Podcast :: Not What You Think – Season 4

February 12th 2016

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Not What You Think covers the important stuff that doesn’t fit in the news cycle. You know: that low key stuff that isn’t on our radar.

The small, important stuff.

For our fourth season we’re taking a closer look at what you think you remember, the Milky Way and frogs. Along the way, we’re also finding out about life in an 80s police state, a bit of 1800s imperial adventure and find out about the evolutionary point of grandmas. None of these are likely to be stories you’ve heard before.



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You can hear each episode a day early here or on our podcast — yes, just like that Serial thing. Subscribe with the links above (just click), search inside your favourite podcast app for “Not What You Think”, or give your app this here web address: http://945fm.myradio.click/public/api/feed/138

Don’t like podcasts? We’ve got all the episodes so far here to listen to, down the page.

We’re also:

On Air

Listen 10:30am Saturdays, 94.5FM

You can also find out about pirates, queer sex ethics, bacteria computers and more in our Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 archives. Want to shoot us an idea for an episode? Email notwhatyouthink@fbiradio.com: we’d love to know.


Season 4

401: The Unreliability of Witness Testimony (Celine Van Golde)

If you’re a fan of Serial, Law & Order, Making a Murderer, you’ve probably spent a bit of time watching TV police making people confess to their criminal acts and listening to witnesses place someone at the scene of the crime. But for the legal system, memory and confessions aren’t always as reliable as you think they are.

Dr Celine Van Golde is the director of the Sydney Exoneration Project, which examines old convictions to look for wrongful imprisonment.

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Links from this episode:

Read more about the Sydney Exoneration Project.

Celine will be speaking at Wrongful conviction and truth on August 29th, 2017. Tickets are free, but you’ll want to book some.

Since we first recorded this episode, Brendan Dassey’s conviction has been overturned.


402: The Ex. Ex. (Will Scates Frances)

Nowadays the Ex. Ex. is less famous that The XX. But in the early nineteenth century, it was one of the most ambitious journeys in history. The US Exploring Expedition (the Ex. Ex.), traveled the Pacific on a mission of non-violent exploration. But it was an ideal it didn’t always exactly live up to.

Will Scates Frances is writing a PhD about the expedition and the perspectives of its crew. He knows the Ex. Ex.

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Links from this episode:

Read a whole lot more about the Ex. Ex. at the Smithsonian.

Will’s Twitter summary of why the Ex. Ex. is worth knowing about.


403: Grandmas (Kristen Hawkes)

Why is menopause a thing? Only three species really do it: short-finned pilot whales, killer whales and humans beings. It’s biologically strange. And it gives us another biologically strange thing: grandmas.

Dr Kristen Hawkes (University of Utah) is the lead proponent of the Grandmother Hypothesis, which says that grandmas became a thing in human evolution because having them was a pretty good deal, evolutionarily speaking.

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Links from this episode:

Listen to Kristen’s full lecture at the Science Festival at Sydney Uni’s Sydney Ideas podcast. (She’s introduced by local collaborator, Peter Kim.)

The Atlantic also has a bit more about the Grandmother Hypothesis.

If you just want to know about other animals that do go through menopause, National Geographic has you covered.


404: Reading What Spies Write About You (Lars Rutz)

Lars Rutz grew up in the East Berlin bohemian scene in communist Germany in the 80s. Like a lot of people in the East, he wanted to leave. But East Germany was a police state, with an ever-present spy agency, the Stasi.

What is it like to try to escape a place like that? And what is it like to read what the spies wrote about you, years later?

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Links from this episode:

The Stasi really did have a library of smells.

Snowden really did have a statue in Berlin, along with Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Though they started in Berlin, the three statues are part of an art project, Anything to Say, which is touring the world.

Lars’ lawyer was Wolfgang Vogel, who was the other lawyer in Bridge of Spies. (Not the Tom Hanks one.)

Lars was suggested, accidentally, by Cassie Findlay. Much of this story was originally presented by Lars at a talk for the Australian Society of Archivists.


405: How to Close All of Italy’s Asylums, If You’re a Basaglia

In 1978, Italy passed a law to shut down its Asylums. The asylums were ageing, horrfying institutions that weren’t so great at looking after people. Two people at the centre of the change were Franco Basaglia and his wife, Franca Ongaro Basaglia. 

Historian John Foot accidentally discovered this story at a documentary screening, and wrote a book on them. He explains why what they did is such a big thing.

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Links from this episode:

John’s book is available in all the places.

The documentary that moved John was called San Clemente, by  Raymond Depardon and Sophie Ristelhueber.

If you’re interested in how this ‘deinstutionalisation’ works with current mental health services, one of the best round ups is from the US (covering their system, but similar dilemmas). Of course, it’s by John Oliver.


406: Telling One Frog From Another (Jodi Rowley)

It’s not just that there are a lot of different kinds of amphibians. There are a lot of different kinds of frogs. Some fight, some bark, some sing. we have a lot to learn from this (often) threated variety of amphibians. Not just about how frogs work, but also for human benefit as well.

Jodi Rowley curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology for the Australian Museum and the University of New South Wales. She knows frogs.

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Links from this episode:

Jodi has SO MANY FROGS on her website.

You can hear more frog calls on the Australian Museum website. There’s more about singing frogs, missing frogs or vampire frogs there, as well.

This one of Jodi’s pictures of a caecilian.


The Amphibians of the World online reference.

The lowdown on Amphibian Chytrid Fungus.


407: The Milky Way is Missing (Ángel López-Sánchez)

There’s this thing that’s disappearing in cities across the world: the entire Milky Way. Light pollution means that more and more people can’t see our own galaxy in the sky. A view which used to be a fundamental human experience.

Ángel R. López-Sánchez is an astronomer at the the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and Macquarie University, who knows what we’re missing and what we can do about it.

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Links from this episode:

Angel’s blog, the Lined Wolf and his post on light pollution.

Find a good piece of dark sky to find the Milky Way on with the Dark Sky Map.

Or read about Australia’s recently-declared, first Dark Sky Park.


408: Midwives, Doctors and Rabbits (Amelia Dale)

Almost three hundred years ago, a woman called Mary Toft was interrogated a bunch of doctors in London. She was interrogated after having given birth to a litter of rabbits. Or so she claimed.

But, in that era, one of the strangest things about the case wasn’t just the rabbits: it was that doctors — “male midwives” — were muscling into the giving birth business.

Amelia Dale teaches at Sydney University and talked about Toft in her PhD thesis.

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Links from this episode:

Learn more about Mary Toft here, or listen to the BBC’s take on her story.

What Hogarth print where? William Hogarth was a visual satirist, who made fun of the scandal around Toft with this engraving:



Annie Hamilton did all the amazing art on this page. She’s also in Little May, a band you may have heard of. We will vote for her when she runs for office, station president or emperor of Sydney.

Thanks this season to Cassie Findlay, Maggie Patton, Peter Kim and FBi Radio.

Not What You Think is executive produced by Samira, hosted by Zacha Rosen, produced by Olivia Pirie-Griffiths and Lana Wylie, and production consultant is Lynda Delacey. It was originally created by Laura Brierley, Clare Holland and Zacha Rosen.

Songs from Unreliability of Witness Testimony:

Keep Running — New Venusians
Single Serving Jack — The Dust Brothers (Fight Club soundtrack)
Karle Pyaar Karle (from Sachaa Jhutha) — The Bombay Royale
The Cold-Blooded Murder Of Deputy Vilmos Kovacs — Alexandre Desplat (Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack)
Moving On — Nick Cave & Warren Ellis (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford soundtrack)

Songs from the Ex. Ex.:

Reunion (Mistakes Are Ok Remix) — The XX
Stranger in a Room — Jamie xx (ft. Oliver Sim)
Hold Tight — Jamie xx
Fiction (Marcus Worgull Remix) — The XX
Sleep Sound — Jamie xx
Reunion (Ame Remix) — The XX

Songs from Grandmas:

Green, Green Rocky Road — Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack)
1, 2, 3 — Camille
Golden Valves — Orkestra Del Sol
Il Principe — Eusebio
Green, Green Rocky Road — Dave Van Ronk (Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack)
Mis Dos Pequeñas — Orlando Cachaito Lopez (Six Feet Under soundtrack)

Songs from Reading What Spies Write About You:

Love is Blindness — Jack White (Great Gatsby soundtrack)
Brain Retractor — Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
10 Sola Gratia (Part 2) — SQÜRL (Only Lovers Left Alive soundtrack)
La Valse Des Vieux Os — Yann Tiersan (Amelia soundtrack)
Engel — Laurent Pettigrand (Faraway, So Close! soundtrack)
Martha’s Dream — Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Oily Night — Tom Waits
Chasing Down Sadness — Michael Giacchino (Inside Out soundtrack)
Song For Jesse — Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Os Quindins De Ya Ya — Stanley Black (Strictly Ballroom soundtrack)
Drive Away — Thomas Newman (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack)

Songs from How to Close All of Italy’s Asylums:

The Solist in the Living Room — Cold War Kids
La Strada — Nino Rota
8 1/2 — Nino Rota
Paris Mood — Tom Waits

Songs from How to Tell One Frog From Another:

No Hablo Español — Fea
Batonga — Angelique Kidjo
I’ve Got a Fang — They Might Be Giants
Say Sun — Y La Bamba
Orca — Y La Bamba
Pure & Easy — The Dining Rooms (Six Feet Under soundtrack)

Songs from the Milky Way is Disappearing:

Human Orchestra — Mark Bradshaw (Bright Star soundtrack)
As You Wish — stackhat
Still Unbeaten Life — Gang of Youths
Chi Glow — Fishing
Honest — Little Earthquake
Lux Aeterna — Clytus Gottwold (2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack)

Songs from Midwives, Doctors and Rabbits:

Ojos Del Sol — Y La Bamba
Akogare — Super Magic Hats
Copza Luca — Adrian Simionescu and Orchestre Marin Ioan (Gajo Dilo soundtrack)
Slip Away — Kim Boekbinder


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