Episodes Archive

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Poisoner's Handbook #152

February 17, 2012

This week, we’re talking science and storytelling. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan speaks to science journalist and author Deborah Blum about her national bestseller The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. The book tells the fascinating story of the way that chemical detectives started a revolution in the investigation of crime. And Desiree Schell talks to Bora Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American, about a new event that teaches science through personal stories. Read More

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Everyday Superpowers #151

February 10, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the amazing abilities and potential of the human body. Evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi joins us to talk about his book The Vision Revolution, which looks at the evolution of vision from a novel new direction. And Dr. Torah Kachur discusses practical ways that science and technology can get us closer to the extraordinary abilities we see in science fiction. Read More

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Fungi and Fossils #150

February 03, 2012

This week, we’re talking about strange lifeforms that stretch our assumptions about the natural world. Molecular pharmacologist David Kroll, Science Communications Director of the Nature Research Center at North Carolina’s state Museum of Natural Sciences, returns to tell us about fungi and their amazing uses, from necessities like bread and beer, to medical and environmental breakthroughs. And on the podcast, we’re joined by Sarah Mathews, principal investigator at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, to discuss a new study that used genetic techniques to overturn the popular conception of cycads as “living fossils.” Read More

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There Will Be Blood: The Evolution and Function of Menstruation #149

January 27, 2012

This week, we’re talking about what may be the most stigmatized facet of human reproduction. We’re joined by Dr. Kate Clancy, anthropology professor and science blogger, to learn about the physiology and function of menstruation, and the history of how it’s been considered in medicine and myth. And on the podcast, biologist P.Z. Myers looks at menstruation from an evolutionary perspective. Read More

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Brain Bits #148

January 20, 2012

This week, we take a look at some of the most interesting things we’ve learned about the brain. We’ll revisit some of our favorite episodes on the brain and its fascinating functions, from interpreting music, to justifying cruel behavior, and its role in gender identity. And we’re joined by Ingrid Wickelgren, editor at Scientific American Mind, for a new segment on how our brains are wired to believe weird things. Read More

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