Science

Science news

Friday, we're talking about how unhealthy sugar is for you. No, we're not trying to be killjoys. But as you recover from and regret that third helping of pie on Thanksgiving, we thought you might want to know why you'd probably be healthier without sugar.

Josué Menjivar via CC/Flickr http://bit.ly/2zqVOnr


Changing people’s minds is hard. And it’s a problem a lot of people encounter on Thanksgiving. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot studies decision-making. She says we can better influence people by understanding how the brain is wired.

Serious researchers long shied away from so-called anthropomorphism. But biologist John Shivik says animal personalities and emotion are key to understanding how species evolved. So why are some animals shy and others ornery? Shivik joins us Thursday.

Wednesday, we’re asking this question: Is it true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney went looking for answers. He joins us to talk about pushing past perceived limitations.

No idea from psychology has saturated popular culture as thoroughly as Hermann Rorschach’s inkblots. Rorschach designed the ten amorphous, symmetrical inkblots as a means to probe the human mind. He believed that what you see is who you are. He died less than a year after publishing his test, and the inkblots became a kind of sorcerer’s apprentice, influencing the world without his guidance.  In a new biography, writer Damion Searls chronicles Rorschach’s life and the influence of his iconic creation.

The Ends of the World

Oct 16, 2017
Mark Byzewski via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2kLZtoW), CC BY 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e)

Throughout human history, people have warned that the end of the world is coming. If it does, it won’t really be all that unique. You see, the world has already ended five times. Life on earth has been broiled, frozen, gassed, smothered, and asteroided out of existence. And scientists believe that those previous mass extinctions can teach us something about the one happening right now. Monday, science writer Peter Brannen joins us to explore the Earth’s past dead ends and what they mean for the future.

 

Is there anybody out there? Is there life on other planets? If the answer is yes, and we can prove it, the physicist Jim Al-Khalili says that would be a revolutionary moment in science, up there with Copernicus proving that Earth is not the center of the universe. Considering the vastness of space, scientists mostly agree that somebody or something else is out there. Al-Khalili joins us Wednesday to explore where that life might be, what it might be like, and what would happen if we found it—or it found us. (Rebroadcast)

Greg Pye via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2mF1RKs) CC2.0 (http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e)

Friday, we’re talking about the value of rest. Of taking a break. From everything. For most of us, overwork is the new normal and rest is an afterthought. But the scholar Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says that by dismissing the importance of rest in our lives we stifle our ability to think creatively and truly recharge. Pang will join us to talk about why long walks, afternoon naps, vigorous exercise, and "deep play" stimulate creative work and sustain creative lives. (Rebroadcast)

Aj Schuster via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2wWX241), CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (http://bit.ly/ccbynca2), remixed

The devastation wrought in Mexico City by a recent massive earthquake may have rattled more than a few nerves along the Wasatch Front. Salt Lake City is, of course, overdue for a significant seismic event. So are other places in the United States, such as Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, even New York City. In a new book, science writer Kathryn Miles tours the country in search of the latest research on America’s next big earthquake and what’s being done to address the threat. She joins us Wednesday to talk about it.

Woolly

Sep 27, 2017

What if you could take the DNA of an ancient creature and bring it back to life? It sounds like the plot of Jurassic Park, but you can’t actually rebuild a dinosaur. You could to it with a woolly mammoth though. The writer Ben Mezrich has a new book about the scientists and researchers who are working to insert DNA from a mammoth hair sample into an elephant embryo. Wednesday, he joins Doug to tell the story, and to explain how the results could actually help save the world.

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