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Rank #56 in Science category

Science

Science Magazine Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Rank #56 in Science category

Science
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Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

Read more

Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

iTunes Ratings

452 Ratings
Average Ratings
281
74
39
35
23

The Best

By gilledfreak - Mar 08 2018
Read more
Sarah is amazing. Love this podcast

great program

By Margot Brinn - Oct 09 2017
Read more
I love the interviewers excellent questions and the interviewees well researched answers.

iTunes Ratings

452 Ratings
Average Ratings
281
74
39
35
23

The Best

By gilledfreak - Mar 08 2018
Read more
Sarah is amazing. Love this podcast

great program

By Margot Brinn - Oct 09 2017
Read more
I love the interviewers excellent questions and the interviewees well researched answers.

Listen to:

Cover image of Science Magazine Podcast

Science Magazine Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

A worldwide worm survey, and racial bias in a health care algorithm

Podcast cover
Read more
Earthworms are easy … to find. But despite their prevalence and importance to ecosystems around the world, there hasn’t been a comprehensive survey of earthworm diversity or population size. This week in Science, Helen Philips, a postdoctoral fellow at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Institute of Biology at Leipzig University, and colleagues published the results of their worldwide earthworm study, composed of data sets from many worm researchers around the globe. Host Sarah Crespi gets the lowdown from Philips on earthworm myths, collaborating with worm researchers, and links between worm populations and climate. Read a related commentary here. 

Sarah also talks with Ziad Obermeyer, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, about dissecting out bias in an algorithm used by health care systems in the United States to recommend patients for additional health services. With unusual access to a proprietary algorithm, inputs, and outputs, Obermeyer and his colleagues found that the low amount of health care dollars spent on black patients in the past caused the algorithm to underestimate their risk for poor health in the future. Obermeyer and Sarah discuss how this happened and remedies that are already in progress. Read a related commentary here. 

Finally, in the monthly books segment, books host Kiki Sanford interviews author Alice Gorman about her book Dr. Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future. Listen to more book segments on the Science books blog: Books, et al.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quanmen; MEL Science

Download the transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Oct 24 2019

40mins

Play

Trying to find the mind in the brain, and why adults are always criticizing ‘kids these days’

Podcast cover
Read more
We don’t know where consciousness comes from. And we don’t know whether animals have it, or whether we can detect it in patients in comas. Do neuroscientists even know where to look? A new competition aims to narrow down the bewildering number of theories of consciousness and get closer to finding its biological signs by pitting different theories against each other in experimental settings. Freelance journalist Sara Reardon talks with host Sarah Crespi about how the competition will work.

In our second segment, we talk about how we think about children. For thousands of years, adults have complained about their lack of respect, intelligence, and tendency to distraction, compared with previous generations. A new study out this week in Science Advances suggests our own biased childhood memories might be at fault. Sarah Crespi talks with John Protzko of the University of California, Santa Barbara, about how terrible people thought kids were in 3800 B.C.E. and whether understanding those biases might change how people view Generation Z today.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quanmen; Bayer; KiwiCo

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Andrea Kirkby/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Oct 17 2019

25mins

Play

How our brains may have evolved for language, and clues to what makes us leaders—or followers

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Yes, humans are the only species with language, but how did we acquire it? New research suggests our linguistic prowess might arise from the same process that brought domesticated dogs big eyes and bonobos the power to read others’ intent. Online News Editor Catherine Matacic joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how humans might have self-domesticated themselves, leading to physical and behavioral changes that gave us a “language-ready” brain.

Sarah also talks with Micah Edelson of the University of Zurich in Switzerland about his group’s research into the role that “responsibility aversion”—the reluctance to make decisions for a group—might play when people decide to lead or defer in a group setting. In their experiments, the team found that some people adjusted how much risk they would take on, depending on whether they were deciding for themselves alone or for the entire group. The ones who didn’t—those who stuck to the same plan whether others were involved or not—tended to score higher on standardized tests of leadership and have held higher military rank.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Download a transcript of this episode (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

[Image: Scaly breasted munia/Ravi Vaidyanathan; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Aug 02 2018

25mins

Play

Drug use in the ancient world, and what will happen to plants as carbon dioxide levels increase

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Armed with new data, archaeologists are revealing that mind-altering drugs were present at the dawn of the first complex societies some 5000 years ago in the ancient Middle East. Contributing writer Andrew Lawler joins Sarah Crespi to discuss the evidence for these drugs and how they might have impacted early societies and beliefs.

Sarah also interviews Sarah Hobbie of the University of Minnesota about the fate of plants under climate change. Will all that extra carbon dioxide in the air be good for certain types of flora? A 20-year long study published this week in Science suggests theoretical predictions have been off the mark.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Listen to previous podcasts.

[Image: Public domain Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Apr 19 2018

23mins

Play

Podcast: A planet beyond Pluto, the bugs in your home, and the link between marijuana and IQ

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Online News Editor David Grimm shares stories on studying marijuana use in teenage twins, building a better maze for psychological experiments, and a close inspection of the bugs in our homes. Science News Writer Eric Hand joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the potential for a ninth planet in the solar system that circles the sun just once every 15,000 years.  [Image: Gilles San Martin/CC BY-SA 2.0]

Jan 21 2016

17mins

Play

Podcast: Dancing dinosaurs, naked black holes, and more

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What stripped an unusual black hole of its stars? Can a bipolar drug change ant behavior? And did dinosaurs dance to woo mates? Science's Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science's Multimedia Producer Sarah Crespi. Plus,Science's Emily Underwood wades into the muddled world of migraine research, and Jessica Metcalf talks about using modern microbial means to track mammalian decomposition.

Jan 08 2016

31mins

Play

Science Podcast - Noisy gene expression, the Tohoku-oki fault, and snake venom as a healer (6 Dec 2013)

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Discussing the origin of transcriptional noise with Alvaro Sanchez; examining results from a drilling expedition at the Tohoku-oki fault; and looking at the potential benefits of snake venom with Kai Kupferschmidt.

Dec 06 2013

27mins

Play

Podcast: Where dog breeds come from, bots that build buildings, and gathering ancient human DNA from cave sediments

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This week, a new family tree of dog breeds, advances in artificial wombs, and an autonomous robot that can print a building with Online News Editor David Grimm.  

Viviane Slon joins Sarah Crespi to discuss a new way to seek out ancient humans—without finding fossils or bones—by screening sediments for ancient DNA.  

Jen Golbeck interviews Andrew Shtulman, author of Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong for this month’s book segment.   

Listen to previous podcasts.  

See more book segments.    

Download the show transcript.

Transcripts courtesy of Scribie.com.

[Image: nimis69/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Apr 27 2017

24mins

Play

Science Podcast - 2013 science books for kids, newlywed happiness, and authorship for sale in China (29 Nov 2013)

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Talking kids' science books with Maria Sosa; predicting happiness in marriage with James McNulty; investigating questionable scholarly publishing practices in China with Mara Hvistendahl.

Nov 29 2013

27mins

Play

High altitude humans living ~11,000 years ago (24 October 2014)

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Kurt Rademaker discusses his work exploring the Andean plateau for artifacts of the earliest high-altitude humans, Paleoindians that lived at 4500 meters more than 11,000 years ago. Hosted by Sarah Crespi. [Img: David-Stanley/Flickr]

Oct 24 2014

13mins

Play

Cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy, sleeping jellyfish, and counting a language’s words for colors

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This week we hear stories on animal hoarding, how different languages have different numbers of colors, and how to tell a wakeful jellyfish from a sleeping one with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic, Brice Russ, and Sarah Crespi.  

Andrew Wagner talks to Karl-Heinz Kampert about a long-term study of the cosmic rays blasting our planet. After analyzing 30,000 high-energy rays, it turns out some are coming from outside the Milky Way.  

Listen to previous podcasts.   

[Image: Doug Letterman/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Sep 21 2017

23mins

Play

Pollution from pot plants, and how our bodies perceive processed foods

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The “dank” smelling terpenes emitted by growing marijuana can combine with chemicals in car emissions to form ozone, a health-damaging compound. This is especially problematic in Denver, where ozone levels are dangerously high and pot farms have sprung up along two highways in the city. Host Sarah Crespi talks with reporter Jason Plautz about researchers’ efforts to measure terpene emissions from pot plants and how federal restrictions have hampered them.

Next, host Meagan Cantwell talks with Dana Small, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University, about how processed foods are perceived by the body. In a doughnut-rich world, what’s a body to think about calories, nutrition, and satiety?

And in the first book segment of the year, books editor Valerie Thompson is joined by Erika Malim, a history professor at Princeton University, to talk about her book Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America, which follows the rise and fall of the “killer ape hypothesis”—the idea that our capacity for killing each other is what makes us human.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Download the transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Wornden LY/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Jan 24 2019

32mins

Play

How whales got so big, sperm in space, and a first look at Jupiter’s poles

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This week we have stories on strange dimming at a not-so-distant star, sending sperm to the International Space Station, and what the fossil record tells us about how baleen whales got so ginormous with Online News Editor David Grimm.

Julia Rosen talks to Scott Bolton about surprises in the first data from the Juno mission, including what Jupiter’s poles look like and a peak under its outer cloud layers.

Listen to previous podcasts. 

[Music: Jeffrey Cook]

May 25 2017

27mins

Play

Ancient DNA and a news roundup

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Elizabeth Culotta discusses the ancient DNA revolution and David Grimm brings online news stories about rising autism numbers, shark safety, and tiny cloudmakers. Hosted by Sarah Crespi. [Img: Alexander Maklakov]

Jul 23 2015

19mins

Play

Can we inherit trauma from our ancestors, and the secret to dark liquid dances

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Can we inherit trauma from our ancestors? Studies of behavior and biomarkers have suggested the stress of harsh conditions or family separations can be passed down, even beyond one’s children. Journalist Andrew Curry joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a possible mechanism for this mode of inheritance and mouse studies that suggest possible ways to reverse the effects.

Spiky, pulsating ferrofluids are perpetual YouTube stars. The secret to these dark liquid dances is the manipulation of magnetic nanoparticles in the liquid by external magnets. But when those outside forces are removed, the dance ends. Now, researchers writing in Science have created permanently magnetic fluids that respond to other magnets, electricity, and pH by changing shape, moving, and—yes—probably even dancing. Sarah Crespi talks to Thomas Russell of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst about the about the applications of these squishy, responsive magnets.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Jul 18 2019

21mins

Play

Grad schools dropping the GRE requirement and AIs play capture the flag

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Up until this year, most U.S. graduate programs in the sciences required the General Record Examination from applicants. But concerns about what the test scores actually say about potential students and the worry that the cost is a barrier to many have led to a rapid and dramatic reduction in the number of programs requiring the test. Science Staff Writer Katie Langin joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about this trend and how it differs across disciplines.

Also this week, Sarah talks with DeepMind’s Max Jaderberg in London about training artificial agents to play a video game version of capture the flag. The agents played approximately 4 years’ worth of Quake III Arena and came out better than even expert human players at both cooperating and collaborating, even when their computer-quick reflexes were hampered.

And in this month’s book segment, new host Kiki Sanford interviews Marcus Du Satoy about his book The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads this week: KiwiCo.com

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science podcast.

[Image: DeepMind; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

May 30 2019

39mins

Play

Podcast: The latest news from Pluto, a rock-eating fungus, and tracking storm damage with Twitter

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News intern Nala Rogers shares stories on mineral-mining microbes, mapping hurricane damage using social media, and the big takeaway from the latest human-versus-computer match up.
 
Hal Weaver joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss five papers from New Horizons Pluto flyby, including a special focus on Pluto’s smaller moons.
 
[Image: Saran_Poroong/iStockphoto]

Mar 17 2016

24mins

Play

A radioactive waste standoff and science’s debt to the slave trade

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A single factory in Malaysia supplies about 10% of the world’s rare earth oxides, used in everything from cellphones to lasers to missiles. Controversy over the final resting place for the slightly radioactive byproducts has pushed the plant to the brink of closure. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with freelance writer Yao Hua Law about calls to ship the waste back to where it was originally mined in Australia, and how stopping production in Malaysia would mean almost all rare earth production would take place in China. 

In another global trade story, host Sarah Crespi talks with freelance writer Sam Kean about close links between the slave trade and early naturalists’ efforts to catalog the world’s flora and fauna. Today, historians and museums are just starting to come to grips with the often-ignored relationships between slavers and scientists.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Download the transcript (PDF)

Ads on this show: Kolabtree and MagellanTV

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: James Petiver, 1695; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Apr 04 2019

23mins

Play

The limits on human endurance, and a new type of LED

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Cheap and easy to make, perovskite minerals have become the wonder material of solar energy. Now, scientists are turning from using perovskites to capture light to using them to emit it. Staff Writer Robert Service joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about using these minerals in all kinds of light-emitting diodes, from cellphones to flat screen TVs.

Read the related paper in Science Advances.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Caitlin Thurber, a biologist at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, about a hard limit on human endurance. Her group used data from transcontinental racers—who ran 957 kilometers over the course of 20 weeks—and found that after about 100 days, their metabolism settled in at about 2.5 times the baseline rate, suggesting a hard limit on human endurance at long timescales. Earlier studies based on the 23-day Tour de France found much higher levels of energy expenditure, in the four- to five-times-baseline range.

Download a transcript (PDF)

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on the show: KiwiCo.com

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: N. Zhou et al., Science Advances 2019; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Jun 06 2019

20mins

Play

Podcast: Nuclear forensics, honesty in a sea of lies, and how sliced meat drove human evolution

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Online News Editor David Grimm shares stories on the influence of governmental corruption on the honesty of individuals, what happened when our ancestors cut back on the amount of time spent chewing food, and how plants use sand to grind herbivores‘ gears.
 
Science’s International News Editor Rich Stone joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss his forensics story on how to track down the culprits after a nuclear detonation.
 
[Image: Miroslav Boskov]

Mar 10 2016

26mins

Play

Debating lab monkey retirement, and visiting a near-Earth asteroid

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After their life as research subjects, what happens to lab monkeys? Some are euthanized to complete the research, others switch to new research projects, and some retire from lab life. Should they retire in place—in the same lab under the care of the same custodians—or should they be sent to retirement home–like sanctuaries? Online News Editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss recently penned legislation that pushes for monkey retirements and a new collaboration between universities and sanctuaries to create a retirement pipeline for these primates.

Sarah also talks with Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) and a professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, about the latest news from the asteroid Bennu. Within 1 week of beginning its orbit of the asteroid, OSIRIS-REx was able to send back surprising images of the asteroid ejecting material. It’s extremely rocky surface also took researchers by surprise and forced a recalculation of the sample return portion of the craft’s mission.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: McDonalds; Parcast’s Natural Disasters podcast; KiwiCo

Download the transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Dec 05 2019

30mins

Play

Double dipping in an NIH loan repayment program, and using undersea cables as seismic sensors

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The National Institutes of Health’s largest loan repayment program was conceived to help scientists pay off school debts without relying on industry funding. But a close examination of the program by investigative correspondent Charles Piller has revealed that many participants are taking money from the government to repay their loans, while at the same time taking payments from pharmaceutical companies. Piller joins Host Sarah Crespi to talk about the steps he took to uncover this double dipping and why ethicists say this a conflict of interest.  

Sarah also talks with Nate Lindsey, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, about turning a 50-kilometer undersea fiber optic cable designed to move data into a sensor for activity in the ocean and the land underneath. During a 4-day test in Monterey Bay, California, the cable detected earthquakes, faults, waves, and even ocean-going storms.

For this month’s books segment, Kiki Sandford talks with Dan Hooper about his book At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe’s First Seconds.  

You can find more books segments on the Books et al. blog.  

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.  

Ads on this week’s show: McDonalds; Salk’s Where Cures Begin podcast  

Download the transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.  

About the Science Podcast

Nov 28 2019

37mins

Play

Building a landslide observatory, and the universality of music

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You may have seen the aftermath of a landslide, driving along a twisty mountain road—a scattering of rocks and scree impinging on the pavement. And up until now, that’s pretty much how scientists have tracked landslides—roadside observations and spotty satellite images. Now, researchers are hoping to track landslides systematically by instrumenting an entire national park in Taiwan. The park is riddled with landslides—so much so that visitors wear helmets. Host Sarah Crespi talks with one of those visitors—freelance science journalist Katherine Kornei—about what we can learn from landslides.

In a second rocking segment, Sarah also talks with Manvir Singh about the universality of music. His team asked the big questions in a Science paper out this week: Do all societies make music? What are the common elements that can be picked out from songs worldwide? Sarah and Manvir listen to songs and talk about what love ballads and lullabies have in common, regardless of their culture of origin.

Explore the music database. 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer; KiwiCo; McDonalds

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Martin Lewinson/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Nov 21 2019

37mins

Play

How to make an Arctic ship ‘vanish,’ and how fast-moving spikes are heating the Sun’s atmosphere

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The Polarstern research vessel will spend 1 year locked in an Arctic ice floe. Aboard the ship and on the nearby ice, researchers will take measurements of the ice, air, water, and more in an effort to understand this pristine place. Science journalist Shannon Hall joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about her time aboard the Polarstern and how difficult these measurements are, when the researchers’ temporary Arctic home is the noisiest, smokiest, brightest thing around.

After that icy start, Sarah talks also with Tanmoy Samanta, a postdoctoral researcher at Peking University in Beijing, about the source of the extreme temperature of the Sun’s corona, which can be up to 1 million K hotter than the surface of the Sun. His team’s careful measurements of spicules—small, plentiful, short-lived spikes of plasma that constantly ruffle the Sun’s surface—and the magnetic networks that seem to generate these spikes, suggest a solution to the long-standing problem of how spicules arise and, at the same time, their likely role in the heating of the corona.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Shannon Hall; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Nov 14 2019

22mins

Play

Unearthing slavery in the Caribbean, and the Catholic Church’s influence on modern psychology

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Most historical accounts of slavery were written by colonists and planters. Researchers are now using the tools of archaeology to learn more about the day-to-day lives of enslaved Africans—how they survived the conditions of slavery, how they participated in local economies, and how they maintained their own agency. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Contributing Correspondent Lizzie Wade about a Caribbean archaeology project based on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and launched by the founders of the Society for Black Archaeologists that aims to unearth these details. Watch a related video here.

Sarah also talks with Jonathan Schulz, a professor in the Department of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, about a role for the medieval Roman Catholic Church in so-called WEIRD psychology—western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic. The bulk of psychology experiments have used participants that could be described as WEIRD, and according to many psychological measures, WEIRD subjects tend to have some extreme traits, like a stronger tendency toward individuality and more friendliness with strangers. Schulz and colleagues used historical maps and measures of kinship structure to tie these traits to strict marriage rules enforced by the medieval Catholic Church in Western Europe. Read related commentary.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer; KiwiCo

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Nov 07 2019

28mins

Play

How measles wipes out immune memory, and detecting small black holes

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Measles is a dangerous infection that can kill. As many as 100,000 people die from the disease each year. For those who survive infection, the virus leaves a lasting mark—it appears to wipe out the immune system’s memory. News Intern Eva Fredrick joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about a pair of studies that looked at how this happens in children’s immune systems.

Read the related studies in Science and Science Immunology.

In our second segment this week, Sarah talks with Todd Thompson, of Ohio State University in Columbus, about his effort to find a small black hole in a binary pair with a red giant star. Usually black holes are detected because they are accruing matter and as the matter interacts with the black hole, x-rays are released. Without this flashy signal, black hole detection gets much harder. Astronomers must look for the gravitational influence of the black holes on nearby stars—which is easier to spot when the black hole is massive. Thompson talks with Sarah about a new approach to finding small, noninteracting black holes.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Oct 31 2019

19mins

Play

A worldwide worm survey, and racial bias in a health care algorithm

Podcast cover
Read more
Earthworms are easy … to find. But despite their prevalence and importance to ecosystems around the world, there hasn’t been a comprehensive survey of earthworm diversity or population size. This week in Science, Helen Philips, a postdoctoral fellow at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Institute of Biology at Leipzig University, and colleagues published the results of their worldwide earthworm study, composed of data sets from many worm researchers around the globe. Host Sarah Crespi gets the lowdown from Philips on earthworm myths, collaborating with worm researchers, and links between worm populations and climate. Read a related commentary here. 

Sarah also talks with Ziad Obermeyer, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, about dissecting out bias in an algorithm used by health care systems in the United States to recommend patients for additional health services. With unusual access to a proprietary algorithm, inputs, and outputs, Obermeyer and his colleagues found that the low amount of health care dollars spent on black patients in the past caused the algorithm to underestimate their risk for poor health in the future. Obermeyer and Sarah discuss how this happened and remedies that are already in progress. Read a related commentary here. 

Finally, in the monthly books segment, books host Kiki Sanford interviews author Alice Gorman about her book Dr. Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future. Listen to more book segments on the Science books blog: Books, et al.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quanmen; MEL Science

Download the transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Oct 24 2019

40mins

Play

Trying to find the mind in the brain, and why adults are always criticizing ‘kids these days’

Podcast cover
Read more
We don’t know where consciousness comes from. And we don’t know whether animals have it, or whether we can detect it in patients in comas. Do neuroscientists even know where to look? A new competition aims to narrow down the bewildering number of theories of consciousness and get closer to finding its biological signs by pitting different theories against each other in experimental settings. Freelance journalist Sara Reardon talks with host Sarah Crespi about how the competition will work.

In our second segment, we talk about how we think about children. For thousands of years, adults have complained about their lack of respect, intelligence, and tendency to distraction, compared with previous generations. A new study out this week in Science Advances suggests our own biased childhood memories might be at fault. Sarah Crespi talks with John Protzko of the University of California, Santa Barbara, about how terrible people thought kids were in 3800 B.C.E. and whether understanding those biases might change how people view Generation Z today.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quanmen; Bayer; KiwiCo

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

[Image: Andrea Kirkby/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Oct 17 2019

25mins

Play

Fossilized dinosaur proteins, and making a fridge from rubber bands

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Have you ever tried to scrub off the dark, tarlike residue on a grill? That tough stuff is made up of polymers—basically just byproducts of cooking—and it is so persistent that researchers have found similar molecules that have survived hundreds of millions of years. And these aren’t from cook fires. They are actually the byproducts of death and fossilization. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Contributing Correspondent Gretchen Vogel about how these molecules can be found on the surface of certain fossils and used as fingerprints for the proteins that once dwelled in dinos.

And Sarah talks with Zunfeng Liu, a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, about a new cooling technology based on a 100-year-old observation that a stretched rubber band is warm and a relaxed one is cool. It’s going to be hard to beat the 60% efficiency of compression-based refrigerators and air conditioning units, but Zunfeng and colleagues aim to try, with twists and coils that can cool water by 7°C when relaxed.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Oct 10 2019

21mins

Play

An app for eye disease, and planting memories in songbirds

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Host Sarah Crespi talks with undergraduate student Micheal Munson from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, about a smartphone app that scans photos in the phone’s library for eye disease in kids. 

And Sarah talks with Todd Roberts of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, about incepting memories into zebra finches to study how they learn their songs. Using a technique called optogenetics—in which specific neurons can be controlled by pulses of light—the researchers introduced false song memories by turning on neurons in different patterns, with longer or shorter note durations than typical zebra finch songs.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: MOVA Globes; KiwiCo.com

Download a transcript (PDF)

Listen to previous podcasts.

About the Science Podcast

Oct 03 2019

23mins

Play

Privacy concerns slow Facebook studies, and how human fertility depends on chromosome counts

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On this week’s show, Senior News Correspondent Jeffrey Mervis talks with host Sarah Crespi about a stalled Facebook plan to release user data to social scientists who want to study the site’s role in elections.

Sarah also talks with Jennifer Gruhn, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Copenhagen Center for Chromosome Stability, about counting chromosomes in human egg cells. It turns out that cell division errors that cause too many or too few chromosomes to remain in the egg may shape human fertility over our reproductive lives.

Finally, in this month’s book segment, Kiki Sanford talks with Daniel Navon about his book Mobilizing Mutations: Human Genetics in the Age of Patient Advocacy. Visit the books blog for more author interviews: Books et al.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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Sep 26 2019

37mins

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Cooling Earth with asteroid dust, and 3 billion missing birds

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On this week’s show, science journalist Josh Sokol talks about a global cooling event sparked by space dust that lead to a huge shift in animal and plant diversity 466 million years ago. (Read the related research article in Science Advances.)

And I talk with Kenneth Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at Cornell University, about steep declines in bird abundance in the United States and Canada. His team estimates about 3 billion birds have gone missing since the 1970s.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Sep 19 2019

26mins

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Studying human health at 5100 meters, and playing hide and seek with rats

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In La Rinconada, Peru, a town 5100 meters up in the Peruvian Andes, residents get by breathing air with 50% less oxygen than at sea level. International News Editor Martin Enserink visited the site with researchers studying chronic mountain sickness—when the body makes excess red blood cells in an effort to cope with oxygen deprivation—in these extreme conditions. Martin talks with host Sarah Crespi about how understanding why this illness occurs in some people and not others could help the residents of La Rinconada and the 140 million people worldwide living above 2500 meters. Read the whole special issue on mountains. 

Sarah also talks with Annika Stefanie Reinhold about her work at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin training rats to play hide and seek. Surprisingly, rats learned the game easily and were even able to switch roles—sometimes playing as the seeker, other times the hider. Annika talks with Sarah about why studying play behavior in animals is important for understanding the connections between play and learning in both rats and humans.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Sep 12 2019

27mins

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Searching for a lost Maya city, and measuring the information density of language

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This week’s show starts with Contributing Correspondent Lizzie Wade, who spent 12 days with archaeologists searching for a lost Maya city in the Chiapas wilderness in Mexico. She talks with host Sarah Crespi about how you lose a city—and how you might go about finding one.

And Sarah talks with Christophe Coupé, an associate professor in the department of linguistics at the University of Hong Kong in China, about the information density of different languages. His work, published this week in Science Advances, suggests very different languages—from Chinese to Japanese to English and French—are all equally efficient at conveying information.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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Sep 05 2019

27mins

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Where our microbiome came from, and how our farming and hunting ancestors transformed the world

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Micro-organisms live inside everything from the human gut to coral—but where do they come from? Host Meagan Cantwell talks to Staff Writer Elizabeth Pennisi about the first comprehensive survey of microbes in Hawaii’s Waimea Valley, which revealed that plants and animals get their unique microbiomes from organisms below them in the food chain or the wider environment.

Going global, Meagan then speaks with Erle Ellis, professor of geography and environmental science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, about a project that aggregated the expertise of more than 250 archaeologists to map human land use over the past 10,000 years. This detailed map will help fine-tune climate models.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Chris Couderc/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Aug 29 2019

30mins

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Promising approaches in suicide prevention, and how to retreat from climate change

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Changing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK) to a three-digit number could save lives—especially when coupled with other strategies. Host Meagan Cantwell talks to Greg Miller, a science journalist based in Portland, Oregon, about three effective methods to prevent suicides—crisis hotlines, standardizing mental health care, and restricting lethal means. Greg’s feature is part of a larger package in Science exploring paths out of darkness.

With more solutions this week, host Sarah Crespi speaks with A. R. Siders, a social scientist at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware in Newark, about her policy forum on the need for “managed climate retreat”—strategically moving people and property away from high-risk flood and fire zones. Integrating relocation into a larger strategy could maximize its benefits, supporting equality and economic development along the way.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Scott Woods-Fehr/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Aug 22 2019

26mins

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One million ways to sex a chicken egg, and how plastic finds its way to Arctic ice

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Researchers, regulators, and the chicken industry are all united in their search for a way to make eggs more ethical by stopping culling—the killing of male chicks born to laying hens. Contributing Correspondent Gretchen Vogel talks with host Sarah Crespi about the many approaches being tried to determine the sex of chicken embryos before they hatch, from robots with lasers, to MRIs, to artificial intelligence, to gene editing with CRISPR.

Also this week, Sarah talks with Melanie Bergmann, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, about finding microplastic particles in snow all the way up at the Fram Strait, between Greenland and the Svalbarg archipelago in Norway.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: fruchtzwerg’s world/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Aug 15 2019

22mins

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Next-generation cellphone signals could interfere with weather forecasts, and monitoring smoke from wildfires to model nuclear winter

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In recent months, telecommunications companies in the United States have purchased a new part of the spectrum for use in 5G cellphone networks. Weather forecasters are concerned that these powerful signals could swamp out weaker signals from water vapor—which are in a nearby band and important for weather prediction. Freelance science writer Gabriel Popkin joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the possible impact of cellphone signals on weather forecasting and some suggested regulations.

In other weather news this week, Sarah talks with Pengfei Yu, a professor at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, about his group’s work using a huge smoke plume from the 2017 wildfires in western Canada as a model for smoke from nuclear bombs. They found the wildfire smoke lofted itself 23 kilometers into the stratosphere, spread across the Northern Hemisphere, and took 8 months to dissipate, which line up with models of nuclear winter and suggests these fires can help predict the results of a nuclear war.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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Aug 08 2019

23mins

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Earthquakes caused by too much water extraction, and a dog cancer that has lived for millennia

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After two mysterious earthquake swarms occurred under the Sea of Galilee, researchers found a relationship between these small quakes and the excessive extraction of groundwater. Science journalist Michael Price talks with host Sarah Crespi about making this connection and what it means for water-deprived fault areas like the Sea of Galilee and the state of California.

Also this week, Sarah talks with graduate student Adrian Baez-Ortega from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom’s Transmissible Cancer Group about the genome of a canine venereal cancer that has been leaping from dog to dog for about 8000 years. By comparing the genomes of this cancer from dogs around the globe, the researchers were able to learn more about its origins and spread around the world. They also discuss how such a long-lived cancer might help them better understand and treat human cancers.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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Aug 01 2019

26mins

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Breeding better bees, and training artificial intelligence on emotional imagery

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Imagine having a rat clinging to your back, sucking out your fat stores. That’s similar to what infested bees endure when the Varroa destructor mite comes calling. Some bees fight back, wiggling, scratching, and biting until the mites depart for friendlier backs. Now, researchers, professional beekeepers, and hobbyists are working on ways to breed into bees these mite-defeating behaviors to rid them of these damaging pests. Host Sarah Crespi and Staff Writer Erik Stokstad discuss the tactics of, and the hurdles to, pesticide-free mite control.

Also this week, Sarah talks to Philip Kragel of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder about training an artificial intelligence on emotionally charged images. The ultimate aim of this research: to understand how the human visual system is involved in processing emotion.

And in books, Kate Eichorn, author of The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media, joins books host Kiki Sanford to talk about how the monetization of digital information has led to the ease of social media sharing and posting for kids and adults.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Steve Baker/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Jul 25 2019

39mins

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