Radio Review

This course has subjected me to BBC Radio 3. I need to call ChildLine:
The Essay
BBC Radio 3
11 to 11.15 pm.

AS PART of his continued series The Essay, Hugh Cunningham studies the reasonably modern social preoccupation with the balance between work and leisure time.

Britain, as Cunningham describes, has always been a society orientated around the need for hard work. If those in the 19th century knew how much time and effort we spend debating how to use our leisure time, it would have provoked astonishment. The general consensus was a man perfects himself through hard work, the most noble of things.

The rise of Marxism provided a new strategy. He believed that our ability to apply ourselves to work was what distinguished ourselves from animals but also alienated man from his true nature.

An utopic vision was born by three factory owners called Carlisle, Ruskin and Morris, who are recognised as some of the founding fathers of the labour movement. They believed work could be at once individually fulfilling and socially necessary.

Unfortunately, this has never been realised and, although our working lives can now be characterised as less physical, it can be as monotonous and is accompanied by more pressure.

We have now, Cunningham says, become saturated with the idea of how our work defines our identity and by impinges on our family lives. This, at least, is a sign of progress.

The Ocean- What Lies Beneath
BBC Radio 4
9 – 9.30pm.

Man may have walked on the moon and worked out a way to communicate with each other from every corner of the earth in which we populate so comprehensively, but one aspect of our world remains largely unknown – the ocean.

BBC Radio 4’s programme What Lies Beneath, presented by Gabriel Walker, argued that we may be on the verge of a golden age of discovery as we begin to explore and harvest coral reefs for the dense chemical compounds which its animals naturally produce as a means of survival.

“We have spent centuries exploring the land,” said scientist Leon Sann. “This is the century of the sea.”

In an age where we are faced with increasingly damaging and destructive diseases – AIDS, cancer, superbugs and Alzheimer’s disease – we are ignoring a vast resource of potential answers, an “immeasurable chemical factory.”

Talking about the chemicals secreted from sea anemones found in the coral reef, scientist William Fenickle said: “These are compounds that have evolved over millions of years, and are so much more developed than anything we can possibly hope to make in a lab. It is a nice idea that creatures that are protecting themselves can also be used to protect us.”

The show communicated how excited scientists are by the new information that could be discovered and cures to be developed. The show also voiced concerns that coral reef is already in particular danger from intensive tourism and irresponsible fishing.

“Its exploration for the purpose of exploitation,” said Walker.


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