Daily Audio Program

Daily Audio Program
Daily Audio Program Index




Announcing Sacred Mounds, a novel of Magical Realism and Historical Fantasy from Jim Metzner, with a foreword by Hutke Fields, principal chief of the Natchez Nation.
Cyclonic hordes of insects, a telepathic despot, body-swapping sex - just a few of the surprises Salvador Samuels encounters when he is swept back to pre-colonial times, walking in the moccasins of a blind Indian - who, in turn, has been transported into Salvador's body in present-day America. Sacred Mounds Book Cover Four hundred years apart, they are bound by a mission to rescue our world, aided by the mysterious presence of the mounds. Thousands of these ancient earthworks once dotted the landscape of North America. We still don't know why they were created. Sacred Mounds suggests they are as important today as when they were made over a thousand years ago. Sacred Mounds weaves the stories of two men, each a stranger in a strange land. With the help of two remarkable women, they must find a way to save our planet and return home.
iTunes   Twitter   Facebook   RSS feed available here
Table Tennis: Intro: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Apr 10, 2003
Scientist: Rufford Harrison

Table Tennis: Intro

Table Tennis: Intro
Table tennis is not just a recreational activity, but an intense competition played at lightning speed. Officials are pondering how might they slow the game down?


ambience: table tennis

Most people think of table tennis as a leisurely, recreational game, but to the pros, it's an intense competition carried on at lightning speed. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Now, each point in a professional table tennis match lasts only for three or four hits, including the serve, and that's no surprise when you consider that the balls are being hit at speeds of up to 125 miles an hour, giving the receiving players only a fraction of a second to decide on their next move. Rufford Harrison, Chairman of the Equipment Committee for the International Table Tennis Federation, would like to see the games slowed down for the benefit of the spectator.

"He can't look at the play and figure out what player X is trying to do to player Y, for instance, because by the time he's got it all figured out, the rally was over long ago. It's much too quick. And my problem, as Chairman of the Equipment Committee, is to devise some way to slow it down a little and make the rally longer."

"So how can we change the characteristics of the racket to slow it down a little bit? One is to change the properties of the rubber itself. You can reduce it's springiness perpendiculars to the blade. You can reduce it's elasticity in the direction parallel to the blade. We can put limits on these properties. But supposing someone comes to a tournament with a racket that's out of bounds. It's too elastic, too springy. How does a referee know that he's cheating?"

Well, says Harrison, the answer is that the referee doesn't know, and so for the time being, these matches will have to continue at breakneck speed. Now in our next program we'll find out why, thanks to chemistry, that ping pong ball is traveling so fast.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.