Clever Apes #3: Playing with Fire

August 30, 2010

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It may be the ultimate symbol of human mastery over nature's power: fire. On this edition of Clever Apes, we consider why flames fascinate us. Eons of evolution have written fire into our DNA -- no wonder kids like to mess with matches.

AUDIODownload this episode, or subscribe to the podcast. By now fire is an utterly mundane part of our everyday life. And yet it seems to hold at its core some bit of magic. So in explaining fire -- like the incomprehensible inferno that consumed 19th-Century Chicago -- we're drawn to the mythic, the otherworldly. This edition of Clever Apes puts a persistent legend about the Chicago fire under the microscope of science. Finally, we bring you stories of playing with fire -- just don't call it pyromania -- from Clever Apes listeners. Subscribe to the podcast.