Sunday, February 07, 2010

Death, the Dead, and the Afterlife

Here is a suggestion: Pour a cup of coffee or tea at breakfast, kick back, relax, and enjoy this fascinating and highly entertaining episode of Radiolab, called Afterlife. Topics here range from what is death all the way to the ultimate fate (death?) of the universe. Far from being a downer, this is a thought-provoking (to say the least) look at various aspects of death. The full episode is about an hour long, but you can also listen to it in three different parts. I liked all the stories, but perhaps When am I dead?, 4 Seconds Down, and Ineffable really stood out for me. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the show and here are the details:
Afterlife:

What happens at the moment when we slip from life...to the other side? Is it a moment? If it is a moment, when is that moment? And what happens afterward? It's a show of questions that don't have easy answers. So, in a slight departure from our regular format, Radiolab brings you eleven meditations on how, when, and even if we die.

And here are the three parts:

When Am I Dead?

1. Soul Has Weight, Physician Thinks: Biologist Lee Silver tells us the story of a physician’s ambitious 1907 experiment to discover the weight of the soul. 2. Metamorphosis: One possibility of the afterlife from David Eagleman, read by actor Jeffrey Tambor. 3. When Am I Dead?: Is life over when your heart stops beating? When you take your last breath? When your brain fizzles out? Author and researcher Gary Greenberg and John Troyer explore these questions. 4. Anyone for Tennis?: We ask neuroscientist Adrian Owen, can the dead play tennis?

What’s the Difference Anyway?

5. 4 Seconds Down: Soren Wheeler tells the story of Ken Baldwin, a man who is looking for death but finds a new view on life. 6. Am I Dead?: Neurological psychologist Paul Broks introduces us to a patient who thinks she's dead. 7. If I Only Had A Brain: If you don’t have one anymore, David Eagleman tells Jad and Robert he knows the next best thing. 8. Ineffable: A story on the afterlife by David Eagleman from his book SUM, read by actor Jeffrey Tambor.

But Am I Really Dead?

9. Booyah Mozart: Producer Lulu Miller brings us a conversation with geologist Jan Zalasiewicz about what we’ll leave behind … in a hundred million years. 10. Cyberternity: Producer Emily Voigt tells a story about a guy named Wyatt, fixed in time. 11. Goodbye: Paleontologist and professor Peter Ward describes the ultimate death, the death of the universe ... THE END.

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