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It Might Be Science

Monday, September 21, 2009 - 08:00 PM

They Might Be Giants just came out with a new album, 'Here Comes Science.' So we invited them to come play with us at our season launch party last week at the Water Taxi Beach in Queens. And then we ambushed them with annoying little questions about science and about the tricky business of turning science into entertainment ... because of that whole, you know, 'getting the facts right' thing.

On this podcast, we decided to share this magical evening with those of you who weren't able to join us live. Hope you enjoy the music, pesky science teachers, and miasmas of plasma.


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Comments [27]

Laura from Utah

Thanks Radiolab for this delight of an episode. Also, thanks to TMBG for promoting science.

I liked the discussion of the dynamic nature of science and our understanding. It isn't static. Thanks for elucidating that point.

Feb. 23 2011 01:40 PM
Bryan Moore

plasma is the fourth state of matter??? i always thought the fourth state of matter was Bose–Einstein condensate. but i do love radio lab and TMBG. NERDS RULE!

Apr. 19 2010 03:54 AM

I have been a fan of TMBG since the Flood album. This was a terrific radio show. Lucky for me, my daughter loves them now too because of their children's albums! Thanks for a great program.

Mar. 06 2010 12:16 AM

Great show! I've been a huge TMBG fan since 1990, and you guys seem like a perfect fit. My Brother the Ape is a terrific song. We need to teach the kids of America about evolution now more than ever. It's not just a way to ensure the mythology agenda doesn't take hold, but it also encourages respect for all life on Earth.

Oct. 08 2009 12:06 PM

Enjoyed this show but was surprised that no one took issue with the science teachers assertion that dehydrated algea (or was it moss?) has more in common with a stone than a human being. Compositionally, structurally, behaviorally, and genealogically we share much more commonality with any living being than that being does to a stone. And no matter how you tally we share a Tremendous amount of DNA with algae. Just saying.

Oct. 04 2009 03:22 PM

Great show!

I love TMBG, but I was a little surprised that when talking about "Why does the Sun shine?" they acted as if they had written the song from the encyclopedia.

For anyone who has gotten the song stuck in their head and looked up the lyrics, we know that the song came from an album of children's songs called "Space Songs" by Tom Glazer. The original is pretty funny.

Oct. 03 2009 08:54 AM

We need it's heat.
We need it's light.
We need it's energy!!!!

Oct. 01 2009 10:55 PM

Well, that's cool. Thanks for the timely answer! =)

Oct. 01 2009 08:15 PM

Ahhh!! I've had "The Sun" song stuck in my head for days and days now! And I don't even know all the lyrics!

The sun is hot,
The sun is not,
A place where we could live,
But here on Earth there'd be no life,
Without the light it gives.

Sep. 30 2009 10:08 PM

In the podcast stream, it will be a no-break transition into season 7. From here on, the podcast will feed an episode, followed by 2 shorts, then another episode. since our podcast goes out every 2 weeks, you'll get an an episode every 6 weeks.

Sep. 30 2009 11:50 AM

I want to pose a question to you Radiolab folk: After Season Six, assuming you continue, will you keep up with the regular release cycle of shows for Season Seven? In other words, will it be a no-break transition into Season Seven, or will it be an extended period of shorts?

Sep. 29 2009 11:03 PM

They were joking around! Geez.

Sep. 28 2009 09:13 PM
Sean Robinson

Regarding tone- I thought it was pretty obviously jokey. I mean, who's bigger in the world of popularizing science? It's not exactly the material of a playground fight.

Sep. 28 2009 05:18 PM

I also took issue with the hosts' tone during the presentation. I don't know if you thought you were being playful or judicious, but instead you simply came across as pedantic and petty.

The adjudication of fact does not require an ungracious attitude, which I thought you demonstrated to TMBG.

And komarebi-- Tom Lehrer's chemical element song is a classic!

Sep. 28 2009 04:49 PM

I agree with Andy. They DID come across a little jealous. This show could have been more. Can´t be put down to bad weather alone.. anyway, why did no one mention Tom Lehrer´s song about the chemical elements? Why does no one mention the great Tom Lehrer anymore full stop??
Tuning in from Germany,

Sep. 28 2009 12:54 AM

In todays show that you are doing about baboons, that person that was doing the study of them about why we as humans fight that dumped the garbage pile where he did, out of sheer stupidity, murdered a whole troup of baboons ( because of the bad meat ) and should be put in jail or given a real hefty fine. That is just not right. Why doesn't he find some other way to study those baboons ( such as putting a big pile of fresh food on the ground ) and see how they react to that big pile. Instead of having real bad meat in the garbage pile. What happened to that troup was just wrong. It could have been prevented without the bad meat being in that garbage pile. That person had better think of the consequences of what he is going to do before letting those animals at that garbage pile.

Sep. 26 2009 05:30 PM
Miss Claire

Sarah Martin, fire is not a plasma, but a chemical reaction, specifically oxidation that can take place in solids, liquids and gases. A plasma is a state of matter even more energetic than a gas in which electrons are stripped from the atom.

Sep. 24 2009 09:08 PM

Guys, my buddy from Illinois (now at LSU) wrote that freaking paper. And now TMBG is singing about it, and my head is about to explode. Dan's on facebook, look him up and send him a thanks for best paper title ever!!

Sep. 23 2009 09:15 PM

The guys from They Might Be Giants were awesome on your kick off show, but as a long time listener I must say that I was more than a little dissapointed with Jad and Robert. Instead of exploring the many ways that "Here Comes Science" helps to make science exciting and fun for kids, you two spent most of the show critizing the band and questioning the scientific validity of their songs. So what if an ape is more like our cousin than our brother! And, Robert, I don't beleive for a second that you couldn't understand what the guys were saying about plasma. I would have thought that you two would have loved a peer reviewed song. If I dind't know better, I would think that you were a little jealous that somebody else was mixing science and sound in new and innovative ways. Shame on you both. By the way, I still totally love your show and will continue to listen relgiously.

Sep. 23 2009 02:58 PM
RadioLab team

Alice -
Thank you for the comment!

Yes, there are two more hour-long shows on the way, and more podcasts shorts in between. Thanks for listening.

Sep. 23 2009 02:23 PM

I always love the podcast but this was a completely added bonus.

Tangentially related, is the new season just three episodes? Or are there two more that are yet to be released on the podcast?

Sep. 23 2009 01:04 PM
jeff stiefer

Thank you SO much for making this available for those of us who couldn't make it. Im on the west coast so it wasn't happening :) Radiolab and TMBG together makes me very happy. Much thanks!

Sep. 23 2009 06:21 AM
Jonathan Mann

Great show! RadioLab AND They Might Be Giants?! My nerdy heart is soaring. I was inspired. So I wrote a song today called "Quantum Decoupling Transition in a One-Dimensional Feshbach-Resonant Superfluid". The lyrics are from the abstract of the paper of the same title, which I found via Google. The song can be heard here:

Sep. 22 2009 09:45 PM

Classic. They give a great show too, facts or no.

Sep. 22 2009 06:53 PM
Sarah Martin

Okay dudes, two things.

1. The song claims that the Sun is plasma, therefore there's no fire. But I"m pretty sure that fire *is* a plasma.

2. Miasma is a foul odor...whether caused by a gas or not (can something be composed of airborne particles and not be a gas? Hm.) It was also the imaginary source of infectious diseases in Europe before the arrival of germ theory.

Sep. 22 2009 05:44 PM
Brandon Sheckil

What a fantastic podcast! This American Life just had a small interview with They Might Be Giants and it left me hungry for more. Thanks RadioLab!

Sep. 22 2009 12:25 PM

Oh! I love these guys :) Thanks for the new podcast! I'm very excited about this new season.

Sep. 21 2009 09:37 PM

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