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July 20, 2020
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Road Tripping Down Under

In a more normal summer, many of us would be road-tripping, playing games in the car, stopping at restaurants and gas stations along the way, and visiting parks and lakes and the seashore. Some of us are still carefully making trips, masked and sanitizing our hands often, but they are tinged with worry, and it’s not quite the same.

It reminds me of a long camping road trip I once took, where we visited several national parks and two memorable and claustrophobic caves: Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Growing up in Maryland, a popular day trip was to Luray Caverns in Virginia. Now that I live in Wisconsin, it’s a tradition for the kids to go on a school field trip to Cave of the Mounds. Probably not this year, as we just got the news that school will be virtual for the time being. In all these caves, we were packed in with other people all next to each other, not worrying at all about viruses or staying six feet apart.

This week's show, "Going Underground," is all about that feeling of discovering what lies beneath. You’ll hear from some radical explorers, from cave divers to earthquake scientists. As we have to be so planned and deliberate in our actions these days, I hope you enjoy the interviews about creative wandering and exploration. We'll be back out there — or under there — someday soon.

–Shannon

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Why We Descend Into Darkness

Underground
Robert Macfarlane spent a decade exploring caves, mines, catacombs and sewers, on a quest to discover the deep underground. He found a subterranean world of wonder and horror.
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How To Listen To An Earthquake

The San Andreas Fault, on the Carrizo Plain.
Do you know what an earthquake sounds like? Geophysicist Ben Holtzman collects recordings from around the world — from the Fukushima disaster to the manmade earthquakes caused by fracking. We hear examples of these seismic rumbles.
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The Beautiful, Enormous Book That Will Confound and Delight You

From the Codex Seraphinianus
The "Codex Seraphinianus" has a magical air to it, full of bizarre illustrations and beautiful calligraphy in a made-up language. Publisher Charles Miers told Charles why he published the book, and why trying to understand it isn't really the point.
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The People Power Of Happiness

people
Social scientists are finding that generating happiness in your life may have less to do with an arbitrary number — like your bank account or how many Instagram followers you have — and more to do with how well you connect with the people around you.
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