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.
Skeptic Check: Science Denial
Climate change isn’t happening. Vaccines make you sick. When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction of the population still denies the consensus of scientific evidence. Why does the public feel that science can’t always be trusted and what can scientists do about it? We report from the Science Denial symposium held jointly by the New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers Global Health Institute.
Animals Being Jerks
They’re cute and cuddly. But they can also be obnoxious. Science writer Mary Roach has numerous tales about how our animal friends don’t always bow to their human overlords and behave the way we’d want. The resulting encounters, such as when gulls disrupt the Vatican’s Easter mass, make for amusing stories. But others, such as wolves threatening farmers’ livestock, can be tragic. We hear what happens at the messy crossroads of human and wildlife encounters.
Above the Arctic Circle, much of the land is underlaid by permafrost. But climate change is causing it to thaw. This is not good news for the planet. As the carbon rich ground warms, microbes start to feast… releasing greenhouse gases that will warm the Earth even more. Another possible downside was envisioned by a science-fiction author. Could ancient pathogens–released from the permafrost’s icy grip–cause new pandemics? We investigate what happens when the far north defrosts.
Without sand, engineering would be stuck in the Middle Ages and Silicon Valley would be, well, just a valley. Sand is the building material of modern cities, and we use more of this resource than any other except water and air. Now we’re running out it. Also, a special report from the Louisiana coast where livelihoods and ecosystems depend on the successful release of Mississippi sediment into disappearing wetlands.
You've Got Whale
We’re all missing out on important messages, and no amount of refreshing your browser will help. That’s because eavesdropping on the communications of non-human species requires decoding their non-written signals. Dive into Arctic waters where scientists make first-ever recordings of the socializing clicks and squeals of narwhals. Discover an instant messaging system used by plants. And, how microbes communicate to one another to plan their attacks.
It was a radical idea a century ago, when Einstein said space and time can be bent, and gravity was really geometry. We hear how his theories inspire young minds even today. At small scales, different rules apply: quantum mechanics and the Standard Model for particles. New experiments suggest that muons – cousins of the electron – may be telling us that the Standard Model is wrong. Also, where the physics of both the large and small apply, and why black holes have no hair.
Yes yes yes yes yeah
Anti-vax episode was abysmal
As with so much info being disseminated about Covid and vaccines, info is presented in generalizations with no data to back up the assertions. This is neither informative nor helpful. You could do so much better.
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One of my fav podcasts.