Podcast Lookout: Nature of the Bear

'Poor little bear!' by John Bauer (1882-1918) Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty

I spent a fair amount of time in the car over Thanksgiving break and caught up on a few of my favorite non-Stuff podcasts -- and a couple of them tie nicely into our recent episodes on zoophilia and humanity's earliest visions of human/animal hybrid monstrosities.

First up, CBC Radio's "Ideas with Paul Kennedy" presents "Roaming Imagination: What the stories we tell about bears say about us." Ideas always does a stellar job and this episode is no exception, exploring the mythic, psychological and historic dimensions of our relationships with bears. They discuss everything from early human encounters with the animals to Marian Engel's erotic novel "Bear."

I recommend chasing this episode with the "Invisibilia" episode "Reality," which explores the subject of conflicting and unflinching world views through humanity's interactions with bears. Specifically, they visit Eagle's Nest Township in Minnesota, where one side views black bears as wild animals to be avoided, and the other sees them as gentle creatures to feed and befriend.

These episodes will certainly expand your appreciation for bear myths, legends and fictions -- as well as humanity's complex relationship with Earth's other apex omnivore.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.