Season 3
Episode 313: 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

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Episode 312: 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

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Episode 311: 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

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Episode 310: 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

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Episode 309: Hidden Roots of Rock

 

In a very special show, the Storytelling Project interviews the founders of the legendary Composition Blues Band, the group that has taught us just how much of Rock 'n Roll has descended from the powerful and often traumatic experience of the writing process. We get the story behind their recovery of the true lyrics of classics by Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and many more, and to hear them perform some of their biggest hits. Tune in to hear the amazing stories behind the writing and rewriting of rock 'n roll and classics—how "Johnny Be Good" started as "Rhetor be Good" and how Dylan's anthemic chorus in "Rainy Day Women 12 & 35" was originally "Everybody Must Use Modes"—and learn about their new, international project, a re-examination of the Old Testament that reveals just how much its writers, and indeed the entire culture of the period, wrestled with the writing process.

 

Host: Jonah Willihnganz

Producer: Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Marvin Diogenes, Clyde Moneyhun

Music: Composition Blues Band

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Episode 308: Medium Food

We're all talking about our relationship to food lately, thanks to everyone from Michael Pollan to Oprah (even Michael Pollan on Oprah). Fast food, slow food, smart food, food miles, food pyramids, food security. Yes, we're joining the fray, but turning the tables a bit to look at how food and food movements are a medium for forms of change—personal, social and otherwise—especially in the big city, where we so often rely on others for our food. We take the show to San Francisco, visiting the foggy gardens of the Sunset and the sunny fruit stands of the Mission, and even the rooftops in the Tenderloin. We talk to a new breed of urban farmer and we meet an earth scientist, a chef, a Salvadorian emigrant, a city rat, a country mouse, and a whole class of third graders. In our last segment we return to Stanford to find out how students are changing their own relationship to the their environment through our new favorite medium, food.

 

Host: Natacha Ruck

Producers: Natacha Ruck, Charlie Mintz

Music: Bibio, Alessandro Ricciarelli, Gerd Baumann, Ken Grobe

Featuring: Page Chamberlain, Susannah Poland, Caitlin Brown, Maya Donelson, Rebecca Alonzi, Tree, Suzi Palladino

Links: Garden for the Environment, Graze the Roof, The Free Farm Stand, Stanford Gleaning Project, Glean Map

 

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Episode 307: Youth

Childhood is a funny thing, especially since that window we call adolescence keeps getting longer and longer. When do we stop being children, and when do we become adults? We bring you an hour of radio built from a creative writing Stanford class--stories of growing up, not growing up and the moments that stick with us the most.

 

Host: Hannah Krakauer

Producer: Hannah Krakauer

Featuring: Michelle Goldring, Lexie Spiranac, Sarah Grossman, Jeff Bauman, Chrystal Lee

Music: Nataly Dawn

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Episode 306: Valentines 3

Sometimes a simple question is all it takes to get someone telling a story. We begin this show by asking people to tell the story of their first kiss. Every story is the same. Every story is different. After that, changes of hearts and a deeper understanding of one's capacity to love. Then we have two glimpses into potential future realities, android love and a Valentinian Apocalypse. Have a great V Day.

 

Host: Rachel Hamburg

Producers: Aaron Thayer, Eme Akpabio, Claire Woodard, Charlie Mintz, Will Rogers, and Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Max McClure, Heidi Thorsen, and members of the Stanford community who told us their story in White Plaza.

Music: Daniel Steinbock, Max McClure, Fleet Street, and a spontaneous mishmash of singers who were out serenading people on the Saturday night before this story aired, in February 2009.

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Episode 305: Off the Pedestal

Off the Pedestal

What happens when we put people on pedestals? And what happens when we take them off? Host Killeen Hanson interviews her father about his estranged father. Andrew Altschul exposes the ordinariness of rock-stars in an excerpt from his novel Lady Lazarus. Lee Konstantinou interviews Arnold Rampersad about his biography of Ralph Ellison; his question is not "What kept Ellison from publishing anything after Invisible Man?" but rather, "How did this author climb onto that pedestal in the first place?"

 

Host: Killeen Hanson

Producers: Killeen Hanson, Noah Burbank, Lee Konstantinou

Featuring: Brent Hanson, Andrew Altschul, Arnold Rampersad

Music: Noah Burbank

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Episode 303: Trash

We throw all kinds of things away without really thinking about it. These five stories take a look at where our trash goes, the creative things that people do with it, and even question what it means to throw something away. First, a story about small-scale composting and the worms who do it. Next, a story about what to do with all your old scraps of fabric lying around. Third, how what's left in a city dump can provide inspiration for an art movement. Fourth, behind the scenes at an estate sale. And last, a short story about bringing a box of forgotten photographs back to life.

 

Host: Hannah Krakauer

Producers: Hannah Krakauer, Lydia Santos, Killeen Hanson, Laura Chao, Rebecca Pfiffner, Matt Larson, Kasiana Mclenaghan

Music: Noah Burbank, Japandi, Nimbleweed, Kissing Johnny

Links: FabMo, Recology

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Episode 302: Genetics

Genetics promised us the book of life laid open. But even after the sequencing of the human genome, there's still a lot we don't know. How do people make choices based on the imperfect knowledge that genetic science provides? Today we look at a few examples of that. We hear a story about sperm donation and the perils of choosing your child's father out of a book. We hear a story about using genetics to make a decision about surgery. We walk into an MRI to investigate the genetic basis of personality. And a short story about cannibalistic vultures. Prepare for a show that will leave you doubled up in a helix of joy.

 

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Matt Larson, Laura Chao, Angela Castellanos, Leah Bakst

Featuring: Max McClure

Music: Cults, Boomsnake, Mothlight

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Episode 301: Community

It's easy to look around and see signs of social fragmentation, so today's show takes a different approach and examines a few instances of people coming together: community. We explore an off-campus house that aimed to be an intentional community devoted to sustainability and find out where they failed and succeeded. We meet a community of Burning Man devotees who came together for a floating party on the Sacramento River Delta. Also we hear music made by a community of people who'd never met each other. Plus, the solution to the dirty dish dilemma.

 

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Rachel Hamburg, Matt Harnack

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock, Philip Narodick, Zuzanna Drozdz

Music: Noah Burbank

Links: Compostmodernist; inbflat

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