11.30.14: Nuclear Tourism, Computers That Deceive, & M.C. Escher

Nov 28, 2014

Credit mbeo via flickr Creative Commons

Some people spend their vacations relaxing on a beach, others visit museums and fine restaurants. On today’s show we go off the beaten path to look into nuclear tourism. A science writer visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, and finds it not the wasteland you may expect.

Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks, we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Nuclear Tourism

  • George Johnson recently visited Chernobyl, and its surrounding villages. He wrote about his trip for National Geographic Magazine. You can see photos from his trip and read an excerpt from his article here.

A Rainbow of Noise

  • You may know white noise as the hiss on your TV set - some call it static. But are you aware that there's a world of different colors of noise out there? Reporter Marnie Chesterton set out to find what they are for, and whether she could make a rainbow of sound from them.
  • This story is part of the PRX STEM Story Project, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. You can listen to the story at PRX.org.

Dishonest by Design

The TI-84 Calculator: Still Crazy Expensive After All These Years

  • Matt McFarland is the innovations editor at The Washington Post where he wrote about why the classic graphing calculator continues to dominate the classroom.

M.C. Escher

  • Jane Oneail is the Currier Museum of Art's senior educator and she joined us to talk about the  Escher retrospective on view until January 5th. Here's a link for more information on the exhibit and special programs happening throughout the show's run.
  • You can read more about Escher and find out a few things you might not have known about the famous draftsman, here.