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Science & Medicine

History of the Rise of the Robots
Discovery BBC
access_time1 day ago
The idea of robots goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In myths Hephaestus, the god of fire, created robots to assist in his workshop. In the medieval period the wealthy showed off their automata. In France in the 15th century a Duke of Burgundy had his chateau filled with automata that played practical tricks on his guests, such as spraying water at them. By the 18th century craftsmen were making life like performing robots. In 1738 in Paris people queued to see the amazing flute playing automaton, designed and built by Jacques Vaucanson. With the industrial revolution the idea of automata became intertwined with that of human workers. The word robot first appears in a 1921 play, Rossum's Universal Robots, by Czech author Carel Chapek. Drawing on examples from fact and fiction, Adam Rutherford explores the role of robots in past societies and discovers they were nearly always made in our image, and inspired both fear and wonder in their audiences. He talks to Dr Elly Truitt of Bryn Mawr College in the US about ancient and medieval robots, to Simon Shaffer, Professor of History of Science at Cambridge University and to Dr Andrew Nahum of the Science Museum about !8th century automata, and to Dr Ben Russell of the Science Museum about robots and workers in the 20th century. And Matthew Sweet provides the cultural context. Picture credit: BBC
Recycling Radio Telescopes
The Science Hour BBC
access_time3 days ago
Africa has a new telescope. Built in Ghana, it has been constructed from decommissioned dishes and they hope to build more, improving the telescopes’ ability to depict things like pulsars. In London, Adam Rutherford sees 100-year old tumour samples. Great Ormond Street Hospital is now using them to improve the treatment of rare cancers in children. Meanwhile, on a gondola in Venice, Gareth Mitchell celebrates the Biennale Art Festival where technology is playing an increasing role in art. Quantum scientists from Google, IBM and Microsoft are all working on new systems that will outpace any conventional one. Roland knocks at the door of one of these supercomputers to see it in action. The relative inaction of plants may make it a tedious kingdom to study. Not so, says plant biologist Ottoline Leyser. Plants are intelligent and possess a unique ability to adapt in ways we can only dream of. One such dream might be to have the sniffing powers of a hound but a new review argues that our sense of smell could be just as good when it comes to certain scents. Finally, how one conservationist took a leopard to the dentist. We hear about Amy Dickman’s extraordinary efforts to save big cats. (Photo credit: Ghana radio dish © SKA SA) The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from David Robson of BBC Future Producer: Graihagh Jackson
Science Literacy in the Misinformation Age - #LMASA
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time3 days ago
Continuing with our Let’s Make America Smart Again series, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice welcome astronomer and author David Helfand to discuss science literacy in the misinformation age and what you can do to find the facts. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
African Astronomers Recycle Old Telecoms Dishes
Science in Action BBC
access_time5 days ago
Africa has a new telescope. The second radio telescope on the African continent has been built in Ghana. Using old, decommissioned telecommunications dishes, they hope to erect more of these telescopes, which can form an array, getting a better reading of things like distant pulsars in the southern skies. Severe Rainfall and Climate Change Severe rainfall and climate change – it’s almost become a mantra of climate change – “More severe weather, such as rainfall, in more unpredictable patterns”. Researchers have been looking at ways to predict severe precipitation events around the world. It was already understood that a warmer atmosphere holds more water, but new work is showing that it’s the increased turbulence in the atmosphere creates conditions for more extreme rain storms. Waterlogged Land And the worst effect of severe rainfall is when it falls on already saturated ground. This is when flooding can occur. The latest land surveying satellites can measure the waterlogged-ness of the ground and help pinpoint regions of likely flooding. Why Humans Don’t Have a Penis Bone, But Chimps Do? The evolution of the penis bone or baculum is an interesting story. Only mammals have one and not all of them at that. The size of the penis bone varies greatly between species and it’s bigger in some animals than others, but why? Apparently it has got something to do with monogamy. Picture: Men working on Ghana radio telescope. Photo courtesy SKA SA Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Fiona Roberts
Louis Pasteur
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time5 days ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and his extraordinary contribution to medicine and science. It is said few people have saved more lives than Pasteur. A chemist, he showed that otherwise identical molecules could exist as 'left' and 'right-handed' versions and that molecules produced by living things were always left-handed. He proposed a germ theory to replace the idea of spontaneous generation. He discovered that microorganisms cause fermentation and disease. He began the process named after him, pasteurisation, heating liquids to 50-60 C to kill microbes. He saved the beer and wine industries in France when they were struggling with microbial contamination. He saved the French silk industry when he found a way of protecting healthy silkworm eggs from disease. He developed vaccines against anthrax and rabies and helped establish immunology. Many of his ideas were developed further after his lifetime, but one of his legacies was a charitable body, the Pasteur Institute, to continue research into infectious disease. With Andrew Mendelsohn Reader in the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London Anne Hardy Honorary Professor at the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Michael Worboys Emeritus Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester Producer: Simon Tillotson.
#ICYMI: Football: Crushing the Combine
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time5 days ago
Get the inside scoop on the NFL Scouting Combine! Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice learn what it takes to turn a hard-up college student into a multi-millionaire in 6 weeks. Guests: Trainer Pete Bommarito and NFL Media Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe to our channels on: TuneIn: http://www.tunein.com/playingwithscience Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Quantum Supremacy
Discovery BBC
access_time8 days ago
IBM is giving users worldwide the chance to use a quantum computer; Google is promising "quantum supremacy" by the end of the year; Microsoft's Station Q is working on the hardware and operating system for a machine that will outpace any conventional computer. Roland Pease meets some of the experts, and explores the technology behind the next information revolution. Picture: Bright future for Quantum Computing, credit: Jonathan Home @ETH
Do New Violins Sound Better Than Old Famed Instruments?
The Science Hour BBC
access_time10 days ago
Classical fans will know of the legendary violins made by the Italians in the 17th and 18th century. But new research has found that concertgoers rated the music of new fiddles better than the old ones. We make the test of our own and put your ears through their paces. Uber faces allegations that their software is deliberately evading US transport officials. Google's autonomous cars spinoff Waymo has also filed a lawsuit against them over trade secrets. Driverless cars are one thing but how would you feel if an autonomous robot were to give you an injection in your eyeball? We will be hearing about a Swiss trialling this technology. Meanwhile in Germany, researchers are copying snakeskin's waterproofing capabilities. We will be wading through the muddy swamps of Singapore to see how mangroves are acting as carbons sinks. Just as turning down the thermostat is considered better for the environment, research suggests it could be good for your waistline too. The diameter of a tree's trunk is providing satellite scientists with important information about trees. Surprisingly, there was 40% more dry forest cover than we thought. Finally, we will be asking why commercial flights do not have ejector seats like fighter jets. (Photo caption: People play violins and cellos at the Palais Royal in Paris during the annual music event © Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from Victoria Gill, BBC Science Reporter Producer: Graihagh Jackson
The Power of Science Fiction, with William Shatner
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time10 days ago
Energize! Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with William Shatner to reflect on Star Trek and the enduring power of science fiction. Featuring comic co-host Chuck Nice, astrophysicist Charles Liu, NASA engineer David Batchelor, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
A strangely-formed Exoplanet
Science in Action BBC
access_time12 days ago
A good way of finding out about how our solar system formed is to look at other star systems and their planets. From the exoplanets so far examined in detail, a general correlation has emerged between the amount of elements heavier than helium and hydrogen, in the atmosphere, and the mass of the planet. It’s complicated, but this gives us clues to the size and composition of the planet as well as how and when it formed. But new observations of planet HAT-P-26b, 437 light years away, do not fit this trend. So what’s going on? More Trees Researchers have looked at tree cover in dryland regions and found that previous estimates were out by 40-47%. Using Google Earth’s very high resolution satellite images and local students and scientists to analyse the images, the team discovered there is as much forest cover in drylands (such as parts of Latin America, Africa, Australia and Southern Europe) as there are in tropical habitats. This increases the area of tree cover over the whole planet by 9%. The findings are important when putting in numbers into the big calculations about carbon cycles and climate change. Mangroves Dan Friess of the National University of Singapore studies mangrove forests around the coasts of tropical Pacific and Indian ocean countries. This kind of forest has turned out to store much more carbon than even rainforests, as measured by the hectare. Snake-skin Inspiration Given that the natural world has had millions of years to evolve the solutions to many problems, its little surprise that materials scientists often look to nature for solutions to our human problems. Inspiration from snakes shedding old skins has been applied to super-waterproof nanomaterials. This will hopefully improve on the lotus leaf effect, which involves special waxes and a textured surface, that means water beads up and runs off them, taking the dirt with it. When a coating based on the lotus gets damaged, the whole lot is compromised. But a group in Germany have looked at making materials that shed a layer when it gets damaged in a way similar to snakes shedding their skins. Picture: A planet transits its star, credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages Presenter: Bobbie Lakhera Producer: Fiona Roberts
#ICYMI - The Art of the Hail Mary
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time12 days ago
The Hail Mary pass is one of the most exciting plays you’ll ever see in any sport. This week, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice look at one of the greatest, the “Miracle at Michigan,” with the man who threw it, Kordell Stewart, and physicist John Eric Goff. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe to our channels on: TuneIn: http://www.tunein.com/playingwithscience Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Re-engineering Life
Discovery BBC
access_time15 days ago
Synthetic biology, coming to a street near you. Engineers and biologists who hack the information circuits of living cells are already getting products to the market. Roland Pease meets the experts who are transforming living systems to transform our lives. Picture: MIT spinout Synlogic is re-programming bacteria found in the gut as "living therapeutics" to treat major diseases and rare genetic disorders, courtesy of Synlogic
Birdwatching from Space
The Science Hour BBC
access_time17 days ago
For the first time, conservationists can monitor Northern Royal albatrosses from space. Normally, twitchers would don a raincoat and venture into their breeding grounds on the remote Chatham Islands in New Zealand but using satellites, scientists can now count them from the comforts of their office. We have shocking research where volunteers were invited to electrocute each other to help us understand more about altruism. We also hear from a researcher who inflicted wounds on willing volunteers in the hope of finding out how we can speed up recovery times. Gareth meets the singer who is using augmented reality and redefining the meaning of ‘streaming’ as she launches her new album from one of the quietest places on Earth. Scientists have been scratching around in the mud to find DNA of early humans. We’re given access to the testing facility for the next Mars rover, which will be doing some similar digging on the Red Planet in search of life. Finally, we head to Germany to hear about a scheme that pairs local parents with refugee mums-to-be to help them navigate childbirth away from home. The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent. Producer: Graihagh Jackson Picture: Northern Royal albatross and chick, Credit: © Paul Scofield
The Rise of Self-Driving Cars
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time17 days ago
Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates the fast-rising world of self-driving cars with former VP of R&D at GM and Mobility Consultant for Google, Inc. Larry Burns, Wired magazine transportation editor Alex Davies, and comic co-host Chuck Nice. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Counting Birds from Space
Science in Action BBC
access_time19 days ago
For the first time conservationists can monitor and count birds from space. Using the next-generation Earth observation satellites, scientists count Northern Royal Albatrosses on their breeding grounds on the remote Chatham Islands, off New Zealand. Many of these large, majestic seabirds are threatened, not least by long-line fishing. But they are rarely on land, and often nest in difficult to get to places. But because they’re big and white, high-resolution satellite images can spot them. Insect Flight With wings that flap up to 600 times per second, watching the precise movements of mosquitos in flight is impossible for the human eye. Somehow, these and other tiny insects are able to fly through the heavy turbulence of wind and rain. Research out this month has uncovered unexpected aerodynamic techniques that keep the miniscule creatures airborne, the understanding of which can aid the development of smaller and better drone technology. But how do you film a 4mm mosquito’s individual wing beats in slow motion? Cassini Reveals Saturn’s Secrets 20 years ago the Cassini-Huygens mission set off to Saturn, the gas giant with its iconic rings. Since its arrival in 2004, Saturn, its moons and its rings have been revealing their secrets to NASA-ESA’s ‘Discovery Machine’ which bristles with instruments and scientific equipment. Among the main discoveries are ice-plumes erupting from the moon Enceladus, and the identification of rain, rivers, lakes and oceans on the Earth-like Titan. From its launch to its bitter-sweet grand finale, the Cassini-Huygens mission will have racked up a remarkable list of achievements. Image: Bobbie Lakhera © BBC Presenter: Bobbie Lakhera Producer: Fiona Roberts
#ICYMI - Slam Dunk Science (Part 2)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time19 days ago
Our Playing with Science TuneIn party at the SXSW festival concludes with hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly exploring what makes an NBA superstar, with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, NBA All-Star Caron Butler, and actor Michael Rapaport, the co-host of the Two-Man-Weave podcast on TuneIn. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe to our channels on: TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Hunting for Life on Mars
Discovery BBC
access_time22 days ago
As a small rocky planet, Mars is similar in many respects to the Earth and for that reason, many have thought it may harbour some kind of life. A hundred years ago, there was serious talk about the possibility of advanced civilisations there. Even in early 1970s, scientists mused that plant-like aliens might grow in the Martian soil. The best hope now is for something microbial. But the discovery that even simple life survives there or did some time in its history would be a profound one. We would know that life is not something special to Earth. NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered that 3.7 billion years ago, there were conditions hospitable to life on Mars – a sustained period of time with lakes and rivers of water. The earlier rover Spirit found deposits of silica from ancient hot springs which some planetary scientists argue bear the hallmarks of being shaped by microbes - possibly. The next five years may dramatically advance the hunt for life on Mars. In 2020 the European and Russian space agencies will send their ExoMars rover. That will drill two metres into the Red Planet’s surface and sample material shielded from the sterilising radiation. It will analyse for life both extant and extinct. In the future, robotic or possibly human missions may even explore Martian cave systems in Mars' vast volcanoes. Monica talks to Nasa's Penny Boston whose adventures in some of the world's most dangerous caves have convinced her that underground is the best place to look. Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University. Credit: Curiosity in Gale Crater, credit NASA-JPL Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker
Homo naledi
The Science Hour BBC
access_time24 days ago
A species of hominin has been causing excitement this week. Homo naledi was thought to be up to three million years old but new evidence suggests it’s much younger at 200,000 to 300,000 years old, which means it could have been walking the Earth at the same time as us. The other news that has sparked controversy is the data that advocates America was populated 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. To unpick the evolution of the Universe, a giant detector is being built called Lux-Zeppelin. Scientists hope it will reveal what dark matter is – the stuff that makes up the vast majority of the cosmos but we’ve been unable to detect. Graihagh Jackson sneaks a peek at the ‘eyes’ of this experiment before they’re installed in South Dakota. In Pakistan, doctors are trailing a life-saving drug which could slash maternal deaths. A very hungry caterpillar has been shown to eat plastic and could be used to hoover up the ubiquitous pollutant. Sand is being used as a molecular straitjacket in vaccines to protect the ingredients from breaking down when left unrefrigerated. Plus, the new space-based monitoring system, which could help scientists predict volcanic eruptions. The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from Adam Hart, BBC World Service Science in Action. Producer: Graihagh Jackson (Picture caption: The skeleton of Homo Naledi © Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images)
StarTalk Live! Let’s Make America Smart Again (Part 2)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time24 days ago
Our mission to Make America Smart Again continues with the conclusion of our show from the Count Basie Theatre. Ft. Neil Tyson, Eugene Mirman, Sen. Cory Booker, science policy advisors John Holdren and Jo Handelsman, Ophira Eisenberg, Baratunde Thurston. #LMASA NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
#ICYMI - Slam Dunk Science (Part 1)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time26 days ago
Playing with Science hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly are talking roundball from the TuneIn stage at SXSW with former NBA All-Star Caron Butler, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and actor Michael Rapaport, the co-host of Two-Man-Weave on TuneIn. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe to our channels on: TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
The Earliest North Americans
Science in Action BBC
access_time26 days ago
Evidence of human inhabitation of North America is quite sparse and quite contentious. So far the oldest indigenous Americans are thought to have migrated to the continent via the Beringia land bridge between Siberia and Alaska 40,000 – 17,000 years ago. But new analysis of Mastodon bones, tusks and teeth, as well as large stones, found in California, could be revealing hominin activity 130,000 years ago. The discovery of what looks like man-made breaks in the bones, and stones being brought in to be used as hammers and anvils, tied in with new dating techniques is intriguing paleoanthropologists around the world. Plastic-Eating Caterpillars Polythene from plastic bags and bottles is polluting every corner of the Earth, from the deepest deep sea trenches to the tops of mountains. This non-biodegradable substance is a growing environmental problem. So when scientists discovered a moth caterpillar can ‘eat’ plastic, they wanted to find out more. The wax moth larvae like to live in bee hives, where they’re known to eat beeswax. Beeswax has a chemical structure similar to polythene. So when a researcher noticed that the plastic bags she’d stored her beeswax in overwinter, had been chewed by wax moth caterpillars, she and a team of scientists investigated. It’s still not known whether it's the bacteria in the guts of the larvae, or enzymes produced by the larva itself, that breakdown plastic. But whatever it is, it could be a useful tool in dealing with the growing problem of plastic pollution. Homo naledi The recent discovery and naming of a new human species, Homo naledi, found in deep caves in South Africa was very exciting. At the time, it was thought that this strange creature was 1-2 million years old. Homo naledi walked upright, was about 5ft tall, with some features – notably the hands and feet – more like human species, and some, the head and upper body more like earlier ape-like people. But news has broken this week that naledi is much, much younger, a contemporary of our own recent ancestors, living only 200-300,000 years ago. Picture: A view of two mastodon femur balls, one faced up and once faced down. Neural spine of a vertebra exposed (lower right) and a broken rib (lower left). Credit: San Diego Natural History Museum Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Fiona Roberts
Lifechangers: Charles Bolden
Discovery BBC
access_time29 days ago
In Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to people about their lives in science. Major General Charles Bolden – a former NASA administrator – talks to Kevin Fong about his extraordinary life, from childhood in racially segregated South Carolina to the first African American to command a space shuttle. He had originally hoped to join the Navy, but was unable to as an African American. Although Charles refused to take no for an answer and after much petitioning he was accepted. From there he reached for the stars. Image: Charlie Bolden, © Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Naked Mole-Rat
The Science Hour BBC
access_time1 month ago
Evolution has produced some weird and wonderful things - few more so than the naked mole-rat. They are formidable creatures, especially when it comes to holding their breath. Research reveals that they can survive for 18 minutes without oxygen thanks to a very unusual metabolic workaround. Cassini scientists have been working hard on extending the Saturn-bound mission and have done so by nine years. However, this week, it is the beginning of the end as the probe begins its final orbit of the gas giant. Back on Earth, the population has grown to almost 7.5 billion and it is going to keep on increasing. But just how far can it go before we run out of food? Another problem facing our planet is antibiotic resistance. However, Liz Sockett has found a predatory bacterium that could help – it eats salmonella for breakfast and looks like a jelly bean. We hear from one of the great voices in science, Neil deGrasse Tyson about how he became obsessed with the night sky. Plus, obsessive runners will be pleased to know that donning the trainers may extend their life. Finally, we hear from the digital activist who won the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award. (Photo caption: Naked mole-rats © Thomas Park/UIC/PA Wire) The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from David Robson of BBC Future Producer: Graihagh Jackson
StarTalk Live! Let’s Make America Smart Again (Part 1)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time1 month ago
StarTalk was at the Count Basie Theatre 4/17/17 on a mission to Make America Smart Again. Ft. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman, Senator Cory Booker, former science policy advisors John Holdren and Jo Handelsman, Ophira Eisenberg and Baratunde Thurston. #LMASA NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
#ICYMI - Baseball: Physics at the Plate (Part 1)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time1 month ago
During off-season, Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly went to SXSW for a few “exhibition games” with the folks at TuneIn. First up, the science of pitching, hitting, and catching with Toronto Blue Jays catcher JP Arencibia, astrophysicist Charles Liu and Holden Kushner, host of MLB on TuneIn. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe on: iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
How to Survive Without Air
Science in Action BBC
access_time1 month ago
The naked mole-rat never ceases to amaze. A new study shows that when it gets stuffy in their underground burrows, this mouse-sized wrinkly mammal is able to metabolise fructose - just as plants do - and by this bypass the need for oxygen for up to 18 minutes. In a new study scientists have created an artificial retina. The retina is a light-sensitive layer of the eye which is essential for sight. The artificial retinas are able to mimic the abilities of living tissue, reacting to light and electrical signals. In the future, scientists hope that these retinas could save the sight of many. Virtual reality (VR) is not only a fun gimmick for gamers, but could be used to train dentists in dental surgery. Our reporter Marnie Chesterton visits the VR World Congress in Bristol in the United Kingdom and tries out the technology and discovers first-hand the all too real experience of dental surgery. Lastly, with 800 million people living near a volcano, spotting eruptions in advance can be crucial. We talk to the scientists working on the technology that allows us to spot them from space with satellites. And, reporter Anand Jagatia heads to Iceland which homes the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which caused disruption to the air space back in 2010. Picture: Naked mole-rats in the laboratory of Thomas Park at the University of Illinois at Chicago. [Credit: Thomas Park / UIC] Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Louisa Field
Lifechangers: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Discovery BBC
access_time1 month ago
In Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to people about their lives in science. Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, Neil deGrasse Tyson is well known in the US since he presented the TV series Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey. He talks to Kevin Fong about growing up in Brooklyn, becoming obsessed with the night sky and how he became a broadcaster and writer. Image: Neil deGrasse Tyson, © Cindy Ord/Getty Images for FOX
Sensing the Smell of Parkinson’s
The Science Hour BBC
access_time1 month ago
This week, we hear of an unlikely story from a Scottish nurse. Joy Milne has an extraordinary sense of smell – so extraordinary that she can smell Parkinson’s disease before doctors can diagnose it. Researchers think this could lead to a medical breakthrough. In Vietnam, the government is warning diners about a link between a local delicacy – raw pig’s blood – and meningitis. Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing another bleaching event that has affected two thirds of the coral. We hear whether it can recover or not. Earlier this year, a tiny but hugely exciting fossil was found in 350 million year old rocks: an ancient amphibian, named Tiny. It is the earliest known example of an animal with a backbone to live on land. In the depths of our solar system, the Cassini probe has spotted plumes of hydrogen on one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus. This could prove interesting on two accounts. Firstly, it makes life more likely and secondly, this hydrogen could be mined and used as rocket fuel, as we hear from one space prospector. (Photo caption: Joy Milne, who can smell Parkinson’s © BBC) The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from Richard Fisher, Editor of BBC Future Producer: Graihagh Jackson
Extended Classic: Space Chronicles (Part 1)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time1 month ago
Why did the US really go into space? Why did the Apollo program end early? Neil deGrasse Tyson digs into the history of space exploration with Prof. John Logsdon and co-host Chuck Nice. Now extended with 13 minutes of fan-submitted Cosmic Queries! NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access.
Enceladus: Could this moon harbour life?
Science in Action BBC
access_time1 month ago
Hydrogen is a favourite food for some microorganisms, so finding it on one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, increases the potential for to it to have life. During its deepest-ever dive through the jets of water vapour and other materials bursting from cracks in the ice-covered surface of Enceladus, the Cassini spacecraft has detected enough hydrogen to sustain microbes much as it does in dark undersea environments on Earth. And, while fish swim they shed DNA from their skin and faeces into the water. For the first time, scientists have been able to use this DNA to record fish moving through the rivers of New York. By doing this the scientists avoid the disturbance, and expense, of collecting fish from trawlers. Such ‘wildlife forensics’ is likely to spread to more and more corners of diversity surveying. Lastly, we tackle one of the greatest disputes between science and religion – the theory of evolution. We explore how religious groups reconcile evolution with their beliefs and learn how the Muslim world is embracing – and rejecting – evolution depending on who holds political power. Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Louisa Field Image: The view looking toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Enceladus, 27 Nov 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Lifechangers: George Takei
Discovery BBC
access_time1 month ago
In the start of a new series of Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to three people about their lives in science. His first conversation is with a man better known for his life in science fiction, George Takei, the Japanese American actor who played Sulu in the TV series, Star Trek. They discuss the voyages of the Starship Enterprise and the ideas of other worlds featured in Star Trek. He talks about his own epic life journey – how his family was imprisoned when the US joined the Second World War and his campaigning against social injustice. Photo: George Takei making the Live Long and Prosper symbol, © Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Geological Brexit
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
As politicians begin to disentangle the UK from Europe, scientists have revealed how Britain’s first “Brexit” unfolded almost half a million years ago. No one knew how many tree species there are but now, a new publication lists them all. Among the roots of one such tree in Burkina Faso is the shea caterpillar – a popular snack for many but to others, an unpalatable grub. Yet a UN report states that insects are more environmentally friendly than sources of. Could this be the key to our future? One insect that will not be on the menu anytime soon is the bee. Populations have declined by up to 80% in some countries and George McGavin investigates why. A scientist has designed a way to “sniff out” polio virus in sewage in the hope of stopping outbreaks. When you visit the doctor how much do you understand what is being said? Now a game called Dr Jargon has been created to encourage doctors to use simple language. (Image caption: An artist’s illustration of an ancient ice age land bridge connecting Britain with France, before the formation of the Dover Strait © AFP/Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments by James Gallagher, Science Reporter, BBC News Online Producer: Graihagh Jackson
The Science of Sports, with Hope Solo
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Neil deGrasse Tyson examines the science and psychology of sports with 2x Olympic gold medal winning soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo. Featuring co-host Chuck Nice, sport psychologist Brent Walker, Sports Illustrated’s Mark McClusky, data journalist Mona Chalabi, and Bill Nye.  NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access.
When Britain First Ripped Away from Europe
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
Britain was in the grip of an ice age 450,000 years ago. It has long been thought that Britain’s separation from Europe resulted from spill over from a lake formed in front of the ice sheet but until now it has not been proved. New research shows that this is correct - 450,000 years ago Britain geologically separated from Europe in two stages – a spill-over from a giant lake, followed by catastrophic flooding. Tallying up the Number of Tree Species Until recently, no one knew how many tree species there are in the world. But this week the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, have published a comprehensive global list of all our tree species. Out of the 60,065 different species world-wide, an astonishing 58% exist in just one country. Why Aeroplanes Survive a Bolt of Lightning? An aeroplane struck by lightning, might sound like the stuff of horror films. But thanks to the Faraday cage effect, planes are completely safe from damage when flying through a electrical storm. Caroline Steel wanted to test this for herself when she visited Manchester University’s High Voltage Lab. She even got to press the big red button! Viruses that Protect Koalas Koala populations in the north of Australia have been hit hard by a number of bacterial and viral diseases. But the koalas in the south, even though they’re exposed, they aren’t developing the symptoms. It turns out that a retrovirus which has embedded itself in the koala’s genome and then mutated, is granting them some immunity. (Photo: Artist’s illustration of ancient ice age land bridge connecting Britain with France. Credit: Imperial College London/Chase Stone) Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Fiona Roberts
Pauli's Exclusion Principle
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time2 months ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), whose Exclusion Principle is one of the key ideas in quantum mechanics. A brilliant physicist, at 21 Pauli wrote a review of Einstein's theory of general relativity and that review is still a standard work of reference today. The Pauli Exclusion Principle proposes that no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration, and it helps explain a wide range of phenomena such as the electron shell structure of atoms. Pauli went on to postulate the existence of the neutrino, which was confirmed in his lifetime. Following further development of his exclusion principle, Pauli was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945 for his 'decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature'. He also had a long correspondence with Jung, and a reputation for accidentally breaking experimental equipment which was dubbed The Pauli Effect. With Frank Close Fellow Emeritus at Exeter College, University of Oxford Michela Massimi Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh and Graham Farmelo Bye-Fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge Producer: Simon Tillotson.
#ICYMI - Hockey: Physics on Ice (Part 2)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly explore the slippery science and skate technology that leads to speed – and collisions – in the world’s fastest, toughest team sport. With physicist Alain Haché, Bauer Hockey’s Craig Desjardin, NY Riveters captain Ashley Johnston. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe on: iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
The Bee All and End All
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
Bees pollinate and can detect bombs and compose music. What would we do without them? The world owes a debt of gratitude to this hard working but under-appreciated insect. One third of the food we eat would not be available without bees, meaning our lives would be unimaginably different without them. Bee populations are dropping by up to 80% in some countries and the consequences are potentially catastrophic. The use of neonics pesticides in farming has been one of the main causes in the decline in bee numbers and now the farming world is having to take drastic action to try and reverse the trend. The situation has become so dire in some parts of China that the government set up a scheme in which humans had to pollinate plants by hand. Researchers in America have been so worried about a world without bees that they have started to develop robotic 'insects' to emulate their work. What’s causing the drop in populations and what might save them? Dr George McGavin hears from scientists and researchers in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia about the extraordinary lives and impact of bees, hearing the amazing ways in which they communicate and learn, and how complex and diverse different bee species are.
Climate Change
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
This week, there have been new insights into the link between climate and weather. Specifically, about how extreme weather happens but also how they get stuck, leading to prolonged heat waves, droughts or wildfires. Earth is certainly an active place climate-wise and it looks as though Mars may have also been a little livelier than it is now. If you look a little closer, you can find dried out rivers where water once flowed. New research reveals what happened to the Red Planet’s atmosphere and why it is now a cold, dry place. We also hear how you can join in the search for the missing mysterious ninth planet of our solar system. We meet the scientist who is trying to understand how accents either get diluted or become more distinct. But we delve further into understanding our brains because to even have different accents we needed to socialise as a species – is that why humans evolved big brains? Or could it be our diet? (Photo caption: Pakistani flood survivors wade through the flood water in Khairpur Nathan Shah on September 18, 2010 © Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos Producer: Graihagh Jackson
Cosmic Queries: Galactic Gumbo
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Neil Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice mix up a pot of Galactic Gumbo in this episode of Cosmic Queries. Ingredients for this cosmic dish include the Big Bang, string theory, the expansion of the universe, antimatter, aliens, asteroids, & much more! NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Martian Atmosphere Blew Away
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
If you were to stand on the surface of Mars you would see a cold dry dessert with a thin atmosphere and not enough oxygen to breathe. But the atmosphere on Mars hasn’t always been this way. The MAVEN (The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission to monitor Mars’ atmosphere has finally concluded that the Martian atmosphere has indeed been depleted from its carbon dioxide rich, thick blanket to a thin, weak covering because of the action of solar wind. Groundwater and Crops A huge global study of how much groundwater is depleted by crop plants has revealed that we have lost almost a quarter of the un-replenished stored water reserved in the past 10 years. USA, Pakistan and Mexico have come out as the worst offenders. We ask how can we reduce this loss in the future and who should be paying for it – the producing countries or the consuming countries? Extreme Weather and Climate Change Link Eminent US climate change scientist Michael Mann, at Pennsylvania State University, has shown scientifically that the warming climate is disturbing the jet stream high in the atmosphere, affecting how it wobbles and locking it in place. This causes certain extreme weather events, such as the 2011 Texas drought, and torrential rainfall to be more severe and longer lasting. IPS Cells in Clinical Use for the First Time When they were discovered back in 2006, Induced Pluripotent Stem cells, or IPS cells were hailed as the ethically-sound future of regenerative medicine. These are cells from adult skin or blood, they are not embryonic cells. They are treated such that they turn back their developmental clock, and can then become many different cell types in the body. But the past ten years has shown little evidence of these cells being used in the clinical setting. However, back in the Kyoto lab where the initial discovery was made, lines of stem cells from ‘super-donors’ are being produced that are currently being used to treat patients with macular degeneration, which affects the eyes. It seems, stem cell compatibility works in a similar way to blood types, making some people more suitable as donors to match a large proportion of the population. Image: Water on Mars © Kees Veenenbox/Science Photo Library Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Fiona Roberts
#ICYMI: Hockey: Physics on Ice (Part 1)
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Get your skates, grab your stick, and join Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly as they find out why hockey has more science in it than any sport on Earth! With physics professor Alain Haché, Bauer Hockey’s Craig Desjardin, and LA Kings color commentator Daryl Evans. Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe on: iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Extending Embryo Research
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
Since the birth of Louise Brown-the world’s first IVF baby, in England in 1978, many children have been born through in vitro fertilisation. IVF doesn’t work for everyone but over the last few decades basic research into human reproduction has brought about huge improvements. In the UK the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, passed in 1990, made it illegal for research on human embryos to be permitted beyond 14 days. In a dozen other countries, from Canada and Australia to Iceland and South Korea the 14 day limit is enshrined in law and in five others, including China, India and the US, there are guidelines that recommend that limit. Just recently researchers at Cambridge University have kept embryos alive in the lab for 13 days. They and others are calling for the limit to be extended for another one or two weeks, so they can study why early pregnancies fail. Matthew Hill reports on the issues raised by these new developments in embryo research. Image: Light micrograph of fertilized human egg cell © Science Photo Library
Comet 67P
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
67P was the first comet to be reached by probes. During the mission, lots of photos were taken and they have given an insight into how the surface changes as it orbits around the Sun. Back on Earth, researchers have been mapping the brain activity of people driving around London. The results revealed that using a Sat-Nav changes how your mind works. We turn to octopuses to see if these creatures could be the key to understanding an alien mind. As we dream of sending humans to Mars, the psychological problems of such a mission loom large. Claudia Hammond ponders the most important social qualities required for the mission. For Japanese macaques, their social circles dictate who catches what from whom and new research suggests this could also be applied to the spread of human diseases. Gareth Mitchell hears about a new hand-mounted exoskeleton for surgeons. And as the pace of technology moves at ever greater speeds, how vulnerable are we when making split second decisions? Kevin Fong reports. (Photo caption: European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe Philae lands on the comet 67P © ESA/ATG medialab) The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from Victoria Gill BBC Science Reporter Producer: Graihagh Jackson
Science and Technology in the Military, with Ash Carter
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Neil Tyson explores the future of science and technology in national defense with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. With comic co-host Leighann Lord, defense expert Michael Horowitz, strategist P.W. Singer, Mona Chalabi, Chuck Nice, & Bill Nye. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Navigating London’s Roads from an fMRI Scanner
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
In a clever experiment in which participants navigated through virtual busy London streets whilst in an fMRI scanner. Researchers pinpointed the parts of the brain involved in finding your way. If you rely on your sat nav, you may be surprised to hear that your hippocampus is almost entirely inactive. If you’re navigating without a sat nav, the more options you have at each junction, the more active your hippocampus is. But when faced with a detour, it’s your prefrontal cortex that takes control. Social Networking for Japanese Macaques Many of us spend a lot of time on social networks, allowing us to interact within our social circles. Our primate relatives may not have Facebook but they too move in social circles. For Japanese Macaques, these social circles dictate who grooms who and who catches fleas from whom. New research ties in these monkeys’ social networks with the spread of diseases and parasites. The findings could also be applied to the spread of disease in humans. Presenter: Adam Hart Producer: Fiona Roberts
#ICYMI - March Madness!
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
It’s time for the NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness. To make sense of it all, hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly welcome bracketologist Chris Dobbertean, and Prof. Alan Zaremba, author of “The Madness of March: Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas.” Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Subscribe on: iTunes Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360?mt=2 Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-science TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Playing-with-Science-p952100/ SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-science GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjq NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/
Cholesterol-lowering drug, Defibrillators, Post-traumatic stress disorder and heart disease, Lack of drugs in pregnancy
Inside Health BBC
access_time2 months ago
Dr Mark Porter presents a series that aims to demystify perplexing health issues.
The Split Second Decision
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
As the pace of technology moves at ever greater speeds, how vulnerable are we when making split second decisions? Kevin Fong flies with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, making split-second, life-or-death decisions. He examines how we can come to terms with the growing challenge of quick and accurate front line decision making. Picture: Presenter, Kevin Fong in air ambulance, Credit: BBC
Jet Engine Pollution
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
Some close-quarter flying in the wake of a jet has provided new insights on reducing aircraft pollution. We fly beyond Earth to hunt down exoplanets that had falsely been deemed too cold for life as our definition of the habitable zone changes. Karen Schoonbee reports from Cape Town on the growing problem of women using crystal meth – known locally as tik – during their pregnancies. We hear from a doctor about the developmental delays experienced by these “tik babies”. This week is the sixth anniversary of the start of the Syrian conflict. To mark this, a new study has been published in the journal The Lancet, highlighting the impact of the war on health care in the country. It concludes that healthcare in Syria is being used as a weapon of war on an unprecedented scale A tracking technology previously used to locate New Zealand’s endangered kiwi bird is now being used to track people with dementia at risk of wandering off. We also hear how bears and lemurs hibernate in the hope that one day human could slip into suspended animation. (Photo caption: The DC-8's four engines burned either JP-8 jet fuel or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and renewable alternative fuel of hydro processed esters and fatty acids produced from camelina plant oil © Nasa/SSAI Edward Winstead) The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from Melissa Hogenboom of BBC Earth Producer: Graihagh Jackson
Extended Classic: The Future of Humanity, with Elon Musk
StarTalk Radio StarTalk Radio
access_time2 months ago
Neil Tyson explores the future of humanity with one of the men forging it: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. With Chuck Nice and Bill Nye. JUST ADDED: Neil and Bill in the Cosmic Crib, sipping Merlot and musing on optimism and space exploration. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Find out more at https://www.startalkradio.net/startalk-all-access/