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Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

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1.5K
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Science Friday
Science Friday

Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

742
Followers
1.5K
Plays
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Brain fun for curious people.

Latest Episodes

Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2

From cutting back on fossil fuels to planting a million trees, people and policymakers around the world are looking for more ways to curb climate change. Another solution to add to the list is changing how we use land. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a special report this month that emphasized the importance of proper land management, such as protecting forests like the Amazon from being converted to farmland, has on mitigating climate change.Robinson Meyer, a staff writer at The Atlantic,joins Ira to discuss the ins and outs of the report. Cynthia Rosenzwieg, a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors, also joins to talk about ways we can use land to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Plus: NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is just around the corner. Next fall, the Mars rover will launch with an upgraded suite of instruments to study the red planet in a way Curiosi...

47 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2

Book Club Birds, Amazon Burning. August 23, 2019, Part 1

“Bird-brain” has long been an insult meant to imply slow-wittedness or stupidity. But in reading Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds, SciFri Book Club readers have been learning that birds often have wits well beyond ours—take the mockingbird’s capacity to memorize the songs of other birds, or the precise annual migrations of hummingbirds and Arctic terns. Or the New Caledonian crow, which make tools and solve puzzles that might mystify human children.UCLA pigeon researcher Aaron Blaisdell and University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Lauren Riters join Ira and producer Christie Taylor to talk about the brightest minds of the bird world, and the burning questions remaining about avian brains. The Brazilian rainforest is experiencing a record number of fires this year—an 83% increase over 2018. Since last week, smoke from an estimated 9,500 fires has blocked out the sun for thousands of miles, covering cities like São Paulo in a dark cloud.Environmental agencies and researchers suspect the fires are human caused, cattle ranchers and loggers who are looking to clear the land for their own use. Ryan Mandelbaum, science writer for Gizmodo, gives us a rundown of the unprecedented destruction currently underway, and other science headlines, in this week's News Roundup. Plus:In North Carolina, electric vehicle charging stations will start operating more like gas pumps. David Boraks, from WFAE 90.7 in Charlotte, tells Ira more in "The State Of Science."

46 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Book Club Birds, Amazon Burning. August 23, 2019, Part 1

Live in San Antonio: Deadly Disease, Bats, Birds. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 2

Imagine stepping into a white suit, pulling on thick rubber gloves and a helmet with a clear face plate. You can only talk to your colleagues through an earpiece, and a rubber hose supplies you with breathable air. Sounds like something you wear in space, right?In this case, you’re not an astronaut. You’re at the Texas Biomedical Institute in San Antonio,one of the only places where the most dangerous pathogens—the ones with no known cures—can be studied in a lab setting.Dr. Jean Patterson, a professor there, and Dr. Ricardo Carrion, professor and director of maximum containment contract research, join Ira live on stage for a safe peek inside the place where the world’s deadliest diseases are studied. Bracken Cave, 20 miles outside of San Antonio, is the summer home to 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Each night, the bats swarm out of the cave in a “batnado“ in search of food. Fran Hutchins, director of Bat Conservation International’s Bracken Cave Preserve, talks about ...

47 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Live in San Antonio: Deadly Disease, Bats, Birds. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 2

Lightning, Electric Scooters, News Roundup. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 1

Lightning during a heavy rainstorm is one of the most dramatic phenomena on the planet—and it happens, somewhere on Earth, an estimated 50 to 100 times a second. But even though scientists have been puzzling over the physics of lightning for decades, stretching back even to Ben Franklin’s kite experiment, much of the science remains mysterious.Ira and IEEE Spectrum news editor Amy Nordrum speak with Farhad Rachidi, a lightning researcher at Säntis Tower in Switzerland, as well as Bill Rison, a professor of electrical engineering at New Mexico Tech and Ryan Said, a research scientist at Vaisala, about what potentially causes lightning, lightning-sparked wildfires,and why it's hard to study it in a lab. Plus: Scooters are electric, emission-free, and must be replacing gas-guzzling car trips. That has to be good for the climate, right?But a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters says electric scooters actually aren’t very green.Sigal Samuel, a staff writer for Vox ...

47 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Lightning, Electric Scooters, News Roundup. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 1

Northwest Passage Project, Birds and Color. Aug 9, 2019, Part 1

First, tardigrades on the moon, feral hogs on Earth, and more news from this week’s News Roundup. Scientists and students navigated the Northwest Passage waterways to study how the Arctic summers have changed.Last year, one day into expedition,the boat ran agroundand cut the mission off before it could get started. This year, the team successfully launched from Thule, Greenland and completed their three-week cruise. Birds don’t just see the world from higher up than the rest of us; they also see a whole range of light that we can’t.How does that shape the colors—both spectacular and drab—of our feathered friends?

47 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Northwest Passage Project, Birds and Color. Aug 9, 2019, Part 1

Wiring Rural Texas, Visiting Jupiter and Saturn. Aug 9, 2019, Part 2

High-speed internet access is becoming a necessity of modern life, but connecting over a million rural Texans is a challenge. How do we bridge the digital dividein Texas' wide open spaces? It turns out the Great Red Spot might not be so great—it's shrinking. Plus, other news from the giant planets.

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Wiring Rural Texas, Visiting Jupiter and Saturn. Aug 9, 2019, Part 2

Is Chemical Sunscreen Safe, Slime, Amazon Deforestation. August 2, 2019, Part 2

Sunscreen has been on the shelves of drugstores since the mid-1940s. And while new kinds of sunscreens have come out, some of the active ingredients in them have yet to be determined as safe and effective. A recent study conducted by the FDA showed that the active ingredients of four commercially available sunscreens were absorbed into the bloodstream—even days after a person stops using it. Ira talks to professor of dermatology and editor in chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology Kanade Shinkai about what the next steps are for sunscreen testing and what consumers should do in the meantime. Often called the planet’s lungs, the trees of the Amazon rainforest suck up a quarter of Earth’s carbon and produce a fifth of the world’s oxygen. The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil has been using satellite images of tree cover to monitor the Amazon’s deforestation since the 1970s—and new data shows a potentially dangerous spike in deforestati...

46 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Is Chemical Sunscreen Safe, Slime, Amazon Deforestation. August 2, 2019, Part 2

Ethics Of Hawaiian Telescope, Bird Song, Alaska Universities Budget Cut. August 2, 2019, Part 1

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in Hawaii, towering over the Pacific at nearly 14,000 feet. That high altitude, combined with the mountain’s dry, still air and its extreme darkness at night, make it an ideal place for astronomy.There are already 13 observatories on the summit plateau. Now, astronomers want to build another, called the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, which would become the largest visible-light telescope on the mountain. But many native Hawaiians don’t want it there, for a multitude of reasons. Science Friday talked with Kawika Winter, a multidisciplinary ecologist at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the He'eia National Estuarine Research Reserve, who summed it up this way: "The notion of pursuit of knowledge is an important one here. But is it pursuit of knowledge at all costs? Is it pursuit of knowledge at the expense of our humanity? From the native Hawaiian perspective this is just the same thing that's happened before. It's preventing people from a...

47 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Ethics Of Hawaiian Telescope, Bird Song, Alaska Universities Budget Cut. August 2, 2019, Part 1

Ice Cream Science, Online Language. July 26, 2019, Part 2

Have you ever tried to make your favorite rocky road flavored ice cream at home, but your chocolate ice cream turns out a little crunchier than you hoped? And your ribbons of marshmallow are more like frozen, sugary shards? ChemistMatt Hartingsand ice cream maker Ben Van Leeuwen, co-founder ofVan Leeuwen Artisan Ice Creamin New York City, talk about the science behind how milk, sugar, and eggs turn into your favorite frozen desserts. They’ll chat about the sweet science behind other frozen delights, too—like how the size of water crystals affect texture and how you can make a scoopable vegan ice cream. Are you a fluent texter? Are you eloquent with your emoji? DOES WRITING IN ALL CAPS SOUND LIKE SCREAMING TO YOU? Maybe you’ve become accustomed to delivering just the right degree of snark using ~~sparkly tildes~~… Or you feel that slight sense of aggression when someone ends a simple text to you with a period. In her new bookBecause Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Langua...

46 MINJUL 27
Comments
Ice Cream Science, Online Language. July 26, 2019, Part 2

Anonymous Data, Birding Basics. July 26, 2019, Part 1

The Science Friday Book Club is buckling down to read Jennifer Ackerman’sThe Genius of Birdsthis summer. Meanwhile, it’s vacation season, and we want you togo out and appreciate some birds in the wild. But for beginning birders, it may seem intimidating to find and identify feathered friends both near and far from home. Audubon experts Martha Harbison and Purbita Saha join guest host Molly Webster to share some advice. They explain how to identify birds by sight and by ear, some guides that can help, and tips on photographing your finds. Plus the highlights of summer birding: Shore bird migration is already underway, and baby birds are venturing out of the nest. We challenge you to get outside to see your local clever birds in action! Join theScience Friday Bird Clubon the citizen science platformiNaturalist. In this era of the Equifax breach and Facebook’s lax data privacy standards, most people are at least somewhat anxious about what happens to the data we give away. In recent...

45 MINJUL 27
Comments
Anonymous Data, Birding Basics. July 26, 2019, Part 1

Latest Episodes

Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2

From cutting back on fossil fuels to planting a million trees, people and policymakers around the world are looking for more ways to curb climate change. Another solution to add to the list is changing how we use land. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a special report this month that emphasized the importance of proper land management, such as protecting forests like the Amazon from being converted to farmland, has on mitigating climate change.Robinson Meyer, a staff writer at The Atlantic,joins Ira to discuss the ins and outs of the report. Cynthia Rosenzwieg, a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors, also joins to talk about ways we can use land to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Plus: NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is just around the corner. Next fall, the Mars rover will launch with an upgraded suite of instruments to study the red planet in a way Curiosi...

47 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2

Book Club Birds, Amazon Burning. August 23, 2019, Part 1

“Bird-brain” has long been an insult meant to imply slow-wittedness or stupidity. But in reading Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds, SciFri Book Club readers have been learning that birds often have wits well beyond ours—take the mockingbird’s capacity to memorize the songs of other birds, or the precise annual migrations of hummingbirds and Arctic terns. Or the New Caledonian crow, which make tools and solve puzzles that might mystify human children.UCLA pigeon researcher Aaron Blaisdell and University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Lauren Riters join Ira and producer Christie Taylor to talk about the brightest minds of the bird world, and the burning questions remaining about avian brains. The Brazilian rainforest is experiencing a record number of fires this year—an 83% increase over 2018. Since last week, smoke from an estimated 9,500 fires has blocked out the sun for thousands of miles, covering cities like São Paulo in a dark cloud.Environmental agencies and researchers suspect the fires are human caused, cattle ranchers and loggers who are looking to clear the land for their own use. Ryan Mandelbaum, science writer for Gizmodo, gives us a rundown of the unprecedented destruction currently underway, and other science headlines, in this week's News Roundup. Plus:In North Carolina, electric vehicle charging stations will start operating more like gas pumps. David Boraks, from WFAE 90.7 in Charlotte, tells Ira more in "The State Of Science."

46 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Book Club Birds, Amazon Burning. August 23, 2019, Part 1

Live in San Antonio: Deadly Disease, Bats, Birds. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 2

Imagine stepping into a white suit, pulling on thick rubber gloves and a helmet with a clear face plate. You can only talk to your colleagues through an earpiece, and a rubber hose supplies you with breathable air. Sounds like something you wear in space, right?In this case, you’re not an astronaut. You’re at the Texas Biomedical Institute in San Antonio,one of the only places where the most dangerous pathogens—the ones with no known cures—can be studied in a lab setting.Dr. Jean Patterson, a professor there, and Dr. Ricardo Carrion, professor and director of maximum containment contract research, join Ira live on stage for a safe peek inside the place where the world’s deadliest diseases are studied. Bracken Cave, 20 miles outside of San Antonio, is the summer home to 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Each night, the bats swarm out of the cave in a “batnado“ in search of food. Fran Hutchins, director of Bat Conservation International’s Bracken Cave Preserve, talks about ...

47 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Live in San Antonio: Deadly Disease, Bats, Birds. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 2

Lightning, Electric Scooters, News Roundup. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 1

Lightning during a heavy rainstorm is one of the most dramatic phenomena on the planet—and it happens, somewhere on Earth, an estimated 50 to 100 times a second. But even though scientists have been puzzling over the physics of lightning for decades, stretching back even to Ben Franklin’s kite experiment, much of the science remains mysterious.Ira and IEEE Spectrum news editor Amy Nordrum speak with Farhad Rachidi, a lightning researcher at Säntis Tower in Switzerland, as well as Bill Rison, a professor of electrical engineering at New Mexico Tech and Ryan Said, a research scientist at Vaisala, about what potentially causes lightning, lightning-sparked wildfires,and why it's hard to study it in a lab. Plus: Scooters are electric, emission-free, and must be replacing gas-guzzling car trips. That has to be good for the climate, right?But a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters says electric scooters actually aren’t very green.Sigal Samuel, a staff writer for Vox ...

47 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Lightning, Electric Scooters, News Roundup. Aug. 16, 2019, Part 1

Northwest Passage Project, Birds and Color. Aug 9, 2019, Part 1

First, tardigrades on the moon, feral hogs on Earth, and more news from this week’s News Roundup. Scientists and students navigated the Northwest Passage waterways to study how the Arctic summers have changed.Last year, one day into expedition,the boat ran agroundand cut the mission off before it could get started. This year, the team successfully launched from Thule, Greenland and completed their three-week cruise. Birds don’t just see the world from higher up than the rest of us; they also see a whole range of light that we can’t.How does that shape the colors—both spectacular and drab—of our feathered friends?

47 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Northwest Passage Project, Birds and Color. Aug 9, 2019, Part 1

Wiring Rural Texas, Visiting Jupiter and Saturn. Aug 9, 2019, Part 2

High-speed internet access is becoming a necessity of modern life, but connecting over a million rural Texans is a challenge. How do we bridge the digital dividein Texas' wide open spaces? It turns out the Great Red Spot might not be so great—it's shrinking. Plus, other news from the giant planets.

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Wiring Rural Texas, Visiting Jupiter and Saturn. Aug 9, 2019, Part 2

Is Chemical Sunscreen Safe, Slime, Amazon Deforestation. August 2, 2019, Part 2

Sunscreen has been on the shelves of drugstores since the mid-1940s. And while new kinds of sunscreens have come out, some of the active ingredients in them have yet to be determined as safe and effective. A recent study conducted by the FDA showed that the active ingredients of four commercially available sunscreens were absorbed into the bloodstream—even days after a person stops using it. Ira talks to professor of dermatology and editor in chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology Kanade Shinkai about what the next steps are for sunscreen testing and what consumers should do in the meantime. Often called the planet’s lungs, the trees of the Amazon rainforest suck up a quarter of Earth’s carbon and produce a fifth of the world’s oxygen. The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil has been using satellite images of tree cover to monitor the Amazon’s deforestation since the 1970s—and new data shows a potentially dangerous spike in deforestati...

46 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Is Chemical Sunscreen Safe, Slime, Amazon Deforestation. August 2, 2019, Part 2

Ethics Of Hawaiian Telescope, Bird Song, Alaska Universities Budget Cut. August 2, 2019, Part 1

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in Hawaii, towering over the Pacific at nearly 14,000 feet. That high altitude, combined with the mountain’s dry, still air and its extreme darkness at night, make it an ideal place for astronomy.There are already 13 observatories on the summit plateau. Now, astronomers want to build another, called the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, which would become the largest visible-light telescope on the mountain. But many native Hawaiians don’t want it there, for a multitude of reasons. Science Friday talked with Kawika Winter, a multidisciplinary ecologist at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the He'eia National Estuarine Research Reserve, who summed it up this way: "The notion of pursuit of knowledge is an important one here. But is it pursuit of knowledge at all costs? Is it pursuit of knowledge at the expense of our humanity? From the native Hawaiian perspective this is just the same thing that's happened before. It's preventing people from a...

47 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Ethics Of Hawaiian Telescope, Bird Song, Alaska Universities Budget Cut. August 2, 2019, Part 1

Ice Cream Science, Online Language. July 26, 2019, Part 2

Have you ever tried to make your favorite rocky road flavored ice cream at home, but your chocolate ice cream turns out a little crunchier than you hoped? And your ribbons of marshmallow are more like frozen, sugary shards? ChemistMatt Hartingsand ice cream maker Ben Van Leeuwen, co-founder ofVan Leeuwen Artisan Ice Creamin New York City, talk about the science behind how milk, sugar, and eggs turn into your favorite frozen desserts. They’ll chat about the sweet science behind other frozen delights, too—like how the size of water crystals affect texture and how you can make a scoopable vegan ice cream. Are you a fluent texter? Are you eloquent with your emoji? DOES WRITING IN ALL CAPS SOUND LIKE SCREAMING TO YOU? Maybe you’ve become accustomed to delivering just the right degree of snark using ~~sparkly tildes~~… Or you feel that slight sense of aggression when someone ends a simple text to you with a period. In her new bookBecause Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Langua...

46 MINJUL 27
Comments
Ice Cream Science, Online Language. July 26, 2019, Part 2

Anonymous Data, Birding Basics. July 26, 2019, Part 1

The Science Friday Book Club is buckling down to read Jennifer Ackerman’sThe Genius of Birdsthis summer. Meanwhile, it’s vacation season, and we want you togo out and appreciate some birds in the wild. But for beginning birders, it may seem intimidating to find and identify feathered friends both near and far from home. Audubon experts Martha Harbison and Purbita Saha join guest host Molly Webster to share some advice. They explain how to identify birds by sight and by ear, some guides that can help, and tips on photographing your finds. Plus the highlights of summer birding: Shore bird migration is already underway, and baby birds are venturing out of the nest. We challenge you to get outside to see your local clever birds in action! Join theScience Friday Bird Clubon the citizen science platformiNaturalist. In this era of the Equifax breach and Facebook’s lax data privacy standards, most people are at least somewhat anxious about what happens to the data we give away. In recent...

45 MINJUL 27
Comments
Anonymous Data, Birding Basics. July 26, 2019, Part 1

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