Upcoming Projects – Podcast

I will be adding a podcast, photography project and a written project.


Radiolab presenters and logo
Radiolab presenters and logo

We listened in class to a RadioLab podcast about Falling. Our task was to analyse the number of stories and the sound effects and other contents of the narrative.

I made it 70 minutes long with eight stories / items.

1 min Two men are talking at first and introduce themselves and the topic. I found they had American voices and rushed their own names so I did not catch them. They sound casual – they know who they are. I later Googled the show’s hosts and got Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. By contrast the interviews were easy listening and clear.

Falling in love; skydiving. A tape of tandem jump with air rushing, then repeat the few seconds of canopy opening.

Music, light and jingly, with RadioLab intro and naming presenters.

1 David, a neuroscientist, is introduced; he tells a childhood story of falling off a roof. For him time seemed to slow down – sound effects made by presenter, plus music behind the speaker. He wonders if in a life or death situation, time really does slow down, and devised an experiment. Sound of a carnival and screams. Story of a SCAD or Suspended Catch Air Device and a young woman called April trying it, like a bungee jump with no cord, just a net.

5 mins. Mechanical noises – interview, anticipation, countdown. 8 mins. When April falls will she see a fast watch slowing down? The story keeps going back and forth – studio  April – interview – screams – music. Conclusion: our memory is normally full of holes but in life or death situations it all gets saved.

2 11 mins. Quote from Alice in Wonderland. A song – I don’t wanna fall in love by Chris Isaak. Just a few lines. This introduces a lady interviewing a lady, clearly different from studio male voices. A college story of falling in love, and to the interviewee it did feel like falling out of control. But the other student Simon turned out to be a man with prosopagnosia which means he can’t recognise faces. He is introduced at 14 mins. Discusses neuroscience aspect and what it means to see someone as a continual stranger.

17 mins music, mystical, mention of Buddhism. 18 mins relationship is over but they still live in same neighbourhood.

Lineup of Radiolab team
Lineup of Radiolab team

3 21 mins. Song. Cats! The two men in the studio discuss the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association; in Manhattan many cats fell from high places, 132 in 5 months. A crowd noise in background. A female vet asks why would cats fall? Suggested that owner comes home after long hot day and opens balcony door, cat runs out after bird and falls over edge. 21 out of 22 cats survived falling from 8 storeys or higher. 25 mins men give definition of defenestration. Past cruel treatment of cats, but clarified cats now are our friend and we treat them well. Vet explains cats that fall under 5 story or over 9 storeys are not much harmed. 5 – 9 storeys are more usually injured. Physics explained.

26 mins. A cat squawk noise falling noise, wind. Equilibrium found between gravity and wind resistance. Music as cat is relaxed.

27 min. Cat hit ground from 42 floors and walked away.

4 28 min Music. A Colombia professor of physics tells us about Newton’s law of gravity and how Einstein explains it further. Sound of an elevator plunge down – dramatic. Sound of falling. If a man stands on a weighing scales in the elevator the scales drops away from under his feet so he does not weigh. Pull the elevator up and it hits his feet and the resistance means he weighs. Translate gravity into motion. Sound effect, rubber mat stretches across space time and is deformed by a massive body.

5 32 mins  Falling fortunes. A male voice discusses Niagara Falls and a banjo plays in the background. In the 1850s wire walkers like Blondin walked on a thick wire across the Falls, performing stunts. Sound of sizzling as one man cooked an egg on the stove he carried.

Book cover: Queen of the Mist by Joan Murray
Book cover: Queen of the Mist by Joan Murray

35 mins. PT Barnum mentioned, a lady’s voice comes in telling us about Queen of The Mist, a book she has written about Annie Taylor. I didn’t catch her name so later found it was Joan Murray. In 1901 – suspense music – the impecunious Annie had a strong barrel made to go over the falls.

38 mins Narration of Annie’s point of view, male voice over telling us she must have been hysterically scared. Loud waterfall noise, splashing. Buoyant barrel floats and she survives. Wet, soggy, scared, but aged 63 so not an ideal image.

42 mins A man repeated the stunt 10 years later, toured the world with his fame, slipped and fell and died of gangrene.

43 min Music, cymbals, Free Falling by Van Halen.

Two female Radiolab presenters in studio
Two female Radiolab presenters in studio

6 Asian voice tells 6th story. Professor at Colorado discusses the science of sleeping and dreaming of falling. Calm music plays with a sharp jerk noise. 44 mins. A sleep lab studies how we slept in trees as primitive humans. Lucy, our ancestor, was bipedal. Sounds of lions roaring. Sleep was dangerous, so those primates which had a jerk reflex to wake them survived.

60 mins A woman sings about sleeping.

7 62 mins Fall as we walk. Elderly people fall down more often. Balance is affected with age. The head on top controls the limbs. Sounds of beeps.

64 mins A toddler is calibrating the body, nerves, movements. Multiple sclerosis, as with ageing, deteriorates the nerve sheaths.

Radiolab presenters in studio
Radiolab presenters in studio

8 67 mins Neil deGrasse Tyson, physicist, is interviewed. A black hole has great gravity so we imagine falling into one. A person would stretch as feet go in first. Tidal forces exceed inter-molecular forces that bind our flesh snap. The torso is alive for a little while. Then it becomes a stream of atoms. The fabric of space and time funnels down – squeezes as well.

69 mins music.

Radio Lab credits, interview and presenter credits. Background music. 70 mins.

My impression was that the show presented personal stories mixed with science well. I thought it came across clearly and included a variety of voices and sounds. This would be good for a person of reduced vision. The background was absolutely silent with sound effects played as required, so I felt the show had no setting atmosphere.


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