12 episodes

Each week we talk to academic experts around the world to help unpick the context behind the headlines – and hear from scholars carrying out brand new research about how the world works. A podcast from The Conversation.
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The Conversation Weekly The Conversation

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    • 4.4 • 34 Ratings

Each week we talk to academic experts around the world to help unpick the context behind the headlines – and hear from scholars carrying out brand new research about how the world works. A podcast from The Conversation.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The colourful feathered world of what dinosaurs really looked like + Israel’s post-election foreign policy

    The colourful feathered world of what dinosaurs really looked like + Israel’s post-election foreign policy

    In this episode, how new discoveries continue to change our understanding of what dinosaurs looked like – and are helping to shed light on bigger questions about evolution. And after Israel’s fourth election in two years ended in another political stalemate, a foreign policy expert explains what this could mean for the Middle East. Welcome to episode 11 of The Conversation Weekly, the world explained by experts. 
    Ever since palaeontologists started classifying fossils and bones as dinosaurs in the early 19th century, artists have been using them to try and imagine what dinosaurs looked like. But, however much Hollywood may have instilled a certain vision of dinosaurs into our minds in recent decades, we’re still a long way off having all the answers about what dinosaurs actually looked like. 
    We speak to two palaeontologists about what new evidence is emerging and how our dinosaur imaginings have changed. Maria McNamara, professor of palaeobiology at University College Cork in Ireland, explains about the, at times controversial, history of feathered dinosaurs – and what new information is starting to emerge about dinosaur colour. And Nicolas Campione, senior lecturer in palaeobiology at the University of New England in Australia, tells us the two main techniques palaeontologists have used for estimating the size of dinosaurs. 
    In our second story, we head to Israel, where coalition negotiations are continuing following elections on March 23. Whatever happens next will have ramifications for Israel’s foreign policy, which is closely tied with domestic politics. Amnon Aran, senior lecturer in international politics of the Middle East, at City, University of London, talks us through how history could inform what happens next, and what the foreign policy stakes are for whoever takes the reins of the next Israeli government. 
    And Eva Catalán, associate editor at The Conversation in Spain, gives us her recommended reads.
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl.
    If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here. To get in touch, find us on Twitter @TC_Audio or on Instagram at theconversationdotcom. Or you can email us on podcast@theconversation.com. Full credits for this episode can be found here. A transcript of this episode is available here.
     
    Further reading:
    Prehistoric pigments reveal how melanin has shaped bird and mammal evolution, by Maria McNamara, Tiffany Slater and Valentina Rossi, University College CorkThe mystery of feather origins: how fluffy pterosaurs have reignited debate, by Maria McNamara, University College Cork and Zixiao Yang, Nanjing UniversityHow do you weigh a dinosaur? There are two ways, and it turns out they’re both right, by Nicolas Campione, University of New EnglandLargest ever flying creatures had longer necks than giraffes – we found out how these pterosaurs kept their heads up, by David Martill, University of Portsmouth and Cariad Williams, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGodzilla vs. Kong: A functional morphologist uses science to pick a winner, by Kiersten Formoso, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesStark choice for Israel as voters head to polls for fourth time in two years, by Amnon Aran, City, University of LondonIsrael elections: Netanyahu may hold on to power, but political paralysis will remain, by Ran Porat, Monash UniversityIsrael election: why is Palestine no longer an important campaign issue?, by Peter Malcontent, Utrecht UniversityWhat can statistics tell us about vaccine safety?, by Virgilio Gómez Rubio, University of Castilla-La Mancha and Anabel Forte Deltell, University of València (in Spanish)The success of influencers in their use of the Spanish language: idiolects and emotions in social net

    • 39 min
    The zombie company problem and what it means for our economies

    The zombie company problem and what it means for our economies

    In this episode, why some economists are worried about a growing army of "zombie companies" with lots of debts – and what this could mean for the shape of our economies. And the researchers who've found a new way to prevent predators from eating the eggs of endangered birds – via a form of biological, psychological warfare. Welcome to episode 10 of The Conversation Weekly, the world explained by experts.
    With interest rates at record lows, many companies have been able to borrow money at very little cost. This cheap cash, which was flooding financial markets before the pandemic began, led some companies to rack up big debts. Economists call these “zombie companies” – firms that may struggle to pay the interest on their large debts. It’s a problem that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, as revenues dried up in many sectors of the economy. Karl Schmedders, professor of finance at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, explains how zombie companies are born, why the pandemic could have made the problem worse and what might happen next. And Sandy Brian Hager, senior lecturer in international political economy at City, University of London, explains his research about why the size of a company has a bearing on the shape of the recovery ahead.
    In our second story, we hear about a new technique to protect endangered birds whose nests are often attacked by invasive predators. Scientists used fake smells to trick predators such as ferrets and hedgehogs into ignoring the birds' eggs. Catherine Price, postdoctoral researcher in conservation biology at the University of Sydney, tells us what happened when they tested the idea in the Mackenzie Basin on New Zealand's South Island.
    And Luthfi Dzulfikar, associate editor at The Conversation in Indonesia, gives us his recommended reads. 
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl.
    If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here. To get in touch, find us on Twitter @TC_Audio or on Instagram at theconversationdotcom. Or you can email us on podcast@theconversation.com. Full credits for this episode can be found here.
    Further reading
    Takeovers: a tidal wave of buyouts is coming in 2021 – here’s what it means, by Karl Schmedders and Patrick Reinmoeller, International Institute for Management Development (IMD)Attack of zombie companies: don’t let them eat bailouts that are vital to restore the economy, by Robert Earle, University of Zürich; Jung Park and Karl Schmedders, International Institute for Management Development (IMD)Giant firms have a hidden borrowing advantage that has helped keep them on top for decades – new research, by Sandy Brian Hager, City, University of London and Joseph Baines, King's College LondonBiggest companies pay the least tax, leaving society more vulnerable to pandemic – new research, by Sandy Brian Hager, City, University of London and Joseph Baines, King's College LondonScientists used ‘fake news’ to stop predators killing endangered birds — and the result was remarkable, by Peter Banks, University of Sydney and Catherine Price, University of SydneyA study on the undocumented shows the glaring inequality gap in Indonesia's civil registration system, by Widi Sari, Harriz Jati, Meutia Aulia Rahmi, and Santi Kusumaningrum, PUSKAPA (in Bahasa Indonesia)National Film Day: Indonesia's young "santri" are producing film to preserve and criticize the Islamic boarding school tradition, by Ahmad Nuril Huda, Universitas Islam Negeri Raden Intan Lampung (in Bahasa Indonesia)
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    • 38 min
    A new force of nature? The inside story of fresh evidence from Cern that's exciting physicists

    A new force of nature? The inside story of fresh evidence from Cern that's exciting physicists

    This week, the inside story of how scientists working at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider found tantalising new evidence which could mean we have to rethink what we know about the universe. And an update on the situation for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar living in Bangladesh after a deadly fire swept through a refugee camp there. Welcome to episode 9 of The Conversation Weekly, the world explained by experts.
    In late March, particle physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive particle accelerator at Cern in Geneva, announced, tentatively, that they’d had a bit of a breakthrough. If what they think they’ve seen is proven correct, it could mean evidence for brand new physics – perhaps even a new force of nature. We get the inside story from Harry Cliff, a particle physicist at the University of Cambridge who works on the LHCb, one of Cern's four giant experiments. And Celine Boehm, professor and head of physics at the University of Sydney, explains the bigger picture of where this all fits into the world of theoretical physics, including the ongoing hunt for dark matter.
    In our second story, Rubayat Jesmin, a PhD candidate at Binghamton University in New York explains why the situation got even more precarious situation for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, after a fire ripped through one of the camps where many were living in Bangladesh.
    And Nehal El-Hadi, science and technology editor at The Conversation in Toronto, gives us some recommended reading. 
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl.
    If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here. To get in touch, find us on Twitter @TC_Audio or on Instagram at theconversationdotcom. Or you can email us on podcast@theconversation.com. Full credits for this episode can be found here. And a transcript is available here.
    Further reading
    Evidence of brand new physics at Cern? Why we’re cautiously optimistic about our new findings, by Harry Cliff, University of Cambridge; Konstantinos Alexandros Petridis, University of Bristol, and Paula Alvarez Cartelle, University of CambridgeNew physics at the Large Hadron Collider? Scientists are excited, but it’s too soon to be sure, by Sam Baron, Australian Catholic UniversityThe Standard Model of particle physics: The absolutely amazing theory of almost everything, by Glenn Starkman, Case Western Reserve UniversityWithout school, a ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya refugee children face uncertain future, by Rubayat Jesmin, Binghamton University, State University of New YorkWe know how to cut off the financial valve to Myanmar’s military. The world just needs the resolve to act, by Jonathan Liljeblad, Australian National UniversityResistance to military regime in Myanmar mounts as nurses, bankers join protests – despite bloody crackdown, by Tharaphi Than, Northern Illinois UniversityPreviously thought to be science fiction, a planet in a triple-star system has been discovered, by Samantha Lawler, University of ReginaBursting social bubbles after COVID-19 will make cities happier and healthier again, by Meg Holden, Atiya Mahmood, Ghazaleh Akbarnejad, Lainey Martin and Meghan Winters at Simon Fraser University
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    • 38 min
    The great remote work experiment – what happens next? Podcast

    The great remote work experiment – what happens next? Podcast

    In this episode of The Conversation Weekly, four experts dissect the impact a year of working from home has had on employees and the companies they work for — and what a more hybrid future might look like. And we talk to a researcher who asked people to sit in bath tubs full of ice cold water to find out why some of us are able to stand the cold better than others.
    For many people who can do their job from home, the pandemic meant a sudden shift from office-based to remote working. But a year of working from home, has taken its toll on some. We hear from Marie-Colombe Afota, assistant professor in leadership, IÉSEG School of Management in France on her new research into remote working during the pandemic, and Dave Cook, PhD candidate in anthropology at University College London, explains why burnout has become a public health issue. Jean-Nicolas Reyt, assistant professor at McGill University in Montreal, tells us how the view of chief executives towards remote working shifted over the past year and why. And Ruchi Sinha gives us a view of the conversations going on in Australia where hybrid working is already becoming a reality.
    In our second story, we talk to Victoria Wyckelsma, postdoctoral research fellow in muscle physiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, about her new study which revealed how our genes influence how resistant we are to cold temperatures.
    And Sunanda Creagh from The Conversation in Australia gives us some recommended reading about the recent floods in Sydney. 
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl.
    If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here. To get in touch, find us on Twitter @TC_Audio or on Instagram at theconversationdotcom. Or you can email us on podcast@theconversation.com. Full credits for this episode can be found here.
    Further reading
    COVID a year on: inequalities and anxieties about returning to workplaces are becoming clearer, by Jane Parry and Michalis Veliziotis, University of SouthamptonFaced by their employers' scepticism, remote workers are make themselves more available to signal their engagement, by Marie-Colombe Afota, IÉSEG School of Management; Ariane Ollier-Malaterre and Yanick Provost Savard, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); and Emmanuelle Léon, ESCP Business SchoolWork-life balance in a pandemic: a public health issue we cannot ignore, by Dave Cook, UCL; Anna Rudnicka, UCL, and Joseph Newbold, Northumbria University, NewcastleWhat Canada’s top CEOs think about remote work, by Jean-Nicolas Reyt, McGill UniversityYour genetics influence how resilient you are to cold temperatures – new research, by Victoria Wyckelsma, Karolinska Institutet and Peter John Houweling, Murdoch Children's Research Institute‘They lost our receipts three times’: how getting an insurance payout can be a full-time job, by Chloe Lucas, University of TasmaniaWhy do people try to drive through floodwater or leave it too late to flee? Psychology offers some answers, by Garry Stevens, Western Sydney University; Mel Taylor, Macquarie University, and Spyros Schismenos, Western Sydney University

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    • 36 min
    COVID-19 caused the biggest drop in carbon emissions ever – how do we make it last?

    COVID-19 caused the biggest drop in carbon emissions ever – how do we make it last?

    In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast we drill down into the impact coronavirus lockdowns had on global carbon emissions – and ask what this means for the fight against climate change as governments turn their focus on the recovery. And we hear how the pandemic exacerbated the hardships faced by migrant workers in Canada. 
    Corinne Le Quéré, Professor of Climate Change Science at the University of East Anglia, tells globla carbon emissions dropped 7% in 2020 – by 2.6 billion tonnes. While this was the biggest drop ever, everything is relative. She puts the figures into perspective for us about what was happening before the pandemic, and what needs to happen now for the world to reach its targets under the Paris Agreement. Click here to explore a graphic she's made with her team, exploring this history of emissions around the world.
    And we also talk to Steve Westlake, a PhD researcher at Cardiff University, about his research into what influences our behaviour when it comes to reducing carbon emissions -- and why he thinks individual actions still matter.
    We’re also joined in this episode by The Conversation’s Vinita Srivastava, host of Don’t Call Me Resilient, a new podcast about race. She introduces a conversation she had with Min Sook Lee, Assistant Professor in Documentary Film at OCAD University in Toronto, on the harsh conditions, isolation and precarious working conditions faced by migrant farm workers in Canada.
    And Wale Fatade from The Conversation in Lagos, Nigeria, gives us some recommended reading. 
    The Conversation Weekly is hosted by Gemma Ware and Dan Merino. The show is co-produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. Visit The Conversation for full credits. If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here. To get in touch, find us on Twitter @TC_Audio or on Instagram at theconversationdotcom. Or you can email us on podcast@theconversation.com
    Further reading

    We’ve made progress to curb global emissions. But it’s a fraction of what’s needed, Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia and colleagues.Climate change: yes, your individual action does make a difference, Steve Westlake, Cardiff UniversityCoronavirus lockdown will have ‘negligible’ impact on the climate – new study, Piers Forster, University of Leeds How we treat migrant workers who put food on our tables: Don’t Call Me Resilient Episode 4, by The ConversationMigrant worker segregation doesn’t work: COVID-19 lessons from Southeast Asia by Peter Vandergeest, York University, Canada; Melissa Marschke, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa, and Peter Duker, York University, Canada

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    • 37 min
    COVID-19: where does the WHO go from here?

    COVID-19: where does the WHO go from here?

    In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, three experts in global health explain why COVID-19 has been a moment of reckoning for the World Health Organization (WHO), and where it goes from here. And to mark one year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we hear from Conversation editors around the world on the situation where they live right now.
    The WHO had a torrid 2020. Although it declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern in late January, much of the world was slow to react. And it wasn’t until March 11, when the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described it as a pandemic, that countries began to take the virus seriously and began locking down. 
    In this episode, we talk to three experts about where the WHO goes from here. Peter Gluckman, former scientific advisor to the prime minister of New Zealand and Director of Koi Tū, the Center for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland, says world leaders should use this moment as a catalyst for reform. Ana Amaya, Assistant Professor at Pace University and an Associate Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration studies, tells us the current global health system is no longer acceptable to many developing countries in the global south. And Andrew Lakoff, Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California, explains what process of inquiry the WHO went through after the H1N1 and Ebola epidemics, and why apportioning responsibility for failures is crucial in planning for the future.
    The Conversation Weekly is hosted by Gemma Ware and Dan Merino. The show is co-produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. Visit The Conversation for full credits. If you'd like to sign up for The Conversation's free daily newsletter, please subscribe here.
    Further reading
    You can read a series of articles on The Conversation marking the one-year anniversary of WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic here. Meanwhile, here are some of the articles we've mentioned in this episode, plus a few more:
    WHO reform: a call for an early-warning protocol for infectious diseases, by Peter Gluckman, University of Auckland and Andrew Gillespie, University of WaikatoWhy the WHO, often under fire, has a tough balance to strike in its efforts to address health emergencies, by Andrew Lakoff, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesA year of COVID-19 lockdown is putting kids at risk of allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, by Byram W. Bridle, University of GuelphCOVID-19 treatments: what are the most promising leads, by Dominique Costagliola, Inserm (in French)After a year of pain, here’s how the COVID-19 pandemic could play out in 2021 and beyond, by Michael Toole, Burnet InstituteCoronavirus one year on: two countries that got it right, and three that got it wrong, by Darren Lilleker, Bournemouth UniversityOne year of the pandemic and we continue to look for answers, by Ildefonso Hernández Aguado and Blanca Lumbreras Lacarra, Universidad Miguel Hernández (in Spanish)
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    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

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34 Ratings

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