In Recent Podcasts: Grandfathers and Hypothermia

Last week's podcast featured none other than Story Collider co-founder, Ben Lillie, aka my boss. What I love about this story is that it shows the importance of science communication on a granular level. We spend a lot of time thinking about science communication on a grand scale -- how do we educate the public, relay information to voters, become a more scientifically literate society? And all those things are important. But sometimes science communication can be as simple and as complex as a grandson wanting to understand his grandfather’s life. 

You can read about Ben's grandfather and his sailboats on his Wikipedia page here and find out "Whatever happened to the fun?" here. For more Ben Lillie magic, check out his previous story, "The Impostor Heart Attack."

Last week’s story came from neuroscientist Paula Croxson. Paula has helped Story Collider with our annual Brain Awareness Week shows, and told a story at a previous show about how her work helped her come to understand her grandmother’s neurological problems. The story Paula told with us this year is a little more lighthearted -- if still dangerous.

When Paula moved to New York from the UK, she wasn’t prepared for the culture shock. Looking for something familiar and comfortable, she began swimming, and this led her to sign up for her first open-water swimming race. Before listening to Paula’s story, I was unfamiliar with all the risks of ope- water swimming, particularly of hypothermia. “When you’re in the water the heat gets sucked away from you thirty times faster than it does in the air,” Paula says. The shivering can be a dangerous drain on a swimmer’s energy. “However,” Paula says ominously, “it’s not nearly as bad as when you stop shivering.”

Excuse me while I wrap myself in seven blankets.

Just wait until Paula tells you about “THE CLAW.”

Since listening to Paula’s story, I’ve read more about open water swimming and came across an article about the most dangerous open water swims that contained this passage, about Kim Chambers' swim across the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Kim Chambers... didn’t take warm showers for six months to prepare for the low temperatures. She was stung [by jellyfish] more than 200 times during her swim in 2014 and had to be hospitalised after she’d finished because of all the toxins in her body.

Yeah, I think I’ll stick to swimming pools. No offense, Paula.

See you next week!

-- Erin Barker, Artistic Director