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

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.

 

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  [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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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.   

 

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

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

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.

 

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

 

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

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.

 

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

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT