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philosophy

Pedro Ribiero Simoes / Creative Commons

It's nice to meet you! How do you like it here in Connecticut? 

Small talk is both the bane of our existence and essential in our existential quest to understand our place in the world.

Whether you like it or hate it may depend, in part, on whether you like speech that establishes and maintains relationships or speech that provides information. 

We talk to a humorist, writing teacher, meteorologist, and philosopher about small talk. And we want to hear about your small talk stories. 

Tony Fischer / Flickr

As the world waits for an end to Covid-19, billions of people find themselves betwixt and between two realities: The pre-pandemic reality we knew, and the post-pandemic reality that is yet to come. As author and Professor of Theology Shelly Rambo wrote in the wake of hurricane Katrina, "Life as it once was cannot be retrieved,... life ahead cannot be envisioned."

Illustrative amendment by Chion Wolf
John William Waterhouse (1902) / Wikipedia

May 20th was the long-awaited date in Connecticut when the first phase of reopening began after the Coronavirus caused life as we know it to be put on hold. Offices and malls were allowerd to open with precautions; restaurants, museums and zoos could open outdoor areas as well.

hole
Mike Burns / flickr creative commons

In November, 2016, we did a show about all the problems presented by, well, a-holes. And so it seems only logical to expand our scope a bit and do a show about all the problems presented by, well, a hole.

For instance: How many holes are there in a straw? Did you say one? Okay, cool. Then how many holes are there in a sock? (A relatively new sock, I mean.) You said one again, right? But how can both of those things be true at the same time?

Or, put another way: What happens to the hole in the donut as you eat the donut around it? This gets into mereology, the theory of parthood relations -- for our purposes, the parts and wholes of holes and the wholes the holes are parts of.

Your head hurts a little, right?

CEA

Before the pandemic, most of us craved of a little solitude away from the hustle of life. Now, we've been  been thrust into a form of solitude far from the idleness of the lazy summer afternoon we imagined. Our minds are restless with uncertainty and fear and without the usual distractions we turn toward when being alone with ourselves becomes too painful to confront. 

Pedro Ribiero Simoes / Creative Commons

It's nice to meet you! When did you move in? How do you like it here in Connecticut after leaving the beautiful weather in Hawaii?

Small talk is both the bane of our existence and essential in our existential quest to understand our place in the world.

Sparsh Ahuja / Creative Commons

The recent Senate trial for President Trump's impeachment riveted the nation, but little consensus could be reached about the facts of the case or the outcome. Additionally, many in Congress knew how they would vote before the trial began. 

Jonathan Grado / Flickr Creative Commons

Life after death, in one form or another,  has been examined by multiple disciplines for centuries: From theology, to physics, to philosophy, to medicine and more. But while the topic is taken seriously by some, it remains a focus of ridicule and skepticism by others.

Uptowner / Flickr Creative Commons

Donald Trump's election was the culmination of a venom-filled campaign that was nastier than almost any in recent memory. The mean-spirited comments tossed to voters eager to "lock her up" fell just shy of the malicious rhetoric coming from Thomas Jefferson's presidential campaign in 1796. Jefferson's hatchet-man called John Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

miss_millions / flickr creative commons

"Hate" is the imprecise word we use to describe a group of ideas that have moved out of the shadows of American public life and into its center ring.

At the core of these movements sits one common idea: that all people are not equal.

Sparsh Ahuja / Creative Commons

In January of 2018, a seemingly racist incident occurred on the National Mall. Photos and videos were posted to social media showing a group of MAGA hat-wearing high school students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. One of them, Nick Sandmann, seemed to be mocking and blocking the path of Native American activist, Nathan Phillips. People either jeered or cheered on social media, depending on how it was perceived, long before most of us had any idea of the context of the situation. 

Doc Searls / Flickr

An epoch of our own making is one way to describe it. And as the Anthropocene is set to be formally recognized as a chrono-stratigraphic unit in the next couple of years, scientists, philosophers, engineers and many more are exploring unconventional ways of adapting to this new era.

KA Sports Photos / flickr creative commons

If there's one thing we know about the public radio audience, it's that you love... sports. You crave sports coverage. You live for sportstalk radio. And so this hour, we talk sports... on the radio. And there's plenty to talk about:

NBC

Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf had been badgering us to do a show about The Good Place for months on end. (It had gotten kind of weird, to be honest. We were a little worried about Carmen, to be honest.)

Partly to get her off our back, partly because The Good Place really is "a sitcom that's also a profound work of philosophy," and partly because its Season Three season finale aired last Thursday night, last Friday afternoon we finally did a show about The Good Place.

...And then we got preempted by the president halfway through the forkin' show!

So this hour, we try again.

NBC

Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf has been badgering us to do a show about The Good Place for months on end at this point. (It's gotten kind of weird, to be honest. We're a little worried about Carmen, to be honest.)

Partly to get her off our back, partly because The Good Place really is "a sitcom that's also a profound work of philosophy," and partly because its Season Three season finale aired last night, this hour we're finally doing a show about The Good Place.

Uptowner / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's election was the culmination of a venom-filled campaign that was nastier than almost any in recent memory. The mean-spirited comments tossed to voters eager to "lock her up" fell just shy of the malicious rhetoric coming from Thomas Jefferson's presidential campaign in 1796. Jefferson's hatchet-man called John Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

Ryohei Noda / Creative Commons

Hannah Arendt's 576-page magnum opus, The Origins of Totalitarianism, is a densely-written book about the rise of anti-Semitism up to the outbreak of World War I. The book sold out on Amazon within one month of the 2016 election in which America elected Donald Trump as their next president. 

Gordon / flickr creative commons

Federal regulatory requirements mandate* that all public media outlets occasionally devote significant airtime to the health and welfare of bees.

zenilorac / flickr creative commons

Numbers are so fundamental to our understanding of the world around us that we maybe tend to think of them as an intrinsic part of the world around us. But they aren't. Humans invented numbers just as much as we invented all of language.

Frontiers Conferences / flickr

Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. These are just the beginning of what experts believe will be a future filled with verbally interactive, digital and robotic assistants. And as we become more accustomed to interacting with machines, the machines are becoming more life-like.

Nik / Creative Commons

I find great joy in walking in the dead of winter along the river trail near my house. Everything leaves my mind as I watch the Canadian geese take flight, their wings flapping together as they lift and swoop over my head. I'm in awe of their beauty.

yardenxanthe / flickr

Slime is not something we often think about. But there are plenty of reasons why that should probably change: From the theory that life on Earth may have have first emerged from a primordial ooze, to the current slime-making craze that's sweeping the internet.

Roman Vanur / flickr creative commons

Consciousness has been an elusive enigma for philosophers and scientists alike for about as long as there've been philosophers and scientists.

And, while it's long been thought that artificial intelligence would bring us the next big breakthroughs in our understanding of consciousness, A.I. authority David Gelernter has a different idea entirely.

He looks for answers to these fundamental questions in, instead... literature.

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

...Parkland?

Gordon / flickr creative commons

Federal regulatory requirements mandate* that all public media outlets occasionally devote significant air time to the health and welfare of bees.

Old Rollei / Creative Commons

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night, looked at the clock, and noticed that it's the same time you woke up the night before - and the night before that? How does your body know what time it is?  You're not sure but the passage of minutes makes you worry that if you don't get back to sleep, you'll be too tired in the morning to get your work done on time. You can't get back to sleep. The minutes are ticking. You feel the pressure of the clock bearing down on you. 

Uptowner / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's election last November was the culmination of a venom-filled campaign that was nastier than almost any in recent memory. Mean-spirited comments fell just shy of the malicious rhetoric coming from Thomas Jefferson's presidential campaign in 1796. Jefferson's hatchet-man called John Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Frontiers Conferences / flickr

Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. These are just the beginning of what experts believe will be a future filled with verbally interactive, digital and robotic assistants. And as we become more accustomed to interacting with machines, the machines are becoming more life-like.

zenilorac / flickr creative commons

Numbers are so fundamental to our understanding of the world around us that we maybe tend to think of them as an intrinsic part of the world around us. But they aren't. Humans invented numbers just as much as we invented all of language.

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