Science

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How Creativity Works

Apr 2, 2012

Tuesday, science writer Jonah Lehrer is with us for a look at what the latest research can teach us about our imaginations. Creativity isn't the special purview of artists and inventors; it's an impulse that's hard-wired into our brain and we can all learn to use it more effectively. We'll talk about how techniques like daydreaming, perseverance and channeling the inner seven-year-old can help us re-imagine the world.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium and one of America's most vocal proponents of space exploration, is as fascinated with the depth and mysteries of outer space as he is with its proximity. "We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us," he has said. Tyson joins Doug on Tuesday to talk about his personal relationship with the cosmos and his crusade to get humanity back into space.

Two years ago, the writer Steve Hendricks felt overweight, and he resolved to shed 20 pounds. His weight loss method might strike some as reckless: he fasted for over three weeks. Vanity, he writes, wasn't his only concern. He was informally testing theories which suggest that fasting can alleviate numerous maladies and symptoms and improve general health, much like exercise. Hendricks wrote about the benefits of an empty stomach for Harper's, and he joins Doug on Monday to talk about it.

Environmentalist Mark Lynas believes nature no longer runs the Earth. We do. Managing an entire planet isn't easy, but in his book God Species, Lynas aims to show how humans can tackle this monumental task. In doing so, he disposes with the environmentalist playbook, arguing that to save Earth from ourselves, humans can and should play God at a planetary level. He joins Doug on Monday to make his case for "jettisoning sacred cows" to solve the world's gravest ecological problems. (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, Doug sits down with doctor and writer Abraham Verghese. Verghese wrote the wildly popular novel Cutting for Stone, and he's in Utah. He's said that he has "the distinct feeling that the patient in America is becoming invisible her illness has been translated into binary signals stored in the computer." Verghese is interested in listening and interacting with people through the art and ritual of the physical exam. We'll talk about that connection and what it means for the patient.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/moneystudio/307417440/">Money Munni</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Historian Naomi Oreskes says that while the U.S. scientific community has led the world in research on issues like public health and environmental science, there's also a small group of scientists that mislead the public with ideas based on political agendas rather than science. Oreskes has written a book that explores how this has skewed our understanding of climate change, tobacco and more. Monday she joins Doug to talk about these "Merchants of Doubt." (Rebroadcast)

1/19/12: Fringeology

Jan 18, 2012

Many of us have stories of paranormal events. Strange objects in the skies, ghosts at the old hotel. When Steve Volk was a kid, odd bumps echoed through his house at night. His sisters said their sheets were pulled from their beds while they slept and that an old woman walked through the closed door of their room. Inspired by the noise his family could never trace, Volk set out to explore the world of the paranormal. Doug talks to him on Thursday about his research in the field of fringeology.

12/2/11: Demon Fish

Dec 1, 2011
Photo by Neil Hammerschlag

Friday on RadioWest, we're talking about sharks. There's a reason we're afraid of them. They're one of the most perfectly designed predators, but it's the shark that ought to be afraid. Humans are far more dangerous. We kill about 100 million sharks a year. The environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin joins us to put that number in perspective and to explain how our obsession with sharks could lead to their extinction. (Rebroadcast)

Environmentalist  Mark Lynas believes that nature no longer runs the Earth. We do. Managing an entire planet isn’t easy, but in his new book, Lynas aims to show how humans can tackle this monumental task. In doing so, he disposes with the environmentalist playbook, arguing that to save Earth from ourselves, humans can, should and indeed must play God at a planetary level. He’ll join Doug on Monday to make his case for “jettisoning sacred cows” to solve the world’s gravest ecological problems.

Tuesday, we're talking to physicist Brian Greene about this question: is our universe the only universe? Greene's latest book is called "The Hidden Reality," and he says that major scientific developments have opened the door to the possible existence of parallel universes. It may sound like something from science fiction, and the idea is controversial and speculative, but Greene's goal is to help us imagine how the boundaries of reality could one day be redrawn. (Rebroadcast)

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