Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This is a beautiful video, and quietly profound:

This film complemented a Radiolab podcast called Words.

Click on the play button to hear the (audio) podcast.

Here is Radiolab's summary of the podcast:

Words that Change the World

Susan Schaller believes that the best idea she ever had in her life had to do with an isolated young man she met one day at a community college. He was 27-years-old at the time, and though he had been born deaf, no one had ever taught him to sign. He had lived his entire life without language--until Susan found a way to reach out to him.

Charles Fernyhough doesn't think that very young children think--at least not in a way he'd recognize as thinking. Charles explains what he means by walking us through an experiment in a white room. And Elizabeth Spelke weighs in with research from her baby lab--which suggests a child's brain begins as a series of islands, until it can find the right words and phrases to bridge the gaps.

James Shapiro, a Shakespeare scholar at Columbia, argues that Shakespeare behaved more like a chemist than a writer: by smashing words together--words like eye and ball--he created new words, and new ways of seeing the world.

One morning, neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor woke up with a headache. A blood vessel then burst inside her left hemisphere, and silenced all the brain chatter in her head. She was left with no language. No memories. Just sensory intake, and an all-encompassing feeling of joy.

Here is how Jill Bolte taylor told her story at TED:

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