong language, and may not be suitable for all audiences

Image courtesy of Xandra Clark



Story 2: Vivid Darkness

Two different Martins choose to temporarily forgo light and embrace the darkness. Each follows his own path into the dark and finds something there.

Featuring: Martin Lowenthal, Martin Shaw

Producer: Sophia Paliza

Original music: John Hollywood

Additional music: Johnny Ripper, Balmorhea, Lee Rosevere, Zachary Cale & Mighty Moon & Ethan Schmid

Image via wikimedia



Story 3: Seeing Inside Out

A few years ago, surrealist artist Lauren YoungSmith hit a plateau in her drawing skills. To overcome it, she had to learn to see human bodies differently – from the inside out.

Featuring: Lauren YoungSmith, Ala Ebtekar

Producers: Darlene Franklin and Rachel Hamburg

Original music: John Hollywood

Additional music: Broken Gadget

Image courtesy of Lauren YoungSmith



Story 4: Blind-Sighted

When an Oxford University student starts losing his sight, he walks onto the stage.

Featuring: Tom Skelton, Dougie Walker

Producer: Xandra Clark

Original music: John Hollywood

Additional music: Ergo Phizmiz & Margita Zalite, Nic Bommarito, Chuck Johnson

Image courtesy of Urška Mali



This week on State of the Human, we’re looking at obsessions, the helpful and the debilitating. We’ve got four stories of people battling unwanted thoughts. A philosopher who is disgusted at the sight of food, battles his fears with the help of an obsession. A new father is obsessed with the thought that he’s not feeling enough. An essayist finds that unwanted thoughts manifest in surprising ways. And Stanford athletes remind us that obsession helps you win at sports.

Host/Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Professor Elias Aboujaoude, Maria Hummel, Jon Kleiman, Nick DiBella, Kristian Ipsen, and Helena Scutt

Release Date: 12 June 2013

Image via flickr



Intro Story: That Fear Led Her to Sell Two Houses

We all have obsessive thoughts, but if you have them for more than an hour a day, and you engage in compulsions to relieve them, you might have OCD. The Director of Stanford’s Obsessive Disorder Clinic helps us understand what the disorder is, and what it tells us about our minds.

Featuring: Professor Elias Aboujaoude; his truth-based account of treating OCD patients is called Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist’s Tales of Ritual and Obsession.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Music: Anitek, Kevin MacLeod

Image via flickr



Story 1: Why Nick Ate a Blueberry

Lots of kids don’t like broccoli. Nick couldn’t stand the sight of it. For almost two decades he ate nothing but cheeseburgers, pizza, pancakes, pasta and cinnamon toast crunch. Then he started worrying his diet was going to kill him.

Featuring: Nick DiBella

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Music: Grapes, Rocavaco, Tigoolio , Anitek, Christos Koulaxizis, KeroDean , EGA

Image via flickr



Story 2: Planet X

Catastrophe is a classic obsession. But obsess over explosions, and you risk missing the silences.

Featuring: Maria Hummel

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Charlie Mintz

Music: Skill Borrower, Mika

Image via flickr



Story 3: Less Than a Feeling

Ever worry that other people are feeling more than you? Jon did. Then life delivered a moment where it was practically mandatory to feel a lot. And he tried to.

Featuring: Jon Kleiman

Music: Mark Mothersbaugh

Image via flickr



Story 4: Think your way to the top

Pretty much anyone who has ever done anything amazing in the world was at least a little bit obsessed, so in this final story we focus on the kind of obsession required in order to succeed in sports.

Featuring: Helena Scutt and Kristian Ipsen

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Zainab Taymuree

Image via wikimedia