Episodes Archive

The C Word #186

October 19, 2012

No, not that C word. This week, we’re talking about Cancer; its myriad forms, many causes, and most promising treatments. We’re joined by engineering professor Brendan Harley, who works on making cancer research more effective, and Dr. David Gorski, surgical oncologist and prominent science blogger. And on the podcast, author Kayt Sukel returns to the show, to discuss the efficacy and application of screening for breast cancer, and what effect pink-saturated awareness campaigns actually have on research and treatment efforts. Read More


Genetically Modified Foods Revisited #185

October 12, 2012

This week, we’ll spend the hour talking about genetically modified foods, that are causing conversation among scientists, lawmakers and the public. Horticulture professor Kevin Folta returns to the show, along with Karl Haro von Mogel and Anastasia Bodnar, co-editors of Biofortified.org. They’ll give us the scientific perspective on the benefits, and possible dangers, in manipulating the genes of  common food crops. Read More


Your Baby’s Best Shot #184

October 05, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the science – and pseudoscience – that affects the healthcare decisions parents make for their children, and women make for themselves. We’re joined by Allison Hagood and Stacy Herlihy, to talk about their book Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines are Safe and Save Lives. And we’re joined by Skepchick.org founder Rebecca Watson, to talk about pseudoscience that’s targeted and marketed specifically at women. Read More


Current Controversies #183

September 28, 2012

This week, we’re looking at two science stories making headlines and stirring debate. Science writer David Dobbs returns to the show, to discuss the controversial neuroscience in Naomi Wolf’s new book Vagina: a Biography. And genetics researcher Michael White joins us to sort out the science from the hype in the results of the ENCODE genomics project. Read More


Science Cinema #182

September 21, 2012

This week, we’re looking at film and video as an exciting, engaging way to communicate science to the public. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with independent film-maker and former BBC video journalist Brady Haran, and artist and filmmaker Henry Reich, creator of the Minute Physics YouTube series. They’ll discuss the promise and pitfalls of telling science stories in moving pictures. Read More


Science Reporting 2012 #181

September 14, 2012

This week, we’re looking at new and evolving ways of bringing important science news to the public. Journalist and author Maryn McKenna returns to the show, to talk about her recent report for the Food & Environment Reporting Network, about evidence for a link between a common human infection and the overuse of antibiotics in chicken production. And science writer Jennifer Ouellette gives us the scoop on The Best Science Writing Online 2012, a collection of last year’s best science blog posts. Read More


Measure for Measure #180

September 07, 2012

This week, we’re thinking about science as an instrument, and the parallels between an understanding of music and the history of science. Thomas Levenson, Professor of Science Writing at MIT and author of Newton and the Counterfeiter, returns to talk about his 1994 book Measure for Measure: A Musical History of Science. And on the podcast, we’re joined by Vaughan Macefield, Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Western Sydney, to talk about his project that translates neural impulses into audible sound. Read More


Semen Science (REBROADCAST) #100

September 01, 2012

This week, we’re listening back to one of our all-time most popular episodes. Evolutionary biologist John Logsdon explains the amazing diversity of sperm design, and its connection with mating behaviour. And Scientopia blogger Scicurious discusses some of our favorites from her Friday Weird Science archives, covering everything from the antidepressant properties of semen, to smelly semen, to testicle receptacles, and much, much more. Read More


Waterworld #179

August 24, 2012

This week, we’re discussing some fascinating science focused on the liquid portions of our big blue planet. We’re joined by graduate researcher Andrew David Thaler, founder of Southern Fried Science, to talk about the weird and wonderful networks of life that exist in the Deep Sea. And University of Alberta researcher David Schindler joins us to talk about the work, and the uncertain future, of Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area and its freshwater ecosystem research. Read More


World Wide Mind #178

August 18, 2012

This week, we’re looking at a possible future where integrated technology makes exchanging digital information as natural as using the senses we’re born with. We’ll talk to technology writer Michael Chorost, about his book World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet. And anthropologist Greg Laden gives us a primer on the origins and evolution of human communication. Read More


Climate Change at CONvergence #177

August 11, 2012

This week, we’re taking a break from live recording. We’ll listen back to highlights from “The Chilling Effects of Denialism,” and “Who Will Save the Polar Bears,” two panels on climate change recorded live as part of the Skepchickcon track at CONvergence 2012, and moderated by our host, Desiree Schell. Science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker, engineering professor John Abraham, science advocate and writer Shawn Otto, and biological anthropologist Greg Laden discussed the causes and effects of climate change, and how debate over the science has played out in the media and popular culture. Read More


The Violinist's Thumb #176

August 03, 2012

This week, it’s part two of our two week focus on evolution and genetics. Science writer Sam Kean, author of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, returns to the show to talk about his new book The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code. Read More


Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll #175

July 27, 2012

This week, it’s part one of a two-week focus on evolution and genetics. For our first installment, we’re looking at the ways that evolution might influence our modern lives, from obesity to overpopulation to heavy metal music. We spend the hour with Rob Brooks, Professor of Evolution and Director of the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. He’ll join us to talk about his book Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World. Read More


Ignorance #174

July 20, 2012

This week, we’re looking at how the basic condition of not knowing things provides the motivation to keep science moving. We’re joined by Stuart Firestein, Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences, to talk about his book Ignorance: How It Drives Science. And we’re joined by Toronto attorney Adam Wygodny, to talk about using the law to protect consumers from ineffective and untested alternative medicine products. Read More


Seeking Sickness #173

July 13, 2012

This week, we’re looking at some common assumptions about healthcare, including the well-known benefits – and less discussed costs – of popular screening technologies. We’re joined by drug policy researcher Alan Cassels, to talk about his book Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease. And we’ll speak to paramedic and skeptical blogger Michael Kruse about Bad Science Watch, a new non-profit watchdog organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by countering bad science. Read More


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