Episodes Archive

A Brief History of Infinity #172

July 06, 2012

This week, we’re diving back into the fascinating world of numbers, from the toughest theoretical concepts, to the numbers that describe our favorite pastimes. Guest host Rachelle Saunders talks to science writer Brian Clegg, about his book A Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable, which describes the surprisingly human endeavor to understand and describe the unimaginably large concepts that define the universe. And Desiree Schell talks to physicist Aaron Santos, about his entertaining new book Ballparking: Practical Math for Impractical Sports Questions. Read More


Ask a Pharmacist #171

June 29, 2012

We’re back live this week, and we’re giving you the chance to Ask a Pharmacist. Ontario pharmacist Scott Gavura is the founder and editor of Science-Based Pharmacy, and a contributor to Science-Based Medicine. He’ll be answering audience questions for the full hour. Read More


Infrastructure and You #170

June 22, 2012

This week, we’re taking a break from live recording. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour looking at the infrastructure that makes our modern, increasingly urbanized lives possible. She’s joined by journalist Scott Huler, author of the book On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems that Make our World Work. And she’ll speak to environmental journalist and urban design critic Tim De Chant, about his population density blog Per Square Mile. Read More


Play Reality #169

June 15, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the intersection between science and play time. Guest host Julieta Delos Santos talks to Dr. Jayne Gackenbach and Teace Snyder, about their book Play Reality: How Videogames are Changing Everything. And we’ll listen back to “The Petri Dish,” a panel discussion by kids for kids (and parents), about getting kids interested in science, recorded live at LogiCON 2012. Read More


Sex, Bombs and Burgers #168

June 08, 2012

This week, we’re talking about the basic, biological impulses that drive our technological advancement. We’re joined by author and journalist Peter Nowak, to discuss his book Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Shaped Modern Technology. And we’ll talk to John Zeller, founder of Penny4Nasa, a petition project to increase funding for space exploration in the U.S. Read More


Liars and Outliers #167

June 01, 2012

This week, we’re talking about trust and cooperation, and the implications these social values have for security in the era of global networking. We’re joined by security technologist and author Bruce Schneier, to talk about his book Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive. And anthropologist/blogger Greg Laden returns to discuss speculation about cognitive limits on the use of social networks. For more on the debate between Bruce Schneier and Sam Harris over the effectiveness of profiling in airport security, check out Harris’ essay, Schneier’s response, and the resulting debate. Read More


The Cure for Everything #166

May 25, 2012

This week, we’re looking at what the evidence has to say about common claims about diet, exercise, weight loss and other hot health topics. We’re joined by health law professor Timothy Caulfield, to talk about his book The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness. And researcher and science blogger Scicurious looks at a new study of coffee consumption, and the effect it may – or may not – have on life expectancy. Read More


Dark Matter #165

May 18, 2012

What do you get when all the stuff in the universe can’t account for the mass we observe? You get Dark Matter, that mysterious source of gravity that might be the only thing keeping galaxies from flying apart. This week, guest host Rachelle Saunders talk to Carsten Krauss, assistant professor at the physics department of the University of Alberta, about what Dark Matter is, how we discovered it, and how we know it’s there if we can’t actually observe it. And Desiree Schell talks to David Grelli from the Edmonton New Technology Society. Read More


Babies, Brains and Boobs #164

May 11, 2012

This week, we’re looking at some of the ways motherhood changes the brain and the body.  Kayt Sukel, author of Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships, returns to explain the neurological effects of pregnancy and motherhood. And we’re joined by Dr. Katie Hinde, Director of Harvard’s Comparative Lactation Laboratory, to discuss the biology of lactation and breastfeeding. Read More


Newton and The Counterfeiter #163

May 04, 2012

This week, we’re digging into a fascinating and little known chapter in the life of one of the giants of modern science. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with Tom Levenson, Professor of Science Writing at MIT, to talk about his book Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist. Read More


The Science of Belief #162

April 27, 2012

This week, we’re talking about the perspective of science on the mechanisms of belief. We’re joined by science writer Jesse Bering, to discuss his book The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. And we dive into the neurology of religious faith with Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of How God Changes Your Brain. Read More


False Profits #161

April 20, 2012

This week, we’re joined by Robert FitzPatrick, founder of Pyramid Scheme Alert, and co-author of False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes. He’ll discuss the promises and pitfalls of schemes, and how to tell legitimate direct selling from multi-level marketing scams. And we speak to Paul Piff, researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley, about his research on the relationship between social class and unethical behavior. Read More


Before the Lights Go Out #160

April 13, 2012

This week, we’re  joined by Maggie-Koerth Baker, Science Editor at Boing-Boing, to talk about her new book Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us. Maggie will discuss the economics and social incentives that spurred the growth of our existing energy system, and what we can do to prepare for a new energy future. Read More


Too Big To Know #159

April 06, 2012

This week we’re talking about how global connectivity and the rise of big data are transforming the way we look at knowledge. We’re joined by David Weinberger, co-director of Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab, to talk about his book Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. And we’ll speak to Lindsey Pinto, Communications Manager of OpenMedia.ca, about their work to safeguard a free and open Internet for Canadians. Read More


Reef Madness #158

March 30, 2012

This week, guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with science writer David Dobbs, to talk about his book Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. The 2005 book, which was recently adapted into a set of serialized blog posts, recounts the century-long controversy over the origins of coral reefs, and its relationship to the history of evolutionary theory. They’ll discuss the challenges of writing the stories of science and the importance of sharing them with a wide audience. Read More


Predators and Prey #157

March 23, 2012

This week, we’re looking into the many strategies that animals employ in the struggle to eat other animals. We’re joined by freelance science writer Matt Soniak, to discuss the often complex relationship between hunter and hunted. And biological anthropologist Greg Laden returns for another edition of Everything You Know is Sort of Wrong. He’ll tell us about humanity’s history as hunters, and how it may – or may not – affect our behavior today. Read More


Beyond 42 #156

March 16, 2012

This week, we’re experiencing the power of stories to communicate science. Join us for Beyond 42: How Science Can Use Stories to Explain Life, the Universe and Everything. This event, recorded live in Edmonton, features Scientific American Blog Editor Bora Zivkovic, and a fantastic cast of scientists telling moving stories that communicate the wonder of science and discovery. Our storytellers this week were Sol Delos Santos, Greg Henkelman, Monica Chahal, Courtney Hughes and Marie-Claire Shanahan, who appears courtesy of The Monti Audio Series. Read More


Dirty Minds #155

March 09, 2012

This week, we’re looking into what happens in our brains when we’re experiencing some of the most powerful feelings we feel. We’ll spend the hour with science writer Kayt Sukel, to talk about her book Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships. From pheromones to fMRI, it’s an entertaining and informative look at the neuroscience of affection. Read More


Mathtastic! Part Two #154

March 02, 2012

This week, guest host Rachelle Saunders is back for part two of our two-part series on the fun and fascinating world of math. Rachelle spends the whole hour with Ian Stewart, mathematician, professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, and author of over two dozen books, on topics from chaos theory to symmetry, and the history of math itself. Read More


Mathtastic! Part One #153

February 24, 2012

This week, we’re diving into the fascinating math that describes the world around us. Guest host Rachelle Saunders speaks to Malcolm Roberts, PhD Applied Mathematician at the University of Alberta, about fluid dynamics, the math that models motion in fluids, gasses, plasmas, and reveals the secret to pouring the perfect beer. And Desiree Schell talks to theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, about building a reliable science and health news aggregator. Read More