A Note on “Rhythm as Necessity”

KobeIn Jade Simmon’s discussion on the necessity of rhythm in human interaction to the Brittain Fellows on Monday, October 10th, I was reminded of a Radiolab podcast from a while back on how two physicists explained the nature of urban life based on the rhythm created by its inhabitants. For Radiolab newbies, this NY-based NPR show reports on the intersection between science, philosophy, and society. In this specific episode, the show discussed how these two scientists measured the number of footsteps of inhabitants per unit of time and found that each city formed its own unique rhythmic beat. The scientist then hypothesized that there is a correlation between a city’s unique beat and its living conditions, for example the number of libraries, the crime rate, even the number of disease incidents per year at a given city. When they finally compared these beats among various cities, they concluded that these living conditions, including the unique beats produced, were determined by a city’s size. In other words, size was the largest determinant of a city’s living conditions, including the average walking rhythm of its inhabitants. Several months after Radiolab aired this report, the New York Times Magazine also composed a piece (titled “A Physicist Solves the City“) on the two scientists involved in this research. Rhythm, apparently, is somewhat infectious.

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Sipai Klein

About Sipai Klein

I teach courses in document design, technical, scientific, professional, and intercultural communication. I completed my PhD at New Mexico State University. My dissertation examined the multimodal composition process of three experienced teachers who spent a semester designing instructional videos to be delivered online to students. In this study, I investigated the writing decisions these teachers made as they transitioned from delivering course material in print-based format to those that are multimodal. My current research interests include new media in the workplace, intercultural document design, and rhetorical theory of contemporary communication practices.
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