ENCORE Birds do it. Bees do it. But no one sings about how they do it. And frankly, not even Cole Porter can make bedroom behavior that involves decapitating your mate sound romantic. And what rhymes with "cannibalism?" But the animal world abounds with bizarre sexual behavior... and it´s all perfectly normal.
Find out how female spiders lure males to their doom... why dolphins are the friskiest of mammals... whether E.T. would have sex... and why sexual reproduction evolved in the first place.
Also, why the marketing gurus have it all wrong: driving a Hummer or wearing Gucci won´t help you land a mate. Find out what will.
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When the IBM computer, Watson, snatched the "Jeopardy" title from its human competition, that raised the question of just how smart are machines? Could artificial intelligence ever beat humans at their own game... of being human?
Hear why an A.I. expert says it´s time to make peace with your P.C.; the machines are coming. Also, why technology is already self-evolving, and presenting its own demands. Find out what technology wants.
And, a man who went head-to-chip with a computer and says machines will never beat the human mind. Plus, we take a voyage into "2011: An Emotional Odyssey."
If Bigfoot walks through a forest and no one sees him, does he exist? It´s the job of paranormal investigator Joe Nickell to find out! Discover whether eyewitness accounts are reliable when it comes to tracking down the hirsute big guy and other monsters.
Also, on the subject of "seeing is believing": how magic fools the brain.
Plus, in our potpourri show: can music boost brain power? A new study says listening to music makes brains happy. Does this support the dubious "Mozart Effect," that claims listening to Wolfie´s compositions boosts IQ?
And, skeptic Phil Plait on why the so-called "super moon theory" doesn´t predict devastating earthquakes.
It´s Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it.
ENCORE Being first counts in science. Land that coveted spot and you´ll make history, whether it´s with the first steam engine or the discovery of our earliest human ancestor.
But what does "first" mean when technological invention so heavily builds on what´s come before… and evolution represents continuous change?
Find out how "publish or perish" made Darwin famous... why we´ll never find the first human fossil... and how powerful new telescopes are allowing us to see the earliest galaxies.
Plus, the chicken and egg battle it out in line.
ENCORE From the double-helix to the expansion of the universe, great scientific discoveries reshape our understanding of who we are and how things work. But great discoveries require more than just a great mind. We tour brainy breakthroughs from Archimedes to Darwin, and find out what made their revolutionary insights possible.
Also, why you need more than a stratospheric I.Q. to be a super-achiever. And how the invention of reading re-directed the course of civilization and re-wired our brains in the process.
The weaker the mixture, the stronger the potency. That paradox is a central tenet of homeopathy. More than 200 years old and developed long before germ theory, the practice is the fastest growing form of alternative medicine worldwide.
Proponents say its diluted remedies cure disease. Most scientists maintain there´s nothing in homeopathic solution but water. We´ll hear the arguments, and also the role placebos might be playing in the cure.
Plus, skeptic Phil Plait voyages to the edge of the solar system where a new planet has been discovered ... maybe!
And, consider our brains: the product of millions of years of evolution. So why aren´t we more consistent in our reasoning?
It´s Skeptic Check.... but don´t take our word for it.
Think small to solve big problems. That, in a nutshell, is the promise of nanotechnology. In this barely visible world, batteries charge 100 times faster and drugs go straight to their targets in the body. Discover some of these nano breakthroughs and how what you can´t see can help you...
...or hurt you? What if tiny machines turn out to be nothing but trouble? We´ll look at the health and safety risks of nanotech.
Plus, scaling up in science fiction: why a Godzilla-sized insect is fun, but just doesn´t fly.
Earth may not be rare after all. New data from NASA´s Kepler mission suggests that the universe is chock-a-block with planets. More than a thousand new possible planets have just been found, and more than fifty of these might be suitable for life. Ready for cosmic company? We discuss the results of the Kepler mission in a roundtable with some of its top scientists.
Meanwhile, the Voyager spacecraft continues to be humanity´s point man in the race to interstellar space. Poised to leave our solar system, we reflect on the mission –“ including its on-board messages for aliens.
Plus, out-of-this world science. From lab coats to warp speed: does Hollywood get it right? Does it matter?
It´s the perennial dream: build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. We go to San Jose´s famed Tech Museum to learn what it takes to turn a good idea into a grand success.
Remember the Super Soaker squirt gun? Hear how its inventor is now changing the rules for solar energy.
Where do good ideas come from? A Eureka moment in the bathtub? We´ll find out that it doesn´t happen so quickly –“ or easily.
And finally, the life cycle of society-changing technologies, from the birth of radio to the future of the Internet.
Inventions, inventors and innovation: all part of the mix on "Better Mousetrap."
You´re right: it´s a show about ESP. And, correct again: we´re excited about the publication of a paper that claims precognition exists. You´ve already divined what our paranormal investigator says about the paper, whether the statistics that it cites are significant, and what the editor-in-chief of a major scientific journal has to say on the tricky matter of publishing such a result at all.
You´re not surprised that Brains on Vacation takes on the matter of Armageddon-by-exploding-star, because, you knew that. You also knew that it will be an excellent show. But, tune in anyway –“ consider it a repeat.