Episodes Archive

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 ā€˜nā€™ 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


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