Episodes Archive

Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy? #529

July 05, 2019

At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced... Read More

Listen

A Shock Machine and The Lost Boys #528

June 28, 2019

This week, we take a look at 2 notable post world war 2 social psychology experiments and their creators: Stanley Milgram and his "shock machine", and Muzafer Sherif's boys camp study on group conflict. How did these scientists approach their work? How did the experiments run? How do the experiments hold up? How did people feel then about the ethics of them, and how do we feel now? We are joined by registered psychologist and author Gina Perry, who has written a book each on these men: "Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments",... Read More

Listen

Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids #527

June 14, 2019

This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends... Read More

Listen

Let Me See You Sweat #526

June 07, 2019

Summer is coming, and summer means sweat. Why do we sweat so much, and how do we do it? We hear from Yana Kamberov about the evolutionary origins of our sweat glands, and why it's one of the things that makes us mammals. Then we talk about why some (but not all) of our sweat STINKS. We'll speak with Gavin Thomas about the bacteria that give us our BO. Related links: Comparative evidence for the independent evolution of hair and sweat gland traits in primates on bioRxiv Structural basis of malodour precursor transport in the human axilla on eLife This... Read More

Listen

Chernobyl #525

May 31, 2019

This week we're looking back at a man-made disaster that changed the world: the Chernobyl meltdown. We take a closer look at all the contributing factors that lead the No 4 reactor at Chernobyl to explode and how the Soviet Union's political, scientific, and administrative culture at the time contributed to the disaster. And we'll look at the fallout, the logistics of trying to clean up a radioactive accident where five minutes in the wrong area will literally kill you, and the long-tail disaster recovery efforts. We are joined by Adam Higginbotham, author of the new best selling book "Midnight... Read More

Listen

The Human Network #524

May 17, 2019

What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours". Read More

Listen

Happy As A Clam (Garden) #523

May 10, 2019

This week we’re discussing clam gardens on the west coast of Canada and the US, and how indigenous people have been actively managing food resources in the area for thousands of years. Clam garden rock walls are thousands of years old, and people have been actively maintaining them up to today, but Europeans and the scientific community ignored their existence for a couple of centuries. We speak with Dana Lepofsky, Professor in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University, and Nicole Smith, a freelance archaeologist based in Victoria, about clam garden rock walls built into the coast of British... Read More

Listen

Home Alone? #522

May 03, 2019

Do you keep your house clean? Do you think that, maybe with the exception of the dog, you're alone in your home? Well, we hate to tell you this, but you're wrong. Your house is filled with microbes, fungi, bugs and much more. This week, we talk about the life filling you're house with Rob Dunn, a professor at North Carolina State University and author of the book "Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Read More

Listen

The Curious Life of Krill #521

April 19, 2019

Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World". Read More

Listen

A Closer Look at Objectivism #520

April 12, 2019

Update: the previous file had overlapping tracks during the second interview. This has now been fixed. This week we broach the topic of Objectivism. We'll be speaking with Keith Lockitch, senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, about the philosophy of Objectivism as it's taught through Ayn Rand's writings. Then we'll speak with Denise Cummins, cognitive scientist, author and fellow at the Association for Psychological Science, about the impact of Objectivist ideology on society. Related links: Introduction to Objectivism at the Ayn Rand Institute This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously by Denise Cummins on PBS News... Read More

Listen

Animal Architects #519

April 05, 2019

Don't make the mistake of thinking that humans are the only species that's mastered architecture. There are bugs out in this world that form huge, self healing structures out of their own bodies. And there are other bugs that form fountains of thousands - all to destroy a pizza in just a few hours. Move over, pirhanas. The black soldier fly larvae are here. This week, we talk to Olga Shishkov and Sulisay Phonekeo about their work studying living animal structures, and what that could mean for how we build and how we deal with our rapidly mounting piles of... Read More

Listen

With Genetic Knowledge Comes the Need for Counselling #518

March 22, 2019

This week we delve into genetic testing - for yourself and your future children. We speak with Jane Tiller, lawyer and genetic counsellor, about genetic tests that are available to the public, and what to do with the results of these tests. And we talk with Noam Shomron, associate professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, about technological advancements his lab has made in the genetic testing of fetuses. Read More

Listen

Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic #517

March 15, 2019

Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:... Read More

Listen

The Keys to Skeletons Lost #516

March 08, 2019

Until we break a bone or two, we tend not to spend too much time thinking about our bones, where they come from, and how we know what we know about them. Well, today we've got a bone to pick with our own skeletons. We'll talk with Brian Switek, author of the book "Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone", about where your skeleton comes from, and how so many of the skeletons scientists have studied have complicated pasts and uncertain futures. Read More

Listen

Humanimal #515

March 01, 2019

Are humans special? We feel special, like we're somehow different from the rest of life on the planet. But are we really? This week, we spend the hour with Adam Rutherford, science broadcaster, writer, and author of the book "Humanimal: How Homo Sapiens Became Nature's Most Paradoxical Creature - A New Evolutionary History". We discuss the commone ways we think humans are different from other creatures and how, sometimes, those ideas turns out to be not quite correct. Along the way we also think a little more carefully about some of the deeply ingrained and sometimes subtle ideas people have... Read More

Listen

Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast) #514

February 22, 2019

This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south. Read More

Listen

Dinosaur Tails #513

February 15, 2019

This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands". Read More

Listen

All Over The Map #512

February 08, 2019

Today we're talking about maps: why we can spend hours pouring over them, the stories they tell, the information they visualize, and how they border between map and a work of art is a gloriously fuzzy one. We spend the hour with journalists Betsy Mason and Greg Miller, co-authors of a beautiful and fascinating new book "All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey". You can see some of the maps we discuss over at the All Over the Map section of National Geographic. Read More

Listen

Ok you worked out, now what? #511

February 01, 2019

Ok, you got out the door and did a workout. Excellent work! Now you're sore. Rats. What do you do? Foam roll? Stretch? Stand butt naked in a tank pumping in liquid nitrogen? Put on specially branded pajamas? The recovery options are endless these days. But which of them work best? Heck, which even work at all? We're talking with Christie Aschwanden about her new book: "Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery". Related links: ‘Good to Go’ tackles the real science of sports recovery - Review from Bethany... Read More

Listen

Gene Drives (Rebroadcast) #510

January 25, 2019

This week on Science for the People: who is driving this genetic bus? We'll talk with Kevin Esvelt about gene drives, what they are, where they come from what they can be used for, and why the science on gene drives should be done as openly as possible. Then, we'll speak with Laurie Zoloth about the ethical questions surrounding their use, why people are so afraid, and who should be making the decision to use this technology in the wild. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related Links How gene drives work Gene Drives... Read More

Listen