A Note from Sasha
From my early childhood, my parents, astronomer Carl Sagan and writer-producer Ann Druyan, instilled in me a cosmic perspective: the Earth is but one little planet in a vast universe. Growing up in our home, the idea of how we would appear to extraterrestrials was fodder for both stimulating discussion and intense laughter. How would we explain ourselves? Not just our serious shortcomings as a species, but our idiosyncrasies, our oddities, our wonderful weirdness. How would you describe an engagement ring to someone who has no context? What about a sweet sixteen? Saying “bless you” after a sneeze, but never after a burp? Or setting off fireworks to celebrate national independence?
Why do we do things the way we do them?
As a new parent, I find that explaining our traditions and rituals to a small child is not so different from explaining them to an imaginary alien. For years I’ve dreamed of creating a podcast that reframes the familiar and explores human quirks. On Strange Customs, I talk to an array of very funny, very smart people—actors, writers, historians, and scholars, who share their fascinating insights on the personal and the planetary. Taking a step back to look at ourselves from afar has made me love our strange species even more.
Join me for all the weirdness and wonder of Strange Customs, from OnlySky Media, wherever you get your podcasts.
Sasha Sagan talks to astrophysicist SARAFINA EL-BADRY NANCE about the way we bring the world into our awareness and keep it there.
We’ll also hear from USC neuroscience researcher MARY HELEN IMMORDINO-YANG about the unexpected ways we achieve this everyday process.
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About the podcast
Strange Customs is an ongoing conversation with smart, funny, interesting people about the things we do without thinking. Host Sasha Sagan brings an earthquake of perspective, making the strange familiar and the familiar strange.
host Sasha Sagan