Sunday, November 18, 2018

Big Picture Science for Nov 19, 2018 - Space Rocks!












Big Picture Science - Space Rocks!

It’s not a bird or a plane, and probably not an alien spaceship, although the jury’s still deliberating that one.  Some astronomers have proposed that an oddly-shaped object that recently passed through our Solar System could be an alien artifact. We consider the E.T. explanation for ‘Oumuamua, but also other reasons asteroids are invigorating our imagination.  Are these orbiting rocks key to our future as a spacefaring species?

Find out why traditional incentives for human exploration of space – such as political rivalry –aren’t igniting our rockets the way they once did, but why the potentially trillions of dollars to be made mining asteroids might.

These small bodies may also hold the key to our ancient past: the New Horizons flyby of Thule in early 2019 will provide an historic look at a distant Kuiper belt object, and provide clues about the formation of the Solar System.

Guests:
  • Roger Launius – Former associate director of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian and chief historian for NASA
  • J. L.Galache – Asteroid astronomer and co-founder and CTO of Aten Engineering
  • Mark Showalter – Planetary scientist and Senior Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and a member of the New Horizons team
  • Avi Loeb – Professor of Science at Harvard and chair of the Department of Astronomy
Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/space-rocks

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Big Picture Science for Nov 12, 2018 - Skeptic Check: Science Denial












Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Science Denial

Climate change isn’t happening.  Vaccines make you sick.  When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction of the population still denies the consensus of scientific evidence.  But it’s not the first time – many people long resisted the evidentiary link between HIV and AIDS and smoking with lung cancer.

There’s a sense that science denialism is on the rise.  It prompted a gathering of scientists and historians in New York City to discuss the problem, which included a debate on the usefulness of the word “denial” itself.  Big Picture Science was there. We report from the Science Denial symposium held jointly by the New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers Global Health Institute.

Find out why so many people dig in their heels and distrust scientific findings.  Plus, the techniques wielded by special interest groups to dispute some inconvenient truths.  We also hear how simply stating more facts may be the wrong approach to combating scientific resistance.

Guests:

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-science-denial

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Big Picture Science for Nov 05, 2018 - Rerouting... Rerouting












Big Picture Science - Rerouting... Rerouting

(REPEAT)  Lost your sense of direction?  Blame your GPS. Scientists say that our reliance on dashboard devices is eroding our ability to create cognitive maps and is messing with our minds in general. We don’t even look at landmarks or the landscape anymore.  We’ve become no more than interfaces between our GPS and our steering wheels.

But in other ways, GPS can spark a new appreciation of the physical world. A real-time flyover app reveals the stunning geological features otherwise invisible from our window seat.

And sensitive electronic sensors let us see where the wild things are and where they go.  Learn how scientists put belts on jellyfish and produce maps that reveal the surprising routes taken by various species – from a single wolf, a group of phytoplankton, or a float of crocodiles.

Plus, one man is not ready to say goodbye to the traditional map.  Find out why this cartographer insists on paper maps, not digital apps.

Guests:

This repeat podcast was previously released on12/18/2017

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/rerouting-rerouting

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.