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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of I Heart Radio. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark, and there's Charles to be Chuck Brian over there and you put the two of us together, put a lid on the jar, maybe poke some holes in the top four, er put a blade of grass in there. Yeah. Maybe some cotton balls. Yep.


Cotton balls with what did they used to knock knock things out with cotton balls.


No formaldehyde. Sure. And you've got stuff you should know. I'm thinking of that scene from ET. Hmm.


Where he brings the frogs back to life.


Yeah. He liberates the frogs. Right. Yeah. Yeah.


And I think he like kisses a girl because it's watching like a soap opera or an old romance movie. I can't remember, but it's great. It is a good movie. I saw it not too long ago and I'm like, wow, this is really good. They also like the whole free range kids thing, man. Those were the days, huh? Yeah.


I mean, we're we're on the border of showing that to my daughter, who's, you know, like five and a half. And Emily, it's like you think she's ready for E.T.. I said, well, I mean it. When when do we want her to see the saddest movie ever? I mean, that's kind of the question.


It's just rather heartbreaking. Yeah. You should show her E.T. the first few minutes of Bambi, the first twenty minutes of up to. All right. Oh, one after each other in some horrible sequence actually. Oh.


She can handle the first part of up. She can handle it.


I'll bet I can't handle it. I know what I'm saying.


I think the older you get, the harder it is, you know. Agreed. So I got a little update on something, by the way. Okay, let's hear it. And I posted this to the stuff you should know. Ami Page is breaking news yesterday, but I figured the world at large should know that as of yesterday, my friend, I'm no longer a squatter.


Oh, congratulations. Wow. It's over. Wow. The long national nightmare has come to an end. Yep.


We I walk to check up to my county of residence and buzzed a lady. She came down to the lobby and picked it up. Right. Are you sure it was the lady who needed it? Well, no, but she was going to give it to the person who did need it. OK, but they're just not allowing people in the county buildings.


But, uh, that was it. So it's done.


I mean, all this came from the squatting started in the squatting episode, which is like ten years old at least, where you talk to.


Yeah, we've been in this house for fifteen years. Yeah. And you had like a little plot of land that you were you had been using. And as we demonstrated in the episode, like you technically had some sort of weird legal claim to it. Now, Chuck, I mean, I think I remember saying, like, it's not entirely clear that that technique even works. It's just if there is squatters, right? Yeah. If there is a legal technique that might work, it's that.


And you proved it right, man. That's some serious long term dedication to that episode.


Well, I just a slight correction. I didn't get it through squatters rights, though. That really had nothing to do with it. Oh. What did it have to do with it had to do with county red tape and mumbo jumbo and some back taxes. And, you know, it just takes I mean, it took it probably took five years from the point where we engaged a real estate lawyer to help us out with it. Like that's how long it took to cut through that red tape.


Wow. That's a lot of red tape. When you bring a lawyer in to get a piece of land you're squatting on. There's a lot of red tape around it.


Yeah, but the lawyer, it wasn't like a ton of work, so that didn't cost that much money in the back. Taxes was not that much money. So it wasn't like a very expensive affair. But we got it in the nick of time too, because I just found out that Georgia Power is they're burying power lines in our neighborhood. And they had contacted the county about that piece of land to, like, put a bunch of equipment on.


Oh, last week. Oh, yeah. Wow. That is a good time. Yeah. Amazing. So no longer a squatter. Wow.


Everything's coming up, Chuck. Today. It is no longer a squatter and as of coming up very soon.


But by the time this comes out, you will be half a century old as well. Oh yeah.


Yeah. So happy. Yeah. Happy birthday, Chuck. Thank you, man. The Ides of March. That crazy.


Yeah. The Big five zero that only comes once, twice, three times in a person's life, you know. Yeah.


Forty is going all right. Middle age but fifty is like oh boy, I'm going downhill.


How does it feel. I mean I don't really care. I'm the same person, but it's definitely a number to be reckoned with in some ways. Right, mentally. Yeah. You know, yeah. I'll ask you in a few years and we'll see what you say.


Okay, that's fine. I should probably just I should probably just fill in the joke grave that I dug for you in that squatted land as a surprise for your birthday. Oh, boy. Now that you say that I didn't realize you were having any kind of struggle with 50, but now I'm not, it's it's fine. It's just when you see it on paper, it's like, oh, boy, OK, who's that?


Well, that's good, because I really didn't feel like going to the trouble of filling it back in.


And when I say see it on paper, I've just been writing the number fifty everywhere. All right.


Well, I'm glad we had all these talks because it turns out that our episode on Biophilia design could have been a little thin otherwise. Chuck.


Yeah, I mean, it's not the most robust episode, but it was kind of fell between short and full length, I think.


Yeah, no, we'll make some hay out of it. And it's actually one of those things like we talked we touched on it a little bit in our How Environmental Psychology Works episode from October of 2019. Not too long to get there. Definitely, definitely tied together. But Biophilia design is certainly its own thing. And if you've been to like a restaurant or a hotel or something pre pandemic, I should say, and you saw that they have like some vines growing on a wall or some succulents growing on a wall or there's, you know, a lot more natural lighting than there used to be or anything like that.


You have been in an area where there is some biophilia design going on.


Exactly. And we should point out that a lot of this material comes from a gentleman. I mean, there are a handful of people that sort of helped pioneer this idea. And one of them is Steven R. Kellert, who is a very much a revered professor at Yale of social ecology at the Yale School of Forestry, which I didn't even know existed at Yale.


Yeah, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. And I'm trying to see I think he just passed away a few years ago, but November 20 was seventh. I'm not sure the year, though. Yeah. This was looking for he was definitely one of the champions of biophysical design. Yeah.


So I think I get the impression that he was one of the ones who really tried to connect science to that that type of design, because there is like, you know, it is extremely trendy right now, like I was saying. But there's a real push toward, you know, backing up the assertions that this is actually good for us. This type of device is good for us with peer reviewed studies. So, you know, hats off to them for doing that, too.


Yeah, I think he passed away four years ago, but that's a good point. It's one thing to say. Plants are nice and a house, and it's another thing to say a design concept can actually improve your health and well-being, which is what we're talking about. I guess we should say what it is, right?


Yeah, yeah. Biophysical design is based on this idea that we humans have evolved to have millions and millions of years of evolution behind us and that most of that evolution took place in the outdoors or at least in deep connection with nature. And it was only recently some people mark the first industrial revolution in Manchester as the real dividing line. But it was only recently that we kind of transitioned away from that deep connection with nature that took place on a daily basis, and that as a result, we've kind of suffered.


And that biophysical design seems to kind of say, well, we you know, we're already kind of stuck in our buildings, we're stuck in our work life. But let's figure out how to incorporate nature into that that way of living so that we can reconnect with it because we really do need it.


Yeah, I think I've seen a couple of studies that verify this, that say that humans generally spend about 90 percent of their time indoors now. And like you said, there was as far as that statistic goes, that is very, very recent. If you look at it relative to how long humans have been around, you know. Yeah, yeah.


I mean, so so there's this idea that if if we have literally evolved to to gain sustenance and an ability to thrive from being connected with nature, the converse of that is that if you take people away from that and stick them into highly artificial built environments like an office building, eight or 10 hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, they're going to start to suffer and deteriorate mentally and physically. And that's kind of the basis of this concept is like, OK, if you if we've got to work like that, let's work more in conjunction with nature.


Yeah. And there's a couple of cool quotes here from, you know, it's it's nothing new that people understand that being among nature is, you know, a generally sort of more pleasing way to live. But if he could read from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson almost said Thoreau, you could they were a weird pair, you know what I mean?


Yeah, well, which reminds me, I think we have a literary correction on today's episode. Oh, boy. Wow. Everything's just coming together.


It is. But he wrote in eighteen forty four second series essays and this is in the mid eighteen hundreds only as far as the masters of the world have called in nature to their aid can they reach the height of magnificence. This is the meaning of their hanging gardens, villas, garden houses, island islands, parks and preserves. So I mean he was kind of straight up saying it in the mid eighteen hundreds that like we can only speak as people when we are surrounded by nature as much as we can be.


And that's why even back then, I guess they were trying to bring the outside in. Right. And Emerson was like, right, guys. And for a long time people were like, yeah, of course. Why would you even say that, you weirdo? And then by about the mid 20th century, all the captains of industry at the time said, you know what to do, Ralph. Yeah, they said nuts to the transcendentalists. We're going a completely opposite direction and we're going to show just how much we've conquered nature.


We're going to do nothing but like straight lines and right angles. And, you know, when the oil embargo comes along in the 70s, we're going to decree by government mandate that buildings have to be so tightly sealed that not a drop of air can possibly escape them. And everything's going to be totally artificial and controlled, including the lighting and everything. And we're going to show that we conquered nature. We don't even need nature. And then in very short order, within just a few decades, people started to be like, I can't I can't live like this.


I didn't see anything directly connected to it.


But I would hazard a really, you know, armchair anecdotal guess that you can trace a lot of the weird things that people do, like mass shootings in office spaces and workplaces and things like that to the environment.


A lot more than people have directly have have traced directly. I'll bet you could.


I agree it's a total guess, but from what I can tell, that seems to be largely in conjunction with a lot of the depth that people have to buy a Felic design investigations.


So that's fine. Yeah, I think it could be a factor for sure. Yeah. There was another gentleman in the 60s named Eric from that sort of. Introduced in the 20th century, this idea of Biophilia, but I think it was Edward O. Wilson who he's kind of known as the, you know, the 21st Century Darwin, he's a biologist and a writer and a philosopher, an ant specialist. But he wrote a book in 1984 called Biophilia Philia.


And I think that was where I think it's Biophilia. I didn't see an eye in that case, but I'm pretty sure it's OK.


Sorry. Go ahead. I didn't mean to correct necessarily. I know that. I know it may be.


But either way, that was I think I think it was the person who coined the term. That's the first use of it. I actually saw of that word.


Yeah, it's biophilia. Like for love of life or love of living things, basically. And I think Edwardo Wilson deserves his own episode. He's an interesting dude, totally as a boy. Chuck, I read an anecdote about him as a boy. He happened to be living in like I think around New Orleans when the first fire ants showed up to North America, they washed ashore somehow, I think from ballasts or something like that, from a shift, a ship's ballast.


And it's like an 11 year old boy. He was smart enough to recognize that they were something new or different and describe them scientifically. I think he was the first person to describe fire ants in North America as an 11 year old kid.


I mean, if your specialty in your life, I mean, had a lot of passions, but if your main life passion is ants, then you're pretty cool in my book. Yeah.


So this whole theory of Biophilia basically says what we were saying, what Biophilia design is based on that, that humans evolved to get their cues in their happiness and their wellbeing and our ability to thrive from our natural settings, and that we just have like a deep need to connect with nature and that when we don't, bad things can happen basically to our wellbeing, even things we don't necessarily put our finger on as being the result of not being connected to nature.


But it's still it's still is it's still what the underlying thing is. And apparently biophysical design, as far as architecture and interior design go, it finds its roots a little more even even more recently than Ben. Edwardo Wilson actually comes out of the 90s when there was a movement to change zoo enclosures to make them more naturally.


That's that's where this whole movement of living plant walls at your local Hyatt hotel lobby comes from zoo enclosures, which is really kind of Eye-Opening when you realize that's the basis of it. I think that's a great place for a medium cliffhanger. I think medium today. All right. We'll be right back after this.


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All right, so a medium cliffhanger, you introduce the idea that it was really in the 90s when they started to redo zoo enclosures where this idea for humans sprung up.


And I guess the only cliffhanger is who kind of helped lead that charge. And it's a psychologist named Judith here. Wagan, I would say here, Volgin, but in America it's probably here. Wagan Yeah, I'm pretty sure at the Seattle Zoo, right. Yeah. She was a graduate student and this was I can't believe this is the ninth I know and not the 60s, but I guess it took a while before we started saying and this was in every zoo, but there were still a lot of zoos then that, you know, would keep a gorilla and a monkey in a cage.


And they sat up and people like Judy said, you know what? Why don't we make this more like their habitat? Because they're experiencing zoo Kosice. They're fighting, they're not social, they're not reproducing. That's a big problem. And out of that was born the same idea for humans, which is funny that it took so long. From the 90s to kind of really take hold more with humans, because we called it inhumane, right, for animals, but for us, I guess it was just fine.


Maybe they just didn't see the connection. Yeah, I suppose they didn't, because the the way that they changed the zoo animals enclosures for the better was to make them much more like their natural habitat. And, you know, the animals that live at the zoo are far more recently removed from their natural habitat. So we can imagine them in a grassland with some trees like a savanna or living among antelope or something like that. All of these techniques that they brought together to make there the places where they lived at zoos, a lot more like the ecosystems that they lived in back home.


When you when you think of humans, you don't think of us living on savannahs or grasslands. But that's the very basis of this idea. This theory of biophilia is that that's where we evolved on the savanna, these big open, grassy meadows with lots of trees and probably some water somewhere trickling by. Just basically everything that any human alive thinks of as an idyllic outdoor place, that that's the kind of setting that we evolved in and that that's the kind of habitat that we need to interact with to just as much as zoo animals does.


And it's like our technology made us forget that we're animals.


What happens? You know what I'm saying? Like, we totally lost that memory. And so I think that's why it wasn't the opposite. Like, oh, we need to make a better habitat for humans and then make it for zoo animals. It was the opposite way around because we don't think of ourselves as as animals any longer.


Yeah, I think we thought our natural habitat is the building.


You know, exactly, so it goes a step further, though, like it's much more than just put in some plants or a fountain that makes a nice trickling sound, they really want to get into sort of the evolutionary aspect of the whole thing, and that if it was a benefit evolutionarily over time, over the the millennia, then that's what's going to contribute to the actual health and well-being.


So it can't be it had to be an actual thing that really improved us for, you know, thousands or millions of years, not just something that maybe went away like or like a desert habitat or something like that. It had to be something in order to, you know, for the science to work. And we'll get to that, something that really contributed as we evolved to our well-being. Yeah.


So, like, again, we come back to that savanna hypothesis, which which means that if you're designing something that kind of seeks to emulate a savannah, well, there's lots of high open spaces. So you might have like a really soaring atrium, lots of trees that you can just put some trees in that atrium. Again, a little bit of a water feature. One of the other big things that's kind of like a foundation of biophysical design is it's like you're saying you can't just put a water feature in and put a tree in and call it a day like there actually needs to be thought into how these things interact and form a cohesive whole.


You know, you you want to see the forest, not the trees when you're creating biophilia design and that they kind of have to to fit together correctly in an intuitive way or else that innate sense that evolved in the savanna that's lodged in all of our brains. We'll know like this is fake and it probably won't have a benefit for us and it might even have a negative benefit if it's not done correctly.


Yeah, like the idea is to create an indoor ecosystem that sort of mimics the outdoors. And a lot of ways like that, the it's bigger. The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. If you really want the individual to have a genuine, you know, improvement in their health and wellbeing. And like I said, not just, hey, this bank put a palm tree in the corner. Right. Isn't isn't it nice to look at.


Yeah, but I mean, it's something it's better than nothing. But I am sure that the fact that seeing a potted plant in a place like a bank, even back in the mid century was not weird or jarring. Like it just looked like, yeah, of course you would do that. There is this kind of like early trace evidence of like this kind of like a cry for help, like, hey, we need something we need something natural in here, even a fake potted plant to fool us into thinking that there's some sort of nature here.


But yeah, Biophilia design basically says forget your potted plant like we need like a whole planning, whole cropping, a whole little like a garden, like a glade, something that that looks natural, not just a single plant in a pot in a corner. That's not good enough.


Yeah. And sort of one of the third tenets is that you have to. Kind of engage and interact with this, there's the idea that Biophilia is what's known as a weak biological tendency instead of hard wired one, and that means if it's a weak one, that means that you've got to work on it and it has to be nurtured. And, you know, maybe this could be employed like instead of a plant wall is very nice. But what's even better is a hallway lined with plants that you have to literally walk through and interact with.


Yeah, like the idea behind this kind of foundational concept is that if you're really creating a biophysical, he designed workplace for your employees, putting, you know, everything you got into the FOIR or the atrium where the reception desk is, it's going to wow the people who come through the doors. But when they pass through, they're entering just a normal office and it loses all of its impact. Like that receptionist is going to be working like gangbusters and probably have the best life they possibly could.


But everybody else who works there, who just passes through the lobby is is not going to really benefit from it. It needs to be kind of constant and it can be ephemeral, like it can be kind of fleeting or passing. But there needs to be like the constant possibility of fleeting and ephemeral contact with nature so that over the course of an entire day, it was virtually constant. It just came in different forms that were kind of fleeting. A good example of this is like the shadows of something changing in the office space as the day progresses.


That's ephemeral, that's fleeting. But there's still shadows, even though they're in different places, in different sizes and shapes and angles throughout the day. The shadows are still there all day and they change in that we feed on. That is kind of the basis of biophysical design that that has an effect on us, a positive one to be able to see that during the day.


Yeah, and I think the idea, too, is there's also, you know, if you are surrounded by or in a in a building that employs powerful design, you're you're developing an emotional attachment to a place you might not ordinarily develop an attachment to. And I think anyone who's ever walked through just a sort of a standard gross office like we used to work in, like our office, we haven't been in it for a while. But it's kind of cool because we have this huge, huge bank of windows, which is nice.


And a lot of people have plants, which is nice, but we've had offices over the years so bad, like just straight nothing but marble, like barely any plants.


It's just bad news. And then like the actual offices were just divided up with, like high high sightlines.


They had to stand on your tiptoes. Just bad news for sure. For sure.


So walking through something like that and then the experience you have emotionally of when you're like at a botanical garden and you're walking through a greenhouse. Right. It's just I mean, I don't know, maybe there are people that don't like things like that, but it's hard to imagine somebody walking through one of these lush, sort of humid greenhouses that just gets, you know, the good ones. It's just packed with stuff everywhere. And you hear water running and like plants are brushing up against you as you move.


I don't know. Many people would just be like, no, thanks. Yeah. You baby out of there. Yeah, for sure.


I mean, I'm sure there are people out there and there's plenty of people that don't like to go camping or be in the woods and stuff like that.


But I'd say even a lot of those people would enjoy a greenhouse experience, right? Yeah, I know.


You know, or at the very least would enjoy prefer a lobby that has that's well done with biosphere, like designed to one that's just sterile and in, you know, Norwegian. I think they're kind of leading the charge on a lot of this. Yeah, weirdly, they are for sure. But Chuck, so, I mean, we kind of reach now the reason why a lot of the big tech companies are leading the way in working with architecture firms and design firms that are pushing Biophilia design on them, is that they're basically trying to subliminally trick you into liking work.


Right. Like you're you're like they want you to form a place attachment to their office so that you stay there more you have fewer sick days. You do more while you're there. You just enjoy yourself there.


And there's really kind of two ways of looking at big corporations getting into biophysical design. And one is that you're you're being manipulated to increase your productivity like your deep, deeply manipulated on an evolutionary, almost genetic level, or that you have to be at work anyway. And they're trying to make it as pleasant as possible for you. Right. I guess it just depends on whether you like a glass half full or half empty kind of person. But those are the two interpretations of huge companies getting into Biophilia design.


And all of them have like Facebook's campus in Menlo Park, the Googleplex, Microsoft's office in Redmond, Convertino, Apple's big old donut UFO. All of them have Amazon's offices. I think they're called Bezos Balls downtown in Seattle.


That's where they call them that. I read it. Prove me wrong, Seattle. Prove me wrong. The all of them are designed with Biophilia design right now.


Yeah, I think you'd have to be fairly cynical when an effort is made to bring a more calming, healthful environment to be like, yeah, see what they're doing here. They're just manipulating me. Oh, I see. Yeah. For real. Who would think that who would think that way. You're not like that at all. All right. So some of the ways that you can I mean, there's sort of indirect, indirect ways of doing this.


Obviously we talked about plants. Lt is a big, big one. And that that first off office we had years ago in Buckhead, I think is what you're talking about.


Our cubicle walls were so high, it was like it was stifling and no light, natural light would come in. I think there were like there were some offices on the outside. So if you had an office, maybe you had a window, but otherwise you were just counting on fluorescent lights above your head, which are the worst. I think we should do a story on fluorescent lighting at some point, for sure. Be kind of cool. But water features are always great.


The sounds of running water, the the visual appeal of running water. I agree, but I feel like there can be too much like I think that what the sound of water in particular is supposed to be something that we hear in passing or at a distance. Like I think if you just heard water trickling all day long, kind of loudly, it might drive you a little bit crazy, you think? I think so. That's just my take on it.


I would dig it. But you have to you know, you might just have to pee too much right now.


Definitely. That's definitely part of it. But no, I like I love the sound of water, too. I find it extremely relaxing. I just think it could be overdone is what I mean. OK, all right.


I hear you like these are sort of the obvious, real natural things that you can bring in, you know, open windows occasionally to get like a real fresh air.


And there yeah, one of the things I saw, Chuck, was was natural ventilation. And I'm sorry, this is a bit of a thing to me. Like, I am totally fascinated by how this this fits into this. What do you mean? So the idea that that, you know, the the buildings of yesteryear, unfortunately, there are a lot of us still work in we're sealed off purposely to make them more energy efficient.


But they're all of the air that passes through is very filtered and artificial and there's nothing coming in from the outside biosphere like design says, no, no, no, don't do that. Like go back to natural ventilation. Like, you're going to have lower energy costs. You're going to have pleasant breezes blowing through. You're going to have changes in temperature that are much more natural, which sounds good. But in practice, it's like, well, what about your what about your computer hardware?


There's a lot of humidity in the air, too, right? What effect is that going to have on all of your employees, computers or the the servers in the basement or whatever? Or, you know, what about when it's cold out? Do you leave the doors open? Like, what do you do about it during the wintertime and then also in the spring? What about your employees who have seasonal allergies? Yeah, so good point.


Like I have like I totally get the need for that. But that is the one part of biophysical design that I'm like this is the thing that's most at odds with, with modern office buildings. They're like like now. Natural air versus, you know, artificially treated air, I don't know how they're figuring that out and I couldn't find a lot on it, but I'm fascinated by that one.


I wonder if it's more like it's not completely one or the other, like you have your HVAC system and everything still. But when the weather agrees, you can open your windows like they're not hermetically sealed like most offices. Yeah, OK.


I saw that there was a it's called a mixed system where you're using both and yeah, it depends on when. But but then, you know, if it's really cold out or whatever it is, everybody's have to be like it's superficial inside for the next few months and then maybe it'll get nice. And I'm just there's got to be a way to conquer that, I think.


Yeah. So I mean, to me, what fascinates me about this whole thing is. I've always been a nature guy, so it's it's obvious to bring in plants and water and stuff like that, I think the more indirect things are really fascinating. There's this place in Portugal. It's I think there are a bunch of them. They're called Second Home. It's a coworking space. But this one in Portugal specifically is well known for having more than 2000 plants.


So that's sort of the obvious one. But they also just in their design, they don't have any straight lines in the office. Yeah, because there are no straight lines in nature. Rarely they don't have matching office chairs and desks and things like that because there's variety in nature. So they'll just have like just different chairs everywhere and like actual they call it fractal complexity that you find in nature in different shapes of things. And I don't think that's the kind of thing where someone would walk in and say, look at all these different office chairs.


I feel so alive. Right. But I think it's just little things like that kind of contribute to the whole as working as a part of that emotional and I guess mental ecosystem.


Yes, that's exactly the point. So, like, what is the dude's name who passed to Kellert? Yeah, Dr. Keller, it was kind of breaking it down into two things. One's direct experience of nature. And then the stuff you're talking about falls under the umbrella of indirect experience of nature, kind of like being worked on subliminally by things like or curved shapes in fractal patterns or using like stone stone flooring.




Overlay material choices, big highly artificial carpet or something like that, or granite countertops as a way of evoking nature because it is still granite. It's just that we've kind of carved it into the shape that that isn't natural. There's lots of straight lines, usually with granite countertops, but it's still a natural material. It's still evokes nature. There's also like using artificial light that's designed to kind of change throughout the course of the day. That's another way to kind of indirectly experience nature, just kind of using suggestions and tricks to stuff you wouldn't put your finger on be like nature.


But it's still having that biosphere like impact on you. Although a lot of what I saw as far as researching is that some of the leaders in this, the space kind of say like, you know, nuts to artificial like get as much like real light in the space as you possibly can. From what I saw, that was just light. That was like the number one thing is natural light, like lighting natural light in.


Yeah. The other thing that I think is really cool is wayfinding, like how a building is laid out. As far as you know, usually it's like you're walking down a street hall, you turn left to go down another straight hall. But if they can mimic nature a little bit more and have hallways that are a little more meandering, I mean, you've got to get where you need to go. Sure. But if it's done in a more natural way, like meander to a central point, which might be the oasis or something like that, I think that's a really cool way to bring it out.


Yeah, we talked a lot about that in the environmental psychology episode, but we talked about it from a different perspective where they would use tricks and techniques to keep you on a path rather than letting you wander off to places you weren't supposed to be. That was part of of wayfinding for sure.


But yeah, that's a fascinating topic, period. Like whenever I go to a like a hospital that's really smartly laid out and you can really hospitals are notorious for people getting lost and not being able to find where you need to go. And if you go to one that has done it right, it's really cool to think about how much effort goes into that.


Yeah, yeah. I love that too. That was one of my favorite parts of that episode and I like this too. But it's just with Biophilia design, it's like, you know, take a left by the mud pools and then, you know, when you run into the pack of wild boars, turn back around because you've gone too far. You go by the mud pools and say hi to Gary from accounting.


And those all day long is crazy for the mud pools. We can never get Gary out of there. Should we take a break and talk about the science?


Yeah, I'm just trying to see if I had any more because there is a lot of indirect and direct experiences of nature. But yeah, I guess that it. OK, sure. In other words, let's do it. This episode is brought to you by IBM, safe or sporty, modern or reliable? We want both. We want a hybrid. Well, so do banks. And that's why they're going hybrid with IBM. A hybrid cloud approach helps them personalize experiences with Watson A.I. while helping keep data secure.


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Oh, I did have one check now that we're back.


It was one of the direct experiences of nature from Dr. Kellert was weather. So my idea for Biosphere design would be to put to paste cotton balls on to a piece of construction paper that's cut out in the shape of a cloud. Put those on the walls here. There. That's the thing that you were trying to think of. Yes. Yeah, that was the thing I decided was worth restating after the break.


No, man, I love a little cotton ball clouds love them, plus their cotton, too.


So it's even more natural because it's a natural material evoking a different part of nature. It's yeah. You want to make your employees heads spin with productivity, make cotton balls clouds and put those on the wall and you could use it as a little pillow during your break time.


Very nice. So science, this is all well and good and can be kind of hippy dippy if you think about it. But is there actual science behind this? And it appears that there is in most cases there's there have been a lot of studies. I found a couple a couple of different ones not in this article, but one was in twenty nineteen in Denmark, kids who had been exposed to greenery had 55 percent less mental health problems later in life.


There were a couple of studies in Norway that found that subjects who did reading an attention based tasks surrounded by plants and greenery improved their scores over time. And there is a lot of talk about. What's called attention restoration theory, which is if you're staring at a screen all day, even taking a minute to go stare out a window at a tree can restore you a little bit.


I thought of a really good analogy for this. If I do say so myself. You know, those grounding rods that we put into the ground outside of our houses and all of our our electrical appliances are connected to it. And it allows we discharge the excess electricity into the ground where it dissipates. I think that's kind of what nature does to us, whether it's gazing out a window or going out into nature. We're like an unburdening ourselves with all of the just crud that has gathered up in the tension that's gathered from staring at that screen or thinking or overexerting ourselves.


We like are able to disperse it into nature. Nature's a big enough reservoir to accept it and we feel better afterward. I think that's kind of close to what we're doing. Yeah, I wonder if we're ever going to find a mechanism for how that actually happens, or is it the opposite where we're actually depleted and then seeing nature recharges us? It's, you know, two different two different versions. Well, I mean, I think the science does back it up.


There was another study from Northwestern in 2013 that found that people who are exposed to natural light more during the workday got an additional 46 minutes of sleep at night. So, yeah, it's not just like improved work productivity and happy feelings. It's like you're getting solid sleep at night. Yeah.


And I mean, like there's just unequivocally, unequivocally a lot of science to back it up, including on a physiological level, things like we we have lower levels of cortisol, our heart rates are lowered. We just generally are physically better off when we have things like a good view of nature or where there's breezes or where especially I saw where we're exposed to even indirect sunlight throughout the day. That has an enormous impact on on our sense of well-being as far as things like anxiety and depression go as well.


So there's a lot of science to back it up.


It's it's what I saw kind of how Kellert put it is there seems to be this like architecture and design wants to figure out how to take this idea and package it so that they can just sell it everywhere as easy as possible. That's just true with all industry and business. Whenever somebody comes up with a really good idea, they want to figure out how to mass produce. It's the American way. Right. And Kellar, it was basically saying, like, there's a real danger in basically laying this out and establishing exactly how to do this, because people will just kind of commodify package it and it will lose it like that.


That's not how biophysical design actually works. Instead, here are the principles of it. Figure out how to make it work in harmony. Right, with a lot of what's called informational richness. So there's a lot going on, but not too much, because if it's too busy or too noisy, then now you've got problems because you have a bunch of distracted employees or a bunch of distracted customers, whoever. There's a lot of balance. But these guys who kind of created this field and then again backed it up, a science kind of laid out the foundation of it and said, now it's up to you, the designer, to figure it out on each different case.


Don't try to package because you're going to lose this if we if we try to commodify it. Interesting. Yeah, I thought that was very hippy dippy. It is. But at the same time, it's a really good it was very wise of him to include that, you know. Yeah.


There was one more study I wanted to mention because it's not just in the workplace, but recuperating in the hospital is actually this is where it can really, really help people. In 1984, the National Institutes of Health published a study that found that people recuperating after surgery had shorter stays in the hospital overall and needed less pain meds, even if just simply they had a garden view as opposed to some other cruddy view, like a brick wall or a parking lot.


Yeah, Roger Oelrich, we talked about him and the environmental psychology of so too, I think, because that was like that basically laid the groundwork for the science backing up Biophilia design. Was that first step? Yeah. Yeah.


Well, what can people do at home? There's a lot you can do at home. You can get yourself a mud pool in some wild boars. That's a good first step. Look out for Gary. Get that really famous banana leaf print wallpaper. Put it everywhere you can. It's just some cotton balls and some construction paper. One thing that that they figured out, there's this company called Bright Green or Terrapin, Bright Green. They're kind of a leader in the field.


They figured out that one of the things that that is an element of biofilms design is something called a refuge where your back is covered or protected. And then you have something overhead, kind of low overhead. So pretty cool. Think about how like when you're in a restaurant and you're at a high backed booth that's up against the corner, that's like this the best it is. It's the best seat in the house. The Mafia can't get you right or you're you know, you're sitting, you know, against with nothing but like a wall or some shrubs or something behind you.


And there's like an umbrella at a cafe overhead, like a little place, a quiet spot for you. There's advice that you should set up a place like that at your home. It could be a high wingback chair or something by a fireplace. It's a place where you feel protected, but also very cozy, too.


Yeah, I love that idea because I'm I'm not crazy about it, but I always try and sit with my back against the wall if I can.


But it's not like, you know, I have to or are also, you know, out. Well, you've got Georgia Power looking for you now, so I would definitely watch my back if I were you to.


Another thing to do, obviously, is plants inside your home, but not just like think about, like we said earlier, about the ecosystem, how these plants work together and groupings of plants and form a little habitat if you can, and do a little bit of research about what plants like each other and pair those little buddies together.


Yeah, that's a big one. But yeah, even if it is just a couple of plants to start, you don't don't wait to start buying plants and bringing them into your house now and also learn how to take care of your plants because plants can be really easy to take care of if you just know what they need in. And you will save a lot of plant lives and a lot of time and trouble for yourself, the green. And then the view is another easy thing that people can do, depending on where you live.


If you have for some reason cover it up your outdoor windows with a bookcase, move the bookcase so that you could look out the window. One of the bases of that Savannah hypothesis is that we evolved to relax or be relaxed by a long range view. Long, long.


What's it called? The thousand Marines there. Oh, yeah, that feels good. A little different, but sure. But that's why when you're doing that, you are zoned out. You're kind of in a Zen trance like state. That's what you're doing. This is kind of like, well, when we're looking at our computers or our phones or something like that, we're doing the opposite of that. So having a nice view, what's called the prospect as far as Biophilia designers are concerned, they can really have a refreshing restorative effect on us, is even physically on our eyeballs.


I love it.


Yeah. I mean, it's really when you dig into it, you're like, oh, this is actually for real. It's hard to read about because the architecture and design fields are possibly the two most pretentious fields the Western world has ever come up with. So reading, writing about architecture and design is really kind of laborious. But when you when you dig into it, it is it is backed up and it does make a lot of sense. I just hope it's not just a passing trend.


You know, that it's here to stay.


Yeah. I think, you know, we redid our house a couple of years ago, and one thing that we wanted to make sure we allotted enough money for was windows and lots of windows. And unfortunately, windows are one of the more expensive things in a house.


So my advice to people, if you are redoing your home or something like that or renovating highballs cotton balls and try and set aside dough and don't skimp on the windows if you can, you know, even if it means maybe losing something else, because that that natural light is huge.


Go from one bathroom to a zero bathroom with more windows. Lots of drastic, but. Yeah. Well, OK, Chuck, good advice to end the episode on you guys. Any other advice?


Well, just one more little interesting thing. If you hear a plan company talk about all these plants will purify the air in your home. That's kind of not true.


That sounds from. Yeah.


I mean, plants are always good for the air. But apparently the Atlantic issued a report that said if you really want to clean the air in a 10 by 10 foot room, you would need like 1000 house plants in there. Yeah, I think to effectively clean. I saw that.


But hey, but it's still great. Get a thousand house plants in your 10 by 10 room. Just learn to live among them.


It's just once they start talking to you, then it's time to go outside. Right. You got anything else now?


Nothing else, I promise. Well, if you want to know more about Biophilia design, go online and start looking at pictures and maybe go to a local Embassy Suites because they've been doing it in their lobbies for years. And to good effect, if you ask me. And since I shouted out Embassy Suites, that means it's time for listener mail.


This is a literary correction and I can't believe this snuck past me and you, but from your mouth.


OK, guys, I want to preface by saying I'm very disappointed in myself for writing this email. I feel bad that the first time I've written to you is with a correction. But my inner English major can't resist an episode on Dragons. Josh made a reference to William Blake's epic poem, Paradise Lost. Yeah, but that was John Milton. We and Blake lived over a century later, but wrote a lot of poetry on biblical themes as well.


Confusingly, Blake also wrote his own epic poem called Milton, which was inspired by the story of Milton's writing Paradise Lost. Gosh, it is a little confusing. And Jenna says, I'm sorry to nit pick, but also had to mention that the fairy queen was written by Edmund Spencer rather than Spencer Edmund. I think I think between that I think I said Spencer, comma Edmund.


Incidentally, I think Milton and Blake would both make great topics. Milton was an incredibly prolific writer who dealt with the onset of blindness as he wrote Paradise Lost. And Blake was a true Renaissance man who spearheaded the romantic movement. Spencer's life is maybe not quite so exciting, but you too would find a way to make it interesting, as you do with everything. Thank you to you and Jerry for making such a great show. This kept me company over the past year, especially for handling both fun and difficult topics in such a comprehensive and thoughtful way.


Love, Jenna. That is a very lovely email. Yes, lovely is a perfect word for that.


Hopefully Jenna agrees she's the English major, so she would know if you want to get in touch of this like Jenna did in a very nice way. We love that. You can send us an email to stuff podcast that I heart radio dot com. Stuff you should know is a production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts, my heart radio visit that I heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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