Science

Science news

The End of Night

Jul 15, 2013
Image by <a href="http://bit.ly/12F7ciX">Jose Angel</a>/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/"target="_blank">Creative Commons</a>via flickr</i>

Tuesday, we're talking about the night sky and what it means when the stars are obscured by light pollution. It's not just poetry and the wonder of the cosmos that's lost. Artificial light devours energy, disrupts our sleep patterns, and has even been linked to cancer. Yet eight in ten Americans born today won't ever live where they can see the Milky Way. Our guest is the writer Paul Bogard, whose new book is called "The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light."

The God Species

Jul 3, 2013

Environmentalist Mark Lynas believes that nature no longer runs the Earth. We do. Managing an entire planet isn’t easy, but in his 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 to make his case for “jettisoning sacred cows” to solve the world’s gravest ecological problems. (Rebroadcast)

Bad Astronomy

Jun 27, 2013

When the astronomer Phil Plait goes outside on a clear night, he can’t help but look up at the stars. It’s a habit he wishes more people had. He also wishes the cosmos weren’t so misunderstood and the subject of such shaky science. Plait has made it his mission to educate people about the incredibly vast universe surrounding our tiny planet. He’ll join us to help explain the universe, dispel myths swirling around it and to detail the threats it poses to life as we know it. (Rebroadcast)

Aging and Exercise

Jun 24, 2013
Paul Holbrook

Somewhere around our late 30s or early 40s, our bodies begin to breakdown. We lose muscle mass, flexibility, strength and power. We typically chalk it all up to just getting old, but a growing body of research shows that inactivity is largely to blame. Researchers are also finding that the effects of aging can be drastically reduced by training a lot like an athlete would. Tuesday we’re talking about aging and exercise. We’ll be joined by a physical trainer and a researcher who argue that to age gracefully we should age actively.

Gulp

Jun 13, 2013

Everybody eats, and we more or less know what that’s about. What happens after we eat – the transformation of food as it passes through our bodies – that’s more of a mystery, and a gross one at that. In her latest book, the science writer Mary Roach explores the interesting and kind of disgusting science and stories of our digestive tracts. Roach joins us Friday to answer some age old alimentary questions: Why is crunchy food so appealing? How much food can you eat before your stomach bursts? And of course, did constipation kill Elvis? (Rebroadcast)

The science writer Brian Switek knows adults aren’t supposed to like dinosaurs. And yet, they’re why he chose to move to Utah from New Jersey. In the decades since Switek’s dino-crazy childhood, dinosaurs have undergone incredible change. Once thought to be scaly reptilian ancestors, scientists now suspect they were warm-blooded avian relatives covered with fuzz. In his new book, Switek attempts to explain that change to casual dinosaur fans and to rectify the animals scientists study with their pop-cultural image. Switek joins us on Monday.

The Shrinking Jungle

Apr 29, 2013

In the early 1980s, Utah anthropologist Kevin Jones was part of a team studying the Aché Indians in eastern Paraguay. The Aché lived as hunter-gatherers until competition for their forests abruptly pushed them from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The shock, Jones says, was unimaginable. Kevin Jones wanted to share their story with an audience beyond his academic community and the result is his first novel. Tuesday, he joins Doug to talk about "The Shrinking Jungle" and to explain what he learned about all of us from some of the last hunter-gatherers.

The God Damn Particle

Apr 23, 2013
<i>(CERN)</i>

For scientists, the discovery of the Higgs boson -- dubbed “the God damn particle” by one scientist because it's so elusive -- was one of the most momentous events of the decade. It was also a monumentally difficult task. To find the Higgs, scientists built a 17-mile-long tunnel at a cost of $10 billion in order to smash protons into each other over 300 trillion times. But why? What's the Higgs all about? And why are scientists so excited by its discovery? If there's one scientist who can break this all down so lay people understand, it's the rock star physicist Brian Greene. He joins us on Wednesday to do just that.

Bird Sense

Apr 16, 2013
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/7172188398/">USFWS Headquarters</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Who hasn’t watched a bird soaring on high, swooping through the sky, and wondered what it would feel like to fly on feathered wings? In his book Bird Sense, the behavioral ecologist Tim Birkhead takes an inside look at the life of birds. He details the extraordinary senses, emotions and abilities of robins, finches, ducks, chickens and other avian friends. Birkhead joins Doug on Thursday to examine what it’s like to be a bird and what it's like to share a planet with such utterly different and yet recognizably similar creatures. (Rebroadcast)

Bad Astronomy

Apr 9, 2013

When the astronomer Phil Plait goes outside on a clear night, he can’t help but look up at the stars. It’s a habit he wishes more people had. He also wishes the cosmos weren’t so misunderstood and the subject of such shaky science. Plait has made it his mission to educate people about the incredibly vast universe surrounding our tiny planet. He’s coming to Salt Lake City later this week, and he’ll join us on Wednesday to help explain the universe, dispel myths swirling around it and to detail the threats it poses to life as we know it.

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