As the tagline states, late-night musings. This segment got its start laying in bed staring at the ceiling at 2:45a on the morning. This space is an outlet for sharing those things that inspire my stories, or educate on the business of writing; I would like to highlight a pair of podcasts that regularly provide fodder.

Radiolab, out of the studios of WNYC, typically hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, has a pair of Peabody Awards to its credit, and covers topics from culture to science; often focused upon where they collide. This morning’s cause for my mind spinning was the result of their recent revisit of CRISPR.

For those who don’t know CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a tool for snipping and replacing genetic code. Imagine the possibly of engineering a mosquito that could no longer carry the parasite that causes Yellow Fever or Malaria. Or the potential of replacing faulty gene sequences that produce variants of Muscular Dystrophy or Multiple Sclerosis. Or cure Alzheimer’s. Maybe a treatment for obesity, or on its darker side, sequencing embryonic genes to enhance traits. All those things are possible and more. And all those issues along with the ethics and societal impacts were explored, to one degree or another.

All of which ties into to the motivations and objectives of characters in my current project. Thus why mind was spinning.

Astronomy Cast, brings together the publisher of Universe Today, Fraser Cain, and the Pamela Gay of CosmoQuest, with a weekly exploration of space and terrestrial sciences. Recent topics have included the Torino Scale (how likely a celestial body is to impact Earth) and The Butterfly Effect. Outside of not bothering to do the research to reference Ray Bradbury’s brilliant short story The Sound of Thunder properly, I’ve found their segments to be engaging and enjoyable.

One of their recent episodes addressed Super Volcanoes, something that has been a favorite topic of mine. A couple of years back my NaNoWriMo project was a time travel piece that leveraged the Super Volcano on New Zealand’s North Island, Taupo, which last blew its top almost twenty-seven hundred years ago.

With two hours to kill each day, to and from work, without consistent reception for NPR, a healthy diversified rotation of material is essential. If you’re looking to expand your rotation, I think you’ll find these two a good add.

Until next time.