More than once Thomas and I have looked at each other and said, "We need a 15 minute detour" when we knew we wouldn't be getting out of the car before the NPR show we were listening to was concluded.
Ancient TreesYesterday we spent a lovely hour listening to an interview with the creator of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. As soon as they started talking about the organization, I remembered hearing a story about them a year ago. This made Sunday's interview a nice update. A really nice update, actually, because I think I even made a note to write about them a year ago, and never got around to doing it. Today is a good day to fix that.
Did you know 98% of old growth forests in the United States are gone?
98 percent. How is that even possible?
The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is looking to combat this disaster with a three-pronged approach. They will propagate, reforest, and archive the oldest and largest trees. It was fascinating to hear how they are finding life within Sequoias that were cut down in the 1800's, and what they are doing with it. This interview put The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet on my reading list.
FearlessnessMy new favorite show on NPR is Invisibilia with Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel. Last Sunday night was a look at fear and fearlessness. The first half of the show was an introduction to a woman who feels no fear. Because of a rare disease, her body is blocked from producing fear of any kind. The second half of the show dealt with the fear that most of us do feel - and ways we can control it.
I really connected with this second half of the show. There were interesting tidbits like studying the sweat of first-time skydivers to see that there was a fear pheromone in their sweat, a look at why people may find snakes so scary, and how rejection therapy is helping people to overcome fear. But the thing that really spoke to me was the discussion around "executive order" - how people are able to logically talk to themselves and stop fear in the moment. I recognized in the technique much of what it is like to deal with a flashback or panic attack.
Listen to the full show: Invisibilia: Fearlessness.
Giving Blind People SightThis was the topic of last night's Invisibilia. Lulu and Alix started with a look at expectations and how they effect the people around us. That alone was interesting. Not a new concept entirely, but an interesting look at it. But the next part of the show was where things really heated up - the interview with "Batman" Daniel Kish who is completely blind, but began navigating the world when he was a small boy by the clicking noises he makes with his tongue. He is well-known for being a blind man who rides a bike, but his story was much deeper than that "trick" moment.
Through clicking, Kish is actually able to form mental pictures of his surroundings. Through testing, scientists were able to see in Daniel Kish and other subjects that the region of the brain that is used for sight was being activated when they used this clicking method. It was interesting to note that one of the men interviewed was able to see until the age of 14, and he said that the kind of seeing he can do now through clicking and echolocation is much the same as seeing before, just a little more blurry and without color.
Kish's is mission is to teach other blind people how to do this, and how to live life with more freedom. It was interesting to hear how his mother raised him without limits that would normally be placed on a blind child (or, in some cases, maybe even a child with sight). He was climbing trees, riding bikes, walking to school across busy roads by himself, and other things at a young age.
This brought the conversation of expectations full circle. At the beginning of the program, the hosts asked people if they believed your expectations of people could affect them, and most of them said yes. They then asked if you could change your expectations of a blind person and help them to see, which got a unanimous no. After the science and personal stories were presented (much more in depth than the overview I gave, and bringing in other interesting people), they asked that second question again, and several people changed their answer.
Listen to the full show: Invisibilia: How To Become Batman.
What have you been listening to or reading lately that taught you something, or helped you look at the world around you in a new way?