Return Home

Brain Fodder Vol. 5

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 07:01 PM

face drawn in sand, lit up from behind, artists hand in picture Well beyond the playground, an artist sketches a woman's face in sand (timgrable/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

It appears the Radiolab staff is giving thanks for a lot of videos this week, spanning the spectrum from sand to origami to baseball to dying cartoons (accompanied by folk music, of course). In no particular order... here's what's on our minds.

Molly Webster

Molly's digging through the sand for new show ideas:

“This week, while scouring my memory bank for old ideas I found inspiring and could make new again, I was pretty happy to remember a video of a sand artist I saw a couple of years ago. Admittedly, when I first heard the phrase "sand artist," my mind could only imagine cheesy music and multicolored-pastel castles. But when the video started and I saw the striking artist Kseniya Simonova take the stage and then bring an entire room to tears — and to their feet -- with her story about World War II, I got it. The speed, the artistry, the detail, the vehemence... I'm still enveloped in the scenes every time I watch it."


Andy Mills

The book-beer pairing tradition continues at Andy's house:

"This week I’ve been reading Adam Levin’s book of short stories, "Hot Pink," and (in honor of the cabin-fever thrust my way by Hurricane Sandy) pairing it with Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale. Levin’s stories revolve around people on the fridges of insanity. Among them is a scientist trying to make the world a better place through a robot with an eating disorder, a young genius whose brilliant mind bounces back and forth between the size of her classmate’s ass and the inevitability of death, and an expecting father who will stop at nothing to discover the source of a mysterious gel-oozing-crack in his home. The book’s dark themes -- combined with the arrival of shorter days, longer nights, and first snowfalls -- make it a great bedfellow for a malty, seasonal favorite like Hibernation Ale. Happy reading and a drink to you all!"


Malissa O’Donnell

Join Malissa on a fun trip back to high school geometry (really!):

"My current obsession? The hexaflexagon (and it’s more complicated cousin: the hexahexaflexagon). It’s math meets origami meets… Richard Feynman? You gotta see it to believe it."




Pat Walters 

Pat has a music video to share this week about the incredibly inane ways that people can kick the bucket:

"It's sweet and irreverent and just freakin perfect."

Chris Berube

Ever heard of a knuckleball? Chris'll tell you all about it:

"This week, my favorite baseball player, RA Dickey, won the Cy Young Award, given annually to the best pitchers in baseball. Dickey’s an incredible guy – he’s reaching stardom at the absurdly advanced age of 38, and he released a memoir earlier this year about his struggles, including sporadic homelessness, when he was starting out in the game. But what’s most interesting about Dickey is how he exclusively throws something called 'the knuckleball,' the weirdest baseball pitch of all time. He’s the only player in the game right now who uses it."

"Most pitchers try to throw the ball at 85 to 95 miles an hour. They achieve this velocity by getting a lot of spin on the ball, which also allows them to control where the pitch is going. The knuckleball, by contrast, is an oddity: instead of gripping the baseball, which is how it’s normally done, pitchers throw the knuckleball off the tips of their fingers. This makes the pitch much slower – most ‘knucklers’  are 60 to 70 mph, but are actually harder to hit when done properly. While most pitches travel in a straight line or a deliberate curve, knuckleballs are totally unpredictable; they dip and dive all over the place, and the trajectory is nearly impossible to predict. Knuckleballs can go horribly wrong because they're so uncontrollable, but they can also make some very accomplished hitters look silly. There was a fun documentary about the pitch, featuring Dickey, released last fall. It's very much worth a look for the sports (and physics)-inclined."


Kelly Slivka

The Earth takes on a ghostly hue, as Kelly enjoys views of our planet from space:

The Badain Jaran Desert of Inner Mongolia, courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory.

"Seeing Earth from the air is one of the coolest things. Patterns that we would have never known are there can be seen from space, which means we're lucky enough to be the only creatures alive to appreciate them! Whether you're fascinated by the science, the beauty or both, NASA's Dune Gallery -- a collection of photos of desert dunes as seen from space -- is worth a gander."


More in:

Comments [2]

John from Indiana

Better than "Dumb Ways to Die"
Poem by comedian Paul Gilmartin: Undignified Ways to Die

Dec. 14 2012 07:11 AM
denny from brooklyn

this is great. sandart and baseball, great combo.

Nov. 20 2012 12:39 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Supported by