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The Pulse

WHYY

14
Followers
33
Plays
The Pulse
The Pulse

The Pulse

WHYY

14
Followers
33
Plays
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Listen to full episodes of WHYY’s health, science and innovation program, The Pulse.

Latest Episodes

Science and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving usually means we’re going big — way over the top. Twice as much turkey as we could possibly eat; more side dishes than the table can hold; and, of course, so much pie. We travel great distances to see our families and friends — we hug, we eat, we argue, and we nap. On this special episode of The Pulse, we explore the traditions and rituals of Thanksgiving through a scientific lens. We hear stories about the neuroscience of gratitude — and how it can help us through grief; the environmental impact of our holiday feasts, from cranberries to food waste; and ask whether turkeys are really as dumb as they look. Also heard on this week’s episode: Turkeys have a reputation for being big, dumb birds. But are they? And what does it mean for a bird to be smart anyway? Reporter Alan Yu explores. Jad Sleiman introduces a New Jersey family that does all their food shopping at local dumpsters. They are among a tiny minority of people fighting global food waste. We hear about how this problem affects the environment — and what we can do about it. We chat with Yale GI specialist Earl Campbell about what happens inside of our digestive tract when we overeat. Reporter Nina Feldman on her annual Friendsgiving tradition, and why it’s come to mean more than she ever thought it would.

49 MIN5 h ago
Comments
Science and Thanksgiving

The Science of Policing

Police forces in democratic societies are supposed to safeguard the rights of citizens, and protect their lives and well-being. We think of their role in terms of laws, rules, and regulations — but ultimately, so much of what they do is about psychology and human behavior. It’s about how people react to threats, what they do when they panic, and how far a person will go when they feel they have nothing left to lose. What does behavioral science say about these situations? Could research help predict people’s behavior, and suggest effective and safe tactics? We take a look at what role behavioral science could play in creating better police forces, from crowd control to foot patrol and adding female officers to departments. Also heard on this week’s episode: Retired police officer Larry Kniceley recalls a routine traffic stop that could have ended his life. We speak with researchers Judith Andersen and Karen Quigley about what could help officers make solid decisions under a lot ...

49 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Science of Policing

Beyond Measure

We look at things that are hard to measure and the different approaches that we take to get those measurements correct.

-1 s2 w ago
Comments
Beyond Measure

It’s About Time

December 30, 2011 never happened in Samoa. The island nation in the South Pacific skipped this day, to move ahead into a different time zone. We change our clocks to start and stop daylight saving time. We travel across time zones. Time, in many ways, is a human construct. We have chosen ways to measure it, to parse it out, to track it. But time is also an experience that can vary wildly from one moment to the next — the minutes that stretch endlessly, the hours that fly by. On this episode, we explore time — how we measure it, how we experience it, and how it bends and warps in our minds. Also heard on this week’s episode: What is time, really? It depends on whom you ask! It could be measured in the time it takes to cook rice, or down to the millisecond, as measured by an atomic clock. Kevin Birth, professor of anthropology at Queens College of the City University of New York, discusses how we measure time, and how that has changed over the course of the centuries. Is time trave...

-1 s3 w ago
Comments
It’s About Time

Between Life and Death

Often we think of life and death as opposite sides of a coin — categories as final as they are discrete. But in an age when machines can keep hearts pumping and lungs breathing, the line between life and death can sometimes start to blur. Modern medicine pushes us to think differently, ask if perhaps life and death are instead two points on a spectrum of existence. In this episode, The Pulse explores the space between those points. How do we define life and death — medically and culturally? We hear about a court case challenging the legal definition of death; the evolving debate over end-of-life care; and what scientists are saying about near-death experiences. Also heard on this week’s episode: In 2017, the family of 27-year-old Taquisha McKitty sued to keep her on life support, after doctors declared her brain dead. The question for the court was — was she actually dead? A look into the study of near-death experiences, and what those moments in the the runup to death are reall...

48 MINOCT 25
Comments
Between Life and Death

Shifting Gears

Cars have played a fundamental role in changing our modern lives — where we live, where we work, the shape of our communities, and how we spend our money and free time. But along with new opportunities, cars have also brought negative impacts — air pollution, traffic deaths, congestion, and road rage, just to name a few. On this episode, we explore how cars have affected our world, and how we might reframe their role going forward. Also, why we often behave so badly while driving. Also heard on this week’s episode: When wildlife meets cars, the results can be gruesome — and expensive. Injuries, damages, and clean up can all add up. Ecologist Kevin McLean brings us this story about the cost of roadkill in California. In the 1960s, drivers were more than twice as likely to die in an auto wreck than they are today. That changed thanks to improved design, and especially crash tests involving dummies. But there’s a problem with these dummies — most of them are modeled on tall men. ...

48 MINOCT 18
Comments
Shifting Gears

Challenging the Norm

Every culture, workplace, group, and family has its norms — its standards, the way things are done. Norms govern everything from relationships to driving to making coffee. But how does something become the norm? On this episode, we explore how things and behaviors become “normal,” and what happens when we challenge those norms. We hear stories about dog crates and why they are embraced in the U.S., but reviled in other countries; why sleeping through the night isn’t as standard as you might think; and how conservation efforts are challenging America’s lobster fishermen to change how they do their work. Also heard on this week’s episode: Sleeping through the night might be ideal — but historians and scientists say it’s probably not natural. Reporter Steph Yin explores how our sleeping habits have changed, and a small subculture that’s exploring alternative ways of getting some shuteye. Pediatrician Harvey Karp talks about what got him thinking about infant sleep, and prompte...

-1 sOCT 11
Comments
Challenging the Norm

Fake vs. Real — And When It Matters

There was a time when seeing was believing — but that’s changing, thanks to new technology that’s elevating fakery to a whole new level. In an ever-growing world of synthesized realities, how do we tell what’s real from what’s fake? And when and why does it matter? We explore that question on this episode, with stories about deepfakes — a new kind of fake video, powered by artificial intelligence; lab-grown meat in our pets’ food; and fake laughter. Also heard on this week’s episode: Reporter Susie Armitage explores fake laughter in its natural habitat — comedy open mics. We hear about how up-and-coming comics learn to tell real laughter from fake, and how our evolutionary past explains that ability… along with our tendency to chuckle when things aren’t remotely funny. What happens when a piece of information shatters everything we believe to be true? Reporter Molly Schwartz explores that question with the story of Austin Lane Howard, a devout Jehovah’s Witness whose dou...

-1 sOCT 4
Comments
Fake vs. Real — And When It Matters

Who Do You Think You Are?

Scientist. Farmer. Feminist. Leader. Alpha male. Veteran. African-American. Hindu. Identity isn’t just about who we think we are — it’s about how others perceive us, and how we move through the world. It’s determined by our families and culture; our race and gender; our jobs, personalities, bodies, and minds. All of those things make up our personal narratives, defining who we are and how we deal with things. But identities aren’t always fixed. Sometimes, they can change, and even clash. On this episode, we explore stories of people wrestling with those changes. We hear about tough Australian farmers becoming more in tune with their feelings, how DNA testing is transforming who we think we are, and the challenges of dating while trans. Also heard on this week’s episode: When a DNA test revealed that Dani Shapiro wasn’t who she thought she was, it sent her on a search for her biological roots. That mission, documented in the memoir “Inheritance,” takes Shapiro deep into the ...

48 MINSEP 27
Comments
Who Do You Think You Are?

Hair and our Health

Hair can be our crowning glory, a big part of our identity, and a tool for self-expression. We shave it, style it, cut it, dye it — and sometimes, hope for it to come back. We obsess over its texture and length. While products help, how our hair looks is related to DNA, to hormones, and to our immune system. On this episode, we look into the connection between our health and our hair. We hear stories about the chemicals in hair dyes, treatments for baldness, and certain aspects of hair that can become an obsession. Also heard on this week’s episode: We’ve put a man on the moon — so why can’t we cure baldness? The Pulse’s Jad Sleiman explores why baldness so difficult to treat … and what could finally work. Erin Wall is one of opera’s most sought-after classical sopranos. But when she lost her iconic blond locks to cancer treatment, Wall had to get comfortable with a new onstage persona. KUOW’s Eilis O’Neill tells the story of Geneva “Gigi” Myhrvold, who started pulling o...

52 MINSEP 20
Comments
Hair and our Health

Latest Episodes

Science and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving usually means we’re going big — way over the top. Twice as much turkey as we could possibly eat; more side dishes than the table can hold; and, of course, so much pie. We travel great distances to see our families and friends — we hug, we eat, we argue, and we nap. On this special episode of The Pulse, we explore the traditions and rituals of Thanksgiving through a scientific lens. We hear stories about the neuroscience of gratitude — and how it can help us through grief; the environmental impact of our holiday feasts, from cranberries to food waste; and ask whether turkeys are really as dumb as they look. Also heard on this week’s episode: Turkeys have a reputation for being big, dumb birds. But are they? And what does it mean for a bird to be smart anyway? Reporter Alan Yu explores. Jad Sleiman introduces a New Jersey family that does all their food shopping at local dumpsters. They are among a tiny minority of people fighting global food waste. We hear about how this problem affects the environment — and what we can do about it. We chat with Yale GI specialist Earl Campbell about what happens inside of our digestive tract when we overeat. Reporter Nina Feldman on her annual Friendsgiving tradition, and why it’s come to mean more than she ever thought it would.

49 MIN5 h ago
Comments
Science and Thanksgiving

The Science of Policing

Police forces in democratic societies are supposed to safeguard the rights of citizens, and protect their lives and well-being. We think of their role in terms of laws, rules, and regulations — but ultimately, so much of what they do is about psychology and human behavior. It’s about how people react to threats, what they do when they panic, and how far a person will go when they feel they have nothing left to lose. What does behavioral science say about these situations? Could research help predict people’s behavior, and suggest effective and safe tactics? We take a look at what role behavioral science could play in creating better police forces, from crowd control to foot patrol and adding female officers to departments. Also heard on this week’s episode: Retired police officer Larry Kniceley recalls a routine traffic stop that could have ended his life. We speak with researchers Judith Andersen and Karen Quigley about what could help officers make solid decisions under a lot ...

49 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Science of Policing

Beyond Measure

We look at things that are hard to measure and the different approaches that we take to get those measurements correct.

-1 s2 w ago
Comments
Beyond Measure

It’s About Time

December 30, 2011 never happened in Samoa. The island nation in the South Pacific skipped this day, to move ahead into a different time zone. We change our clocks to start and stop daylight saving time. We travel across time zones. Time, in many ways, is a human construct. We have chosen ways to measure it, to parse it out, to track it. But time is also an experience that can vary wildly from one moment to the next — the minutes that stretch endlessly, the hours that fly by. On this episode, we explore time — how we measure it, how we experience it, and how it bends and warps in our minds. Also heard on this week’s episode: What is time, really? It depends on whom you ask! It could be measured in the time it takes to cook rice, or down to the millisecond, as measured by an atomic clock. Kevin Birth, professor of anthropology at Queens College of the City University of New York, discusses how we measure time, and how that has changed over the course of the centuries. Is time trave...

-1 s3 w ago
Comments
It’s About Time

Between Life and Death

Often we think of life and death as opposite sides of a coin — categories as final as they are discrete. But in an age when machines can keep hearts pumping and lungs breathing, the line between life and death can sometimes start to blur. Modern medicine pushes us to think differently, ask if perhaps life and death are instead two points on a spectrum of existence. In this episode, The Pulse explores the space between those points. How do we define life and death — medically and culturally? We hear about a court case challenging the legal definition of death; the evolving debate over end-of-life care; and what scientists are saying about near-death experiences. Also heard on this week’s episode: In 2017, the family of 27-year-old Taquisha McKitty sued to keep her on life support, after doctors declared her brain dead. The question for the court was — was she actually dead? A look into the study of near-death experiences, and what those moments in the the runup to death are reall...

48 MINOCT 25
Comments
Between Life and Death

Shifting Gears

Cars have played a fundamental role in changing our modern lives — where we live, where we work, the shape of our communities, and how we spend our money and free time. But along with new opportunities, cars have also brought negative impacts — air pollution, traffic deaths, congestion, and road rage, just to name a few. On this episode, we explore how cars have affected our world, and how we might reframe their role going forward. Also, why we often behave so badly while driving. Also heard on this week’s episode: When wildlife meets cars, the results can be gruesome — and expensive. Injuries, damages, and clean up can all add up. Ecologist Kevin McLean brings us this story about the cost of roadkill in California. In the 1960s, drivers were more than twice as likely to die in an auto wreck than they are today. That changed thanks to improved design, and especially crash tests involving dummies. But there’s a problem with these dummies — most of them are modeled on tall men. ...

48 MINOCT 18
Comments
Shifting Gears

Challenging the Norm

Every culture, workplace, group, and family has its norms — its standards, the way things are done. Norms govern everything from relationships to driving to making coffee. But how does something become the norm? On this episode, we explore how things and behaviors become “normal,” and what happens when we challenge those norms. We hear stories about dog crates and why they are embraced in the U.S., but reviled in other countries; why sleeping through the night isn’t as standard as you might think; and how conservation efforts are challenging America’s lobster fishermen to change how they do their work. Also heard on this week’s episode: Sleeping through the night might be ideal — but historians and scientists say it’s probably not natural. Reporter Steph Yin explores how our sleeping habits have changed, and a small subculture that’s exploring alternative ways of getting some shuteye. Pediatrician Harvey Karp talks about what got him thinking about infant sleep, and prompte...

-1 sOCT 11
Comments
Challenging the Norm

Fake vs. Real — And When It Matters

There was a time when seeing was believing — but that’s changing, thanks to new technology that’s elevating fakery to a whole new level. In an ever-growing world of synthesized realities, how do we tell what’s real from what’s fake? And when and why does it matter? We explore that question on this episode, with stories about deepfakes — a new kind of fake video, powered by artificial intelligence; lab-grown meat in our pets’ food; and fake laughter. Also heard on this week’s episode: Reporter Susie Armitage explores fake laughter in its natural habitat — comedy open mics. We hear about how up-and-coming comics learn to tell real laughter from fake, and how our evolutionary past explains that ability… along with our tendency to chuckle when things aren’t remotely funny. What happens when a piece of information shatters everything we believe to be true? Reporter Molly Schwartz explores that question with the story of Austin Lane Howard, a devout Jehovah’s Witness whose dou...

-1 sOCT 4
Comments
Fake vs. Real — And When It Matters

Who Do You Think You Are?

Scientist. Farmer. Feminist. Leader. Alpha male. Veteran. African-American. Hindu. Identity isn’t just about who we think we are — it’s about how others perceive us, and how we move through the world. It’s determined by our families and culture; our race and gender; our jobs, personalities, bodies, and minds. All of those things make up our personal narratives, defining who we are and how we deal with things. But identities aren’t always fixed. Sometimes, they can change, and even clash. On this episode, we explore stories of people wrestling with those changes. We hear about tough Australian farmers becoming more in tune with their feelings, how DNA testing is transforming who we think we are, and the challenges of dating while trans. Also heard on this week’s episode: When a DNA test revealed that Dani Shapiro wasn’t who she thought she was, it sent her on a search for her biological roots. That mission, documented in the memoir “Inheritance,” takes Shapiro deep into the ...

48 MINSEP 27
Comments
Who Do You Think You Are?

Hair and our Health

Hair can be our crowning glory, a big part of our identity, and a tool for self-expression. We shave it, style it, cut it, dye it — and sometimes, hope for it to come back. We obsess over its texture and length. While products help, how our hair looks is related to DNA, to hormones, and to our immune system. On this episode, we look into the connection between our health and our hair. We hear stories about the chemicals in hair dyes, treatments for baldness, and certain aspects of hair that can become an obsession. Also heard on this week’s episode: We’ve put a man on the moon — so why can’t we cure baldness? The Pulse’s Jad Sleiman explores why baldness so difficult to treat … and what could finally work. Erin Wall is one of opera’s most sought-after classical sopranos. But when she lost her iconic blond locks to cancer treatment, Wall had to get comfortable with a new onstage persona. KUOW’s Eilis O’Neill tells the story of Geneva “Gigi” Myhrvold, who started pulling o...

52 MINSEP 20
Comments
Hair and our Health
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