Latin, Cars, Lighthouse, Trauma, Teeth

Undead Language

Episode: “Latin Lives!” | Podcast: The Allusionist | 14m17s

Profile of the Finnish radio programme Nuntii Latini, which means ‘News in Latin’. This weekly show has been broadcast since 1989 and is delivered entirely in Latin. It covers Finnish and global news as well as providing relevant linguistic and archaeological updates. It began as an experiment but quickly gained a global following, and is apparently particularly popular with students and priests. The major challenge of reporting on contemporary events in a long-dead language is vocabulary. The person in charge of solving this problem for the programme explains here how he has built new compound Latin terms for “computer” and “electric car” from existing words (14m17s)

Hear Me Roar

Episode: “Vrooms and the Lack Thereof” | Podcast: Reasonably Sound | 40m20s

Investigation into why cars sound the way they do. Host Mike Rugnetta, himself on the hunt for a new car, goes in search of the people responsible for the noises made by the new generation of electric cars. Along the way, he unpacks the cultural associations we have given to particular engine noises, including the connections that a truly deafening roar has with machismo and bravado. He also examines the scientific and historical explanations for why combustion engines built on the same principles can make such different noises. Finally, he looks at the reasons why we might want to take some of this sound forward with us into a future not powered by combustion (40m20s)

Lighthouse Family

Episode: “The Outside” | Podcast: The Far Meridian | 12m45s

First instalment in a drama series about Peri, an agoraphobic young woman who lives in a lighthouse. She wakes up one day to find that the power is out and her home had been miraculously transported from the sea to a desert. Almost the entire episode is a monologue, with Peri (played by Eli Barazza, who also writes the series) trying to talk herself down from her panic and confusion about the inexplicable translocation of her dwelling. She attempts to carry out basic household tasks like taking out the rubbish in order to keep up some semblance of normality, with strange results. Can be listened to as a standalone, or as an introduction to the whole series (12m45s)

True Grit

Episode: “What if you refused to be annihilated?” | Podcast: This Is Actually Happening | 62m42s

Long, question-less interview with the author Rene Denfeld, in which she describes the trauma and horror of her upbringing and teenage years — references to alcoholism, cruelty and neglect feature. Yet what lifts this litany of sadnesses is the way she frames all of her experiences. She is completely focused on the hope and sense of purpose that allowed her to endure. Always desperate to be a writer, she bought a broken typewriter and banged out poems that she taped to bus shelters as a rudimentary method of publication. “My optimism I think comes from a sense of rebuttal,” she says. “We live in a society that thinks people like me are broken and damaged forever. . . I don’t believe that.” An uplifting, motivating listen, despite its grim subject matter (62m42s)

Pearly Whites

Episode: “The Trung Sisters” | Podcast: Chompers | 3m35s

Micro podcast designed to entertain a child (or adult!) while they brush their teeth. Each episode is a short story, interview or discussion of a topic appropriate for kids, with the audio interrupted every 30 seconds so the host can deliver a new brushing instruction, such as “make sure you brush the inside, outside and chewing side of each tooth”. This one focuses on the exploits of the Trung sisters, military leaders and landowners in Vietnam in the first century. They led a successful rebellion against the Chinese Han dynasty, which was then in control of Vietnam, and are now celebrated as national heroines. As ever with this show, their story ends with an instruction for the listener to “spit”. An unusual, but informative, format (3m35s)

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