300 episodios

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.

Big Picture Science Wizzard Media

    • Ciencias naturales

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.

    The Ears Have It

    The Ears Have It

    What’s the difference between a bird call and the sound of a pile driver?  Not much, when you’re close to the loudest bird ever.  Find out when it pays to be noisy and when noise can worsen your health.  Just about everyone eventually suffers some hearing loss, but that’s not merely aging.  It’s an ailment we inflict on ourselves.  Hear how a team in New York City has put sensors throughout the city to catalog noise sources, hoping to tame the tumult.
    And can underwater speakers blasting the sounds of a healthy reef bring life back to dead patches of the Great Barrier Reef?
    Guests:
    Mark Cartwright – Research Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering Charles Mydlarz – Research Assistant Professor at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) David Owen – Staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World Jeff Podos – Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Steve Simpson – Professor of Marine Biology and Global Change, Exeter University, U.K.

    • 51 min
    Perpetual Emotion Machine [rebroadcast]

    Perpetual Emotion Machine [rebroadcast]

    Get ready for compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get where you’re coming from.  Computers that can tell by your voice whether you’re pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or muscle tension to determine your mood.  Empathetic electronics that you can relate to.
    But wait a minute – we don’t always relate to other humans.  Our behavior can be impulsive and even self-sabotaging – our emotions are often conflicted and irrational.   We cry when we’re happy.  Frown when we’re pensive.  A suite of factors, much of them out of our control, govern how we behave, from genes to hormones to childhood experience. 
    One study says that all it takes for a defendant to receive a harsher sentence is a reduction in the presiding judge’s blood sugar.
    So grab a cookie, and find out how the heck we can build computers that understand us anyway. 
    Guests:
    Rosalind Picard – Professor at the MIT Media Lab and co-founder of the companies Affectiva and Empatica.  Robert Sapolsky – Professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. 

    • 50 min
    Your Brain's Reins [rebroadcast]

    Your Brain's Reins [rebroadcast]

    You are your brain.  But what happens when your brain changes for the worse – either by physical injury or experience?  Are you still responsible for your actions?
    We hear how the case of a New York man charged with murder was one of the first to introduce neuroscience as evidence in court.  Plus, how technology hooks us – a young man so addicted to video games, he lacked social skills, or even a desire to eat.  Find out how technology designers conspire against his digital detox.
    Also, even if your brain is intact and your only task is choosing a sock color, are you really in control?  How your unconscious directs even mundane behavior … and how you can outwit it. 
    Guests:
    Kevin Davis – Author of The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America’s Courtrooms Hilarie Cash – Co-founder and chief clinical officer of reSTART, an internet addiction recovery program Adam Alter – Assistant professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, Stern School of Business, and author of Irresistible: the Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked Peter Vishton – Psychologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia

    • 50 min
    Skeptic Check: Heal Thyself [rebroadcast]

    Skeptic Check: Heal Thyself [rebroadcast]

    Do we still need doctors?  There are umpteen alternative sources of medical advice, including endless and heartfelt health tips from people without medical degrees. Frankly, self-diagnosis with a health app is easier and cheaper than a trip to a clinic.   Since we’re urged to be our own health advocate and seek second opinions, why not ask Alexa or consult with a celebrity about what ails us?
    Find out if you can trust these alternative medical advice platforms.  Plus, lessons from an AIDS fighter about ignoring the findings of medical science.  
    And, if AI can diagnose better than an MD, will we stop listening to doctors altogether?
    It’s our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!
    Guests:
    Katherine Foley – Science and health reporter at Quartz, and author of the article “Alexa is a Terrible Doctor” Paul Offit – Professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of “Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of  Health Information” Richard Marlink – Director Rutgers Global Health Institute. Shinjini Kundu – Research Fellow, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stuart Schlisserman – Internist, Palo Alto, California  
    originally aired September 24, 2018

    • 51 min
    Handling the Holidays

    Handling the Holidays

    The stress of the holidays can make you want to hide under the covers with a warm cup of cocoa.  From gift buying to family gatherings, the holidays can feel like being inside a pressure cooker.  But don’t despair!  Science can help make the holidays a little brighter, from some gift-giving tips from our animal friends to embracing pessimism before a challenging social event to stopping that annoying merry melody on repeat in your head.
    Guests:
    Adam South – Research assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Mitch Ratcliffe – CEO and publisher of Earth911 Julie Norem – Psychology professor at Wellesley College and author of “The Positive Power of Negative Thinking” Elizabeth Margulis – Music professor at Princeton University and author of “On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind” Steve Ilardi – Clinical psychology associate professor at the University of Kansas.  Read his paper on the effects of sugar here.

    • 53 min
    Waste Not

    Waste Not

    Why create more landfill?  Perhaps you should resist the urge to toss those old sneakers, the broken ceiling fan, or last year’s smart phone.  Instead, repurpose them!  Global junk entrepreneurs are leading the way in turning trash to treasure, while right-to-repair advocates fight for legislation that would give you a decent shot at fixing your own electronic devices. 
    And, if you toss food scraps down the drain as you cook, are you contributing to a “fatberg” horror in the sewer?
    Guests:
    John Love – Synthetic biologist at the University of Exeter Adam Minter – Author of Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale Amanda Preske – Chemist and the owner of Circuit Breaker Labs Nathan Proctor – National campaign director for S. Public Interest Research Group – (PIRGS) Right to Repair campaign Kyle Wiens – CEO of I-Fixit, an Internet repair community

    • 52 min

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