The surprising connections in science and technology that give you the Big Picture.
Astronomer Seth Shostak and science journalist Molly Bentley are joined each week by leading researchers, techies, and journalists to provide a smart and humorous take on science.
Our regular "Skeptic Check" episodes cast a critical eye on pseudoscience.
End of Eternity
Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe has several possible endings. Will there be a dramatic Big Rip or a Big Chill¬ – also known as the heat death of the universe – in trillions of years? Or will vacuum decay, which could theoretically happen at any moment, do us in? Perhaps the death of a tiny particle – the proton – will bring about the end. We contemplate big picture endings in this episode, and whether one could be brought about by our own machine creations.
Skeptic Check: Flat Earth
Flat Earthers believe that our planet resembles not a slightly squashed grapefruit but a thick pancake. We look at the difference between a truly scientific examination of extraordinary claims and approaches that feel and look science-y but aren’t. One man uses telescopes and balloons in the desert to demonstrate that the Earth is a globe, while a biologist runs a test on the waters of Loch Ness to see if it contains prehistoric reptile DNA.
Why create more landfill? Resist the urge to toss those old sneakers or last year’s smart phone. Instead, let global junk entrepreneurs repurpose them as they turn trash to treasure. Meanwhile, right-to-repair advocates fight for legislation that would help you fix your electronic devices. And, if you toss food scraps down the drain, are you contributing to a “fatberg” horror in the sewer?
Evolution has outfitted some animals with a highly effective mechanism for saying “back off!”. Venoms can ward off predators and disable prey, and some can even be chemically altered into life-saving drugs. Plus, the King of Pain - a scientist who has been stung by more than 80 species of insects to learn more about venom. He describes the worst.
Volcanic Mind Melt
The more than a thousand volcanoes that dapple Earth’s surface mark the edges of tectonic plates, spewing hot gas and ash, or boiling over with lava. Meet a few currently-active hot heads, uncover some historical eruptions, and hear how much notice volcanologists can give about that next eruption.
Skeptic Check: Useful Delusion
Can self-deception be useful? In a time of Covid, we emphasize the necessity of thinking rationally about our behavior and avoiding unscientific choices, such as spurning vaccines. But are there other situations when delusional thinking can help us thrive?
Lets Stick together episode - one of the best
You have to listen to this one. Wait to you learn what other animal uses and controls fire to their own ends. Amazing. Also - chimps can't stand not knowing every chimp that they see. But - yep humans don't care.
Thanks so much to the BPS staff members for producing such a valuable and high quality science program. I love it.
A show for real fans
This show is a breath of fresh air. I should know, I'm a true fan.