Listen Log: VIRAL TIME

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Carl Zimmer, “Viral Time” at the The Long Now Foundation

This one changed the way I think about the world a few different times. Viruses are crazy. There’s 4 trillion in you, they mutate and replicate at unfathomable speeds, yet they’re unfathomably old. Oh, and they’re affecting global climate. And–could be a way for us to (geo-)engineer the climate. Hack, cough, sneeze. Did you know the etymology of influenza relates to sickness being thought to be influenced by astral forces?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Fannie, Freddie, and a financial Frankenstein

Planet Money #243: The Frankenstein Podcast (web | iTunes)

Confirming my suspicions about mortgages, and explaining what the hell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are/were in the process. Memorable:

the NINJA loan […] stands for No-Income-No-Job-or-Assets… you don’t have those things, but here, take half a million dollars, go buy a house!

but the real “Frankenstein” here is the more conservative, common loan American homeownership has been based on.

photo credit:

I can't win a game, I can only lose it

Radiolab Presents: The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper (WNYC’s Radiolab, web | iTunes)

Story by Hardeep Singh Kohli, originally for the BBC.

I was a goalkeeper in my youth (although we said “goalie,” a lesser word), and this story rings true to me, especially this line from former Arsenal keeper Bob Wilson:

The other ten guys can make numerous mistakes in a game, even the star striker, he can miss five, six, eight chances in a game, and score a winning goal in the 89th minute of a match, and he goes home the hero. In the reverse situation, is the goalkeeper, this lonely individual […] for 89 minutes you do the reverse, you play brilliantly, and in the 90th minute you make a positional error, or the ball moves, swerves and dips, and it looks as if it’s your fault.

A great dive into the morality play that is sport.

Image of Gary Sprake, who features in the story. Source: Allsport Hulton Deutsch/Allsport,