Scientific and Cultural Tidbits

The Motherlode!  NPR’s RadioLab and On Being/Speaking of Faith podcasts

... great sources of info and entertainment

NPR’s RadioLab program:      PODCASTS  at:   and also at  iTunes store under podcast subscriptions.

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility.”   Hosted by NPR Science Correspondent, Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad (Macarthur genius fellow).  Placebo   From the symbolic power of the doctor coat, to the very real stash of opium in your brain, this hour of Radiolab explores the healing powers of belief and imagination.  Who Am I?    The "mind" and "self" were formerly the domain of philosophers and priests. But in this hour of Radiolab, neurologists lead the charge. We  reflect on the illusion of selfhood, contemplate the evolution of consciousness, and meet a woman who one day woke up as a completely different person.   Where Am I?   Under high gravity forces, fighter pilots often lose consciousness while flying jet planes. Radiolab, examines the connection between your brain and your body...and what happens when it breaks.    Desperately Seeking Symmetry  Jad and Robert set out in search of order and balance in the world around us, and ask how symmetry shapes our very existence--from the origins of the universe, to what we see when we look in the mirror.   Help!   What do you do when your own worst enemy  Radiolab looks for ways to gain the upper hand over those forces inside us--from unhealthy urges, to creative insights--that seem to have a mind of their own.  Sleep    Sleep is one of science's greatest mysteries. This hour of Radiolab, we look for answers in iguanas who doze with one eye open, new parents in the throes of sleep deprivation, and rats who may be dreaming.  Wake Up and Dream   Steve Volk was reading through old sleep studies conducted by a scientist named Stephen LaBerge, and he was starting to wonder if lucid dreaming might not be so fringe-y after all.     Stress    Stress may save your life if you're being chased by a tiger. But if you're stuck in traffic, it may be more likely to make you sick. This hour of Radiolab, stories of stress--from a singer who loses her voice, to an author caught in a body that never grew up.   Sound As Touch  “We at Radiolab did our own study of infant-directed speech, recording more than a dozen different parents. The melodies of these recordings illustrate Fernald's findings that there are a set of common tunes living within the words that parents all over the world intone to their babies.”      Musical Language   “Radiolab: we explore the line between music and language, and turn to physics and biochemistry to ask how sound becomes feeling.”   A 4-Track Mind    A neurologist issues a dare to a ragtime piano player and a famous conductor. When the two men face off in an fMRI machine, the challenge is so unimaginably difficult that one man instantly gives up. But the other achieves a musical feat that ought to be impossible.       Voices in Your Head    Jad talks to Charles Fernyhough about the connection between thought and the voice in your head. How did it get there? And what's happening when people hear someone else's voice in their head?    Words    It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. A woman teaches a 27-year-old the first words of his life, and a neurologist suffers a stroke that wipes out the language center of her brain.      Vanishing Words     When scientists treat words like data, clues to the real-life mysteries of human aging are found in the writings of Agatha Christie and 678 nuns.      Do I Know You? A rare and haunting disorder called Capgras turns loved ones into imposters--and reveals that recognizing people, even the people we know the best, is more about how they make us feel than what we see in front of our eyes.   Strangers in the Mirror     Oliver Sacks, the famous neuroscientist and author, can't recognize faces. Neither can Chuck Close--the great artist known for his enormous paintings of ... that's right, faces.    Memory and Forgetting    Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour of Radiolab: implanting false memories in loved ones, and erasing painful memories by simply swallowing a pill. Plus: the story of a man with the worst case of amnesia ever documented.      Laughter     Radiolab teases out stories of laughter--from a baby’s crib, to a rat’s cage, to a remote village in Tanzania that was struck by a laughing epidemic 45 years ago.      Choice     When presented with a choice, logic and emotion pipe up. This hour of Radiolab, we turn up the volume on those voices in our heads, and try to get to the bottom of what really steers our decisions.    The Universe Knows My Name     In this new short, we explore luck and fate, both good and bad, with an author and a cartoon character.      Stochasticity      Stochasticity is a wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness. This hour of Radiolab: making sense of the patterns we see-- from lucky streaks to gambling odds, to two girls named Laura.      Talking to Machines    What can machines tell us about being human? This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert meet humans and robots who are trying to connect, and blur the line.    Secrets of Success    Robert and Malcolm Gladwell duke it out over questions of luck, talent, passion, and success.   Diagnosis     In this day and age, we have astonishing technology--chemicals and computers and machines that can pinpoint things imperceptible to our senses. But humans aren't obsolete--intuition and creativity still lead the way both in discovering the nature of the problem, and in dealing with that knowledge.


NPR’s On Being /Speaking of Faith programs:       PODCASTS  at:   and also at  iTunes store under podcast subscriptions.

Investigating Healthy Minds with Richard Davidson  (June 23, 2011)     Neuroscientist Davidson explores how the mind can be rewired by life-enriching behaviors.

Creativity and the Everyday Brain (March 22 2012)      Neuropsychologist Rex Jung discusses how we prime our brains to take the meandering mental paths necessary for creativity.

The Biology of the Spirit (January 18, 2007)            Sherwin Nuland on the spirit as an evolutionary accomplishment of the brain.

Einstein's God (December 5, 2005)   Freeman Dyson and Paul Davies explore Einstein's way of thinking about mystery, eternity, and the mind of God.

Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth (January 10, 2008)   Janna Levin on Godel, Turing, and the paradox of truth.

The Heart's Reason: Hinduism and Science (November 22, 2007)            VV Raman on Hinduism and science.

Quarks and Creation (April 20, 2006)    Physicist John Polkinghorne on modern physics and prayer.

Approaching Prayer (May 22, 2008)            Anoushka Shankar, Stephen Mitchell, and Roberta Bondi open up the subject of prayer.

Heart and Soul: The Integrative Medicine of Dr. Mehmet Oz (June 22, 2006)    Dr. Mehmet Oz on Western medicine, spirituality, and the human heart.

Heart and Soul: The Integrative Medicine of Dr. Mehmet Oz (August 30, 2007)   Dr.  Mehmet Oz looks to traditions and technologies to advance modern medicine.

Stress and the Balance Within (January 12, 2006)   Dr.  Ester Sternberg discusses new scientific insight into the molecular level of the mind-body connection.

The Spirituality of Addiction and Recovery (July 27, 2006) Basil Brave Heart on indigenous spiritual practices and recovery and Susan Cheever on Bill W.

The Spirituality of Addiction and Recovery (May 15, 2008)       Buddhist teacher Kevin Griffin on the consonance of the Twelve Steps and Zen instruction; and Susan Cheever tells her personal story and that of her father, the late fiction writer John Cheever.

Play, Spirit, and Character (August 23, 2007)   Stuart Brown on the importance of play.

Learning, Doing, Being - A New Science of Education (November 19, 2009)    Neuroscientist Adele Diamond tells us why things like play, sports, music, memorization and reflection are crucial parts of education.

The Body's Grace: Matthew Sanford's Story (October 11, 2007)    An unusual take on the mind-body connection with author and yoga teacher Matthew Sanford.

Yoga. Meditation in Action with Seane Corn (September 11, 2008)         Seane Corn takes us inside the practicalities and power of yoga.

The "Happiest" Man in the World - Meeting Matthieu Ricard (November 12, 2009)     We explore why Buddhist teacher and author Matthieu Ricard been called "the happiest man in the world," and how he understands spirituality as "contemplative science."

The Wisdom of Tenderness (December 20, 2007)   Jean Vanier on L'Arche, human touch, and kindness.

Listening Generously: The Medicine of Rachel Naomi Remen (December 27, 2007)    Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen on listening, healing, and loss helps us live.

The Inner Landscape of Beauty (November 25, 2010, January 29, 2012)   The Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue sits down with Krista for a conversation about God and beauty.

Restoring the Senses: Gardening and Orthodox Easter with Vigen Guroian (April 5, 2012)   Vigen Guroian experiences Easter as a call to our senses.  He’s a theologian who contemplates the grand ideas of incarnation, death, and eternity as they are revealed in life and in his garden.

Opening to Our Lives (January 27, 2011)   Jon Kabat-Zinn shares what he has learned about mindfulness as a way of life.

The Power of Eckhart Tolle's Now (August 14, 2008)    Eckhart Tolle on spirit and God, pain-bodies, presence, and living with fame.

Science and Hope (May 10, 2007)    Quaker George Ellis on ethics and cosmology.

The Science of Trust: Economics and Virtue (July 9, 2009)     Pioneering neuroeconomist Paul Zak discusses trust, fair play, empathy, and economics.

The Losses and the Laughter We Grow Into with Kevin Kling (March 15, 2012)  Kevin Kling is part funny guy, part poet and playwright, part wise man. Born with a disabled left arm, he lost the use of his right one after a motorcycle accident nearly killed him. He shares his special angle on life's humor and its ruptures — and why we turn loss into story.


Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Herbert Benson: The Relaxation Revolution

Herbert Benson: Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response

Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch  (September 20, 2010)

On the Media: How Music Conveys Emotion (February 17 2012)

J. Anderson Thomson Why We Believe in God(s): the Science of Faith

Is This Your Brain On God? (May 19 2009)

Placebos are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers are Desperate to Know Why, Steve Silberman (2009)


NIH   Complementary and Alternative Medicine Online Continuing Education Series 

Ten Years of Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Promising Ideas from Outside the Mainstream

Mind-Body Medicine

Acupuncture: An Evidence-Based Assessment

Manipulative and Body-Based Therapies: Chiropractic and Spinal Manipulation

Health and Spirituality

Neurobiological Correlates of Acupuncture

 The Science of the Placebo Effect, Luana Colloca MD PhD. 

 The Neural Basis of Mind-Body Pain Therapies, Catherine Bushnell PhD

 Psychological Stress and Sudden Cardiac Death, Dr.Rachel Lampert.