Science news

The conservative author and researcher Robert Bryce says the debate over climate change is a hyper-partisan slugfest. So when he talks about our energy future, he starts with this question: if we agree that too much carbon dioxide is bad for the Earth and for us, what do we do about it? In his latest book, Bryce says it’s not less consumption or alternative fuels that will save us. Bryce is in Utah and joins us to explain why he says entrepreneurship and innovation are the way to save ourselves and our world.


Mar 3, 2015
Rob via CC/Flickr,

  To many people, the term “vitamin” is shorthand for “health,” and so the more vitamins we consume, the healthier we’ll be. But what exactly do the 13 dietary chemicals we call vitamins actually do for our bodies? And how much of each vitamin do we need? The journalist Catherine Price went looking for answers to these basic questions. What she learned undermines much of what we thought we knew about nutrition. She joins us Tuesday to talk about our quest for better health through nutrition perfection.

Sexual Fluidity

Feb 20, 2015
Photo by <a href="">Lil Wiz</a>, CC via Flickr

In a world that tends to separate people into defined groups, it’s not easy to be bisexual. Psychologist Lisa Diamond says the stereotype is that people who claim to be attracted to both sexes just haven’t come out yet. Of course, it’s much more complicated. In 2008, Diamond wrote a book about how flexible sexuality is for women. These days, she’s learning men are, as she puts it, “pretty darn sexually fluid, too.” Lisa Diamond joins Doug to talk about the spectrum of human sexuality. (Rebroadcast)

Missing Microbes

Feb 16, 2015

Your body is host to about 100 trillion bacterial cells that form your microbiome, the complex ecosystem of microorganisms on which your life depends. Today, our microbiomes are threatened by a loss of species diversity that could be our undoing. In a new book, Dr. Martin Blaser argues that our obsession with hygiene and overuse of antibiotics has bleached our microbiomes, making them weak and making us more susceptible to dangerous new diseases. He joins us to explore the dangers of our missing microbes. [Rebroadcast]

Image by <a href=""> Leigh Anthony DEHANEY</a>/<a href'="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Chances are good you’re sitting down as you read these words. After hearing what Dr. James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, has to say about sitting, you might find yourself standing a lot more. That’s because Dr. Levine’s research suggests that spending most of your day sitting and physically inactive – at work, at home and everywhere else – won’t just give you a sore back: there’s a good chance it could lead you to an early grave. Dr. Levine joins us to explain the dangers of inactivity. (Rebroadcast)

Between Earth and Sky

Dec 30, 2014

Whether you are sitting at your desk, in the kitchen, or walking down the street, you’re likely near something that came from a tree. But biologist and world-renowned tree expert Nalini Nakarni says that our relationship with trees goes much deeper than the resources they provide. From spirituality and recreation to medicine and the arts, trees play many roles in our lives. Tuesday, Nakarni joins Doug to discuss what trees can teach us about our place in the world. (Rebroadcast)

The Science of Humor

Dec 26, 2014
Quin Dombrowski via CC/Flickr

"I just shot an elephant in my pajamas," said Groucho Marx. "How he got in my pajamas I don't know." To the neuroscientist Scott Weems, jokes like Groucho’s aren’t just funny; they’re opportunities to explore the brain’s inner-workings. Weems wants to know why we find things funny and why our brains and bodies respond to inconsistent ideas by laughing. He joins us Friday to talk about what humor reveals about how we think and feel, and its deep connection to elephants in pajamas…and our humanity. (Rebroadcast)

Eric Schultz vis CC/Flickr,

It might not seem like it right now, but most years, Utah deserves its reputation as host-state to the best snow in the world. In a new book, local meteorologist and avid skier Jim Steenburgh investigates just what makes our powder so spectacular and the region’s weather so unique. Yes, the Great Salt Lake has something to do with it, but there’s much more to it than that, including something called “Golidlocks Storms.” Steenburgh joins us Thursday to divulge the secrets of the greatest snow on earth.

Animal Madness

Dec 12, 2014
Photo by Emily Orpin, CC via Flickr

Laurel Braitman was very worried about her dog’s mental health. Oliver was an anxious animal, especially when left home alone. And he was alone when he moved an air conditioner, chewed through a screen, and jumped out of a 3rd story window. Braitman is a science historian, and her new book explores seemingly human mental disorders in the animal kingdom. Friday, she joins Doug to explain why every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose it from time to time. [Rebroadcast]

War of the Whales

Nov 19, 2014
Photo by Ken Balcomb

In 2000, there was a mysterious mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas. Marine biologist Ken Balcomb set out to find the cause, and CT scans found “acoustic trauma” to their brains. That’s when the Navy shut him out, and Balcomb teamed up with lawyer Joel Reynolds to prove the connection between Navy sonar and whale deaths. Wednesday, science writer Joshua Horwitz joins us to tell the story of “War of the Whales,” and to explore the unintended consequences of technology and our quest for security.