Ashley’s post on the Radiolab episode encouraged me to share with you the following podcasts that I’ve heard over the past few months and think you could find not only interesting and relevant but downright fun. (I’m sure there’s plenty more out there–let us know what you’ve found.)
Radiolab: a short podcast on “Mutant Rights” (12/22/11)
Studio 360: an episode on “Are Computers Creative?” (12/16/11)
Studio 360: an episode on “Making Better People” (11/4/11)
It has seemed to me recently, while dealing with an infuriating infection that has temporarily limited my hearing, that nature and humankind differ greatly on their visions of the world. This of course can be portrayed simply, for instance in the human desire for electricity and a shelter made of bricks and cement, in contrast to other animals’ outside habitats. At a very basic level, people crave to escape the cruel downsides that nature possesses, such as the freezing night, and encompassing everything up to disease and death. To this end, we have developed clothes, heaters and medicine, to name but a few. In our fight against negative outside influences, we have conquered many foes, such as smallpox, and medical advances in the next century should add to our list of achievements. This is all positive; in fact, humankind’s technoscientific progress only becomes troubling when we attempt to alter that which is integral to ourselves, rather than simply an outside agent.
Ever since class on Tuesday, I have been thinking about Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and our discussion of how the students are raised at Hailsham. Specifically, we focused on the way students were taught creative trades and how they were encouraged to be artistic and to take pride in their work. At Hailsham, Kathy tells us, it was a big deal to have work chosen for the Gallery, even when they did not actually know the true intent of that gallery. It was not the revelation that art is an indicator of possessing a soul in this novel that stunned me, rather, it was the awareness that everyone seemed to agree on such a point in what I presume would be a rather scientifically-based community. Continue reading