Science Magazine Podcast (Science)
Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

A new report suggests a big increase in the use of monkeys in laboratory experiments in the United States in 2017. Online news editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss which areas of research are experiencing this rise and the possible reasons behind it. 

 

Also this week, host Meagan Cantwell talks with staff writer Adrian Cho about a final push to affix the metric system’s measures to physical constants instead of physical objects. That means the perfectly formed 1-kilogram cylinder known as Le Grand K is no more; it also means that the meter, the ampere, and other units of measure are now derived using complex calculations and experiments. 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: Peter Nijenhuis/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; David Grimm; Adrian Cho

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181109.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

For a long time, Parkinson’s disease was thought to be merely a disorder of the nervous system. But in the past decade researchers have started to look elsewhere in the body for clues to this debilitating disease—particularly in the gut. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with Viviane Labrie of the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about new research suggesting people without their appendixes have a reduced risk of Parkinson’s. Labrie also describes the possible mechanism behind this connection.

 

And host Sarah Crespi talks with Peter Fratzl of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, about what materials scientists can learn from nature. The natural world might not produce innovations like carbon nanotubes, but evolution has forged innumerable materials from very limited resources—mostly sugars, proteins, and minerals. Fratzl discusses how plants make time-release seedpods that are triggered by nothing but fire and rain, the amazing suckerin protein that comprises squid teeth, and how cicadas make their transparent, self-cleaning wings from simple building blocks.  

 

Fratzl’s review is part of a special section in Science on composite materials. Read the whole package, including a review on using renewables like coconut fiber for building cars and incorporating carbon nanotubes and graphene into composites.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: Roger Smith/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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[Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181102.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

A group of kids is suing the US government—claiming their rights to life, liberty, and property are under threat from climate change thanks to government policies that have encouraged the use and extraction of fossil fuels. Host Meagan Cantwell interviews news writer Julia Rosen on the ins and outs of the suit and what it could mean if the kids win the day.   

 

Also this week, host Sarah Crespi talks with Andrew Moeller of Cornell University about his work tracing the gut microbes inherited through 10 generations of mice. It turns out the fidelity is quite high—you can still tell mice lineages apart by their gut microbes after 10 generations. And horizontally transmitted microbes, those that jump from one mouse line to another through exposure to common spaces or handlers, were more likely than inherited bacteria to be pathogenic and were often linked to illnesses in people.  

 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Bob Dass/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Julia Rosen

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181026.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

As you age, your cells divide over and over again, leading to minute changes in their genomes. New research reveals that in the lining of the esophagus, mutant cells run rampant, fighting for dominance over normal cells. But they do this without causing any detectable damage or cancer. Host Sarah Crespi talks to Phil Jones, a professor of cancer development at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, about what these genome changes can tell us about aging and cancer, and how some of the mutations might be good for you.

 

Most Western farmers apply their pesticides using drones and machinery, but in less developed countries, organophosphate pesticides are applied by hand, resulting in myriad health issues from direct exposure to these neurotoxic chemicals. Host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Praveen Vemula, a research investigator at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bengaluru, India, about his latest solution—a cost-effective gel that can be applied to the skin to limit pesticide-related toxicity and mortality.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image:Navid Folpour/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell

Direct download: SciencePodcast_20181019.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

A small isolated town in Colombia is home to a large cluster of people with fragile X—a genetic disorder that leads to intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and sometimes autism. Spectrum staff reporter Hannah Furfaro joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the history of fragile X in the town of Ricaurte and the future of the people who live there.

 

Also this week, we talk about greening up grass. Lawns of green grass pervade urban areas all around the world, regardless of climate, but the cost of maintaining them may outweigh their benefits. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with Maria Ignatieva of University of Western Australia in Perth and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences about how lawns can be transformed to contribute to a more sustainable future.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Adam Kerfoot-Roberts/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Hannah Furfaro

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181012.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Hoping to spot subatomic particles called neutrinos smashing into Earth, the balloon-borne Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) detector has circled the South Pole four times. ANITA has yet to detect those  particles, but it has twice seen oddball radio signals that could be evidence of something even weirder: some heavier particle unknown to physicists' standard model, burrowing up through Earth. Science writer Adrian Cho joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the possibility that this reading could lead to a big change in physics.

 

Next, host Meagan Cantwell asks researcher Ben Dalziel what makes a bad—or good—flu year. Traditionally, research has focused on two factors: climate, which impacts how long the virus stays active after a sneeze or cough, and changes in the virus itself, which can influence its infectiousness. But these factors don’t explain every pattern. Dalziel, a population biologist in the Departments of Integrative Biology and Mathematics at Oregon State University in Corvallis, explains how humidity and community size shape the way influenza spreads.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Stuart Rankin/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Adrian Cho

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181005.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Science has often treated Indigenous people as resources for research—especially when it comes to genomics. Now, Indigenous people are exploring how this type of study can be conducted in a way that respects their people and traditions. Meagan Cantwell talks with contributing correspondent Lizzie Wade about a summer workshop for Indigenous scientists that aims to start a new chapter in genomics.

 

We’ve known for decades that PCBs—polychlorinated biphenyls—are toxic and carcinogenic. In the 1970s and 1980s, these compounds were phased out of use in industrial and electronic applications, worldwide. But they are still in the environment—in soil and air—and in animal tissues, particularly those of killer whales. These toxic compounds start out at minute levels in tiny organisms, but as the small are eaten by the slightly larger, the PCB concentration increases—from plankton, to fish, to seals—until you are at killer whales with PCB-packed blubber. Ailsa Hall, director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St. Andrews University in Scotland, talks with host Sarah Crespi about her group’s work measuring PCB levels in different killer whale populations and calculating the effect of PCBs on those populations 100 years from now.

 

In this month’s book segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Damon Centola about his book How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions. You can listen to more books segment and read more reviews on our books blog, Books et al

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Public domain; Show music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180928.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Meta-analyses—structured analyses of many studies on the same topic—were once seen as objective and definitive projects that helped sort out conflicts amongst smaller studies. These days, thousands of meta-analyses are published every year—many either redundant or contrary to earlier metaworks. Host Sarah Crespi talks to freelance science journalist Jop de Vrieze about ongoing meta-analysis wars in which opposing research teams churn out conflicting metastudies around important public health questions such as links between violent video games and school shootings and the effects of antidepressants. They also talk about what clues to look for when trying to evaluate the quality of a meta-analysis.

 

Sarah also talked with three other contributors to our “Research on Research” special issue. Pierre Azoulay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Ben Jones of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and MIT’s Heidi Williams discuss the evidence for some hoary old scientific home truths. See if you can guess who originally made these claims and how right or wrong they were:

 

  • Do scientists make great contributions after age 30?
  • How important is it to stand on the shoulders of giants?
  • Does the truth win, or do its opponents just eventually die out?

 

Read the rest of the package on science under scrutiny here.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Davide Bonazzi/@SalzmanArt; Show music: Jeffrey Cook; additional music: Nguyen Khoi Nguyen]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180921.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Strawberries had both male and female parts, like most plants, until several million years ago. This may seem like a long time ago, but it actually means strawberries have some of the youngest sex chromosomes around. What are the advantages of splitting a species into two sexes? Host Sarah Crespi interviews freelance journalist Carol Cruzan Morton about her story on scientists’ journey to understanding the strawberry's sexual awakening.

 

In 2016, experimental Zika vaccines were swiftly developed in response to the emergence of serious birth defects in the babies of infected woman. Two years after the height of Zika cases, a lack of human subjects has stymied vaccine trials. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases plans to overcome this hurdle with “human challenge experiments”—vaccinating people, then intentionally infecting them with Zika to see if the vaccine helps them resist the virus. Meagan Cantwell talks with staff writer Jon Cohen about his news story that highlights the risks and rewards of human challenge experiments.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Carol Curzan Morton; Meagan Cantwell; Jon Cohen

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180914.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

We are in the middle of what some scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction and not all at-risk species can be saved. That’s causing some conservationists to say we need to start thinking about “species triage.” Meagan Cantwell interviews freelance journalist Warren Cornwall about his story on weighing the costs of saving Canada’s endangered caribou and the debate among conservationists on new approaches to conservation.

 

And host Sarah Crespi interviews Hope Michelsen, a staff scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, about mysterious origins of soot. The black dust has been around since fire itself, but researchers never knew how the high-energy environment of a flame can produce it—until now. Michelsen walks Sarah through the radical chemistry of soot formation—including its formation of free radicals—and discusses soot’s many roles in industry, the environment, and even interstellar space.

 

Check out this useful graphic describing the soot-inception process in the related commentary article.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Darren Bertram/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Warren Cornwall

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180907.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

On this week’s show: the latest social science replication study, the mechanisms behind human-induced earthquakes, and Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie’s The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

 

A new project out of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, found that of all the experimental social science papers published in Science and Nature from 2010–15, 62% successfully replicated, even when larger sample sizes were used. What does this say about peer review? Host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Kelly Servick about how this project stacks up against similar replication efforts, and whether we can achieve similar results by merely asking people to guess whether a study can be replicated.

 

Podcast producer Meagan Cantwell interviews Emily Brodsky of the University of California, Santa Cruz, about her research report examining why earthquakes occur as far as 10 kilometers from wastewater injection and fracking sites. Emily discusses why the well-established mechanism for human-induced earthquakes doesn’t explain this distance, and how these findings may influence where we place injection wells in the future.

 

In this month’s book podcast, Jen Golbeck interviews Judea Pearl and Dana McKenzie, authors of The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect. They propose that researchers have for too long shied away from claiming causality and provide a road map for bringing cause and effect back into science.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Jens Lambert, Shutterstock; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180831.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Small satellites—about the size of a briefcase—have been hitching rides on rockets to lower Earth orbit for decades. Now, because of their low cost and ease of launching, governments and private companies are looking to expand the range of these “sate-lites” deeper into space. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Deputy News Editor Eric Hand about the mods and missions in store for so-called CubeSats.

 

And our newest podcast producer Meagan Cantwell interviews Quentin Grafton of Australian National University in Canberra and Brad Udall of Colorado State University in Fort Collins about something called the “irrigation efficiency paradox.” As freshwater supplies dry up around the world, policymakers and farmers have been quick to try to make up the difference by improving irrigation, a notorious water waster. It turns out that both human behavior and the difficulty of water measurement are plaguing water conservation efforts in agriculture. For example, when farms find they are using less water, they tend to plant ever-more-water-intensive crops. Now, researchers are trying to get the message out about the behavioral component of this issue and tackle the measurement problem, using cheap remote-sensing technology, but with water scarcity looming ahead, we have to act soon.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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About the Science Podcast

  

[Image: John A. Kelley, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Eric Hand; Meagan Cantwell

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180824.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Several thousand years ago the volcano under Santorini in Greece—known as Thera—erupted in a tremendous explosion, dusting the nearby Mediterranean civilizations of Crete and Egypt in a layer of white ash. This geological marker could be used to tie together many ancient historical events, but the estimated date could be off by a century. Contributing correspondent Lizzie Wade joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about a new study that used tree rings to calibrate radiocarbon readings—and get closer to pinning down a date. The findings also suggest that scientists may need to change their standard radiocarbon dating calibration curve.

 

Sarah also talks to Tony Belpaeme of Ghent University in Belgium and Plymouth University in the United Kingdom about his Science Robotics paper that explored whether people are susceptible to peer pressure from robots. Using a classic psychological measure of peer influence, the team found that kids from ages 7 to 9 occasionally gave in to social pressure from robot peers, but adults did not.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy, with help from Meagan Cantwell.

 

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About the Science Podcast

  

[Image: Softbank Robotics; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Lizzie Wade, Meagan Cantwell

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180817.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

We now live in the Meghalayan age—the last age of the Holocene epoch. Did you get the memo? A July 2018 decision by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is responsible for naming geological time periods, divided the Holocene into three ages: the Greenlandian, the Northgrippian, and the Meghalayan. The one we live in—the Meghalayan age (pronounced “mega-lion”)—is pegged to a global drought thought to have happened some 4200 years ago. But many critics question the timing of this latest age and the global expanse of the drought. Staff writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about the evidence for and against the global drought—and what it means if it’s wrong.

 

Sarah also talks staff writer Kelly Servick about her feature story on what happens when biocontrol goes out of control. Here’s the setup: U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers wanted to know if brown marmorated stink bugs that have invaded the United States could be controlled—aka killed—by importing their natural predators, samurai wasps, from Asia. But before they could find out, the wasps showed up anyway. Kelly discusses how using one species to combat another can go wrong—or right—and what happens when the situation outruns regulators.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Stink bug/Flickr/Melissa McMasters; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen; Kelly Servick

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180810.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Yes, humans are the only species with language, but how did we acquire it [linkTK]? New research suggests our linguistic prowess might arise from the same process that brought domesticated dogs big eyes and bonobos the power to read others’ intent. Online News Editor Catherine Matacic joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how humans might have self-domesticated themselves, leading to physical and behavioral changes that gave us a “language-ready” brain.

 

Sarah also talks with Micah Edelson of the University of Zurich in Switzerland about his group’s research into the role that “responsibility aversion”—the reluctance to make decisions for a group—might play when people decide to lead or defer in a group setting. In their experiments, the team found that some people adjusted how much risk they would take on, depending on whether they were deciding for themselves alone or for the entire group. The ones who didn’t—those who stuck to the same plan whether others were involved or not—tended to score higher on standardized tests of leadership and have held higher military rank.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Scaly breasted munia/Ravi Vaidyanathan; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180803.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Billions of years ago, Mars probably hosted many water features: streams, rivers, gullies, etc. But until recently, water detected on the Red Planet was either locked up in ice or flitting about as a gas in the atmosphere. Now, researchers analyzing radar data from the Mars Express mission have found evidence for an enormous salty lake under the southern polar ice cap of Mars. Daniel Clery joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how the water was found and how it can still be liquid[linkTK]—despite temperatures and pressures typically inhospitable to water in its liquid form.

 

Read the research

 

Sarah also talks with science journalist Katherine Kornei about her story on changing athletic performance after gender transition[linkTK]. The feature profiles researcher Joanna Harper on the work she has done to understand the impacts of hormone replacement therapy and testosterone levels in transgender women involved in running and other sports. It turns out within a year of beginning hormone replacement therapy, transgender women plateau at their new performance level and stay in a similar rank with respect to the top performers in the sport. Her work has influenced sports oversight bodies like the International Olympic Committee.

 

In this month’s book segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Andrew Lawler about his book The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

 

Next month’s book will be The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie. Write us at sciencepodcast@aaas.org or tweet to us @sciencemagazine with your questions for the authors.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Henry Howe; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery; Katherine Kornei; Jen Golbeck; Andrew Lawler

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180727.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Suckling mothers milk is a pretty basic feature of being a mammal. Humans do it. Possums do it. But monotremes such as the platypus and echidna—while still mammals—gave up suckling long ago. Instead they lap at milky patches on their mothers’ skin to get early sustenance. Science News Writer Gretchen Vogel talks with host Sarah Crespi about the newest suckling science—it turns out monotremes probably had suckling ancestors, but gave it up for the ability to grind up tasty, hard-shelled river-dwelling creatures.  

 

Sarah also talks with North Carolina State University’s Sandra Yuter about her work on fast clearing clouds off the southwest coast of Africa. These immense marine layers appear to be exiting the coastal regions under the influence of gravity waves (not to be confused with gravitational waves). This finding can help scientists better model cloud behavior, particularly with respect to their influence on global temperatures.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: North Carolina State University]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gretchen Vogel

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180720.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

A detection of a single neutrino at the 1-square-kilometer IceCube detector in Antarctica may signal the beginning of “neutrino astronomy.” The neutral, almost massless particle left its trail of debris in the ice last September, and its source was picked out of the sky by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope soon thereafter. Science News Writer Daniel Clery joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the blazar fingered as the source and how neutrinos from this gigantic matter-gobbling black hole could help astronomers learn more about mysterious high-energy cosmic rays that occasionally shriek toward Earth.

 

Read the research.

 

Sarah also talks with Cornell University’s Susan McCouch about her team’s work on deep-water rice. Rice can survive flooding by fast internodal growth—basically a quick growth spurt that raises its leaves above water. But this growth only occurs in prolonged, deep flooding. How do these plants know they are submerged and how much to grow? Sarah and Susan discuss the mechanisms involved and where they originated.

 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180713.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Wild polio has been hunted to near extinction in a decades-old global eradication program. Now, a vaccine-derived outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is threatening to seriously extend the polio eradication endgame. Deputy News Editor Leslie Roberts joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the tough choices experts face in the fight against this disease in the DRC.

 

Sarah also talks with Online News Editor David Grimm about when dogs first came to the Americas[linkTK]. New DNA and archeological evidence suggest these pups did not arise from North American wolves, but came over thousands of years after the first people did. Now that we know where they came from, the question is: Where did they go?

 

Read the research.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Polio virus/David Goodsell/RCSB PDB; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Leslie Roberts

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180706.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Public opinion on the morality of animal research is on the downswing in the United States. But some researchers think letting the public know more about how animals are used in experiments might turn things around. Online News Editor David Grimm joins Sarah Crespi to talk about these efforts.

 

Sarah also talks Ken Wachter of the University of California, Berkeley about his group’s careful analysis of data from all living Italians born 105 or more years before the study. It turns out the risk of dying does not continue to accelerate with age, but actually plateaus around the age of 105. What does this mean for attempts to increase human lifespan?

 

In this month’s book segment, Jen Golbeck talks with Simon Winchester about his book The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World. Read more book reviews at our books blog, Books et al.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Chris Jones/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Jen Golbeck

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180629.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Since the 2016 reports of a mysterious assault on U.S. embassy staff in Cuba, researchers have struggled to find evidence of injury or weapon. Now, new research has discovered inner-ear damage in some of the personnel complaining of symptoms. Former International News Editor Rich Stone talks to host Sarah Crespi about the case, including new reports of a similar incident in China, and what kind of weapon—if any—might have been involved.

 

Sarah also talks with Staff Writer Gretchen Vogel about the bones of an extinct gibbon found in a 2200- to 2300-year-old tomb in China. Although gibbons were often featured in historical poetry and paintings, these bones confirm their presence and the fact that they were distinct from today’s species.  

 

Read the research.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Zhu Zhanji c. 1427;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gretchen Vogel; Rich Stone

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180622.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Nigeria, Russia, and Florida seem like an odd set, but they all have one thing in common: growing caseloads of HIV. Science Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about this week’s big read on how the fight against HIV/AIDS is evolving in these diverse locations.

 

Sarah also talks with Armin Raznahan of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, about his group’s work measuring which parts of the human brain are bigger in bigger brains. Adult human brains can vary as much as 2 times in size—and until now this this expansion was thought to be evenly distributed. However, the team found that highly integrative regions are overrepresented in bigger brains, while regions related to processing incoming sensory information such as sight and sound tend to be underrepresented. 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Misha Friedman; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jon Cohen

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180615.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

What book are you taking to the beach or the field this summer? Science’s books editor Valerie Thompson and host Sarah Crespi discuss a selection of science books that will have you catching comets and swimming with the fishes.

 

Sarah also talks with Mira Moufarrej of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, about her team’s work on a new blood test that analyzes RNA from maternal blood to determine the gestational age of a fetus. This new approach may also help predict the risk of preterm birth.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image:  William Warby/Flickr;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Valerie Thompson

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180608.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Astronomers have been able to detect supermassive black holes and teeny-weeny black holes but the midsize ones have been elusive. Now, researchers have scanned through archives looking for middle-size galaxies and found [link TK]traces of these missing middlers. Host Sarah Crespi and Staff Writer Daniel Clery discuss why they were so hard to find in the first place, and what it means for our understanding of black hole formation.

 

Farming animals and plants for human consumption is a massive operation with a big effect on the planet. A new research project that calculated the environmental impact of global food production shows highly variable results for different foods—and for the same foods grown in different locations. Sarah talks with one of the researchers—Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom—about how understanding this diversity can help cut down food production’s environmental footprint and help consumers make better choices.

 

 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image: Miltos Gikas/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180601.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

DNA fingerprinting has been used to link people to crimes for decades, by matching DNA from a crime scene to DNA extracted from a suspect. Now, investigators are using other parts of the genome—such as markers for hair and eye color—to help rule people in and out as suspects. Staff Writer Gretchen Vogel talks with Sarah Crespi about whether science supports this approach and how different countries are dealing with this new type of evidence.

 

Sarah also talks with Jill Fernandes of the University of Queensland in Australia about her Science Advances paper on a light-based technique for detecting Zika in mosquitos. Instead of grinding up the bug and extracting Zika DNA, her group shines near-infrared light through the body. Mosquitoes carrying Zika transmit this light differently than uninfected ones. If it’s successful in larger trials, this technique could make large-scale surveillance of infected mosquitoes quicker and less expensive.  

 

In our monthly books segment, Jen Golbeck talks with author Sarah-Jayne Blakemore about her new work: Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain. You can check out more book reviews and share your thoughts on the Books et al. blog

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

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[Image:  Zika virus (red), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gretchen Vogel; Jen Golbeck 

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180525.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Two thousand years ago, ancient Romans were pumping lead into the air as they smelted ores to make the silvery coin of the realm. Online news editor David Grimm talks to Sarah Crespi about how the pollution of ice in Greenland from this process provides a detailed 1900-year record of Roman history.

 

This week is also resistance week at Science—where researchers explore the global challenges of antibiotic resistance, pesticide resistance, herbicide resistance, and fungicide resistance. Sarah talks with Sarah Gurr of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom about her group’s work on the spread of antifungal resistance and what it means for crops and in the clinic.

 

And in a bonus books segment, staff writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel talks about medicine and fraud in her review of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.

 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Wheat rust/Oregon State University;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180518.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Who were the first horse-tamers? Online news editor Catherine Matacic talks to Sarah Crespi about a new study that brings genomics to bear on the question.

 

The hunt for the original equine domesticators has focused on Bronze Age people living on the Eurasian Steppe. Now, ancient DNA analysis bolsters the idea that a small group of hunter gatherers, called the Botai, were likely the first to harness horses, not the famous Yamnaya pastoralists, often thought to be the originators of the Indo-European language family.

 

Sarah also talks with news intern Katie Langin about her feature story on a single salmon gene that may separate spring and fall-run salmon. Conservationists, regulators, and citizens are fiercely debating the role such a small bit of DNA plays in defining distinct populations. Are the spring and fall runs different enough to both warrant protection?

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Jessica Piispanen/USFWS;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic; Katie Langin

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180511.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

To study the biological differences brought on by space travel, NASA sent one twin into space and kept another on Earth in 2015. Now, researchers from that project are trying to replicate that work planet-side to see if the differences in gene expression were due to extreme stress or were specific to being in space. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about a “control” study using what might be a comparably stressful experience here on Earth: climbing Mount Everest.

 

Catherine also shares a recent study that confirmed what one reddit user posted 5 years ago: A single path stretching from southern Pakistan to northeastern Russia will take you on the longest straight-line journey on Earth, via the ocean.

 

Finally, Sarah talks with Roland Kröger of the University of York   in the United Kingdom about his group’s study published this week in Science. Using a combination of techniques usually reserved for materials science, the group explored the nanoscale arrangement of mineral in bone, looking for an explanation of the tissue’s contradictory combination of toughness and hardness.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image:  Human bone (20X) by Berkshire Community College Bioscience Image Library;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180504.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Researchers have found new clues to how the “talking drums” of one Amazonian tribe convey their messages. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about the role of tone and rhythm in this form of communication.

 

Getting poked with a needle will probably get you moving. Apparently, it also gets charges moving in certain semiconductive materials. Sarah interviews Marin Alexe of the University of Warwick about this newfound flexo-photovoltaic effect. Alexe’s group found that prodding or denting certain semiconductors with tiny needles causes them to suddenly produce current in response to light. That discovery could enhance the efficiency of current of solar cell technologies.

 

Finally, in our books segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Lucy Cooke about her new book The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Adam Levine/Flickr;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180427.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Armed with new data, archaeologists are revealing that [linkTK]mind-altering drugs were present at the dawn of the first complex societies some 5000 years ago in the ancient Middle East. Contributing writer Andrew Lawler joins Sarah Crespi to discuss the evidence for these drugs and how they might have impacted early societies and beliefs.

 

Sarah also interviews Sarah Hobbie of the University of Minnesota about the fate of plants under climate change. Will all that extra carbon dioxide in the air be good for certain types of flora? A 20-year long study published this week in Science suggests theoretical predictions have been off the mark. 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Public domain Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Andrew Lawler

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180420.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

 

Geneticists and anthropologists studying historical records and modern-day genomes are finding traces of previously unknown migrants to Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Asians, Africans, and Europeans first met indigenous Latin Americans. Sarah Crespi talks with contributing correspondent Lizzie Wade about what she learned on the topic at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists’ annual meeting in Austin.

 

Sarah also interviews Kang-Keun Ni about her research using optical tweezers to bring two atoms—one cesium and one sodium—together into a single molecule. Such precise control of molecule formation is allowing new observations of these basic processes, and is opening the door to creating new molecules for quantum computing.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Juan Fernando Ibarra; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Lizzie Wade

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180413.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

A millennium ago, Viking navigators may have used crystals known as “sunstones” to navigate between Norway and Greenland. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor David Grimm about how one might use a crystal to figure out where they are.

 

Sarah also interviews freelancer Danna Staaf about her piece on sedating cephalopods. Until recently, researchers working with octopuses and squids faced the dilemma of not knowing whether the animals were truly sedated or whether only their ability to respond had been suppressed.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

   

[Image:  Nicholas Roerich, Guests from Overseas; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

  

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Danna Staaf;

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180406.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Two of the world’s most famous research chimpanzees have finally retired. Hercules and Leo arrived in a chimp sanctuary in Georgia last week. Sarah Crespi checks in with Online News Editor David Grimm on the increasing momentum for research chimp retirement since the primates were labeled endangered species in 2015.

 Sarah also interviews freelancer Sophia Chen about her piece on x-ray ghost imaging—a technique that may lead to safer medical imaging done with cheap, single-pixel cameras.

 David Malakoff joins Sarah to talk about the big boost in U.S. science funding signed into law over the weekend.

 Finally, Jen Goldbeck interviews author Stephanie Elizabeth Mohr on her book First in Fly: Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery for our monthly books segment.

 This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Crystal Alba/Project Chimps; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180330.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Researchers are converging on which genes are linked to morning sickness—the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy—and the more severe form: hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). And once we know what those genes are—can we help pregnant women feel better? News intern Roni Dengler joins Sarah Crespi to talk about a new study that suggests a protein already flagged for its role in cancer-related nausea may also be behind HG.

 

In a second segment, Tracy Bedrosian of the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator talks about how the amount of time spent being licked by mom might be linked to changes in the genetic code of hippocampal neurons in mice pups. Could these types of genomic changes be a new type of plasticity in the brain?

                              

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Jacob Bøtter/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Roni Dengler

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180323.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

When Indonesia’s Mt. Toba blew its top some 74,000 years ago, an apocalyptic scenario ensued: Tons of ash and debris entered the atmosphere, coating the planet in ash for 2 weeks straight and sending global temperatures plummeting. Despite the worldwide destruction, humans survived. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about how life after Toba was even possible—were humans decimated, or did they rally in the face of a suddenly extra hostile planet?

 

Next, Julia Buck of the University of California, Santa Barbara joins Sarah to discuss her Science commentary piece on landscapes of disgust. You may have heard of a landscape of fear—how a predator can influence an ecosystem not just by eating its prey, but also by introducing fear into the system, changing the behavior of many organisms. Buck and colleagues write about how disgust can operate in a similar way: Animals protect themselves from parasites and infection by avoiding disgusting things such as dead animals of the same species or those with disease.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Emma Forsber/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180316.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Did people domesticate animals? Or did they domesticate themselves? Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about a recent study that looked at self-domesticating mice. If they could go it alone, could cats or dogs have done the same in the distant past?

 

Next, Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge joins Sarah to discuss his work on true and false rumor cascades across all of Twitter, since its inception. He finds that false news travels further, deeper, and faster than true news, regardless of the source of the tweet, the kind of news it was, or whether bots were involved.

                              

In a bonus segment recording during a live podcasting event at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Sarah first speaks with Ben Munson of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis about markers of gender and sexual orientation in spoken language and then Adrienne Hancock of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., talks about using what we know about gender and communication to help transgender women change their speech and communication style. Live recordings sessions at the AAAS meeting were supported by funds from the European Commission.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180309.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

For some time after the big bang there were no stars. Researchers are now looking at cosmic dawn—the time when stars first popped into being—and are seeing hints of dark matter’s influence on super cold hydrogen clouds. News writer Adrian Cho talks with Sarah Crespi about how this observation was made and what it means for our understanding of dark matter.

                                             

Sarah also interviews Joanna Kaplanis of Wellcome Sanger Institute about constructing enormous family trees based on an online social genealogy platform. What can we learn from the biggest family tree ever built—with 13 million members spanning 11 generations?

 

In a bonus segment recording during a live podcasting event at the AAAS annualmMeeting in Austin, Sarah talks with Michael Varnum of Arizona State University about what people think they will do if humanity comes into contact with aliens that just happen to be microbes. Live recordings sessions at the AAAS meeting were supported by funds from the European Commission.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180302.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

We talk about the techniques of painting sleuths, how to combat alternative facts or “fake news,” and using audio signposts to keep birds from flying into buildings. For this segment, David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with host Sarah Crespi as part of a live podcast event from the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin.

                            

Sarah also interviews Science News Editor Tim Appenzeller about Neandertal art. The unexpected age of some European cave paintings is causing experts to rethink the mental capabilities of our extinct cousins.

 

For the monthly books segment, Jen Golbeck interviews with William Glassley about his book, A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice.    

 Listen to previous podcasts.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180223.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Some of our genes come alive after we die. David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about which genes are active after death and what we can learn about time of death by looking at patterns of post-mortem gene expression.  

                                             

Sarah also interviews David Merritt Johns of Columbia University about the so-called sugar conspiracy. Historical evidence suggests despite recent media reports, it is unlikely that “big sugar” influenced U.S. nutrition policy  and led to the low-fat diet fad of the ’80s and ’90s.   

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Lauri Andler(Phantom); Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180216.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Would happy lab animals—rats, mice, even zebrafish—make for better experiments? David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about the potential of treating lab animals more like us and making them more useful for science at the same time.

                                             

Sarah also interviews Jon Abbatt of the University of Toronto in Canada about indoor chemistry. What is going on in the air inside buildings—how different is it from the outside? Researchers are bringing together the tools of outdoor chemistry and building sciences to understand what is happening in the air and on surfaces inside—where some of us spend 90% of our time.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Austin Thomason/Michigan Photography; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180209.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about the chance a naked mole rat could die at any one moment. Surprisingly, the probability a naked mole rat will die does not go up as it gets older. Researchers are looking at the biology of these fascinating animals for clues to their seeming lack of aging.

                              

Sarah also interviews freelancer Douglas Starr about his feature story on the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study—a comprehensive study of the lives of all the babies born in 1 year in a New Zealand hospital. Starr talks about the many insights that have come out of this work—including new understandings of criminality, drug addiction, and mental illness—and the research to be done in the future as the 1000-person cohort begins to enter its fifth decade.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Tim Evanson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180202.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Catherine Matacic—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about how geoengineering could reduce the harshest impacts of climate change, but make them even worse if it were ever turned off.

                              

Sarah also interviews Augustine Kong of the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom about his Science paper on the role of noninherited “nurturing genes.” For example, educational attainment has a genetic component that may or may not be inherited. But having a parent with a predisposition for attainment still influences the child—even if those genes aren’t passed down. This shift to thinking about other people (and their genes) as the environment we live in complicates the age-old debate on nature versus nurture.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist National Ice Center; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180126.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Freelance science writer Mike Price talks with Sarah Crespi about recently revealed  deliberations for a coveted mathematics prize: the Fields Medal. Unearthed letters suggest early award committees favored promise and youth over star power.

                              

Sarah also interviews Julia Dressel about her Science Advances paper on predicting recidivism—the likelihood that a criminal defendant will commit another crime. It turns out computers aren’t better than people at these types of predictions, in fact—both are correct only about 65% of the time.  

 

Jen Golbeck interviews Paul Shapiro about his book, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, in our monthly books segment.  

 

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Greg Chiasson/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180119.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about two underwater finds: the first sharks shown to survive off of seagrass and what fossilized barnacles reveal about ancient whale migrations.

                           

Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about what happens after quantum computing achieves quantum supremacy—the threshold where a quantum computer’s abilities outstrip nonquantum machines. Just how useful will these machines be and what kinds of scientific problems might they tackle?

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Aleria Jensen, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Adrian Cho

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180112.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a long-term project monitoring raccoon latrines in California. What influence do these wild bathrooms have on the ecosystem?

                              

Sarah also interviews Christian Jobin of the University of Florida in Gainesville about his Perspective on three papers linking the success of cancer immunotherapy with microbes in the gut—it turns out which bacteria live in a cancer patient’s intestines can predict their response to this cutting edge cancer treatment. 

 

Read the related papers:

 

  1. Routy et al. Gut microbiome influences efficacy of

PD-1–based immunotherapy against

epithelial tumors Science 2018

 

  1. Gopalakrishnan et al. Gut microbiome modulates response

to anti–PD-1 immunotherapy in

melanoma patients Science 2018

 

  1. Matson et al. The commensal microbiome is

associated with anti–PD-1 efficacy in

metastatic melanoma patients Science 2018 aan4236

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: cuatrok77/Flickr ; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180105.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Dave Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a few of this year’s top stories from our online news site, like ones on a major error in the monarch butterfly biological record and using massive balloons to build tunnels—and why they were chosen. Hint: It’s not just the stats.  

 

Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about the 2017 Breakthrough of the Year. Adrian talks about why Science gave the nod to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory team for a second year in a row—for the detection of a pair of merging neutron stars.

 

Jen Golbeck is also back for the last book review segment of the year. She talks with Sarah about her first year on the show, her favorite books, what we should have covered, and some suggestions for books as gifts.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image:  f99aq8ove/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jen Golbeck; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171222.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing and are known to be harmed by loud underwater noises. David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about new research on captive cetaceans suggesting that some species can naturally muffle such sounds—perhaps opening a way to protect these marine mammals in the wild.

                              

Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Jeffrey Mervis about his story on the future of autonomous cars. Will they really reduce traffic and make our lives easier? What does the science say?

  

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Laura Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171215.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, three papers came out describing new approaches to folding DNA into large complex shapes—20 times bigger than previous DNA sculptures. Staff Writer Bob Service talks with Sarah Crespi about building microscopic teddy bears, doughnuts, and more from genetic material, and using these techniques to push forward fields from materials science to drug delivery.

                              

Sarah also interviews Philip Cook of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, about his Policy Forum on gun regulation research. It’s long been hard to collect data on gun violence in the United States, and Cook talks about how some researchers are getting funding and hard data. He also discusses some strong early results on open-carry laws and links between gun control and intimate partner homicide.

  

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: : K.WAGENBAUER, ET. AL., NATURE, VOL. 551, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171208.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

The abominable snowman, the yeti, bigfoot, and sasquatch—these long-lived myths of giant, hairy hominids depend on dropping elusive clues to stay in the popular imagination—a blurry photo here, a big footprint there—but what happens when scientists try to pin that evidence down? Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about the latest attempts to verify the yeti’s existence using DNA analysis of bones and hair and how this research has led to more than the debunking of a mythic creature.

               

Sarah also interviews Alison Macintosh of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom about her investigation of bone, muscle, and behavior in prehistory female farmers—what can a new database of modern women’s bones—athletes and regular folks—tell us about the labor of women as humans took up farming?  

  Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: TK; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171201.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

About 8000 years ago, people were drawing dogs with leashes, according to a series of newly described stone carvings from Saudi Arabia. Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about reporting on this story and what it says about the history of dog domestication.

                              

Sarah also interviews physicist Brad Marston of Brown University on surprising findings that bring together planetary science and quantum physics. It turns out that Earth’s rotation and the presence of oceans and atmosphere on its surface mean it can be described as a “topological insulator”—a term usually reserved for quantum phenomena. Insights from the study of these effects at the quantum level may help us understand weather and currents at the planetary level—including insights into climate change and exoplanets.    

  

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Guagnin et al., J. Anthropol. Archaeol, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171124.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

How has written language changed over time? Do the way we read and the way our eyes work influence how scripts look? This week we hear a story on changes in legibility in written texts with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.

 Sarah Crespi also interviews Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel on her story about detecting signs of psychosis in kids and teens, recruiting at-risk individuals for trials, and searching for anything that can stop the progression.

  Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Procsilas Moscas/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171117.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on what to do with experimental brain implants after a study is over,  how gene therapy gave a second skin to a boy with a rare epidermal disease, and how bone markings thought to be evidence for early hominid tool use may have been crocodile bites instead, with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.

 

Sarah Crespi interviews Gary King about his new experiment to bring fresh data to the age-old question of how the news media influences the public. Are journalists setting the agenda or following the crowd? How can you know if a news story makes a ripple in a sea of online information? In a powerful study, King’s group was able to publish randomized stories on 48 small and medium sized news sites in the United States and then track the results.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Chad Sparkes/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171110.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on how the sloshing of Earth’s core may spike major earthquakes, carbon monoxide’s role in keeping deep diving elephant seals oxygenated, and a festival celebrating heavily researched yet completely nonsensical theories with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi interviews staff writer Jocelyn Kaiser about the status of gene therapy, including a newly tested gene-delivering virus that may give scientists a new way to treat devastating spinal and brain diseases.

 

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Robert Schwemmer, CINMS, NOAA; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171103.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on sunlight pushing Mars’s flock of asteroids around, approximately 400-million-year-old trees that grew by splitting their guts, and why fighting poverty might also mean worsening climate change with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 Sarah Crespi talks with cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene of the Collège de France in Paris about consciousness—what is it and can machines have it?

 For our monthly books segment, Jen Golbeck reviews astronaut Scott Kelly’s book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: NASA/Goddard; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171027.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

 This week we hear stories about the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s (LIGO) latest hit, why wolves are better team players than dogs, and volcanic eruptions that may have triggered riots in ancient Egypt, with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.

Sarah Crespi interviews contrinbuting correspondent Lizzie Wade about the soon-to-open Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Can it recover from early accusations of forgeries and illicitly obtained artifacts?

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Public Domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171020.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories about a new brain imaging technique for newborns, recently uncovered evidence on rice domestication on three continents, and why Canada geese might be migrating into cities, with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi interviews Sarah Tishkoff of University of Pennsylvania about the age and diversity of genes related to skin pigment in African genomes.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image:Danny Chapman/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171013.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories about putting rescue bots to the test after the Mexico earthquake, why a Scottish village was buried in sand during the Little Ice Age, and efforts by the U.S. military to predict post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Andrew Wagner interviews Alexandra Tinnermann of the University Medical Center of Hamburg, Germany, about the nocebo effect. Unlike the placebo effect, in which you get positive side effects with no treatment, in the nocebo effect you get negative side effects with no treatment. It turns out both nocebo and placebo effects get stronger with a drug perceived as more expensive.   

 

Read the research.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Chris Burns/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_171006.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

 

This week we hear stories on how a bat varies its heart rate to avoid starving, giant wombatlike creatures that once migrated across Australia, and the downsides of bedbugs’ preference for dirty laundry with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks Jocelyn Kaiser about her guide to preprint servers for biologists—what they are, how they are used, and why some people are worried about preprint publishing’s rising popularity.

 

For our monthly book segment, Jen Golbeck talks to author Sandra Postel about her book, Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity.  

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: tap10/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170929.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on animal hoarding, how different languages have different numbers of colors, and how to tell a wakeful jellyfish from a sleeping one with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic, Brice Russ, and Sarah Crespi.

 

Andrew Wagner talks to Karl-Heinz Kampert about a long-term study of the cosmic rays blasting our planet. After analyzing 30,000 high-energy rays, it turns out some are coming from outside the Milky Way.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Doug Letterman/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170922.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on the gut microbiome’s involvement in multiple sclerosishow wildfires start—hint: It’s almost always people—and a new record in quantum computing with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Andrew Wagner talks to Lulu Qian about DNA-based robots that can carry and sort cargo.   

 

Sarah Crespi goes behind the scenes with Science’s Photography Managing Editor Bill Douthitt to learn about snapping this week’s cover photo of the world’s smallest neutrino detector.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Curtis Perry/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170915.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on smooth sailing with giant silo-like sails, a midsized black hole that may be hiding out in the Milky Way, and new water-cooling solar panels that could cut air-conditioning costs—with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Sabrina McCormick about climate science in the US courts and the growing role of the judiciary in climate science policy

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170908.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on involving more AIs in negotiations[link tK], tiny algae that might be responsible for killing some (not all) dinosaurs, and a chemical intended to make farm fish grow faster that may be also be causing one area’s crocodile population to skew male—with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Rich Stone about being on the scene for a joint U.S.-China mission to remove bomb-grade fuel from a nuclear reactor in Ghana.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:Chad Sparkes; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170901.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Sarah Crespi talks to Sam Smits about how our microbial passengers differ from one culture to the next—are we losing diversity and the ability to fight chronic disease?

 

For our books segment, Jen Golbeck talks with Vyvyan Evans about his book The Emoji Code: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Woodlouse/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jen Golbeck; 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170825.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:01pm EST

This week we hear stories on a big jump in U.S. rates of knee arthritis, some science hits and misses from past eclipse, and the link between a recently discovered thousand-year-old Viking fortress and your Bluetooth earbuds with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Daniel Apai about a long-term study of brown dwarfs and what patterns in the atmospheres of these not-quite-stars, not-quite-planets can tell us.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170818.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on new satellite measurements that suggest the Amazon makes its own rain for part of the year, puppies raised with less smothering moms do better in guide dog school, and what DNA can tell us about ancient Greeks’ near mythical origins with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Lizzie Wade about coastal and underwater evidence of a watery route for the Americas’ first people. 

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Lizzie Wade; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm;  Lizzie Wade

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170811.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in chimps, a potential new pathway to diabetes—through prions—and what a database of industrial espionage says about the economics of spying with Online News Editors David Grimm and Catherine Matacic.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Innes Cuthill about how the biology of color intersects with behavior, development, and vision. And, Mary Soon Lee joins to share some of her chemistry haiku—one poem for each element in the periodic table.

 

 

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[Image: Zoltan Tasi/Unsplash; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170804.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we hear stories on turning data sets into symphonies for business and pleasure, why so much of the world is stuck in the poverty trap, and calls for stiffening statistical significance with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to news writer Ann Gibbons about the biology of ancient books—what can we learn from DNA, proteins, and book worm trails about a book, its scribes, and its readers?

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170728.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on the genes that may make dogs friendly,

why midsized animals are the fastest, and what it would take to destroy all the life on our planet with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Seema Jayachandran about paying cash to Ugandan farmers to not cut down trees—does it reduce deforestation in the long term?

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Kerrick/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170721.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we have stories on how ultraviolet rays may have jump-started the first enzymes on Earth, a new fossil find that helps date how quickly birds diversified after the extinction of all the other dinosaurs, and a drug that may help reverse the effects of traumatic brain injury on memory with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic and special guest Carolyn Gramling.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Christian Catalini about an experiment in which some early adopters were denied access to new technology and what it means for the dissemination of that tech.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Michael Wuensch/Creative Commons Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic; Carolyn Gramling

Direct download: SciencePodcast_20170714.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on the twisty tree of human ancestry, why mice shed weight when they can’t smell, and the damaging effects of even a small amount of oil on a bird’s feathers—with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to News Editor Tim Appenzeller about a special section on how artificial intelligence is changing the way we do science.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

[Image:; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_2017_07_07.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on what the rogue Parkinson’s protein is doing in the gut, how chimps outmuscle humans, and evidence for an ancient skull cult with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Jen Golbeck is back with this month’s book segment. She interviews Alan Alda about his new book on science communication: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Jeremy Kerr about two huge studies that take a nuanced looked at the relationship between pesticides and bees.

Read the research in Science:

Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees

B.A. Woodcock et al.

 

Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey bee health near corn crops

  1. Tsvetkov et al.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: webted/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

 

Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170630.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

 

This week we have stories on the new capabilities of science balloons, connections between deforestation and drug trafficking in Central America, and new insights into the role ancient Egypt had in taming cats with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Mary Caswell Stoddard about why bird eggs come in so many shapes and sizes.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170623.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

This week we have stories on why it’s taking so long for research chimps to retire, boosting melanin for a sun-free tan, and tracking a mouse trail to find liars online with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to Allison Rubin about what we can learn from zircon crystals outside of a volcano about how long hot magma hangs out under a volcano.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image:Project Chimps; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170616.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on what body cams reveal about interactions between black drivers and U.S. police officers, the world’s oldest Homo sapiens fossils, and how modern astronomers measured the mass of a star—thanks to an old tip from Einstein—with Online News Intern Ryan Cross.

 Sarah Crespi talks to Eyal Ben-David about a pair of selfish genes—one toxin and one antidote—that have been masquerading as essential developmental genes in a nematode worm. She asks how many more so-called “essential genes” are really just self-perpetuating freeloaders?

 Science Careers Editor Rachel Bernstein is also here to talk about stress and work-life balance for researchers and science students.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Chris Burns/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Ryan Cross; Rachel Bernstein

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170609.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on how we taste water, extracting ancient DNA from mummy heads, and the earliest evidence for dog breeding with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Sarah Crespi talks to John Travis about postsurgical cognitive dysfunction—does surgery sap your brain power?

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170602.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on strange dimming at a not so distant star, sending sperm to the International Space Station, and what the fossil record tells us about how baleen whales got so ginormous with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Julia Rosen talks to Scott Bolton about surprises in the first data from the Juno mission, including what Jupiter’s poles look like and a peak under its outer cloud layers.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

 

[Copyright Silverback Films/BBC: TK; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170526.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on blocking dangerous or annoying distractions in augmented reality, gene therapy applied with ultrasound to heal bone breaks, and giving robots geckolike gripping power with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Deputy News Editor Elizabeth Culotta joins Sarah Crespi to discuss a special package on human migrations—from the ancient origins of Europeans to the restless and wandering scientists of today.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170519.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we have stories on ancient hominids that may have coexisted with early modern humans, methane seeps in the Arctic that could slow global warming, and understanding color without words with Online News Intern Lindzi Wessel.

 

John McGann joins Sarah Crespi to discuss long-standing myths about our ability to smell. It turns out people are probably a lot better at detecting odors than scientists thought!

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

 

[Image:  Streluk/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170512.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we discuss the most accurate digital model of a human face to date, stray Wi-Fi signals that can be used to spy on a closed room, and artificial intelligence that can predict Supreme Court decisions with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.

 

Caroline Hartley joins Sarah Crespi to discuss a scan that can detect pain in babies—a useful tool when they can’t tell you whether something really hurts.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170505.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Podcast: Where dog breeds come from, bots that build buildings, and gathering ancient human DNA from cave sediments

 

On this week’s show: Finding ancient people without fossils and a roundup from the daily news site

 

This week, a new family tree of dog breeds, advances in artificial wombs, and an autonomous robot that can print a building with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Viviane Slon joins Sarah Crespi to discuss a new way to seek out ancient humans—without finding fossils or bones—by screening sediments for ancient DNA.

 

Jen Golbeck interviews Andrew Schulman, author of Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong for this month’s book segment. 

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

See more book segments.

 

 

[Image: nimis69/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: show-template48k_mixdown.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, meteors’ hiss may come from radio waves, pigeons that build on the wings of those that came before, and a potential answer to the century-old mystery of what turned two lions into people eaters with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Elise Amel joins Julia Rosen to discuss the role of evolution and psychology in humans’ ability to overcome norms and change the world, as part of a special issue on conservation in this week’s Science Magazine.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: bjdlzx/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170421.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, walk like an elephant—very far, with seeds in your guts, Cassini’s mission to Saturn wraps up with news on the habitability of its icy moon Enceladus, and how our shoes manage to untie themselves with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 Aylin Caliskan joins Sarah Crespi to discuss how biases in our writing may be perpetuated by the machines that learn from them.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170414.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, viruses as remnants of a fourth domain of life, a scan of many Tibetan genomes reveals seven new genes potentially related to high-altitude life, and doubts about dark energy with Online News Editor David Grimm.

 

Danielle Li joins Sarah Crespi to discuss her study quantifying the impact of government funding on innovation by linking patents to U.S. National Institutes of Health grants.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

 

[Image: TK; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170407.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, new estimates for the depths of the world’s lakes, a video game that could help kids be safer bike riders, and teaching autonomous cars to read road signs with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Ariana Orvell joins Sarah Crespi to discuss her study of how the word “you” is used when people recount meaningful experiences.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: TK; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170324.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, what bear-mounted cameras can tell us about their caribou-hunting habits, ants that mix up their own medicine, and feeling alienated by emotional robots with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Lizzie Wade joins Sarah Crespi to discuss new thinking on the origins of democracy outside of Europe, based on archeological sites in Mexico.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: rpbirdman/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170317.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, how Flickr photos could help predict floods, why it might be a good idea to ignore some cyberattacks, and new questions about the existence of human pheromones with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Sarah Richardson joins Alexa Billow to discuss a global project to build a set of working yeast chromosomes from the ground up.

 

Read Sarah Richardson’s research in Science.  

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Drew Gurian; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170310.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about the science behind breaking the 2-hour marathon barrier, storing data in DNA strands, and a dinosaur’s zigzagging backbones with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic. And Carolina Levis joins Alexa Billow to discuss evidence that humans have been domesticating the Amazon’s plants a lot longer than previously thought.

 

Read Carolina Levis’s research in Science.  

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Carolina Levis; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170303.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about why people are nice to each other—does it feel good or are we just avoiding feeling bad—approaches to keeping arsenic out of the food supply, and using artificial intelligence to figure out what a chemical smells like to a human nose with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Stephen Brusatte joins Alexa Billow to discuss why dinosaurs evolved wings and feathers before they ever flew. And in the latest installment of our monthly books segment, Jen Golbeck talks with Bill Schutt, author of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Todd Marshall; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170224.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about what it means if a monkey can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, injecting people with live malaria parasites as a vaccine strategy, and insect-inspired wind turbines with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Joleah Lamb joins Alexa Billow to discuss how seagrass can greatly reduce harmful microbes in the ocean—protecting people and corals from disease. Read the research.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: peters99/iStock; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast170217.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about how the Earth is sending oxygen to the moon, using a GPS data set to hunt for dark matter, and retrieving 80-million year old proteins from dinosaur bones, with Online News Editor David Grimm. And Philip Tetlock joins Alexa Billow to discuss improving our ability to make judgments about the future through forecasting competitions as part of a special section on prediction in this week’s issue of Science

[Image: NASA; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Alexa Billow; David Grimm

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170203.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about 50-kilogram otters that once stalked southern China, using baseball stats to show how jet lag puts players off their game, and a growing link between pollution and dementia, with Online News Editor David Grimm. Also in this week’s show: our very first monthly book segment. In the inaugural segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Helen Pilcher about her new book Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction. Plus Denise Tieman joins Alexa Billow to discuss the genes behind tomato flavor, or lack thereof.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Dutodom; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170127.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about a surprising reason why killer whales undergo menopause, flipping a kill switch in mice with lasers, and Fukushima residents who measured their own radiation exposure[link tk], with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Stephen Elledge about the relationship between chromosomal abnormalities in tumors and immunotherapy for cancer.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Copyright Kenneth Balcomb Center for Whale Research; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170120.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about a blood test that could predict recovery time after a concussion, new insights into the bizarre hagfish’s anatomy, and a cheap paper centrifuge based on a toy, with Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Christian Koerner about why just planting any old tree isn’t the answer to our carbon problem

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170113.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about how long dinosaur eggs take—or took—to hatch, a new survey that confirms the world’s hot spots for lightning, and replenishing endangered species with feral pets with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Megan Gannon about the dilemma presented by tissue samples collected during the Nazi era. And Sarah Crespi discusses a new test for mad cow disease with Kelly Servick.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: NASA/flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_170106.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about human evolution in action, 6000-year-old fairy tales, and other top news stories from 2016 with Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to News Editor Tim Appenzeller about this year’s breakthrough, runners-up, breakdowns, and how Science’s predictions from last year help us. In a bonus segment, Science book review editor Valerie Thompson talks about the big science books of 2016 and science books for kids.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

[Image: Warwick Goble; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 161223_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about what talking monkeys would sound like, a surprising virus detected in ancient pottery, and six cloned horses that helped win a big polo match with Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to news writer Lizzie Wade about what forensic anthropologists can do to help parent groups find missing family members in Mexico.

 

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[Image: (c) Félix Márquez; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161216.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about kissing communication in ants, building immune strength by climbing the social ladder, and a registry for animal research with Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Bjorn Emonts about the birth of stars in the Spiderweb Galaxy 10 billion years ago.

 

Related research on immune function and social hierarchy.

 

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[Image: Lauren Brent; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161202.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

 This week, we chat about cement’s shrinking carbon footprint, commuting hazards for ancient Egyptian artisans, and a new bipartisan group opposed to government-funded animal research in the United States with Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to news writer Sam Kean about the kinds of data that can only be gathered at night as part of the special issue on circadian biology.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

 [Image: roomauction/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161125.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week we chat about why it’s hard to get a taxi to nowhere, why bones came onto the scene some 550 million years ago, and how targeting bacteria’s predilection for iron might make better vaccines, with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks with news writer Elizabeth Pennisi about the way hybrids muck up the concept of species and turn the evolutionary tree into a tangled web.

 

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[Image:  Raul González Alegría; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161118.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about some of our favorite stories—is Bhutan really a quake-free zone, how much of scientific success is due to luck, and what farming changed about dogs and us—with Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Katelyn Gostic of the University of California, Los Angeles, about how the first flu you came down with—which depends on your birth year—may help predict your susceptibility to new flu strains down the road.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

 

[Image:monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161111.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST