Archive for March, 2012

Radio Lab’s podcast Parasites had a couple of themes that were mentioned periodically.  One was mind control; certain bugs use mind control on other bugs, animals, rodents, and maybe even humans.  Another theme that was touched on was the idea of cheats versus honest creatures; the cheats being the parasites that live off of other creatures.  I like how this podcast was introduced.  We were given a step by step visualization of the beginning of the movie Aliens.  This was pretty relaxing because I started listening to this podcast while laying on my couch with my eyes closed.  The narrative went from relaxing to very creepy when it jumped to the tale of this thing tearing out of an astronaut’s stomach.  This thing, or alien, can be comparable to parasites because “both” can live inside of us virtually invisible and often undetected.  I thought that this podcast was really gross.  Bugs are not my cup of tea so this topic of parasites was very creepy, especially with all the visualizations of what parasidic wasps and parasidic nematodes do to some bugs.  It’s almost enough to make you feel like something is crawling around under your skin.

I was both surpised and skeptical by how they are trying to link schitzophrenia with a parasite called toxoplasma gondii.  Another thing that surprised me was Dick Despommier’s story about the “southern laziness disease.”  In 1908 people in the South were unusually jaded and come to find out they were really infected with hookworms.  They had become infected by standing to close to their feces where these parasites were crawling away from and entering their feet.  The part that surprised me is that this was what brought on the use of outhouses.  I would have thought they would have been in use much earlier and simply because of the gross factor.

I kind of liked Jasper Lawrence’s story of how hookworms rid him of his severe allergies and asthma.  His story in a way contradicts Despommier’s, I guess the difference is in the number of hookworms that you are infected with.  Too many is bad and can cause anemia but one can be a good thing and cure numerous diseases.  What gave this story meaning to me is that he himself has injected 85 different people with hookworms and has cured serveral cases of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.  I have a friend who suffers from Crohn’s disease and she is sometimes hospitalized because of it.  I’m left thinking that if there is a cure out there, no matter how gross, we should try to get it.

This podcast made extensive use of music and sound effects.  Sometimes I think that they use too much detracting from the stories themselves; other times I think that they were effectively used.  As an example of what I thought was an effective use, when Dick Despommier was beginning to tell his story they played a sound effect that I recognized as a sound that in some TV shows or movies they use just before someone thinks backward or forward in time.  Right after I made that connection they said, “the story begins in 1908…”  There was one sound effect that actually startled me.  This whole podcast was just as I stated before, creepy.  I was pretty literally on edge most of the time.  While they were into their story about the toxoplasma gondii they were talking about how this parasite can get into a rat and work it’s way up to the rat’s brain.  In the brain they metaphorically cross wires and can cause the rat to, in some degree, think and feel a certain way.  Well, when they mentioned the wires being crossed they play a sound effect imitating wires being crossed.  I had been sitting there listening to the words being spoken, engrossed in taking notes, and all of a sudden that noise; I jumped.

I left comments on the Radio Lab assignment of the following classmates.

Jeff Grant at http://jeffduckgrant.wordpress.com

Brian Seitz at http://www.ikaleidoscopedesign.com

Brian Allen at http://www.digital-media-blog.com


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I can’t believe I actually figured out how to extract audio from video.  Yes!!!  Most of the sounds I used are sound that I like (these sounds are in blue) and a few others are just anything I could come up with.  The url to these sounds is http://soundcloud.com/kmcarpenter5816/10-different-sounds. The sounds are described as follows:

1. Popcorn popping

2. Water spraying onto a pan from the sprayer on the sink

3. Windchimes

4. Ducks

5. Coins dropping

6. Bedroom door creaking

7. Refrigerator door opening and closing

8. Box of macaroni being rotated

9. Cans of soda being opened

10. Oil Bubbling inside of deep fat fryer

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