Podcast of the week: Radiolab

This week's podcast recommendation is not as old-school as the BBC from a couple weeks back. But it is a little bit old school in that Radiolab is a show that was created for the radio, ie. to be played over the air. But podcasting provides you the opportunity to listen to it whenever you like, with some extras thrown in. If you are a person who still likes to get their radio from the radio and you're in the WLRN listening area, btw, the show airs at noon on Saturdays.

Radiolab is the creation of two brilliant but very different minds. Robert Krulwich is a science reporter who was in on the beginnings at NPR. He visited for a day at my Transom Story Workshop last spring and played for us some hilarious tape of him and Susan Stamberg doing economic news as a vaudeville routine, along with a lot of other cool stuff from his career. Jad Abumrad is a composer-turned-radio producer who is so brilliant he received a MacArthur genius grant in 2011.

Krulwich and Abumrad, along with their team of producers, investigate stories usually about science although their portfolio has recently been expanding. The combination of their strengths -- Krulwich's in reporting, Abumrad's in sound design -- as well as their intellects leads them to some fascinating inquiries presented ways that are most definitely not old school. One episode from last spring that everyone in the Keys should listen to is called Kill 'Em All. It's about mosquitoes, including genetically modified mosquitoes like the ones that could be released in the Keys as soon as next spring. And it includes a visit to the Brazil lab of Oxitec, the company that would handle the Keys release. It also includes an interview with science writer David Quammen, who expresses some reservations about this idea. Quammen, by the way, is one of the best science writers working today. If you are curious about ebola and how it spreads, read his most recent book, Spillover. If you are curious about life on this planet, read his masterwork, The Song of the Dodo.

But before you do that, give Radiolab a listen, on the air or on your phone. The easiest way to get podcasts is through the podcast app on your smartphone. You can also subscribe on your computer, via iTunes or Soundcloud. If you don't want to do any of those things, you can listen to a podcast via its website, on your phone or computer.


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