289 episodes

Podcasts for the insatiably curious by the world’s most popular weekly science magazine. Everything from the latest science and technology news to the big-picture questions about life, the universe and what it means to be human.
For more visit newscientist.com/podcasts

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New Scientist Podcasts New Scientist

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 63 Ratings

Podcasts for the insatiably curious by the world’s most popular weekly science magazine. Everything from the latest science and technology news to the big-picture questions about life, the universe and what it means to be human.
For more visit newscientist.com/podcasts

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    CultureLab: Meredith Broussard on trusting artificial intelligence

    CultureLab: Meredith Broussard on trusting artificial intelligence

    How much faith should we be putting in artificial intelligence? As large language models and generative AI have become increasingly powerful in recent years, their makers are pushing the narrative that AI is a solution to many of the world’s problems.
    But Meredith Broussard says we’re not there yet, if we even get there at all. Broussard is the author of More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. She coined the term “technochauvinism,” which speaks to a pro-technology bias humans often have, where we believe technological solutions are superior to anything else. 
    In this episode, she tells New Scientist’s Sophie Bushwick that our trust in AI systems could have devastating consequences.
    From discriminatory mortgage-approval algorithms, to the racial biases of facial recognition technology, to the misinformation that appears in chatbots like ChatGPT, Broussard explains why there’s no such thing as trustworthy AI. And she discusses the need for greater education about AI, to help us separate reality from marketing.
    To read about subjects like this and much more, visit newscientist.com.

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    • 28 min
    Weekly: Carbon storage targets ‘wildly unrealistic’; world’s biggest brain-inspired computer; do birds dream?

    Weekly: Carbon storage targets ‘wildly unrealistic’; world’s biggest brain-inspired computer; do birds dream?

    #246
    Our best climate models for helping limit global warming to 1.5oC may have wildly overestimated our chances. To reach this goal, models are relying heavily on geological carbon storage, a technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere and places it underground. But it may not be nearly as effective as models have suggested, making the task of decarbonising much more difficult. Do we need to rethink our approach?
    Intel has announced it has constructed the world’s biggest computer modelled on the human brain and nervous system. This neuromorphic computer, called Hala Point, may only be the size of a microwave oven, but its innovative technology could someday run artificial intelligence that’s smarter and more energy efficient.
    After a blast of sound from a keyboard shot through her whole body, experimental musician Lola De La Mata was hit with debilitating tinnitus. It was so profound it left her with vertigo, difficulty walking, speech problems and unable to make music. Years later, she is now putting a spotlight on the condition with a new album, Oceans on Azimuth. Hear her story and music from the album in a special feature. Plus, read Clare Wilson’s recent feature about the future of tinnitus and hearing loss.
    Do birds dream? They just might. Birds’ vocal cords move in their sleep, as if they’re singing, but don’t actually make a sound. Now researchers have managed to use these vocal movements to synthesise their songs and hear them aloud – with surprising results. Does this prove that birds dream?
    Plus: The biggest stellar mass black hole ever found is very close by; fossil hunters uncover the jawbone of an extinct reptile that may have been the biggest ever to swim the oceans; how skin wounds can cause gut problems.
    Hosts Timothy Revell and Christie Taylor discuss with guests Madeleine Cuff, Matt Sparkes and Karmela Padavic-Callaghan. To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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    • 33 min
    Dead Planets Society: How to Destroy A Black Hole

    Dead Planets Society: How to Destroy A Black Hole

    How do you destroy a black hole? Turns out they're pretty tough cookies.
    Kicking off a brand new series of Dead Planets Society, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane take on the universe's most powerful adversaries. With the help of their cosmic toolbelt and black hole astronomer Allison Kirkpatrick at the University of Kansas, they test all the destructive ideas they can think of.
    Whether it’s throwing masses of TNT at it, blasting it with a t-shirt gun full of white holes, loading it up with a multiverse worth of matter, or sending it back in time – they try everything to kill a black hole. Will they succeed?
    Dead Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish ideas about how to tinker with the cosmos – from punching a hole in a planet to unifying the asteroid belt to destroying the sun – and subjects them to the laws of physics to see how they fare.
    Your hosts are Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte.
    If you have a cosmic object you’d like to figure out how to destroy, email the team at deadplanets@newscientist.com. It may just feature in a later episode…

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    • 24 min
    Weekly: The multiverse just got bigger; saving the white rhino; musical mushrooms

    Weekly: The multiverse just got bigger; saving the white rhino; musical mushrooms

    #245
    The multiverse may be bigger than we thought. The idea that we exist in just one of a massive collection of alternate universes has really captured the public imagination in the last decade. But now Hugh Everett’s 60-year-old “many worlds interpretation”, based on quantum mechanics, has been upgraded.
    The northern white rhino is on the brink of extinction but we may be able to save it. Scientists plan to use frozen genes from 12 now dead rhinos to rebuild the entire subspecies. But how do you turn skin cells into actual rhinos and will it work?
    A single-celled alga has done something thought to have happened just three times in the entire history of life on Earth. Braarudosphaera bigelowii has formed a unique bond with a bacterium living inside it and has developed a new cellular structure. This organelle may be why this alga became so successful and widespread.
    We’ve got a new way of looking for aliens without having to go planet hopping. The method involves scouting the universe for planets that are close together and look similar to each other – hinting that an advanced civilisation may have colonised them.
    We’ve had the orbits of the planets turned into music, we’ve heard the sonification of data and even heard what a black hole sounds like. This time, it’s the turn of mushrooms. Musician and artist Brian D’Souza has used a process called biosonification to produce musical tones from Shiitake and Reishi mushrooms. Learn more about Brian D’Souza here. And get details of his live performance on April 19th here.
    Plus, we mark the passing this week of Peter Higgs, who first proposed the existence of the Higgs boson and later won the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
    Hosts Timothy Revell and Rowan Hooper discuss with guests Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, Michael Le Page and Corryn Wetzel. To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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    • 29 min
    CultureLab: Jen Gunter on the taboo science of menstruation

    CultureLab: Jen Gunter on the taboo science of menstruation

    Half of the human population undergoes the menstrual cycle for a significant proportion of their lifetimes, yet periods remain a taboo topic in public and private life. And that makes it harder both to prioritise necessary scientific research into conditions like endometriosis and for people to understand the basics of how their bodies work.
    Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation is gynaecologist Jen Gunter’s latest book. In this practical guide, she dispels social, historical and medical myths about menstruation and offers answers to your biggest period-related questions – including why we menstruate in the first place, when a missed period is a health concern and “how heavy is too heavy?”
    In this episode, Christie Taylor speaks to Gunter about how humans are part of an exclusive club of menstruators in the animal kingdom, the persisting social stigma around menstruation and menopause, and why these processes remain under-researched in science despite their vast importance. Plus, a call from Gunter to take seriously the very individual and sometimes painful experiences people may have with their periods, while also creating more access to menstrual care.  
    To read about subjects like this and much more, visit newscientist.com.

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    • 39 min
    Weekly: Miniature livers made from lymph nodes in groundbreaking medical procedure

    Weekly: Miniature livers made from lymph nodes in groundbreaking medical procedure

    #244
    Researchers have successfully turned lymph nodes into miniature livers that help filter the blood of mice, pigs and other animals – and now, trials are beginning in humans. If successful, the groundbreaking medical procedure could prove life-saving for thousands of people waiting for liver transplants around the world. So far, no complications have been seen from the procedure, but it will be several months before we know if the treatment is working as hoped in the first of 12 trial participants with end-stage liver disease.
    Even on a remote island untouched by tourists, fishing, pollution and development, the climate crisis is still wreaking havoc on the coral of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Reporter James Woodford visited One Tree Island, a refuge ordinarily spared from the reef’s past catastrophic bleaching events, and discovered that this year’s marine heatwave has managed to reach even that protected spot. There, he spoke with coral experts and now shares both the science and the difficult experience of witnessing environmental devastation. 
    Russia is suspected of launching a record-breaking GPS jamming attack, a form of electronic warfare that’s been on the rise in parts of Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Lasting more than 63 hours, the newest attack impacted thousands of aircraft, which rely on GPS for navigation. Is the threat set to continue – and how can GPS-reliant airlines adjust?
    Snakes might be self-aware just like humans – another animal to add to the growing list. The mirror test, which investigates how animals respond to versions of their reflections, has long been used to detect self-recognition in everything from orangutans to roosters and horses. To test snakes, however, a smell-based method had to be invented, which garter snakes have passed. Does this change our understanding of reptiles?
    Plus: Detecting what may be the smallest galaxy in the known universe; how babies recognise spoken nursery rhymes heard in the womb; and why you should “yell at” your misbehaving robot.
    Hosts Christie Taylor and Timothy Revell discuss with guests Grace Wade, James Woodford, Jeremy Hsu and Chen Ly. To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
63 Ratings

63 Ratings

HaraldS ,

I there is only one podcast to listen to, it’s this one!

The only bad thing about this intelligent, informative, and entertaining podcast is that it’s only once a week. I would love it daily.

It’s the one podcast I never miss.

hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose ,

I think I’ll try something else

The inclusion of “ CultureLab” and “DeadPlanetSociety” in the weekly feed is just too much.
After I skip these, then skip the Climate doom stuff I’m only left with -10% of content.
Then the space lady laughs after every 3rd sentence like she’s nervous to be doing a podcast or something.

I’ll just look for a science show without all this stuff, thanks for trying too hard.
(fyi: MORE content doesn’t really matter if it’s not GOOD content)

*unsubscribe*

Greybird17 ,

Why give us an American? America is already too loud!

This may be superficial but it is true for me. I am from the US and our country is presently so divided and acrimonious that one of the pleasures of listening to this podcast was the prevalence of British accents and a point of view that lay outside of US craziness.
I know that the content has not changed, but I no longer get the feeling of an audio vacation when one of the hosts busts in with that horrible accent.
What were you thinking?
This may seem frivolous and unreasonable but it’s true for me: the addition of an American sounding voice dropped the star count from five stars to three. (And I’m being charitable, as my own enjoyment dropped from 5 stars to 1 or even less. Somehow it’s harder to listen to that single nasal American accent amidst the Brits than it is to listen to a group of my fellow citizens. But I do actually enjoy the content.)

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