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Accounting for Taste

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Friday, March 16, 2012

On today’s show: We’ll find out why nature has seen fit to divide the brain into two hemispheres. We’ll take a look at part three of “The Cruel and Unusual Comedy” film series at MoMA. Today’s installment of A History of the World in 100 Objects is about an 8th-century Korean roof tile. Plus, our latest Please Explain is all about the sense of taste!

The Divided Brain

Iain McGilchrist, a former consultant psychiatrist, looks at why the brain is divided into two hemispheres. In his book, The Master and His Emissary, he draws on case histories and other brain research to show how different the right and left sides of our brains are, what each side helps us do, and why the left hemisphere is taking more precedence in the modern world.

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Cruel and Unusual Comedy, Part 3

Elif Rongen-Kaynakci, an archivist from the Eye Film Institute, and film historian Steve Massa discuss "Cruel and Unusual Comedy Part 3: Selections from the Eye Institute, The Netherlands," a two-week program at MoMA featuring the Euro-clown comedies that were incredibly popular between 1908 and 1914.

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Please Explain: The Science of Taste

Barb Stuckey, professional food developer and author of Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, explains the science of taste, and shows how our individual biology, genetics, and brain create a personal experience of everything we taste.

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Object #1: The Greek Coffee Cup

The top object in our countdown is perhaps the most accidental of New York icons. In its heyday the Anthora cup, with its crisp blue and white Greco design, was the way you drank hot beverages on the go. But, as Leonard pointed out, sometimes the coffee itself wasn’t always that great. Oh, the power of nostalgia. (continue reading)

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Things We Learned This Week

A roundup of the random, interesting, and unexpected things we learned on the show this week.

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Object # 2: The Subway Token

It might seem odd that our listeners chose an object that hasn’t been used in New York City for nearly a decade as number two on our list. But as Robert Del Bango of the New York City Transit Museum told us, it’s actually “a very smart object” to tell the story of New York. (continue reading)

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