25 épisodes

Join host Marcus Smith for conversations that invite you to discover, explore, and reengage with the wonders of the world around you. Weekdays at 2p ET/11a PT

Constant Wonder BYUradio

    • Culture et société

Join host Marcus Smith for conversations that invite you to discover, explore, and reengage with the wonders of the world around you. Weekdays at 2p ET/11a PT

    Ancient Gum, Prehistoric Baby Bottles and Lullabies, Ice Mummies, Ötzi the Iceman

    Ancient Gum, Prehistoric Baby Bottles and Lullabies, Ice Mummies, Ötzi the Iceman

    What 5,700-year-old Gum Tells us About the People Who Chewed It
    Guest: Hannes Schroeder, Associate Professor, Archaeology, GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen
    How DNA found in 5,700-year-old chewed birch pitch can reveal the physical appearance and eating habits of ancient people.
     
    Prehistoric Sippy Cups
    Guest: Julie Dunne, Biomolecular Archaeologist, University of Bristol
    Prehistoric parents used sippy cups in animal shapes, not unlike our plastic versions.
     
    Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks
    Guest: Eckart Frahm, Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University
    There are striking similarities between our modern lives and those of the Mesopotamians thousands of years ago: they sang lullabies, kept cookbooks, complained about their parents. Lucky for us, they recorded their thoughts on clay tablets, which last a lot longer than paper. 
    For a look inside “Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks” exhibit at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, click here.
     
    Mummified Animals and Million-Year-Old Hyena Teeth Found Frozen in Canadian Ice
    Guest: Grant Zazula, Paleontologist, the Government of Yukon
    Paleontologists from the Yukon Territory in Canada have discovered and identified ancient mummified animals frozen in the ice and the first evidence of million-year-old hyenas living in North America.
     
    The Story of a 5,300-year-old Alpine Wanderer
    Guest: Patrick Hunt, Archaeologist, Stanford University; Expeditions Expert, National Geographic; and Research Associate, Archaeoethnobotany,  Institute for the Ethnomedicine
    Found half-burried in the Italian Alps, Ötzi the Iceman is among the oldest human beings ever discovered—dating back 5,300 years. Since his initial discovery in 1991, researchers have been piecing together his mysterious life and death. Alpine archaeologist and Ötzi expert, Patrick Hunt, weighs in on his compelling history.

    Genji, Virginia Woolf, Biocrust, Subterranean Microbes, Holocaust

    Genji, Virginia Woolf, Biocrust, Subterranean Microbes, Holocaust

    The World's Oldest Novel
    Guest: Melissa McCormick, Professor, Japanese Art and Culture, Harvard, and author, "The Tale of Genji: A Visual Guide," and curator of the exhibition on "The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated" at The Met
    "The Tale of Genji" is arguably the oldest novel in the world, and some scholars say it is as central to Japanese art and culture as the Bible is in the West. The voluminous, complicated work was written by a woman scholar from the Imperial court. 
     
    Virginia Woolf
    Guest: Jarica Watts, Assistant Professor, English, Brigham Young University
    Virginia Woolf is famous for her writings about women. Think "A Room of One's Own" and "Mrs. Dalloway." But she's not famous for her tender portraits of mothers, though those can be found throughout her writing. Prof. Watts is exploring those relationships in a new book about Virginia Woolf. 
     
    How Biocrust Holds It All Together
    Guest: Sasha Reed, Research Ecologist, United States Geological Survey
    Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, and the Earth has her own skin too--and it’s a living, breathing, and surprisingly vital part of the environment called the biocrust. Sasha Reed explains exactly how important this “organ” is and why we should pay attention to the soil beneath our feet.
     
    Life Under the Earth, an Investigation
    Guest: Ben Abbott, Professor, Ecosystem Ecology, Brigham Young University
    Recent studies have found that life can flourish underneath the earth. Through a complex network of fractures within the earth, oxygen can make its way deeper through these cracks, facilitating the growth of microbial hotpots. These microbes are pushing life to its limits. What does this discovery mean for ecosystems here on the surface? What can we learn from the life beneath our feet?
     
    Holocaust Memory
    Guest: Jeff Jacoby, columnist, "The Boston Globe"
    Jeff Jacoby’s father, Mark Jacoby, is a Holocaust survivor. More than that, though, he is a father, a husband, a practicing Jew, and a happy man.  This is the story of the triumph of faith and the human spirit. On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we revisit our conversation with him. 

    Mind Fixers, Inkblots, Icelandic Bitcoin, Nuclear Containment, Raptor Patrol

    Mind Fixers, Inkblots, Icelandic Bitcoin, Nuclear Containment, Raptor Patrol

    Why, After a Century of Research, We Still Know Very Little About Curing Mental Illness?
    Guest: Anne Harrington, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, Author of“Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness”
    We talk about outer space as the last frontier. Maybe we have another yet to conquer. Let’s call it inner space. Few of us, today, have not been touched in some way by mental health crisis, and few have not been beset with fears about what we could or should have done differently. Just like the families of those affected, the mental health profession has struggled for over a century to figure out causes and cures for depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, autism, and other brain maladies. The brain has still not yielded its secrets. And we still aren’t even really sure how the mind and brain –and even the soul connect. Even the human genome still mocks our futility on this front. At some level, we know that mental illness has biological roots. But we still don’t know what this means or what to do about it. 
     
    The Iconic Inkblot Test and Its Creator
    Guest: Damion Searls, translator and author of "The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing"
    The Rorschach test is a legitimate test, and is also fascinating for the approach it takes to the human mind. The little known story of Hermann Rorschach himself is the story of a wonderful person and brilliant scientist.
     
    The Digital Currency Gold Rush
    Guest: Philip Salter, Head of Mining Operations, Genesis Mining Company
    This years largest single consumer of electricity in Iceland is not all the residents heating their himes, but instead companies that mine an electronic currency called Bitcoin. Bitcoin is what is called a crypto-currency that is digitally "mined" by massive network computers, and can be used to buy things just like dollar bills can be exchanged to get you a fancy new television. Iceland is a bitcoin paradise because of the low cost of its electricity and cool temperatures that keep the computer processors from catching on fire!
     
    How to Preserve the Future
    Guest: Peter Galison, physicist, historian of science, and filmmaker at Harvard University, where he is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor
    The issue of warning future generations about the dangers of stored nuclear waste is complicated. Thankfully, there are some very bright people on the job.
     
    Raptors Keep Jersey Gulls in Line
    Guest: Erik Swanson, Master Falconer, East Coast Falcons; Animal Control Officer and Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator
    Patrolling raptors may be the solution to the Jersey shore’s seagull problem.

    One (Extra)ordinary Day, Red Paperclip, Dinosaurs

    One (Extra)ordinary Day, Red Paperclip, Dinosaurs

    The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America
    Guest: Gene Weingarten; two-time Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, and author, "One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America"
    What happened yesterday at 3:15 pm? What about five years ago at 6:27? For most of us, these passing moments seem insignificant in the course of our lives. But according to journalist Gene Weingarten, no moment, no day is insignificant. He joins us to discuss his new book "One Day: The Extraordinary Story of An Ordinary 24 Hours in America."
     
    How One Man Traded a Paperclip for a House
    Guest: Kyle MacDonald, "the red paperclip guy," and author, "One Red Paperclip: How to Trade a Red Paperclip for a House"
    A game of "bigger or better" turned Kyle's little red paperclip into a house. He shares his fun story, and also a message of hope and optimism for anyone who wants to improve his or her situation.
     
    Scientists Learn Big Lessons from Tiny Dinosaur Dandruff
    Guest: Mike Benton, Professor, Vertebrate Palaeontology, University of Bristol
    When you have a chance to visit a dinosaur museum, it’s easy to feel small next to a 20- to 30-foot long skeleton of, say, a stegosaurus. But it’s fun to imagine paleontologists assembling all those massive bones and plates to solve the puzzle of what dinosaurs looked like. Except, the puzzle isn’t really complete once the skeleton is put back together again. Because, there’s the skin to consider . . . and feathers. And, scientists now even look at dinosaur dandruff to figure out how these creatures moved. Because something as small as a flake of skin can actually be just as important to understanding these creatures as a skull, or a leg bone.
     
    Just How Did Dinosaurs Use Their Teeth?
    Guest: Michael D'Emic, Assistant Professor, Biology, Adelphi University
    Herbivorous and some carnivorous dinosaurs replaced their teeth rather quickly. What this tells us about their diet and social structure. 
     
    Dinosaur Treasure
    Guest: Caleb Brown, Curator, Dinosaur Systematics and Evolution, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Alberta, Canada
    In March 2011, a mechanical shovel operator accidentally stumbled on a mummified dinosaur.  It was so well preserved that the contents of its guts were still inside. What we learn from this amazing specimen.

    Lost City, The Amazon, Bagel Mafia, Lard and Tallow

    Lost City, The Amazon, Bagel Mafia, Lard and Tallow

    Finding the Ancient Honduran Civilization That Mysteriously Vanished
    Guest: Douglas Preston, journalist, "National Geographic," and author, "The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story"
    One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our generation was made a few years ago when a research team went to the jungles of Honduras and discovered an ancient civilization whose ruins have been left completely untouched for centuries.
     
    River of Darkness
    Buddy Levy, author, "River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon"
    Francisco de Orellana accidentally sailed across a continent. 
     
    How a Bagel Union Fought Off the Mafia
    Guest: Jason Turbow, author, "How New York’s Bagel Union Fought — and Beat — a Mafia Takeover," Grub Street, "They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen: The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers"
    In 1960's New York City, bagels were just getting popular, and the mafia wanted in on the profits. Bagel Union 338, though, would have none of it.
     
    Why is Grease So Tasty?
    Guest: George Motz, author, "The Great American Burger Book: How to Make Authentic Regional Hamburgers at Home"
    Lard and tallow have been a part of fast-food for generations. Here's why they're so much tastier than the vegetable oils that often replace them. 
     
     

    Stan Lee, Marvel Science, Immortality Quest, Genetic Rescue

    Stan Lee, Marvel Science, Immortality Quest, Genetic Rescue

    Magic Mushrooms
    Guest: Tradd Cotter, microbiologist, mycologist, organic gardener, and owner, Mushroom Mountain and Mycomatrix
    Mushrooms have a myriad of uses and "superpowers" we're just beginning to discover.
     
    The Amazing! The Incredible! The Marvelous Stan Lee!
    Guest: Danny Fingeroth, comics writer and editor, and author, "A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee"
    Remembering a legend in the world of comic books. Stan Lee's influence on the evolution of superheros comics. How grown ups became a burgeoning market for superheroes in spandex.
     
    The Science of Making Superheroes
    Guest: Sebastian Alvarado, author, "The Science of Marvel: From Infinity Stones to Iron Man's Armor, the Real Science Behind the MCU Revealed!"
    This scientist mines the real world for insight into how to create superpowers for Marvel heroes on screen. 
     
    How Silicon Valley Wants to Conquer Aging
    Guest: Chip Walter, science journalist, filmmaker and author, "Immortality, Inc.: Renegade Science, Silicon Valley Billions, and the Quest to Live Forever"
    Want to live longer and healthier? Silicon Valley scientists are searching for answers that will prevent aging altogether, and they're looking to long-living animals for inspiration.
     
    Saving Ecosystems with Cutting-Edge Genetics
    Guest: Ben Novak, Lead Scientist, Revive and Restore
    CRISPR technology, which allows precise manipulation of genomes, affords scientists ecological tools to help combat destruction of species and habitats. It can also help get rid of pests without resorting to pesticides.

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