Science

Science news

9/20/11: Demon Fish

Sep 20, 2011
Photo by Neil Hammerschlag

Ask environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin which is more dangerous – people or sharks – and she doesn't miss a beat. It's man who is the dangerous one. We kill 80 to 100 million sharks a year, and despite what you may have seen in "Jaws," we're just not on a shark's menu. As a top predator though, they play a crucial role in the health of the ocean. Tuesday, Juliet Eilperin joins Doug for a conversation about the hidden world of sharks she uncovers in her book "Demon Fish."

Packing for Mars

Sep 7, 2011
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotpolka/86705778/">dotpolka</a>/<a href=" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Popular science writer Mary Roach says that when planning a space mission, everything that's taken for granted on Earth has to be "rethought, relearned and rehearsed." After all, flying a flag with no wind or managing to urinate in zero gravity is no easy feat. Roach's latest book is called "Packing for Mars," and she joins Doug for a look at space exploration and what it teaches us about being human. (Rebroadcast)

Courtesy <a href="http://www.seis.utah.edu/lqthreat/perseq.shtml" target="_blank">University of Utah Seismograph Stations</a>

There's geologic evidence of 6.5 and greater earthquakes violently shaking our region. Seismologists say it will happen again in Utah, though it's difficult to say when. We do know that there could be devastating consequences for the urban landscape. As the saying goes, "Earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do." Thursday, we're talking about what scientists are learning about earthquakes, what one would mean for the Wasatch Front and what is being done to prepare our community. (Rebroadcast)

How Pleasure Works

Aug 26, 2011
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/albx79/2568081951/">Alberto Colombo</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Friday on RadioWest, the psychologist Paul Bloom joins Doug to explain how pleasure works. This is more than just about the simple pleasures of food or sex. How do you account for the pleasure of seeing a painting, for example, or for some, the pleasure of getting spanked? Pleasure is complicated, and Bloom says it's grounded in a belief about the essence of a thing. It's a conversation about philosophy, neuroscience, evolution, childhood development ... about why we desire what we desire. (Rebroadcast)

Lunch Wars

Aug 23, 2011
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wlscience/4569761556/">Ben W</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The average American kid will have some 3,000 school lunches by the twelfth grade. But what are they eating? When filmmaker and author Amy Kalafa went into school cafeterias, she found lunch trays laden with chicken nuggets and French fries, but little in the way of healthy choices. The question she kept hearing from parents though was "What do we do about it?" Kalafa has written a book called "Lunch Wars," and Tuesday, she joins us to explain how to start a school food revolution.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkcotton/3913458235/">Janine</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

What do financier Charles Schwab, writer John Irving and actor Orlando Bloom have in common? They all have dyslexia, an oft-misunderstood and chronic condition. Now research into how the brain works is revealing the root causes of reading problems and offering strategies for overcoming them. On Friday, dyslexia expert Dr. Sally Shaywitz joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce for a look into the dyslexic mind.

Asleep

Aug 5, 2011

A century ago, a mysterious epidemic emerged. Patients could not move, yet they were fully aware of everything going on around them. This so-called "sleeping sickness" claimed over a million lives, then disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. On Friday, a look at the pandemic which doctors are still trying to understand.

<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. She joins Doug to talk about these "Merchants of Doubt." (Rebroadcast)

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddpf/3582526331/">David Pereira</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Breastfeeding is portrayed as the very essence of dedicated motherhood and a protection against all sorts of maladies, from obesity to allergies to even leukemia. Joan B. Wolf isn't buying it. She's not anti-breastfeeding, but she says medical research on the health benefits of breast-milk is inconclusive and the social pressures to breastfeed are often harmful to the mother. On Friday, Wolf joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce to challenge the idea that breast is best.

In the next decade, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death in the US. The disease was first mentioned in an ancient Egyptian scroll and through the modern era, its history is marked by the epic battles we've waged against it. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician, and in trying to understand what his patients must endure, he turned a historical and literary eye on cancer. The result is his book The Emperor of All Maladies and he joins Doug to talk about it.  (Rebroadcast)

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