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Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

823
Followers
1.8K
Plays
Science Friday
Science Friday

Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

823
Followers
1.8K
Plays
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Brain fun for curious people.

Latest Episodes

Bird Populations In Decline, Real Life Sci-Fi Disasters, Brain Wiring. Sept 20, 2019, Part 2

There may be almost 3 billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970, according toa study published this week in the journalScience.The decline over time works out to a loss of about one in 4 birds. However, the decline does not appear to be evenly distributed. Then, journalist Mike Pearl investigates what the world would look like after technology breakdowns, a real-life Jurassic Park, and other sci-fi doomsday scenarios in his book,The Day It Finally Happens. Finally, new research on the brains of people who paint with their toes reveal how our limbs affect our internal maps from birth.

47 MIN2 days ago
Comments
Bird Populations In Decline, Real Life Sci-Fi Disasters, Brain Wiring. Sept 20, 2019, Part 2

Degrees Of Change: Climate And Fashion. Sept 20, 2019, Part 1

Climate change has been trending in the news recently—and ifthere’s one industry out there that knows something about trends, it’s the fashion industry. Long known for churning out cheap garments and burning through resources, some fashion labels like fast fashion giantH&Mare now embracing sustainable fashion trends. But can this industry—which is responsible for8% of global carbon emissions—really shed its wasteful business model in favor of one with a lower carbon footprint? Marc Bain, a fashion reporter at Quartz, Maxine Bédat from the New Standard Institute, and Linda Greer, global policy fellow with theInstitute of Public and Environmental Affairstalk with Ira about the industry’s effort to reduce its climate impact. Plus,a check in on the Trump administration's rollback of the Clean Air Act waiver, and more of the week's biggest climate headlines.

47 MIN2 days ago
Comments
Degrees Of Change: Climate And Fashion. Sept 20, 2019, Part 1

The Center Of The Milky Way, Rats At Play, And Geometry. Sept 13, 2019, Part 2

The Greek mathematician Euclidimagined an ordered and methodical universe, but his vision struggled to catch on for centuries, until Renaissance painters and French monarchs found a way connect the ancient science of geometry to the real world. Science historian Amir Alexander joins Ira to share the story of geometry’s rising global influence in his new bookProof!: How The World Became Geometrical. Plus, amillion years ago, the black hole at the center of our galaxy burped. Now, scientists are exploring what the resulting bubbles might say about our kinship with other galaxies. And here on Earth, neuroscientists say they can learn a lot by observing brains at play—particularly those of rats playing hide and seek.

46 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
The Center Of The Milky Way, Rats At Play, And Geometry. Sept 13, 2019, Part 2

How AI Is Influencing Decisions In Police Departments And Courtrooms. Sept 13, 2019

Facial recognition technology is all around us—it’s at concerts, airports, and apartment buildings. But its use by law enforcement agencies and courtrooms raises particular concerns about privacy, fairness, and bias, according to some researchers. Some studies have shown that some of the major facial recognition systems are inaccurate.Amazon’s softwaremisidentified28 members of Congress and matched them with criminal mugshots. These inaccuracies tend to befar worsefor people of color and women. We'll talkabout how AI is guiding the decisions of police departments and courtrooms across the country—and whether we should be concerned. Plus: Scientists were threatened with firings after the National Weather Service projections for Hurricane Dorian contradicted President Trump’s tweets, and more of the biggest science stories from the week. Finally, wind turbines are great at producing green energy. But when they reach they end of their life-span, their parts are incredibly difficul...

46 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
How AI Is Influencing Decisions In Police Departments And Courtrooms. Sept 13, 2019

SciFri Extra: Bird Nerds Of A Feather Flock Together

The Science Friday Book Club is done birding—for now. But after wrapping up our summer discussion of Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds, bird enthusiasts flocked together at Caveat, a venue in New York City, for one last celebration of bird brains and feathered phenomena. We pitted audience members up against some local bird geniuses in tests of memory, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. Then, we brought on a gaggle of experts to talk about the special and smart birds of New York City, along with some of the threats they face—including bright lights and deceptive glass. And with fall migration underway, we’re talking about many more species than pigeons. Science Friday SciArts producer and book club flock leader Christie Taylor hosted the conversation with NYC Audubon conservation biologist Kaitlyn Parkins, Wild Bird Fund director Rita McMahon, Fordham University evolutionary biologist Elizabeth Carlen, and National Audubon editor and Feminist Bird Club vice presiden...

45 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: Bird Nerds Of A Feather Flock Together

Randall Munroe, Football Concussion Research. Sept 6, 2019, Part 2

If you’ve ever been skiing, you might have wondered how your skiis and the layer of water interact. What would happen if the slope was made out of wood or rubber? Or how would you make more snow in the most efficient way if it all melted away? These are the questions thatcomic artist Randall Munroethinks about in his bookHow To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. He answers these hypothetical scenarios and other everyday questions—from charging your phone to sending a digital file—with uncommon solutions. Munroe joins Ira to talk about how he comes up with his far-fetched solutions and why “…figuring out exactly why it’s a bad idea can teach you a lot—and might help you think of a better approach.” Read an excerpt of Munroe’s new book where tennis legend Serena Williams takes to the court to test one of his hypotheses:How to catch a drone with sports equipment. Plus: Researchers have long known about the connection between concussions sustained on the ...

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Randall Munroe, Football Concussion Research. Sept 6, 2019, Part 2

Widening The Lens On A More Inclusive Science. Sept 6, 2019, Part 1

In 2012, the Obama administration projected that the United States would need to add an additional 1 million college graduates in STEM fields per year for the next ten years to keep up with projected growth in the need for science and technology expertise. At the same time, though, native Americans and other indigenous groups are underrepresented in the sciences, making up only 0.2 percent of the STEM workforce in 2014, despite being2 percent of the total populationof the United States. Why are indigenous people still underrepresented in science? Ira speaks with astrophysicist Annette Lee and anthropologist Kim TallBear about the historical role of science and observation in indigenous communities, and how Western scientific culture can leave out other voices. They also discuss the solutions: What does an inclusive scientific enterprise look like, and how could we get there?Learn more about the efforts in North America to recognize indigenous astronomy. Plus:After Hurricane Dorian b...

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Widening The Lens On A More Inclusive Science. Sept 6, 2019, Part 1

Vaping Sickness, Teaching Science. Aug 30, 2019, Part 2

Over 10 million Americans vape, or smoke electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes are also the most popular tobacco product among teenagers in this country. Some of them are marketed with bright colors and fun flavors like chocolate, creme brulee, and mint—or they’re advertised as a healthier alternative to regular cigarette smoking. But last week, public health officials reported that a patient in Illinois died from a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping. In 29 states across the country, there are 193 reported cases of this unknown illness as of August 30. Most patients are teenagers or young adults and have symptoms like difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Patients with more severe cases have to be put on oxygen tanks and ventilators—and some may suffer from permanent lung damage. “Acute lung injury happens in response to all kinds of things, like inhaling a toxic chemical or an infection. This is similar to what we’d see there. The lungs’ prote...

46 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Vaping Sickness, Teaching Science. Aug 30, 2019, Part 2

Degrees of Change: Tourism. Aug 30, 2019, Part 1

Each year, outdoor enthusiasts in the country spend nearly $900 billion dollars on hiking, fishing and other types of outdoor recreation. The different types of business that take part in that tourism economy span a wide range—from big all inclusive ski resorts to mom and pop shops that sell tours of their local hiking spots. But with shrinking snowpacks, more extreme weather, and the unpredictable changes from season to season, these businesses must wrestle with a challenge: climate change. Winter tourism operations are adding on summer water sports to stay afloat, while the number of ski resorts have dwindled almost in half since the 1950s. How will these local businesses adapt? In Capital Public Radio’s podcast TahoeLand, reporter Ezra David Romero investigates how the community of Lake Tahoe in California, which sees 30 million tourists each year, is responding to these changes. Romero talks with Ira about how a pair of residents are trying to establish the area as the “Outdo...

47 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Degrees of Change: Tourism. Aug 30, 2019, Part 1

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 MINAUG 24
Comments
Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2

Latest Episodes

Bird Populations In Decline, Real Life Sci-Fi Disasters, Brain Wiring. Sept 20, 2019, Part 2

There may be almost 3 billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970, according toa study published this week in the journalScience.The decline over time works out to a loss of about one in 4 birds. However, the decline does not appear to be evenly distributed. Then, journalist Mike Pearl investigates what the world would look like after technology breakdowns, a real-life Jurassic Park, and other sci-fi doomsday scenarios in his book,The Day It Finally Happens. Finally, new research on the brains of people who paint with their toes reveal how our limbs affect our internal maps from birth.

47 MIN2 days ago
Comments
Bird Populations In Decline, Real Life Sci-Fi Disasters, Brain Wiring. Sept 20, 2019, Part 2

Degrees Of Change: Climate And Fashion. Sept 20, 2019, Part 1

Climate change has been trending in the news recently—and ifthere’s one industry out there that knows something about trends, it’s the fashion industry. Long known for churning out cheap garments and burning through resources, some fashion labels like fast fashion giantH&Mare now embracing sustainable fashion trends. But can this industry—which is responsible for8% of global carbon emissions—really shed its wasteful business model in favor of one with a lower carbon footprint? Marc Bain, a fashion reporter at Quartz, Maxine Bédat from the New Standard Institute, and Linda Greer, global policy fellow with theInstitute of Public and Environmental Affairstalk with Ira about the industry’s effort to reduce its climate impact. Plus,a check in on the Trump administration's rollback of the Clean Air Act waiver, and more of the week's biggest climate headlines.

47 MIN2 days ago
Comments
Degrees Of Change: Climate And Fashion. Sept 20, 2019, Part 1

The Center Of The Milky Way, Rats At Play, And Geometry. Sept 13, 2019, Part 2

The Greek mathematician Euclidimagined an ordered and methodical universe, but his vision struggled to catch on for centuries, until Renaissance painters and French monarchs found a way connect the ancient science of geometry to the real world. Science historian Amir Alexander joins Ira to share the story of geometry’s rising global influence in his new bookProof!: How The World Became Geometrical. Plus, amillion years ago, the black hole at the center of our galaxy burped. Now, scientists are exploring what the resulting bubbles might say about our kinship with other galaxies. And here on Earth, neuroscientists say they can learn a lot by observing brains at play—particularly those of rats playing hide and seek.

46 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
The Center Of The Milky Way, Rats At Play, And Geometry. Sept 13, 2019, Part 2

How AI Is Influencing Decisions In Police Departments And Courtrooms. Sept 13, 2019

Facial recognition technology is all around us—it’s at concerts, airports, and apartment buildings. But its use by law enforcement agencies and courtrooms raises particular concerns about privacy, fairness, and bias, according to some researchers. Some studies have shown that some of the major facial recognition systems are inaccurate.Amazon’s softwaremisidentified28 members of Congress and matched them with criminal mugshots. These inaccuracies tend to befar worsefor people of color and women. We'll talkabout how AI is guiding the decisions of police departments and courtrooms across the country—and whether we should be concerned. Plus: Scientists were threatened with firings after the National Weather Service projections for Hurricane Dorian contradicted President Trump’s tweets, and more of the biggest science stories from the week. Finally, wind turbines are great at producing green energy. But when they reach they end of their life-span, their parts are incredibly difficul...

46 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
How AI Is Influencing Decisions In Police Departments And Courtrooms. Sept 13, 2019

SciFri Extra: Bird Nerds Of A Feather Flock Together

The Science Friday Book Club is done birding—for now. But after wrapping up our summer discussion of Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds, bird enthusiasts flocked together at Caveat, a venue in New York City, for one last celebration of bird brains and feathered phenomena. We pitted audience members up against some local bird geniuses in tests of memory, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. Then, we brought on a gaggle of experts to talk about the special and smart birds of New York City, along with some of the threats they face—including bright lights and deceptive glass. And with fall migration underway, we’re talking about many more species than pigeons. Science Friday SciArts producer and book club flock leader Christie Taylor hosted the conversation with NYC Audubon conservation biologist Kaitlyn Parkins, Wild Bird Fund director Rita McMahon, Fordham University evolutionary biologist Elizabeth Carlen, and National Audubon editor and Feminist Bird Club vice presiden...

45 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: Bird Nerds Of A Feather Flock Together

Randall Munroe, Football Concussion Research. Sept 6, 2019, Part 2

If you’ve ever been skiing, you might have wondered how your skiis and the layer of water interact. What would happen if the slope was made out of wood or rubber? Or how would you make more snow in the most efficient way if it all melted away? These are the questions thatcomic artist Randall Munroethinks about in his bookHow To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. He answers these hypothetical scenarios and other everyday questions—from charging your phone to sending a digital file—with uncommon solutions. Munroe joins Ira to talk about how he comes up with his far-fetched solutions and why “…figuring out exactly why it’s a bad idea can teach you a lot—and might help you think of a better approach.” Read an excerpt of Munroe’s new book where tennis legend Serena Williams takes to the court to test one of his hypotheses:How to catch a drone with sports equipment. Plus: Researchers have long known about the connection between concussions sustained on the ...

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Randall Munroe, Football Concussion Research. Sept 6, 2019, Part 2

Widening The Lens On A More Inclusive Science. Sept 6, 2019, Part 1

In 2012, the Obama administration projected that the United States would need to add an additional 1 million college graduates in STEM fields per year for the next ten years to keep up with projected growth in the need for science and technology expertise. At the same time, though, native Americans and other indigenous groups are underrepresented in the sciences, making up only 0.2 percent of the STEM workforce in 2014, despite being2 percent of the total populationof the United States. Why are indigenous people still underrepresented in science? Ira speaks with astrophysicist Annette Lee and anthropologist Kim TallBear about the historical role of science and observation in indigenous communities, and how Western scientific culture can leave out other voices. They also discuss the solutions: What does an inclusive scientific enterprise look like, and how could we get there?Learn more about the efforts in North America to recognize indigenous astronomy. Plus:After Hurricane Dorian b...

46 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Widening The Lens On A More Inclusive Science. Sept 6, 2019, Part 1

Vaping Sickness, Teaching Science. Aug 30, 2019, Part 2

Over 10 million Americans vape, or smoke electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes are also the most popular tobacco product among teenagers in this country. Some of them are marketed with bright colors and fun flavors like chocolate, creme brulee, and mint—or they’re advertised as a healthier alternative to regular cigarette smoking. But last week, public health officials reported that a patient in Illinois died from a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping. In 29 states across the country, there are 193 reported cases of this unknown illness as of August 30. Most patients are teenagers or young adults and have symptoms like difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Patients with more severe cases have to be put on oxygen tanks and ventilators—and some may suffer from permanent lung damage. “Acute lung injury happens in response to all kinds of things, like inhaling a toxic chemical or an infection. This is similar to what we’d see there. The lungs’ prote...

46 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Vaping Sickness, Teaching Science. Aug 30, 2019, Part 2

Degrees of Change: Tourism. Aug 30, 2019, Part 1

Each year, outdoor enthusiasts in the country spend nearly $900 billion dollars on hiking, fishing and other types of outdoor recreation. The different types of business that take part in that tourism economy span a wide range—from big all inclusive ski resorts to mom and pop shops that sell tours of their local hiking spots. But with shrinking snowpacks, more extreme weather, and the unpredictable changes from season to season, these businesses must wrestle with a challenge: climate change. Winter tourism operations are adding on summer water sports to stay afloat, while the number of ski resorts have dwindled almost in half since the 1950s. How will these local businesses adapt? In Capital Public Radio’s podcast TahoeLand, reporter Ezra David Romero investigates how the community of Lake Tahoe in California, which sees 30 million tourists each year, is responding to these changes. Romero talks with Ira about how a pair of residents are trying to establish the area as the “Outdo...

47 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Degrees of Change: Tourism. Aug 30, 2019, Part 1

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 MINAUG 24
Comments
Climate And Farming, Mars 2020, Fireflies. August 23, 2019, Part 2