50 episodes

Science and technology are everywhere in our lives. This podcast takes a look not only at the science itself, but its role in society, how it affects our lives, and how it influences how we define ourselves as humans. Episodes also throw in a mix of culture, history, ethics, philosophy, religion, and the future! Hosted by Elizabeth Fernandez, an astronomer and science communicator. Let's spark some dialog!

SparkDialog Elizabeth Fernandez

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

Science and technology are everywhere in our lives. This podcast takes a look not only at the science itself, but its role in society, how it affects our lives, and how it influences how we define ourselves as humans. Episodes also throw in a mix of culture, history, ethics, philosophy, religion, and the future! Hosted by Elizabeth Fernandez, an astronomer and science communicator. Let's spark some dialog!

    Ep 99: New York Underwater: Art and Climate Change - with guest Carolyn Hall

    Ep 99: New York Underwater: Art and Climate Change - with guest Carolyn Hall

    What would it be like if New York City was partially underwater?  What would it feel like, what would it taste like?  How would the economy continue to tick, how would commuters reach their jobs?  To answer this, our guest today uses art to tell the narrative of climate change.  

    We aren’t all numbers people.  Therefore, using art to tell the story of climate change can make the effects of climate change real to a population that may not be fully engaged with the science or the trends.  Further, it can make how our world is changing more real, more relatable, more understandable, and hopefully, give us the inspiration to change.

    Today’s guest is Carolyn Hall.  She uses art, narrative, and the imagination to take people on tours through time to see how our world is constantly changing, what seeds this change, and what we can do about it.  Carolyn is a historical marine ecologist, a contemporary dancer, and a science communicator. She does each independently but most enjoys, and is most challenged by, finding ways to combine all three.  And today, she talks about three artistic endeavors seeking to unite art and climate change – Sunk Shore, Walks on Water, and Walking the Edge.  

    You can follow Carolyn on Instagram @gatablanco.  Also be sure to check out her “time traveling videos” to the years 2068 and 2092 where she presents an artistic view of the future of New York City.  





    If you are a patron of the podcast, check the Patreon page all this month for bonus content from this episode.







    Background music you heard are clips from:







    I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/grapes/16626 Ft: J Lang, Morusque







    Start To Grow (cdk Mix) by Analog By Nature (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/cdk/43815 Ft: Jeris







    ITS FOR MY FLY GIRL by BOCrew (c) copyright 2011 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/BOCrew/32102 Ft: THEDEEPR / BOCREW / ANGELA







    Mountains (Hip hop instrumental) by Robbero (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Robbero/42877

    • 43 min
    Ep 98: The Problems and Promise of AI in Healthcare – with guest Dr. Muhammad Ahmad

    Ep 98: The Problems and Promise of AI in Healthcare – with guest Dr. Muhammad Ahmad

    AI in healthcare can do amazing things.  It can help doctors diagnose their patients.  It can streamline patient care, and can help people to receive the best care possible.  But what happens when AI in healthcare goes awry?

    Today, our guest is Dr. Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad.  Muhammad  discusses the promise of healthcare, but also reminds us that it has limitations.  Sometimes, AI can be biased, especially against certain minority populations and women.  Sometimes, we humans may not understand why AI makes the decisions it does.  And other times, AI could be just plain wrong.

    But by knowing the limitations of AI in healthcare, we can also improve how it works and come up with ways to combat problems, biases, and to help doctors and AI systems work together.  

    Muhammad is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Washington and a Research Scientist at KenSci, an AI in healthcare company based in Seattle. His research is on accountability of AI, AI in healthcare, and AI from a cross-cultural and ethical perspective. He has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota.

    If you are a patron of the podcast, be sure to check the Patreon page all this month for bonus content from this episode.





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    eighteen pieces (soda) by Soda (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/soda/16738







    SkyDub by Psykick (c) copyright 2016 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Psykick/52937







    Start To Grow (cdk Mix) by Analog By Nature (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/cdk/43815 Ft: Jeris







    Reusenoise (DNB Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56531

    • 40 min
    Ep 97: Floods in India - A View of Climate Change from Under the River - with guest Dr. Luisa Cortesi

    Ep 97: Floods in India - A View of Climate Change from Under the River - with guest Dr. Luisa Cortesi

    There are places where people can choose to ignore climate change.  Then, there are places that it could never be considered a myth.  Here, the effects of climate change can never be ignored – with floods, heat waves, extreme storms, or literal rising waters.  Such a place is India – particularly, North Bihar.  The floods in India are so extreme that hundreds of villages and thousands of farms can find themselves underwater.  Rivers can dramatically shift course overnight.  And it is not only a problem of water.  In the floodplain of the Himalayas, climate change collides with poverty, culture, caste, and life.  

    Today, we are joined by Dr. Luisa Cortesi.  Luisa has lived around the world, in places where climate change where was particularly felt.  She saw how people lived through and dealt with these disasters.  

    In 2007, while working as an applied anthropologist, Luisa happened to be living in North Bihar when the worst floods in India in decades hit.  Again, she experienced major flooding in 2008 when she saw the entire course of the Kosi River shift.  Today, she shares her experiences.   

    Luisa is an environmental and engaged anthropologist of water, disasters, and inequalities. She received a joint PhD from Yale University in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. She has been the Taylor Postdoctoral Fellow and Atkinson Fellow, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability at Cornell University. She is now Assistant Professor at the International Institute of Social Studies at the Erasmus University in The Netherlands, as well as Marie S. Curie Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies in Germany. Luisa has worked extensively in India and continues to support NGOs there in an advisory capacity. She has recently started the Water Justice and Adaptation Lab.





    If you are a patron of the podcast, be sure to check the Patreon page all this month for bonus content from this episode, including some of Luisa’s pictures from her time in India and a discount code for her book.







    Luisa’s recent work includes: 







    2021    “The Ontology of Water and Land and Flood Control Infrastructure in North Bihar, India” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute  27:4 







    2021    Split waters: The Idea of Water Conflicts. London and New Delhi: Routledge (edited with Joy, K.J.) ISBN 978-0-367-37175-3 







    Forthcoming, The Shape of Water: the Geometry and Epistemology of Infrastructures of Fluvial Management and Flood Control in India,” in Amphibious Anthropologies: Life between the Wet and the Dry (edited with Krause, F. & A. Camargo) 







    Forthcoming, Disastrous Water: The Environmental Knowledge and Technologies of Floods, Toxic Drinking water, and Other Muddy Disasters







    Background music you heard are clips from:







    Adagio teru by rocavaco (c) copyright 2009 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.

    • 33 min
    Ep 96: AI, Ethics, and the Vatican - with guest Dr. Brian Patrick Green

    Ep 96: AI, Ethics, and the Vatican - with guest Dr. Brian Patrick Green

    Pope Francis has taken a special interest in science. Part of his interest is AI – particularly, how to make AI systems more ethical. Today, we are joined by Dr. Brian Patrick Green, the Director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. We discuss why ethics in AI systems is important, from suggested videos on YouTube to privacy to how AI algorithms decide who is approved for a loan. We also discuss what exactly morality is, if AI could ever approach human intelligence, and what exactly makes the human mind so special.

    • 42 min
    Ep 95: Grief in the Time of COVID: with guest Dr. Kristel Clayville

    Ep 95: Grief in the Time of COVID: with guest Dr. Kristel Clayville

    Grief in the time of COVID is a very real thing. COVID has changed the way we interact with each other and the world. But perhaps most poignantly, it has introduced new types of grief in our lives. The grief of the dying, not allowed to touch or even see family members one last time. The grief of losing friendships, old traditions, or normal life. Or even the grief of waiting for a COVID vaccine, seeing others return to some sort of normalcy around you.

    Today, our guest is Dr. Kristel Clayville. Kristal has a PhD in religious ethics and works at the intersection of religion and medical ethics. She currently works as a hospital chaplain and ethicist at the University of Chicago. Today she discusses her unique perspective of COVID through the lens of a hospital chaplain – from how hospitals decide who gets a ventilator to what it’s like to stand in for family when someone is dying of COVID.  We also discuss how COVID revealed how fractured our healthcare system is.  

    You can follow Kristal on Twitter @RevDrClayville.





    If you are a patron of the podcast, be sure to check the Patreon page all this month for bonus content from this episode.







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    nightRain by airtone (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/55887







    Silence Await by Analog By Nature (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/cdk/17432 Ft: oldDog







    Dark Woods II by Ivan Chew (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/ramblinglibrarian/25168







    Two Pianos by Stefan Kartenberg (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/57454 Ft: Admiral Bob (admiralbob77)

    • 29 min
    Ep 94: Quantum Entanglement, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality: with guest Dr. Eric Cavalcanti

    Ep 94: Quantum Entanglement, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality: with guest Dr. Eric Cavalcanti

    Quantum entanglement is weird. Two particles can share properties no matter where they are in the Universe. Have they always shared these properties, and they are somehow hidden from us, or do they decide these properties the moment they are measured, and somehow communicate across the vastness of space, instantaneously? Or is something else at work? Can people become entangled? Can we put a human consciousness in a sort of "Schrodinger's Cat" situation, where they are in two states at once? And is your reality the same as my reality? Guest Dr. Eric Cavalcanti addresses these questions and more on this episode of SparkDialog Podcasts.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

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9 Ratings

9 Ratings

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The Pope’s Astronomer episode #41

This episode was so interesting and thought provoking. The guest was so insightful and had me hanging on to his thoughts from the start. The host Elizabeth as always asked great questions. I look forward to the next episode every two weeks.

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Accessible and fascinating!

No advanced degrees necessary to enjoy this great find for science fans. The topics are wide ranging and I walk away learning something new each time I listen. Elizabeth does a great job leading the conversation and making sure that the experts communicate in a way that's understandable and interesting for the audience.

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