Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who's on First?









Being first counts in science. Land that coveted spot and you’ll make history, whether it’s with the first steam engine or the discovery of our earliest human ancestor.

But what does “first” mean when technological invention so heavily builds on what’s come before… and evolution represents continuous change?

Find out how “publish or perish” made Darwin famous… why we’ll never find the first human fossil… and how powerful new telescopes are allowing us to see the earliest galaxies.

Plus, the chicken and egg battle it out in line.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1 - Leslea Hlusko
Part 2 - Garth Illingworth
Part 3 - Talk o' Bell
Part 4 - Sean B. Carroll

Who's on First? - Leslea Hlusko








Part 1 of Who's on First?, featuring Leslea Hlusko, Paleontologist at the University of California- Berkeley. Read more about Ardi.

Who's on First? - Garth Illingworth








Part 2 of Who's on First?, featuring Garth Illingworth – Astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Who's on First? - Talk o' Bell








Part 3 of Who's on First?, featuring the true story (and a false one) of how Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray to the patent on the telephone.

Who's on First? - Sean B. Carroll








Part 4 of Who's on First?, featuring Sean B. Carroll, molecular biologist and geneticist at the University of Wisconsin Madison and author of Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial








Public distrust of science is higher than at any time since the Enlightenment. New Yorker writer Michael Specter argues how our anti-science bias and our irrationalism about everything from genetically modified foods to climate change to childhood vaccines endangers our future.

And remember when… a look back at scientists who at first pooh-poohed plate tectonics… meteorites, and quantum physics. How the evidence turned them around.

It’s Skeptic Check… but don’t take our word for it.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1 - Michael Specter
Part 2 - Read Montague
Part 3 - Michael Specter (continued)
Part 4 - Crop circles
Part 5 - Spencer Weart
Part 6 - Checkout Line Press

Swimming in Denial - Michael Specter








Part 1 of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, featuring Michael Specter, writer for The New Yorker and author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.

Swimming in Denial - Read Montague








Part 2 of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, featuring Read Montague, Director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine and author of Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions.

Swimming in Denial - Michael Specter (continued)








Part 3 of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, featuring Michael Specter, writer for The New Yorker and author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.

Swimming in Denial - Crop Circles








Part 4 of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, featuring a discussion on crop circles and how, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, some believe them to be of extra-terrestrial origin.

Swimming in Denial - Spencer Weart








Part 5 of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, featuring Spencer Weart, historian of science, discussing how even scientists at first pooh-poohed plate tectonics, meteorites, and quantum physics, and how the evidence turned them around.

Swimming in Denial - Checkout Line Press








Part 6, the final segment of Skeptic Check: Swimming in Denial, wherein Seth and Molly peruse the tabloids and read that dolphins descended from aliens who came to Earth 100,000 years ago.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wheel of Stars


Data visualization specialist Jim Bumgardner has created a sidereal time clock called the Wheel of Stars which depicts the night sky as a music box. Based on data from the ESA's Hipparcos satellite, the wheel revolves around Polaris, and as stars cross the line between zero and 180 degrees, they sound off as chimes, based on their BV measurement and magnitude. Moving as fast as the Earth spins, it takes 24 hours to complete a full circle. Further fun with math, music, and circles can be enjoyed with his Whitney Music Box.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eureka!

From the double-helix to the expansion of the universe, great scientific discoveries reshape our understanding of who we are and how things work. But great discoveries require more than just a great mind. We tour brainy breakthroughs from Archimedes to Darwin, and find out what made their revolutionary insights possible.

Also, why you need more than a stratospheric I.Q. to be a super-achiever. And how the invention of reading re-directed the course of civilization and re-wired our brains in the process.

You can hear it right here!
Part 1 - Alan Hirshfeld
Part 2 - Fog Newton
Part 3 - Angela Duckworth
Part 4 - Richard Holmes
Part 5 - Stanislas Dehaene

Eureka! - Alan Hirshfeld








Part 1 of Eureka!, featuring Alan Hirshfeld, Professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and author of Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes.

Eureka! - Fog Newton








Part 2 of Eureka! Newton's law of universal gravitation is lost in a haze of 8 bit sound effects.

Eureka! - Angela Duckworth








Part 3 of Eureka!, featuring Angela Duckworth, Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Her grit study can be found here (PDF).

Eureka! - Richard Holmes








Part 4 of Eureka!, featuring Richard Holmes, Author of The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.

Eureka! - Stanislas Dehaene








Part 5, the final segment of Eureka!, featuring Stanislas Dehaene, cognitive neruoscientist at the the Coll├Ęge de France in Paris, and author of Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention.