For the first 27 years of his life, Ildefonso lived in isolation. No, he wasn’t locked in solitary confinement or stranded on a desert island. He was born totally deaf and never even learned that there was such a thing as language. He didn’t even know that sound existed. In this episode, we speak with Susan Schaller, whose patience, perseverance and resourcefulness freed Ildefonso from his dark and incomprehensible prison.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 could have been hundreds of times worse if it had not been for the astounding sacrifice of three men. This episode tells their story. It also features an original poem by award-winning poet David Brandon, titled “The Chernobyl Three.”
This episode is about the art of bonsai, playing the accordion, learning Hebrew, taking up wildlife photography, writing your memoirs, ballroom dancing, and brewing the finest IPA microbrew this side of the Ganges. It’s about hobbies. Most of us don't have much unclaimed time in our schedules, but we do have some. And if we spend a portion of it working toward becoming excellent at productive hobbies, we will be healthier, happier and more fulfilled in our lives. And we’ll be able to enrich and enhance the lives of others.
How do you join two sides of a divide? You build a bridge. In this episode, we examine Northeast India’s astounding living bridges that succeeded where traditional bridges all failed. We look at a bridge design that would prevent cultures from colliding in China. And we discuss an incredibly rare happening in the history of diplomatic efforts: a bridge that brought peace to a millennia-old conflict--if only momentarily.
The week is foundational to the rhythm of human life. It influences dozens, maybe hundreds, of the decisions each of us makes every day. But where did it come from? And how did it become the universal backbeat of human activity? The truth about the mysterious origins of the week can help us better understand not just our calendars, but our world and our place in it.
People are small. Each one of us is only about a 17-billionth of one cubic mile big, and we live on a planet that is 260 billion cubic miles in volume. That’s a major disparity. But sometimes people—tiny, mortal, ordinary people—reshape the planet. This episode brings you three accounts of people who permanently altered Earth’s topography in significant ways.
One night in 1983, a computer screen in a secret bunker in Moscow suddenly showed an American nuclear missile screeching toward the Soviet Union. Was Armageddon about to begin, or was it just a false alarm? One man had to make a tough judgment call. This is his story.
We’ve all felt frustrated by how forgetful and unreliable our memories are. We work hard to learn new knowledge and skills, but then if we don’t regularly maintain it, we forget it all within a few months or years. It is frustrating, but we should not give up.
Today’s episode discusses some mysterious stories that give us a glimpse into how astoundingly powerful the human memory is. They show that much of what we think is slipping into the abyss isn’t actually gone.
These stories show that each of us has worlds within us. To borrow a line from Whitman, we “contain multitudes.” The question is: Will we ever learn to easily access those worlds of knowledge contained in our memories?
Not only was Alexander the Great’s reign predicted in the Old Testament long before he was born, but when Alexander visited Jerusalem during his rule, the high priest showed those prophecies to him: These Bible prophecies are about you, Alexander!
At that point, prophecy and history intersected in a dramatic way. If you’re not familiar with this fascinating, yet seldom-discussed chapter of world history, you may be astounded to learn how Alexander reacted.
Being generous does not usually come naturally. Giving to others can be difficult. And it can be especially hard when you yourself do not have much. This week’s episode brings you three stories that put the spotlight on people who have given to others in inspiring ways—even though they themselves didn’t have a lot.