Fireflies on Radiolab

Don’t you love it when you learn a new word, and then you end up hearing it over and over again immediately after having learned it? Or when you experience something, and then suddenly you hear an awesome public radio show about it? OK, the last one might not happen as often, but it just happened to me!

I am a HUGE fan of the program, Radiolab, from WNYC. It’s hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, and the About section on their website says, “Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience” — which I think sums it up perfectly. Favorite episodes of mine include “Colors,” “The Bad Show,” and “Are You Sure?”

Anyway, I like to put the podcasts on my iPod for my long commutes, and just ten days after returning from a fabulous trip to Malaysia, I heard the rebroadcast of the episode “Emergence.” It’s all about how order can come out of chaos, and the show opens with a story about the famous synchronized fireflies of Southeast Asia. Somehow these tiny insects blink on and off together, simultaneously, making bushes along the riverbank look like big Christmas trees with timed twinkle lights. I feel so lucky to have been able to see them in Kuala Selangor; though it’s funny that the Radiolab story is actually about fireflies in Thailand. I guess I didn’t need to go so far to see them, but it was well worth the expedition!

Click HERE to go straight to the “Emergence” episode on Radiolab’s website. You can stream it online and listen for free.


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