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Radiolab

Things

From a piece of the Wright brother's plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.

The Explorer's Club & The Sugar Egg

We start at The Explorer’s Club — a Manhattan mansion filled with objects from the greatest adventures of the 20th century. Will Roseman gives us a tour that brings out a 40-year argument between Robert and his wife Tamar about the power of physical things to transport us into the past. Then we get in the studio with producer Vin Liota, who weaves together, right in front of us, the tender tale of a man, an egg, a box, and a tree. In the end, our own desire to share the objects in this show leads to a surprising ending, and a new beginning.

Object Lesson

Are we built to think that the things around us will last? Psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik tells us about a few experiments that complicate our understanding of peek-a-boo. Then she pulls us into a philosophical rabbit hole where a swamp clones Robert, Neil Armstrong writes an email, and we all try to cling to an ever-changing impermanent universe.

The Seed Jar

Craig Childs, Regan Choi, and Dirk Vaughan used to spend months in the isolated backcountry of the Southwestern U.S. One day, they stumbled across a rare and ancient piece of pottery, in almost mint condition. That discovery led to an argument, and a decision, that has stayed with them for 11 years. When we got obsessed with the consequences of that choice, we cajoled them into going back to the place it went down, with producer Molly Webster in tow. What they found was not what anyone expected.

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