Science news

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)

Courtesy Jeff Meldrum

Cryptozoologist Jeff Meldrum catches a lot of flak from his academic colleagues for his field of research. The critics disdain his ongoing study of Sasquatch. But Meldrum, an expert in bipedal locomotion, is convinced by the evidence that Bigfoot exists. He says that discrediting the study of creatures whose existence is unproven countermands the scientific commitment to explore the unknown. Meldrum joins Doug on Friday to talk about Bigfoot and the importance of objective scientific analysis.

<i>Image by <a href="">Janey A and Jake Z</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Do you remember your first kiss?  It's very likely you do. Psychologists report that it is one of the most vivid memories a human can have. The science writer Sheril Kirshenbaum explains that a kiss engages all of your senses - your pupils dilate, your pulse quickens, your breathing becomes irregular. Kissing is the subject of Kirshenbaum's latest book, and Friday, she joins Doug to talk about its evolutionary history, chemistry and even the future of this most intimate of behaviors. (Rebroadcast)

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune

America’s alpine climate is changing. Across the West, mountains once covered with green forests are turning red and fading to grey. The culprit: beetles. Some people blame the government for the beetle plague. Local politicians blame the feds. But what if the problem isn’t a faltering Uncle Sam but a changing Mother Nature? Brandon Loomis has written a series of articles on the health of forests in the Intermountain West for Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune and he joins Doug Fabrizio on Thursday.

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="">dotpolka</a>/<a href="" 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="" 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="">Alberto Colombo</a>/<a href="" 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="">Ben W</a>/<a href="" 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.