Monday, June 27, 2022

Big Picture Science for June. 27, 2022 - Skeptic Check: Hypnosis









Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Hypnosis

You are getting sleeeepy and open to suggestion. But is that how hypnotism works? And does it really open up a portal to the unconscious mind? Hypnotism can be an effective therapeutic tool, and some scientists suggest replacing opioids with hypnosis for pain relief. And yet, the performance aspect of hypnotism often seems at odds with the idea of it being an effective treatment.

In our regular look at critical thinking, Skeptic Check, we ask what part of hypnotism is real and what is an illusion. Plus, we discuss how the swinging watch became hypnotism’s irksome trademark.

Guests:

  • David Spiegel – Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Devin Terhune – Reader in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London


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

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support! 


Monday, June 20, 2022

Big Picture Science for June. 20, 2022 - Fantastic-er Voyage









Big Picture Science - Fantastic-er Voyage

Thinking small can sometimes achieve big things. A new generation of diminutive robots can enter our bodies and deal with medical problems such as intestinal blockages. But do we really want them swimming inside us, even if they’re promising to help? You might change your mind when you hear what else is cruising through our bloodstream: microplastics!

We take a trip into the human body, beginning with the story of those who first dared to open it up for medical purposes. But were the first surgeons really cavemen?

Guests:

  • Ira Rutkow – Surgeon and writer, and author of “Empire of the Scalpel: The History of Surgery
  • Dick Vethaak – Emeritus professor of ecotoxicology, water quality and health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Free University, Amsterdam) in The Netherlands
  • Li Zhang – Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Michael LaBarbera – Professor in organismal biology, anatomy and geophysical sciences, University of Chicago

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/fantastic-er-voyage

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Big Picture Science for June. 13, 2022 - Dinosaurs’ Last Gasp









Big Picture Science - Dinosaurs’ Last Gasp

Do we have physical evidence of the last day of the dinosaurs? We consider fossilized fish in South Dakota that may chronicle the dramatic events that took place when, 66 million years ago, a large asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and caused three-quarters of all species to disappear.

Also, what new discoveries have paleontologists made about these charismatic animals, and the director of Jurassic World: Dominion talks about how his film hews to the latest science. Hint: feathers!

It’s deep history, as we look at what happened as terrestrial life experienced its worst day ever.

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/dinosaurs-last-gasp

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Big Picture Science for June. 06, 2022 - DNA is Not Destiny







Big Picture Science - DNA is Not Destiny

(REPEAT) Heredity was once thought to be straightforward. Genes were passed in an immutable path from parents to you, and you were stuck – or blessed – with what you got. DNA didn’t change.

But now we know that’s not true. Epigenetic factors, such as your environment and your lifestyle, control how your genes are expressed. Meanwhile, the powerful tool CRISPR allows us to tinker with the genes themselves. DNA is no longer destiny.

Hear the results from the NASA twin study and what happened to astronaut Scott Kelly’s DNA after a year on the International Space Station. Plus, whether there’s evidence that epigenetic changes can be passed down. And, if we can wipe out deadly malaria by engineering the mosquito genome for sterility, should we do it?

Guests:


This repeat podcast originally aired on October 15, 2018


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/dna-is-not-destiny

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Big Picture Science for May. 30, 2022 - For the Birds







Big Picture Science - For the Birds

(REPEAT) Birds have it going on. Many of these winged dinosaurs delight us with their song and brilliant plumage.  Migratory birds travel thousands of miles in a display of endurance that would make an Olympic athlete gasp.
We inquire about these daunting migrations and how birds can fly for days without rest. And what can we do to save disappearing species? Will digital tracking technology help? Plus, how 19th century bird-lovers, appalled by feathered hats, started the modern conservation movement.
Guests:


This repeat podcast originally aired on May 10, 2021


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/for-the-birds

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Big Picture Science for May. 23, 2022 - End of Eternity







Big Picture Science - End of Eternity

(REPEAT) Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe has several possible endings. Will there be a dramatic Big Rip or a Big Chill­–also known as the heat death of the universe–in trillions of years? Or will vacuum decay, which could theoretically happen at any moment, do us in? Perhaps the death of a tiny particle – the proton – will bring about the end.

We contemplate big picture endings in this episode, and whether one could be brought about by our own machine creations.

Guests: 


This repeat podcast originally aired on May 3, 2021

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/end-of-eternity

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Big Picture Science for May. 16, 2022 - Neanderthal in the Family







Big Picture Science - Neanderthal in the Family

(REPEAT) Back off, you Neanderthal! It sounds as if you’ve just been dissed, but maybe you should take it as a compliment. Contrary to common cliches, our Pleistocene relatives were clever, curious, and technologically inventive. Find out how our assessment of Neanderthals has undergone a radical rethinking, and
hear about the influence they have as they live on in our DNA. For example, some of their genes have a strong association with severe Covid 19 infection. Plus, how Neanderthal mini-brains grown in a lab will teach us about the evolution of Homo sapiens.

Guests:

  • Svante Pääbo – Evolutionary geneticist and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
  • Doyle Stevick – Associate professor of educational leadership and policies at the University of South Carolina.
  • Beverly Brown – Professor emerita of anthropology, Rockland Community College, New York.
  • Rebecca Wragg Sykes – Paleolithic anthropologist, author of “Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art.”
  • Alysson Muotri – Neuroscientist and professor of pediatrics, cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine

This repeat podcast originally aired on March 22 2021

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/neanderthal-in-the-family

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, May 09, 2022

Big Picture Science for May. 9, 2022 - Catching Fire








 

Big Picture Science - Catching Fire

We have too much “bad fire.” Not only destructive wildfires, but the combustion that powers our automobiles and provides our electricity has generated a worrying rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. And that is driving climate change which is adding to the frequency of megafires. Now we’re seeing those effects in “fire-clouds,” pyrocumulonimbus events.

But there’s such a thing as “good fire.” Indigenous peoples managed the land with controlled fires, reaped the benefits of doing so, and they’re bringing them back.

So after millions of years of controlling fire, is it time for us to revisit our attitudes and policies, not just with regard to combustion, but how we manage our wildfires?

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/catching-fire

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, May 02, 2022

Big Picture Science for May. 2, 2022 - Skeptic Check: Dr. Oz









Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz’s personable and folky approach when talking about difficult health subjects has made him a trusted source for medical information. But some of the claims offered on The Doctor Oz Show are clearly questionable, such as the existence of miracle diet pills. Now the show is on hiatus so tha
“America’s Doctor” can run for the U.S. Senate.

In our regular look at critical thinking, Skeptic Check, we evaluate Mehmet Oz’s record on presenting evidence-based health and medical information in light of his running for Congress, where he would be empowered to influence health policy.

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-dr-oz

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Big Picture Science for April. 25, 2022 - In Living Color







Big Picture Science - In Living Color

(REPEAT) The world is a colorful place, and human eyes have evolved to take it in – from vermillion red to bright tangerine to cobalt blue. But when we do, are you and I seeing the same thing?

Find out why color perception is a trick of the brain, and why you and I may not see the same shade of green. Or blue. Or red. Also, platypuses and the growing club of fluorescent mammals, and the first new blue pigment in more than two centuries.

Guests:


This repeat podcast originally aired on March 8, 2021


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/living-color

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Big Picture Science for April. 18, 2022 - Eclectic Company







Big Picture Science - Eclectic Company

(REPEAT) We present a grab bag of our favorite recent science stories – from how to stop aging to the mechanics of cooking pasta. Also, in accord with our eclectic theme – the growing problem of space junk.   

Guests:

  • Anthony Wyss-Coray – Professor of neuroscience at Stanford University
  • Oliver O’Reilly – Professor of mechanical engineering, University of California Berkeley.
  • Moriba Jah – Professor of aerospace and engineering mechanics, University of Texas

This repeat podcast originally aired on March 1, 2021

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/eclectic-company

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Big Picture Science for April. 11, 2022 - Finding Endurance









Big Picture Science - Finding Endurance

In 1915, Endurance, the ship that took Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic, was slowly crushed and sank. Shackleton, and the 28 men he brought with him, were camped on the ice near the ship, and watched helplessly as their transport went to a watery grave, two miles down.

But a recent expedition has found the Endurance, taking the world back to the last hurrah of the heroic age of polar expedition. How was it found, and what will be done with it?

Also, while feats of exploration inspire TV shows and magazine articles, do they have other functions in society? Is modern exploration more than just a nice thing to do?

We go to the bottom of the world on “Finding Endurance.”

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/finding-endurance

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!


Monday, April 04, 2022

Big Picture Science for April. 4, 2022 - Go With the Flow







Big Picture Science - Go With the Flow

(REPEAT) Solid materials get all the production credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their strength and firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid, too. Their free-flowing properties drive the Earth’s magnetic field, inspire a new generation of smart electronics, and make biology possible. But the weird thing is, they elude clear definition. Is tar a liquid or a solid? What about peanut butter?

In this episode: A romp through a cascade of liquids with a materials scientist who is both admiring and confounded by their properties; how Earth’s molten iron core is making the magnetic north pole high-tail it to Siberia; blood as your body’s information superhighway; and how a spittlebug can convert 200 times its body weight in urine into a cozy, bubble fortress.

Guests:


This repeat podcast originally aired on April 8, 2019

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/go-with-the-flow

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Big Picture Science for Mar. 28, 2022 - The Latest Buzz









Big Picture Science - The Latest Buzz

Is your windshield accumulating less bug splatter? Insects, the most numerous animals on Earth, are becoming scarcer, and that’s not good news. They’re essential, and not just for their service as pollinators. We ask what’s causing the decrease in insect populations, and how can it be reversed.

Also, the story of how California’s early citrus crops came under attack – a problem that was solved by turning Nature on itself. And how chimpanzee “doctors” use insects to treat wounds.

We investigate the small and the many on “The Latest Buzz.”

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/the-latest-buzz

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Big Picture Science for Mar. 21, 2022 - Nuclear Worries









Big Picture Science - Nuclear Worries

The nuclear threat is back, and the Doomsday Clock is almost at midnight. How did we end up here again? In the 1930s, German physicists learned that splitting the nuclei of heavy atoms could release tremendous amounts of energy. Such theoretical ideas became relevant when WW II began.

Today, we try to eliminate nuclear weaponry while exploiting the atom for peaceful uses, such as energy generation. But as the invasion of Ukraine shows, power plants can also be military targets. We lay out some of the questions that scientists and strategists are grappling with considering recent events.

Guests:


Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/nuclear-worries

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.

Get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!