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

This week, we chat about some of our favorite stories -- including a new bacterial model for alien life that feeds on cosmic rays, tracking extinct “bear dogs” to Texas, and when we stop caring about plane crashes -- with Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Alexa Billow talks to Staff Writer Kelly Servick about her feature story on the releasing modified mosquitoes in Brazil to combat diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Her story is part of a package on mosquito control. 

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 [Image: © Alex Wild; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161014.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

This week, we chat about some of our favorite stories—including making bees optimistic, comparing yawns across species, and “mind reading” in nonhuman apes—with Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm. Plus, Science’s Alexa Billow talks to Mercedes Paredes about her research on the developing infant brain.

 

Listen to previous podcasts

 

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

 

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_161007.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Daily news stories

Should we bring animals back from extinction, three-parent baby announced, and the roots of human violence, with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

Our networked world gives us an unprecedented ability to monitor and respond to global happenings. Databases monitoring news stories can provide real-time information about events all over the world -- like conflicts or protests. However, the databases that now exist aren’t up to the task. Alexa Billow talks with Ryan Kennedy about his policy forum that addresses problems with global data collection and interpretation.

 

[Image: Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160930.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Daily news stories

A quick change in chickens’ genes due to a papal ban on eating four-legged animals, the appeal of tragedy, and genetic defects in the “sixth sense,” with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

In February of this year, one of the most regular phenomena in the atmosphere skipped a cycle. Every 22 to 36 months, descending eastward and westward wind jets—high above the equator—switch places. The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, or QBO, is normally so regular you can almost set your watch by it, but not this year. Scott Osprey discusses the implications for this change with Alexa Billow.

 Read the research.

 

[Image: ValerijaP/iStockphoto/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160923.mp3
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News stories on our earliest hunting companions, should we seed exoplanets with life, and finding space storm hot spots with David Grimm.

 From the magazine

Two years ago, 43 students disappeared from a teacher’s college in Guerrero, Mexico. Months of protests and investigation have not yielded a believable account of what happened to them. The government of Mexico claims that the students were killed by cartel members and burned on an outdoor pyre in a dump outside Cucola. Lizzie Wade has been following this story with a focus on the science of fire investigation. She talks about an investigator in Australia that has burned pig carcasses in an effort to understand these events in Mexico.

 

[Image: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160916.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on magnetic waste in the brain, the top deal breakers in online dating, and wolves that are willing to “risk it for the biscuit,” with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

How do we track where we are going and where we have been? Do you pay attention to your path? Look for landmarks? Leave a scent trail? The problem of navigation has been solved a number of different ways by animals. The desert-dwelling Cataglyphis ant was thought to rely on stride integration, basically counting their steps. But it turns out they have a separate method of keeping track of their whereabouts called “optic flow.” Matthias Wittlinger joins Sarah Crespi to talk about his work with these amazing creatures.

 

Read the research.

 

[Image: Rooobert Bayer /Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160909.mp3
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News stories on what words dogs know, an RNA therapy for psoriasis, and how Lucy may have fallen from the sky, with Catherine Matacic.

 From the magazine

In early 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. Over the last year and a half, scientists have studied the mysterious dwarf planet using data collected by Dawn, including detailed images of its surface. Julia Rosen talks with Debra Buczkowski about Ceres’s close-up.

 See the full Ceres package.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160902.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Sarah Crespi takes a pop quiz on literal life hacking, spotting poverty from outer space, and the size of the average American vocabulary with Catherine Matacic.

 

From the magazine

You can already buy a quantum dot television, but it’s really just the beginning of the infiltration of quantum dots into our everyday lives. Cherie Kagan is here to talk about her in depth review of the technology published in this week’s issue.

 

[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160826_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on a humanmade RNA copier that bolsters ideas about early life on Earth, the downfall of a pre-Columbian empire, and how a bit of cash at the right time can keep you off the streets, with Jessica Boddy.

 

From the magazine

This story combines two things we seem to talk about a lot on the podcast: reproducibility and the microbiome. The big question we’re going to take on is how reproducible are mouse studies when their microbiomes aren’t taken into account? Staff writer Kelly Servick is here to talk about what promises to be a long battle with mouse-dwelling bugs.

 

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

Direct download: 160819_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on using pets in clinical trials to test veterinarian drugs, debunking the Piltdown Man once and for all, and deciding just how smart crows can be, with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

It’s really difficult to figure out how old a free-living animal is. Maybe you can find growth rings in bone or other calcified body parts, but in sharks like the Greenland shark, no such hardened parts exist. Using two different radiocarbon dating approaches, Julius Neilsen and colleagues discovered that the giant Greenland shark may live as long as 400 years.

 

Read the research.

 

[Image: James Howard McGregor/Wikimedia Commons/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160812.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST