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Living Lab Radio: August 5, 2019

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"There are some benefits to sounding like things we've heard before. At the same time, if something's exactly the same as what we've heard before, it's not going to get any attention. There's nothing new about it. So there's this nice blend of novelty and familiarity, of similarity and difference, of new and old. You can almost think about it as a Goldilocks effect - not too hot, not too cold, but just right - that really helps things in culture succeed." - Jonah Berger

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Mass media coverage shapes public perceptions of mass shootings, and Jason Silva of CUNY says we’re getting a distorted picture. While school shootings and assault rifles get the most attention, most mass shootings happen in workplaces or open spaces and are perpetrated with handguns. 
  • Engineer Dan Zitterbart of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is developing thermal cameras to help ships to find – and avoid – endangered whales.
  • Jonah Berger of UPenn’s Wharton School says the country/hip-hop smash Old Town Road has a lot going for it – a “Goldilocks” blend of genres, controversy, celebrity remixes, and a strong internet presence. It is now the longest-running #1 single in Billboard history.
  • Lyme researcher Sam Telford of Tufts University refutes the idea that the military released Lyme disease. He says the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease have been around since before the last Ice Age, and patterns of human development are responsible for its recent rise in prevalence.

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.