Things I Learned From the Radio Last Week (w/e April 21, 2013)

In which The Author has his horizons broadened by the BBC

As regular readers probably know, I don’t have a TV at home. Instead, I spend most of my time in the house with the radio on. I’m pleased to observe that, some ninety years after its inception, the BBC is maintaining Lord Reith’s original brief to ‘educate, inform, and entertain.’ I’ve posted a couple of these updates on Facebook already, and now I hope to bring you a regular digest of three interesting things I learned during the previous week’s listening.
  • A female panda comes into oestrus for only two or three days once a year (PM, Radio 4, Friday.)
  • The earliest surviving audio ‘recording’ dates from 1860. It’s a phonautograph print of someone singing Au clair de la lune. The inventor, Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, lacked the technology to play it back, and it remained unheard until 2008. (Noise: a human history, Radio 4, Friday.)
  • Norwegian composers and musicians get up to some very strange things during those long winter evenings. (Hear and Now, Radio 3, Saturday.)