Continuing the trend of new Blog posts, this one is dedicated to those lucky few who read this, other than Dave or myself. Upon a recent trip to Boston I met with Dave and our comp scientist friend Alex and we got into a discussion of time, space, and whether the universe was infinite. This conversation, which drew looks on the T (Although it is not unusual to hear people talk about particle physics on the Boston transit system, another reason to love the place…) ended with me asking both of my compatriots if they had ever heard of the NPR program Radiolab. This drew Radiolab, produced by WNYC is my second favorite Public Radio Program, narrowly edged out by This American Life. It centers on interesting questions which often combine both science and philosophy. My favorite episode involves the topic of Emergence, a field of study that holds that the collective intelligence of a species is more than that of the individuals. My favorite example of Emergence involves a country fair, a fat bull, and an erudite old white dude. At this fair there was a booth in which people paid a few cents to guess the weight of the fat bull standing on the elevated stage. The man, a supporter of the burgeoning field of eugenics, believed that the common folk at the fair couldn’t guess the correct weight, mostly because they were idiots, mostly because they were poorly bred. After the day was done he asked the man conducting the guessing game for all the stubs and began to count the guesses. As he suspected, very few of them were anywhere near the correct weight. Many were too high, many too low. However, the average of all the guesses was exactly correct. This is Emergence. The fact that although each person was wrong, everyone together knew the right answer (possibly through some sort of collective unconscious…) Whatever it is, it’s pretty cool.
Anyway, The purpose of this post is to get as many people as possible to listen to Radiolab, found at WNYC.org/shows/radiolab
~All the Best, and Merry Christmas,