Science

Science news

Pierre-Selim via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1GRp27B

For years, science has told us that intelligence originates in the brain and that the body is just a vehicle to be controlled and piloted. But what if we’ve got it wrong? The cognitive scientist Guy Claxton thinks we do. The mind, he says, is more like a chat room, where the body’s systems share information and debate the best actions. So it’s the really the body, not the mind, that constitutes the core of our intelligent life. Claxton joins us Wednesday to explore the intelligence in our flesh.

The Human Journey

Oct 13, 2015
Dave Fullmer via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1jt8cXl

Where do humans come from? Who were our ancestors? What makes us distinct from them? And why are we homo sapiens the only kind of people left on the planet? These are some of the big questions paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer has spent his life trying to answer. Thanks to recent scientific advances and anthropological discoveries, Stringer thinks we’re closer than ever to understanding the vast journey of human evolution. He joins us Tuesday to present his theories on the origins of humankind.

In an online video, biomechanist Katy Bowman guides a tour of her home. It’s a lot of the usual stuff, but what’s missing is all the furniture. Katy and her family don’t have a couch or recliners or even chairs at the kitchen table. That’s so they have every possible opportunity for physical movement, which is a central idea of Bowman’s philosophy. She wants people to improve their health and their well being by exercising less and moving more and better. She joins us to explain how and why. (Rebroadcast)

Alive Inside

Sep 24, 2015

You may be one of the millions of people who’ve seen the viral video of Henry, an elderly man in a nursing home who popped out of the fog of dementia when he heard a cherished tune from his youth. That video is actually part of a larger documentary called Alive Inside that explores the healing power of music. It’s screening in Salt Lake City next week, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with the film’s director, Michael Rossato-Bennett. We also spoke with social worker Dan Cohen, who’s trying to convince the world that music can enliven elderly people suffering from dementia and also help us provide them better care. (Rebroadcast)

Oceanic Preservation Society, http://www.opsociety.org

In his last film, director Louie Psihoyos shed light on the shadowy practice of dolphin slaughter in Japan. His new film, Racing Extinction, bears witness to an even greater tragedy: the sixth extinction event, the one we’re causing. He and his filmmaking team went undercover to expose how the international wildlife trade and the oil and gas industries are together driving species around the globe to extinction. Psihoyos joins us Thursday to talk about that crisis and what can be done to stop it.

In 2012, Doug was joined by one of the most interesting people on the planet. Oliver Sacks was a neuroscientist who specialized in brain disorder, and in a very full career had dozens of fascinating encounters with patients. Dr. Sacks died on Sunday, so we’re rebroadcasting our conversation with him. We talked about hallucinations – people with migraines seeing shimmering arcs of light or having phantom limbs. Really, it was about the way we perceive things that aren’t there. (Rebroadcast)

The average person has about 4,000 thoughts a day. Most are fleeting snippets, some are banal, and sometimes, they can be disruptive. But when most people question whether they left the coffee maker on or imagine something bizarre like jumping out into traffic, they shake it off. A person with OCD though can’t let it go, and may spend as many as 6 hours a day obsessing over that one idea. Friday, Doug’s guest is the science writer David Adam. He’s written a book about OCD and his own life lost in thought. (Rebroadcast)

The New Wild

Aug 18, 2015
"Tamarisk Forest" by Rachel Zurer, CC via Flickr

When journalist Fred Pearce set out to write a book about the role invasive species play in our environment, he imagined itwould be about the havoc they cause. What he found surprised him though. He says the horror stories are overblown and that these resourceful plants and animals are often responding to the damage that humans have wrought. They push their way through concrete and thrive in pollution. Tuesday, Pearce joins Doug to explain why he says invasive species could be nature’s salvation.(Rebroadcast)

As the writer Peter Moore points out, we’re never far from a weather forecast. It’s become a quotidian component of modern life. But were it not for a host of daring experiments in the 19th century, we might not know that Wednesday is sunny with a chance of t-storms. In a new book, Moore tells the stories of the sailors, artists, astronomers, adventurers, and others who laid the foundations of today’s meteorological sciences. He joins us Thursday to explore the experiments that helped us divine the weather.

The Big Fat Surprise

Jul 28, 2015

Since the 1950s, a war has been waged in America against an accused dietary culprit: fat. Avoid fat, we were told, and you’ll live longer and healthier. However, as the investigative journalist Nina Teicholz discovered, there isn’t solid evidence of the benefits of a low-fat diet nor of the dangers of fat. In a new book, Teicholz reviews the science and history of the war on fat and Tuesday we're rebroadcasting a conversation about how America’s nutrition was derailed by a bunch of bad science. [Rebroadcast]

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