17-41 Segment 1: Mythology and Fairy Tales, Good and Evil

 

We grow up hearing nursery rhymes and fairy tales that deal with good and evil. All of us fondly remember the cartoons of our youth and the stories we grew up with. We talk to Soman Chainani about authoring a new entry into the catalogue of mythology and his attempt to course-correct the lessons more modern stories have been teaching our children.

Guest:

  • Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil

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17-39 Segment 1: The Pursuit of Happiness

 

 

Social media has become a source of constant comparison between ourselves and our peers, which can lead to us feeling like we’re not doing as well or enjoying life as much as others. It often seems that everyone on social media is happier and more fulfilled than you.

Neil Pasricha, author of Two Minute Mornings: A Journey to Win Your Day Every Day, says people want to be happy, more than anything. We also know what to do to become happy, because the research has been done. The biggest roadblock to our happiness is anxiety, we live in a high-pressure world, which seems to zap the happiness from us. Sharon Weil, author of ChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change, says that we are always changing. While writing her book she found that timing is everything. When change is too slow, too fast, or comes out of nowhere, it can be upsetting, causing shock and grief, which leave little room for joy.

It’s important to take time for yourself during changes, according to Weil. This is because we experience fear during a change, which causes our body go into anxiety mode. If we stop and take time to just even focus on our breathing we can reverse the fear and prevent an anxiety attack. The fear is what actually takes the happiness from us, and if we can learn how to reverse it, then the happier we can be.

Fears can also keep us from making changes that will make us happier. A lot of people fail at resolutions and goals because the motivation is not big enough to overcome their fear of change. Most successful changes happen when we are motivated by someone or something we love. Fear holds us back, but love seems to send us forward towards a happier life.

Guests:

  • Neil Pasricha, author of Two Minute Mornings: A Journey to Win Your Day Every Day
  • Sharon Weil, author of ChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change

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17-39 Segment 2: Teaching Girls to Code: The mission to close the gender gap in tech

 

While women make up more than half of the workforce, they only account for twenty-six percent of the tech industry. Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, says this is because of what our culture teaches us. She uses the example of a common image for a computer scientist: a man in a basement who probably hasn’t showered. Unsurprisingly, when asked, girls say they don’t want to be him, or even be friends with him.

According to Saujani, there are around 500,000 open jobs in the computer and tech industry. In the United States last year we graduated 40,000 people qualified for these jobs. She says that economically everyone can benefit from being in the tech industry, but without women helping to solve the problems, you lose half of the population’s ideas. All the studies indicate that a more diverse team works better.

Hiring women also can help tech companies. Eighty percent of the shopping is done by women, so women on the team can give great marketing and sales insights. Studies show that a more diverse team makes more money.

Girls Who Code was started as a way to empower girls to learn about computer science. They have taught over 40,000 girls to code in under five years. All the programs are free, removing barriers that girls might have. They have summer programs, school programs, and clubs that meet in libraries all around the country. Saujani’s book tells the story of computer coding through five young girls from all different walks of lives.

Guest:

  • Reshman Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and author of Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

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Culture Crash 17-39: The Future of Football in America

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17-38 Segment 1: The Voices in Our Heads

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Dr. Charles Fernhough author of The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves says that hearing voices is part of the human experience, and needs to be understood better. One thing Dr. Fernhough is trying to do is educate the public about the difference between thoughts and talking to yourself. There is also no real right way to talk to yourself, and some people do it more often than others. Dr. Ethan Kross, a professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, is studying how people talk themselves through problems, which he calls self-talk.

A study showed that people who use their name while talking themselves through a problem have a higher rate of success. Although third person self-talk is proven to be more effective, you might get some strange looks if you talk out loud in the third person.

Guest:

  • Dr. Charles Fernyhough, author of The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves
  • Dr. Ethan Kross, Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan

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Culture Crash 17-38: NBC’s The Good Place and Serialized Comedy

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TV shows or either serialized or episodic. In a serialized show, the main storytelling device is a season or the show itself. It’s when every episode depends upon you knowing the story from the beginning. A few serialized shows are Lost or The Wire.

An episodic is the opposite. That’s when the main storytelling device is an episode. It’s a show where you can pop in and out of a season and still follow the plot.,.like you can with Friends or Seinfeld. An easy way to remember the distinction is that a serialized show has “spoilers,” whereas an episodic show’s episodes are self-contained.

Traditionally, these formats follow by genre. Most dramas were serialized while comedies were more episodic. There were notable exceptions, like procedural dramas CSI or Law & Order which followed the more episodic template.. But in general: for dramas order mattered and for comedies, you were just hanging out having a good time. It’s part of the reason marathons of comedies are so common. You can just turn it on when you aren’t busy and have a laugh, whereas doing that with a Breaking Bad marathon might be confusing.

Comedy writer Michael Schur broke the model last year with his serialized comedy, The Good Place. Schur has been around for a while, writing on Saturday Night Live and The Office before creating Parks & Recreation. So maybe it was his comfortability with the format that emboldened him to take comedy into serialized territory.

The Good Place is centers on Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop, a bad woman mistakenly sent to the good place instead of the bad place when she died. We follow her in the afterlife as she tries to pull the wool over Ted Danson’s character, Michael, the heavenly architect who accidentally welcomed the wrong Eleanor into his good place. We meet Eleanor’s supposed soul mate and their do-gooder neighbors and go along for the ride as Eleanor learns to fit in, despite her selfish past.

The Good Place is a show full of twists and turns that simply won’t make sense when watched out of order.

It’s an interesting balancing act and makes The Good Place, essentially a 30-minute sitcom, feel completely unlike other sitcoms we know and love.

In addition to being a genre-bender, the good place is laugh out loud funny. The Good Place’s second season premiers this Wednesday on NBC…but if you missed season one, don’t fret. The entire first season is streaming on Netflix and with just 13 episode, catching up won’t take long. But once you finish, remember: no spoiling the surprises for your friends.

I’m Evan Rook.

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17-37 Segment 1: Finding Happy

 

Everyone wants to find happiness, but what are we really searching for? We explore the science behind happiness, how our brain achieves the elusive emotion, and how it all depends on who you are and where you are.

Guest:

  • Tim Bono, assistant dean in the college of arts and sciences, and a lecturer in psychology at Washington University, St. Louis
  • Frederic Lenoir, philosopher, sociologist and religious historian. Author of the book, Happiness: A philosopher’s guide

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