Saturday, October 25, 2008

Zimbardo cuts - Science & the City podcast review

After I reviewed a podcast with Philip Zimbardo, a reader of this blog pointed me to the science podcast of the New York Acadamy of Sciences: Science & the City. (feed) One of their latest issues contains the voice of Philip Zimbardo explaining about the Time Paradox.

Zimbardo claims his analysis is supported by years of research and collected data, but the podcast sums the thought up in a popularized way. The idea is that people have five different ways of experiencing time, two for the past, two for the present and one for the future. Zimbardo claims that every individual is dealing with time in either one of these fashions, or alternately (I didn't get this too clear) is inclined predominantly towards either one. The central point that is being made, is how this decisively influences how each and everyone of us, makes decisions about our lives and how we experience our lives. Two of the five styles have serious tendencies towards depression and other disorders.

Interesting as this may be, the podcast left quite a lot to be desired. The basis for the audio was a much longer dialog or lecture with Professor Zimbardo, but it was cut into fragments and assembled to something that was intended (I suppose) to give a good condensation. However, this was done in a substandard way. The cuts were of different audio quality (there are open source tools to deal with this; for example Levelator) and were glued together with superfluous overlap and maintaining the line of thought in a rather tentative way. No voice over or other technique was applied to bring about more unity and cognitive order. It leaves Zimbardo sounding like a charlatan. I'll be listening to more issues of this podcast, but they need to be better than this one in order to be a serious science podcast.

More Philip Zimbardo:
at TED,
at UChannel,
and at Shrink Rap Radio (see both previous reviews).

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What was has been - מה שהיה היה

If you want to get a feel of radio for the future, listen to Har Hatzofim. The Hebrew University allows tomorrow's talents to make radio today. And of course, modern radio is also podcast. The program that captured my heart was What was, has been - מה שהיה היה.

This program is a combination of history items with comedy items. And in spite of the fact that I am a history buff, I was mostly taken in by the comedy aspect. Take for example the last show (before summer recess), where even the history item (about a song from a 1930's movie about the Kibbutzim in the Yizreel Valley) had a tongue in cheek character. The song is a rather famous song of the Kibbutz movement and in the film sung by the members of Beit Alfa and other Kibbutzim from the valley, while they do their work. The podcast also plays their find: a rock version of the song.

Violently funny were the sketches and the radio play though. The radio play tells the tale of the Library of the Hebrew University trying to hire a gorilla librarian. They find the excellent candidate that doesn't smell, make noise and actually understand librarian work. Then it is discovered though, the candidate is actually a librarian in Gorilla disguise. One of the sketches features diseased politician and journalist Tommy Lapid (impersonation with some voice skill), complaining he is in hell (with all the 'Frenkim') and forced to listen to מה שהיה היה all the time.

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