16 episodes

Hear the untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech. Host David Pogue, six-time Emmy winner and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent, takes you behind the scenes into the worlds of the people who’ve built the best in transportation, entertainment, food, internet, and health. Creators reveal their inspirations and roadblocks they encountered in bringing their breakthroughs to the public. 

Unsung Science CBS News Radio

    • Science
    • 3.5 • 8 Ratings

Hear the untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech. Host David Pogue, six-time Emmy winner and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent, takes you behind the scenes into the worlds of the people who’ve built the best in transportation, entertainment, food, internet, and health. Creators reveal their inspirations and roadblocks they encountered in bringing their breakthroughs to the public. 

    How the Fitbit Knows You're Dreaming

    How the Fitbit Knows You're Dreaming

    Over the last decade, a group of California scientists has quietly amassed the biggest sleep database ever assembled. It includes every dozing off, every wakeup, every REM-cycle, every chunk of deep sleep, from 15 billion nights of human slumber. It can tell us the average person’s bedtime, whether men or women sleep longer, and which city is really the city that never sleeps. These scientists work at Fitbit—the company that sells fitness bands. And for them, revealing your sleep patterns is only the beginning. The longer-term goal of these scientists—and the ones working on the Apple Watch, Garmins, and other wearables—is to spot diseases before you even have symptoms. Diseases of your heart, your brain, your lungs—all picked up by a bracelet on your wrist. But how?

    Guests: Eric Friedman, cofounder and CTO of Fitbit. Conor Heneghan, senior research scientist, Google.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 33 min
    Subtitles for the Blind

    Subtitles for the Blind

    You already knew that you can turn on subtitles for your TV show or movie—handy if you’re hearing impaired, or just want to understand the dialogue better. But there’s a corresponding feature for people with low vision: audio description tracks, where an unseen narrator tells you, in real time, what’s happening on the screen. But who creates them, and how, and when? And how do they describe the action during fast dialogue, fast action, sex scenes, and screens full of scrolling credits? A deep dive into a bizarre art form most people didn’t know exists.

    Guests: Lauren Berglund, consumer relations coordinator at the Guide Dog Foundation. Bill Patterson, founder, Audio Description Solutions. Rhys Lloyd, studio head, Descriptive Video Works. Bryan Gould, director of the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 48 min
    Chainsaws, Women, and the Cape Town Drought

    Chainsaws, Women, and the Cape Town Drought

    In 2018, following a historic three-year drought, the water sources in Cape Town, South Africa ran dry. It was the first major city to face Day Zero: when you’d turn on the faucet—and nothing would come out.

    The town leaders discussed expensive, environmentally disruptive projects like pipelines and desalination plants. But then an environmental nonprofit, the Nature Conservancy, proposed a radically different approach that could win Cape Town 13 billion gallons of water a year, cheaply and perpetually, using a method that worked with nature instead of against it. All they needed was a helicopter, some ropes and saws, and some of the poorest women in Cape Town.

    Guests: Louise Stafford, Director of Source Water Protection in South Africa, The Nature Conservancy. Thandeka Mayiji-Rafu and Asiphe Cetywayo, Greater Cape Town Water Fund tree-cutting contractors.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 37 min
    How to Prepare for Wildfires

    How to Prepare for Wildfires

    You’ve survived 2021—thanks, no doubt, to the science and tech that made your medical care, your internet, and your smartphone work. Tonight, New Year’s Eve, many podcast hosts are taking some time to reflect, to rest—and to post a re-run.

    But not “Unsung Science!” To tide you over until next week’s fresh episode, we offer a free audiobook chapter from David Pogue’s book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change.” This is the chapter on how to prepare for wildfires, timed to coincide with the middle of the winter wildfire season in the western half of the U.S. As a New Year’s gift from us, here’s a terrifying and reassuring chapter on preparing for fires—and surviving them.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 58 min
    Where to Live in the Climate-Change Era

    Where to Live in the Climate-Change Era

    It’s the night before Christmas—and many podcasters (and listeners) are nestled all snug in their beds. But we didn’t want to leave you without a dose of witty Pogue science writing. So here, for your listening pleasure, is a free chapter from David Pogue’s latest audio book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change.” This is Chapter 2, “Where to Live.”

    Obviously, not everyone can afford to move just to escape climate-crisis disasters—yet 40 million Americans do move every year, and an increasing number of them are taking climate risks into account. This chapter is your guide to the best climate-haven regions in America.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 58 min
    Leap Seconds, Smear Seconds, and the Slowing of the Earth

    Leap Seconds, Smear Seconds, and the Slowing of the Earth

    The earth’s spinning is slowing down. Any clocks pegged to the earth’s rotation are therefore drifting out of alignment with our far more precise atomic clocks—only by a thousandth of a second every 50 years, but that’s still a problem for the computers that run the internet, cellphones, and financial systems.

    In 1972, scientists began re-aligning atomic clocks with earth-rotation time by inserting a leap second every December 31, or as needed. It seemed like a good idea at the time—until computers started crashing at Google, Reddit, and major airlines. Google engineers proposed, instead, a leap smear: fractionally lengthening every second on December 31, so that that day contains the same total number of seconds. But really: If computer time drifts so infinitesimally from earth-rotation time, does anybody really care what time it is?

    Guests: Theo Gray, scientist and author. Geoff Chester, public affairs officer for the for the Naval Observatory. Peter Hochschild, principal engineer, Google.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Nandu79 ,

A learning experience that is enjoyable

When one of the best names in tech writing does a podcast then the years of experience and insight show up. Pogue’s podcast is both a learning experience and immensely enjoyable. And a podcast that me and my 10-year-old enjoy equally.

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