Monday, August 31, 2020

Big Picture Science for Aug 31, Home Invasions

 







 

Big Picture Science - Home Invasions

As we struggle to control a viral invader that moves silently across the globe and into its victims, we are also besieged by other invasions. Murder hornets have descended upon the Pacific Northwest, threatening the region’s honeybees. In Africa, locust swarms darken the sky. In this episode, we draw on a
classic science fiction tale to examine the nature of invasions, and what prompts biology to go on the move.

Guests: 

  • Peter Ksander – Associate professor at Reed College in the Department of Theater. Producer of the spring 2020 production of War of the Worlds
  • Eva Licht – A senior at Reed College, and producer and director of War of the Worlds
  • Chris Looney – Entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, where he manages its general entomology laboratory
  • Nipun Basrur – Neurobiologist at The Rockefeller University
  • Amy Maxmen – Reporter at the journal Nature, in which her story about pandemic war games appeared.


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/home-invasions

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.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Big Picture Science for Aug 24, The X-Flies

 






 

Big Picture Science - The X-Flies

Insect populations are declining. But before you say “good riddance,” consider that insects are the cornerstone of many ecosystems. They are dinner for numerous animal species and are essential pollinators. Mammals are loved, but they are not indispensable. Insects are.

Meanwhile, marvel at the extraordinary capabilities of some insects. The zany aerial maneuvers of the fly are studied by pilots.  And, contrary to the bad press, cockroaches are very clean creatures. Also, take a listen as we host some Madagascar hissing cockroaches in our studio (yes, they audibly hiss).

Plus, how insects first evolved … and the challenges in controlling lethal ones. Are genetically-engineering mosquitoes the best way to combat malaria?

Guests:

  • Erica McAlister – Entomologist, Senior Curator of diptera in the Department of Entomology, Natural History Museum in London, author of “The Secret Life of Flies
  • Jessica Ware – Evolutionary biologist and entomologist at Rutgers University
  • Anthony James – Vector biologist, University of California, Irvine
  • Lauren Esposito – Arachnologist, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco


This repeat podcast was previously released on March 19, 2018

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/x-flies

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.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Big Picture Science for Aug 17, Skeptic Check: Worrier Mentality






 

 

Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Worrier Mentality

(Repeat) Poisonous snakes, lightning strikes, a rogue rock from space.  There are plenty of scary things to fret about, but are we burning adrenaline on the right ones?  Stepping into the bathtub is more dangerous than flying from a statistical point of view, but no one signs up for “fear of showering” classes.

Find out why we get tripped up by statistics, worry about the wrong things, and how the “intelligence trap” not only leads smart people to make dumb mistakes, but actually causes them to make more.

Guests:  


This repeat podcast was previously released on May 27, 2019

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-worrier-mentality

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.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Big Picture Science for Aug 10, Math's Paths

 

 





 

Big Picture Science - Math's Paths

(Repeat) If you bake, you can appreciate math’s transformative properties.  Admiring the stackable potato chip is to admire a hyperbolic sheet.  Find out why there’s no need to fear math - you just need to think outside the cuboid.  Also, how nature’s geometric shapes inspire the next generation of squishy robots and an argument for radically overhauling math class.  The end point of these common factors is acute show that’s as fun as eating Pi.

Guests: 


This repeat podcast was previously released on July 15, 2019

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/maths-paths

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.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Big Picture Science for Aug 3, On Thin Ice














Big Picture Science - On Thin Ice

(Repeat) Water is essential for life – that we know. But the honeycomb lattice that forms when you chill it to zero degrees Celsius is also inexorably intertwined with life.

Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise sea levels. It’s part of Earth’s cooling system, a barrier preventing decaying organic matter from releasing methane gas, and a vault entombing ancient bacteria and other microbes.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, global ice is disappearing. Find out what’s at stake as atmospheric CO2 threatens frozen H2O.

Guests:
  • Peter Wadhams - Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University in the U.K. and the author of A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic
  • Eric Rignot - Earth systems scientist, University of California, Irving, senior research scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • ├ůsmund Asdal - Biologist, Nordic Genetic Resource Center, coordinator for operations and management of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Svalbard, Norway
  • John Priscu - Polar biologist, Montana State University

This repeat podcast was previously released on August 14, 2017

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/on-thin-ice

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.