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2013

316 - The Mistery of Existence - Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon

 


Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon is a film-maker and author. He recently wrote a novel called Nothing and Everywhere, while his documentaries include Colours of Infinity, Clouds are not Spheres and Is God a Number? He is an admirer of the work of the late mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot and he believes that there is a higher intelligence in the universe:

Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon (Standard British accent)
NigelI’ve never been able to accept that life, simple… even simple life forms, emerged out of the mud just by pure random shuffling of… of atoms, and then molecules and suddenly, or not suddenly, but over maybe many millennia, a simple cellular being came into existence which then, for some unknown reason, which is, again, they can’t really explain why it would bother to go on making itself more complex... more specialised, why… what is it that drives it on to develop into… into complex beings like us. I mean, there… it seems to me that for the atheist, you know, that’s a tough one because you’d say, well, actually, why did it bother? You know, what’s the point? Because we see, in this world we see, we live in a world which is a mixture of pleasure and pain, and there’s an awful lot of misery, there’s a lot of suffering in the world, there’s a lot of loss and bereavement going on, but at the same time, I mean, we could walk out into the woods and we would look at the trees and we would go, “Nature is beautiful.”

(Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon was talking to Mark Worden)

316 - The Wild Man

 

Jimmy Kimmel (Standard American accent)

Our next guest makes his living intentionally endangering his own life, he has a TV show called Man vs. Wild and, starting in May, a new live show coming to your city, to possibly endanger you; it’s called Mud, Sweat and Tears Live. Please welcome the unkillable Bear Grylls! (applause and music) How are you doing?

Bear Grylls (Standard British accent)
Yeah, good, surviving...

Jimmy Kimmel
Thanks for coming...

Bear Grylls
...at least I’m not under your desk this time...

Jimmy Kimmel
Yeah, that is nice! Well, I guess it’s nice.

Bear Grylls
Are you still putting the gum under there and...? 

Jimmy Kimmel
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we did a little something, for those who didn’t see it, months ago, where you were trapped under my desk, but you escaped.

Bear Grylls
Well, I was doing a show under there!

Jimmy Kimmel
That’s right. How are you? How’s everything going?

Bear Grylls
Yeah, good, yeah, I’ve been kind of busy, but...

Jimmy Kimmel
You do so much dumb stuff it’s hard for me to believe you’re not American, you know!

Bear Grylls
I’ve dropped on my head a lot, at a young age!

Jimmy Kimmel
How many seasons of your show, of Man vs. Wild, have you done!

Bear Grylls
Well, I’ve just wrapped up season six of... of the show, so... (applause)                                                                                                                                   

Jimmy Kimmel
And... and when will... when will you declare a winner, will there ever be a winner declared, or it’s just... it will keep going?

Bear Grylls
I’m slowly learning the wild is... the wild really is the winner.

Jimmy Kimmel
I think people don’t know about you is that you have a family, you have little kids, and a wife, and while you’re off doing this crazy stuff, they’re probably at home hoping you come back home, right?

Bear Grylls
Yeah, I’ve got three young boys, Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry, (applause) and they’re... they’re totally wild!

Jimmy Kimmel
And you decided to let their... they be... them be in danger on the school yard14, instead of...! Marmaduke, huh? You know that’s a cartoon dog over here, right?

Bear Grylls
I know! I know! Everyone in America says, “You can’t call your son after a dog!” but the thing is in the UK Marmaduke was a... he was a great World War One fighter pilot ace, so I thought...

Jimmy Kimmel
He was?

Bear Grylls
Yeah, he was.

Jimmy Kimmel
So was Snoopy, you know!

Bear Grylls
But, no, no, they’re fun kids and they love of all of this adventure stuff.

Jimmy Kimmel
They do? I would bet they do, you must be the coolest dad that ever walked the Earth, I mean, really! How could you ever tell them not to do anything?

Bear Grylls
I’m always telling them not to do stuff! The thing is, you know, I came home the other day, I was doing a work-out, and I... and I said to Jesse, I said, “Listen, just fill up my water bottle, go outside, you know, I’m training, just fill it up... up at the hose.” Heraces outside and he comes back and he’s grinning. And he gives me the water bottle and I take a swig, and he... he’s peed in it!  (laughter) I go, “You’ve peed in my water bottle! What are you doing?” And he goes, “Papa, you... I saw you peeing in a snake skin, you pee in the snake skin!” So I’m saying, “Look, do as I say, and not as I do!”


316 - Discover the High Line - High Line History

 

Ethan Hawke (Standard American accent)

The High Line: this historic elevated railway is now known as “New York’s park in the sky.” It’s a mile-and-a-half of meandering pathways, lush plantings and dramatic design, cutting through the heart of the Meatpacking District  and West Chelsea, but the High Line was once a bustling railroad, part of the industrial fabric of Manhattan’s West Side.
In the 1800s railroad tracks ran down the West Sidewaterfront, bringing goods to the factories and warehouses. The streets were crowded and the trains were dangerous. They caused so many accidents that Tenth Avenue was nicknamed “Death Avenue.” The railroad hired men on horseback to ride in front of every train. Each waved a red flag to warn pedestrians out of the way. These men were called “the West Side cowboys.” 
The High Line was built in the 1930s, part of a massive infrastructure project called “the West Side Improvement.” With its giant steel beams lifting freight trains 30 feet in the air, the High Line brought the New York Central Railroad right through the upper floors of factory and warehouse buildings. Trains in the High Line carried meat to the Meatpacking District, baking supplies to the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco, now Chelsea Market, and many other goods to the West Side, but within just a few decades more and freight began to travel by trucks on the new interstatehighway system, rail traffic declined on the High Line, and part of it was torn downin the 1960s. The last train ran down the High Line before Thanksgiving in 1980, carrying three boxcars full of frozen turkeys. After the trains stopped running, the High Line sat unused, a rusty monument to the West SIde’s industrial past. On top of the tracks, nature began to take over17...

315 - The Art of Emily the Strange

 


Artist Rob Reger is the creator of Emily the Strange, a teenage girl with “a dark side.” Emily the Strange began life on stickers and t-shirts, but she later inspired a line of clothing and a series of novels. She has also inspired art and here Rob Reger explains one of his “Emily the Strange” paintings:

Rob Reger (Standard American accent):

So this piece is called “Swamp Dreams.” Like many of my works of art that have multiple characters that are interlocking, it’s based on kind of an imagination or a fantasy or a, you know, a dream of Emily. So here she’s kind of like hanging with her beastly friends in the jungle and in the swamps. As you see, these cats are rising out of the muck and the lily pads are turning into beasts and monsters of their own; very strange plants are growing. And this one’s kind of based on a  loose symmetry, sort of her left and right brain thinking about stuff.  She’s got her chorus of… I  guess, Greek chorus chiming in here, telling her different things, so they’re all different characters representing different parts of her mind, which are elaborating like what’s going on in her head. So this is very… very much a painting about stuff that’s happening in her mind. As you see, she’s got one eye closed, which would represent her sleep state, and the other eye suspiciously looking over at something going on down in this area, maybe about one of these cats who’s decided to nibble on a friend of hers, but cats do this: so, you know, it’s part of the life cycle, part of a good nightmare as well! This, like many more in the series, the whole idea of the black and white characters, you know, the white maybe being more green and grey here, but the whole thought is that a… a black character will be completely surrounded by a light-coloured character, and then a light-coloured character would be completely surrounded by the black characters. So, for example, you’ve got this guy and he’s puzzle-pieced in between… so it’s kind of perfectly symmetrical where, really,  no same-coloured character specifically touch other characters.  They’re, for the most part, completely isolated and separated by characters of its opposing colour. Something that… that was something… I was very early on influenced by M.C. Escher, something that he did and it took quite a while for me to kind of figure it out and definitely lots of pencil work before a lot of sketching beforehand to come to how things work out that way, but definitely can make a nod to the reference of M.C. Escher.

(Rob Reger was talking to Mark Worden)


315 - Plain English, Please!

 

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

The Plain English Campaign is what it says it is: an organisation that campaigns for the use of simple English in documents. It also acts as a consultant to governments and companies around the world, and it operates from offices in the town of New Mills in Derbyshire in England. As company secretary Peter Griffiths explains, it was founded by a remarkablelady from Liverpool called Chrissie Maher:


Peter Griffiths (Standard British/northern accent)

Chrissie did a demonstration on Parliament Square about the appalling state of government forms and the police invited her to move onfrom Parliament Square, ‘cause you’re not allowed to demonstrate there,’ but they used an incredibly complex 100-word sentence to invite her to move on. So she said to the police: “Do you mean you want me to go?” And anyway this was caught by the television cameras. Margaret Thatcher saw it and invited Chrissie to Downing Street to talk to her and eventually she invited Chrissie to become part of the Rayner Review, which dealt with rewriting masses of government forms.    

(Peter Griffiths was talking to Mark Worden)


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