The Undark Podcast continues our mission of illuminating the places where science intersects — and sometimes collides — with our everyday lives, in the form of audio documentaries released monthly from September to May. Scientific questions and challenges, after all, are woven deeply into our politics, our economics, our culture — and they are animated by a wide spectrum of competing values and interests. Our goal is to present rich, narrative-driven audio stories of science as it manifests amid that push-and-pull of human society.
Ep. 51: A Scramble to Define 'Habitat' — and the Future of Conservation
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the dusky gopher frog now has conservationists and developers squaring off over the legal definition of the term ‘habitat.’ The accepted meaning will guide American lawmakers in designating protected areas for endangered species across the country.
Ep. 50: Studying and Surviving the Pandemic's Collective Trauma
In South Africa, trauma researchers are studying — and working to ease — the psychological toll of Covid-19, while trying to endure the pandemic themselves. They warn the widespread and long-lasting impacts of this collective trauma could span generations and cross national borders.
Ep. 49: When Wildfires and a Pandemic Collide
As smoky summers resulting from wildfires have become the new normal across much of the West Coast, communities have tried to put better systems in place protect their most vulnerable residents. But this year, they didn’t plan on dealing with a smoke wave in the middle of a pandemic. How are they coping?
Ep. 48: Capturing the Songs of a Changing Climate
This month: Acoustic ecologists are racing to record Earth’s shifting soundscapes before they disappear. Some researchers are using their recordings to answer questions about how the environment and its inhabitants are changing, while others are sounding the alarm on pressing conservation issues.
Ep. 47: The Toll of the Culture of Silence in Animal Research
This month: Communicating about animal research with the public can open early career scientists up to social stigma and even campaigns that threaten careers. But working with animals can be an emotionally taxing job — and the silence could isolate scientists further and strengthen public misconceptions.
Ep. 46: A Debate on the Dregs of Asbestos Mining
This month: Ground-up waste leftover from asbestos mining still lines the landscape of Quebec. Now, a number of companies are eager to transform that waste into profitable product — but health officials worry this new industry might reawaken an old problem the province finally seemed to be moving away from.