We hear two stories of everyday life which are more easily understood if one knows some of the laws of physics, specifically the Mediocrity Principle and the Casimir Effect.
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The men and women on staff at This American Life decide to get their testosterone levels tested, to see who has the most and least, and to see if personality traits actually do match up with hormone levels. It turns out to be an exercise that in retrospect, we might not recommend to other close-knit groups of friends or co-workers.
We hear a tape that a man named David Cossin made for a woman in Italy named Allesandra whom he'd met during a week he spent there, and with whom he'd fallen in love. He sent her a dozen tapes, including one where he tries to convince her to move to New York and be with him.
Host Ira Glass talks with filmmaker Alan Berliner, who for six years collected old home movies he found at thrift stores and garage sales. He says that almost all of them document either rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings, or moments of leisure—the beach is especially big.
Host Ira Glass talks with Erin Einhorn, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, who went to Poland to find the Catholic family that had sheltered and saved her mother from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. She found that in Krakow where she was living, in a country where Jewish populations had been vilified and then exterminated by the Nazis, Judaism was suddenly trendy.
Ira's conversation with Erin Einhorn continues. She talks about the possible reasons that, 50 years after Auschwitz, 10,000 Polish hipsters will now show up to see a Klezmer music concert.
Host Ira Glass talks with a bunch of special ed students. By and large, they thought of themselves as regular kids—until each experienced a shocking moment of revelation when they discovered that they were not the same as other kids, and that the other kids already knew that...and had known for a long time.
Ira Glass travels through Israel with Adam Davidson, who speaks Hebrew and has countless Israeli cousins and other family members. They find that the entire country has moved to the right in reaction to Palestinian violence—so far right that at a cafe of leftists, they're no longer arguing about peace, but about whether the Palestinians are simply born animals or if they're taught to be animals.
Alex Blumberg talks with sailor Prevon Scott, who stocks vending machines on the Stennis.
Ira talks with Barry Keenan, who was living a lot of people’s plan A in the early 60’s. He was rich, he was successful.
We hear three stories of how conflicts are resolved in offices. Two of those stories come from sociologist Calvin Morrill, who studied the executive suites at a number of large companies in his book The Executive Way: Conflict Management in Corporations.