Debating “The System”

Five people standing behind podiums

I was one of “those” debate kids in high school whose weekends were spent at debate tournaments — and yes, I carried a ridiculous briefcase, spoke too fast, and owned a dress suit. In other words, I was livin’ the life.

So you can perhaps imagine my interest at a recent Radiolab episode that not only featured the story of a debate team, but of a debater who got his start in Kansas City, where I happen to live. This debate team performed a very unlikely act: in the final round of the national tournament, these underdogs reversed the customs of debate, and in so doing redefined what it means to engage not just in debate, but in persuasive discourse about their own and others’ identities. Continue reading “Debating “The System””

Brain and Body

A man in a hospital bedI heard a replay yesterday of a very interesting episode of Radiolab, all on brain/body issues.

While the story on jet fighter pilots blacking out under high G forces and being dissociated from themselves was fascinating, as was a story on a Dr. figuring out how to use a mirror to treat a patient’s perception of pain in a limb that had long ago been amputated, the story that stuck out for me was on Ian Waterman, a man who, due to a virus affecting his nervous system, lost all proprioception when he was 19. Continue reading “Brain and Body”

“They Made the Whole Thing Up”

highfiveDo you know Radiolab? I think it’s a tremendous show, offering sophisticated social analyses but doing so in a very engaging format. The other day they replayed an older story (from November 2011) on the history of the high five.

Give it a listen. It’s about a half hour but it’s worth it. (And they make reference to the above pic.)

Continue reading ““They Made the Whole Thing Up””