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What’s the Difference Anyway?

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5. 4 Seconds Down: Soren Wheeler tells the story of Ken Baldwin, a man who is looking for death but finds a new view on life. 6. Am I Dead?: Neurological psychologist Paul Broks introduces us to a patient who thinks she's dead. 7. If I Only Had A Brain: If you don’t have one anymore, David Eagleman tells Jad and Robert he knows the next best thing. 8. Ineffable: A story on the afterlife by David Eagleman from his book SUM, read by actor Jeffrey Tambor.

Produced by:

Soren Wheeler

Comments [10]

Faith from Los Angeles, CA

RE: #6, the woman who thinks she's dead because she feels like she doesn't exist.

Scully, did it ever occur to you she might be telling the truth? Radiolab did a whole hour with Brian Green, who pointed out that theoretical physics suggests there's a better than average chance we're in living in a simultation. What if people like the woman described in this story are attuned to that reality in a way most people aren't? I'm not saying this IS the case, only that if you're going to have Brian Green on to talk about extreme possibilities, it seems like it's at least worth mentioning those possibilities in this story.

Mar. 13 2014 01:34 AM
The Skleeve from Portland, OR

Excellent episode, as always. I'm re-listening every single one for the 3rd or 4th time...make them faster, please :). Always wondered, what is the little tune that plays from @43:07 to 44:06? Thanks!

Dec. 18 2013 03:22 PM
Mari from Waldorf, MD

What song begins playing at about 43 minutes in?

Dec. 03 2013 08:56 AM
Cassandra from Thousand Oaks, CA

"Four Seconds Down" saved my life today. Thank you.

Feb. 24 2013 07:51 PM
RK from Belmont, CA

8. Ineffable was amazing -- atoms like actors, dispersing after the last curtain. Poetry.

Jul. 27 2012 03:00 AM

Wonderful podcast. Could you please tell me what the music is that starts playing at exactly 11:26 into the podcast, as King Lear is mentioned? It is absolutely spine-tingly beautiful.

In fact, all of the music used in the RadioLab podcasts has been well chosen for each segment and very moving... it really helps me remember things much better than if there were no music at all- perhaps you could start listing the music in the show notes along with all the other information?

Thanks! Keep up the FANTASTIC work!

Jul. 23 2010 03:53 PM
Gus from California

The syndrome mentioned is Cotard's Syndrome.

And does anyone know what the music is at the end of this segment?

Nov. 12 2009 04:21 PM

What's the name of the syndrome that's mentioned in 6. Am I Dead?

Oct. 28 2009 05:55 PM
j birch from Va

Article#7 (I think) seemed not to distinguish carefully between identical but separate processes. A copy of my brain functions placed in a non-biological system might have a similar, but separate identity. Like identical twins, I and my psycho-simulacrum would diverge as (if) he discovered his non-biological body and its implications, and I contemplated our differences and perhaps envied or enjoyed knowing of my vicarious immortality. PS: Who owns the host 'computer', or even the copied processes?
One of the other articles discussed the hearing & imagination evoked brain functions detectable by fMRI, as though it were a contradiction to the standard definition of brain death. They could have discussed many other ways to trigger brain behavior, thru the 6 or 7 other senses, and directly by brain electrode stimulation of key parts of the brain. In any case, the brain is only part of the CNS, so the 'location' of the self (nor its death) is hardly as clear cut as 'brain death'. Death and the continuity of life are still infinitely discussable parts of most living processes. If you consider life that reproduces by fission, and can figure out when the first bacterium dies, maybe you can figure out when the rest of us die.

Sep. 27 2009 09:09 PM
Sarah McClary from Dayton, Ohio

"I SIng The Body Electric"
The idea of downloading your psyche, soul, feelings, whatever to some sort of computer is fascinating (if we could ever produce a machine that would have that much memory and be smaller than Fort Knox :). My dystopian, worst-case-scenario worrywart wonders if I would still remain "myself". Sure, the machine would be following the same patterns I would when I was alive, and may be able to assimilate my likes/dislikes/feelings to come up with some opinions. But we see how prevalent viruses and trojan horses are on the internet. What if a vegetable extremist sent a viral file to all the "computer people" to override personal taste so that we would all crave brussel sprouts like many of us crave coffee? Would these machines be considered citizens? And with file sharing, who's to say our memories/feelings wouldn't be transferred from machine to machine until nothing is distinguishable as "me" or "you" but instead only little files that represents some little snippet of personality? This idea is so fascinating, but I'm sure it will make the skin crawl for anyone who fears machines may become smarter than humans (take that, Will Smith!) Where's Asimov when you need him?

Jul. 29 2009 12:02 PM

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