The Reason I Jump

It’s been a while….

What stirred me out of the lazy habit of simply posting on Facebook was ‘The Reason I Jump’ by 13-year old Naoki Higashida. The author is autistic and his struggles with language are very well documented in the book. It was written using a grid of Japanese characters and must have been an enormous ‘labour of love’.

Much of the content takes the form of Q & A and what I felt was well captured in Radio 4’s Book of the Week presentation, was that the questions seemed to be in the voice of a brusque, almost rude teenage peer. What was especially touching in Higashida’s passages was that it was clear that he understood how bewildering and trying it can be for many trying to communicate with an autistic person. Each time he touched upon this there was a plea for those trying not to give up.

In addition to content, the format was very engaging. Preceding each passage was an introductory section by author David Mitchell, co-translator of the book, along with KA Yoshida. He is the father of a autistic child and his insight and experience added a great deal.

You can read more on the Radio 4 Blog.

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The Writing Cure

Great faith has been placed in ‘talking cures’ for many years. American psychologist James Pennebaker came up with the writing version and this edition of Mind Changes tells the story.

One surprising thing, for me at least, was that this refers to temporary writing about a stressful event and not the kind of continuous writing of, say, diary keeping.

In addition to immune/healing there seem also to be improvements in cognitive abilities, specifically working memory.

The programme also touches upon analysis of text and what might indicate that some benefit has occurred. Pronouns are important here.

Digital e-state

What should happen to your online life when your on-Earth one comes to an end? If you had time would you ‘get your affairs in order’ before you passed on? What about sudden death? Who owns your online life then?

This edition of Out of the Ordinary investigates such matters.

This Justin

If you are a fan of Jusint Bieber or even if you’re simply interested in the key ingredients of catchy songs, then scroll to 28:00 of this edition of Broadcasting House.

Paul Mason discusses chords, keys etc. with the fantastically names Clemency Burton-Hill. Paul Mason’s guitar playing might just make you think that your own is not so bad.

More poignant is an article on ‘radio silence’ just before at 21.35 featuring poet Stewart Henderson. Harold Pinter gets a mention.

Google Translate

Have you ever used Google Translate and wonder how it works? Kenneth Cukier (@kncukier), The Economist’s Data Editor and author of Big Data describes something of it in this episode of Start the Week – scroll forward to 25′ 15″

Syria

My knowledge of Syria has always been scant but this programme was quite an insight.

Sliding in at the back

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in an orchestra? This fun feature gives some insight into the life of orchestral trombonists.

Alexei Sayle

Although I’ve pretty much given up on the stand-up industry (why outsource your humour to strangers, when many of your pals are funnier?) I made an exception for the renaissance of Alexei Sayle at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh’s York Place. It was his first tour in 17 years and it was a great night!

In this episode of Front Row he discusses what’s changed during all those years. Despite ‘accusations’ of mellowing, there remains more than a hint of the old 80s bile.

Also, there is a short piece on The Traverse Theatre which celebrates its 50th birthday with fifty 500-word plays this weekend.

Lutosławski

Of all the composers I remember coming across at music college for the first time, the one who sticks out is Witold Lutosławski. This year being the centenary of his birth he is enjoying a high profile.

This Music Matters special includes conversation with his step-son. I often find that there are contradictions housed within many interesting people and Lutosławski is no exception.

Toddlers and Telly

There’s much more to this Life Scientific interview than the title of my post suggests, but consideration of the topic is typical of Annette Karmiloff-Smith‘s common sense approach to developmental psychology. She explains lucidly why the problem is less to do with content than the fact that most activity is restricted to the centre of the screen. Bespoke infants’ programmes would encourage more tracking, along with more intelligent use of colour and sound, including music and changes of voice.

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