Topic

  • podcast_img_279
    You must not remember this. Indeed, it may be key to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things; otherwise we’d have the images of every face we saw on the subway rattling around our head all day long. Yet we’re building
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  • podcast_img_278
    ENCORE Zombies are making a killing in popular culture. But where did the idea behind these mythical, cerebrum-supping nasties come from? Discover why they may be a hard-wired inheritance from our Pleistocene past. Also, how a whimsical mathematical model of a Zombie apocalypse can help
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    ENCORE You can get your point across in many ways: email, texts, or even face-to-face conversation (does anyone do that anymore?). But ants use chemical messages when organizing their ant buddies for an attack on your kitchen. Meanwhile, your human brain sends messages to other
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  • podcast_img_211
    ENCORE Mooooove over, make way for the cows, the chickens … and other animals! Humans can learn a lot from our hairy, feathered, four-legged friends. We may wear suits and play Sudoku, but Homo sapiens are primates just the same. We’ve met the animal, and
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  • podcast_img_201
    ENCORE If two is company and three a crowd, what’s the ideal number to write a play or invent a new operating system? Some say you need groups to be creative. Others disagree: breakthroughs come only in solitude. Hear both sides, and find out why
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  • podcast_img_277
    We all may prefer the goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold. But most of the universe is bitterly cold. We can learn a lot about it if we’re willing to brave a temperature drop. A chilly Arctic island is the closest thing
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  • podcast_img_276
    Monsters don’t exist. Except when they do. And extinction is forever, except when it isn’t. So, which animals are mythical and which are in hiding? Bigfoot sightings are plentiful, but real evidence for the hirsute creature is a big zilch. Yet, the coelacanth, a predatory
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  • podcast_img_274
    Imagine a world without algebra. We can hear the sound of school children applauding. What practical use are parametric equations and polynomials, anyway? Even some scholars argue that algebra is the Latin of today, and should be dropped from the mandatory curriculum. But why stop
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  • podcast_img_236
    ENCORE We’ve all had an “oops” moment. Scientists are no exception. Sometimes science stumbles in the steady march of progress. Find out why cold fusion is a premier example why you shouldn’t hold a press conference before publishing your results. Also, how to separate fumbles
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  • podcast_img_273
    After the winds and water of Typhoon Haiyan abated, grief and hunger swept though the Philippines, along with the outbreak of disease. Are monster storms the new normal in a warmer world? Some scientists say yes, and if so, climate change is already producing real
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  • podcast_img_272
    A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and transportation systems as
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  • podcast_img_199
    ENCORE Time keeps on ticking, ticking … and as it does, evolution operates to produce remarkable changes in species. Wings may appear, tails disappear. Sea creatures drag themselves onto the shore and become landlubbers. But it’s not easy to grasp the expansive time scales involved
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  • podcast_img_271
    “Sorry, closed for business.” That sign hung on doors of national laboratories when the US government shut down. What that meant for one Antarctic researcher: her critically important work was left out in the cold. So just what do we lose when public funds for
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  • podcast_img_270
    It was the most famous invasion that never happened. But Orson Welles’ 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast sure sounded convincing as it used news bulletins and eyewitness accounts to describe an existential Martian attack. The public panicked. Or did it? New research says that
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  • podcast_img_269
    Your brain is made up of cells. Each one does its own, cell thing. But remarkable behavior emerges when lots of them join up in the grey matter club. You are a conscious being – a single neuron isn’t. Find out about the counter-intuitive process
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