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 Ultimate Hook Up

Imagine moving things with your mind. Not with telekinesis, but with the future tools of brain science. Meet a pioneer in the field of computer-to-brain connection and discover the blurry boundary where the mind ends and the machine begins.

Plus, how new technology is sharpening the "real" in virtual reality. And, whether our devotion to digital devices is changing what it means to be human.

Guests:

Descripción en español

07/04/11



 
 Skeptic Check: There're Baack!

Could you have had a past life? Is it possible that some part of you is the reincarnation of a person –“ or maybe an animal –“ that lived long ago?

We´ll hear the story of a young boy who started having nightmares about a plane crash. His parents thought he was the reincarnation of a downed, World War II fighter pilot. But his story might not fly.

Also ... is there any biological basis for reincarnation? Animals that indulge in the big sleep.

Suspended animation is Hollywood´s favorite device for interstellar travel ... But could we really put a dimmer switch on human metabolism? Learn how techniques for hitting the hold button for humans might be just around the corner.

Guests:

Descripción en español

06/27/11



 
 No Expiration Date

We all have to go sometime, and that final hour is the mother of all deadlines. But scientists are working to file an extension. Discover how far we can push the human expiration date.

Plus, the animal with the shortest lifespan and the chemistry that causes your pot-roast to eventually clothe itself in fuzzy green mold.

Also, a clock that won´t stop ticking (for 10,000 years) and our love-hate relationship with that long-lived hydrocarbon that keeps our snack cakes fresh: plastic!

Guests:

06/13/11



 
 Space Archaeology

Indiana Jones meets Star Trek in the field of space archaeology. Satellites scan ancient ruins so that scientists can map them without disturbing one grain of sand. Discover how some archaeologists forsake their spades and brushes in favor of examining historic sites from hundreds of miles high.

Also, if you were to hunt for alien artifacts –“ what would you look for? Why ET might choose to send snail mail rather than a radio signal.

Plus, the culture of the hardware we send into space, and roaming the Earth, the moon, and Mars the Google way.

Guests:

  • Alice Gorman –“ Archaeologist at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  • Robin Hanson –“ Economist at George Mason University, Virginia
  • Tiffany Montague –“ Engineer, and Intergalactic Federation King Almighty, Commander of the Universe, at Google, Inc.
  • Compton Tucker –“ Scientist at NASA´s Goddard Space Flight Center

Descripción en español

06/06/11



 
 Remembers Only

You must remember this... wait, wait… I had it... on the tip of my tongue... (Memory is a tricky thing and most of us would like to improve it)... oh, yes: Discover the secrets of stupefying, knock-your-socks-off recall by a U.S. Memory Champion.

Also, almost everything we know about memory comes from the life of one man born in 1926 and known as H.M., the world´s "most unforgettable amnesiac."

Plus, the sum total of the global data storage capacity in hard drives, thumb drives, the Internet, you name it... guess how many exabytes it comes to?

Guests:

05/30/11



 
 [Rectangular Container] Thinking

By thinking different, scientists can make extrordinary breakthroughs. Learn about the creative cogitation that led to the discovery of dark matter and the invention of a.c. power grids, disinfectant, and the Greek "death ray." Also, whether one person´s man of genius is another´s mad scientist.

And, the scientist who claims pi is wrong and biopunks who tinker with DNA –“ in their kitchens and on the cheap.

Plus, from string theory to the greenhouse effect –“ how metaphor sheds light on science. Discover why your brain is like a rain forest (that´s a simile!).

Guests:

05/23/11



 
 Physics Phrontiers

ENCORE Physics means getting physical if you´re tackling the biggest, most mysterious questions in the universe. Stoic scientists endure the driest, darkest, coldest spots on the planet to find out how it all began and why there´s something rather than nothing. From the bottom of an old iron mine to the top of the Andes, we´ll hear their stories.

Plus, Steven Weinberg on this weird stuff called dark energy, and Leonard Susskind sees double, no, triple, no, ...infinite universes.

Guests:

Descripción en español

05/16/11



 
 Thanks for the Memories

ENCORE Memories are slippery things –“ some are crystal clear, others more like a muddy pool, and some... well, they seem to vanish completely.

Scientists admit that memory is all very complicated, but one piece of the puzzle lies in how we age –“ we´ll hear the latest research.

Meanwhile, meet the man who digitally logged his every waking moment –“ and why maybe the secret to happiness isn´t in remembering but in forgetting.

Plus, the case for deleting data from your hard-drive... and from your brain itself.

Guests:

Descripción en español

05/09/11



 
 Skeptic Check: Mayhem and Octoberhem

The end is nigh. Only, on which nigh should we rely? According to billboards, Judgment Day is in May and the end of the world follows months later. But other authorities claim 2012 as the apocalyptic year, as predicted by the ancient Mayans. It´s a busy time for doomsday prophecy.

Find out what´s driving these pessimistic predictions and whether it´s time to cash in your stock portfolio.

Meanwhile, a survey of the real threats to Earth, and indeed to the universe, from asteroids, exploding stars, or a big cosmic rip. And the lingering menace of atomic weapons… Is nuclear war inevitable or can intelligence and political will forestall atomic Armageddon?

Finally, why everything´s going to be alright! An optimist´s tour of the future.

It´s Skeptic Check, our monthly look at critical thinking on Are We Alone.

Guests:

Descripción en español

05/02/11



 
 Fuel's Paradise

You know the joke about the car and the snail. Look at that escargot? Well, snails may be the only thing not powering the automobiles of the future. Trees, grass, algae, even the garbage you toss on the sidewalk has potential for conversion into biofuel. What is America´s next top model fuel? Join us on a tour of the contenders.

Meet a man who´s mad about miscanthus ... an astrobiologist´s attraction to algae... and the blueprint for building your own biofuel bugs.

Also, discover whether any of these next-generation fuel sources could take us to the stars. Put that in your rocket and burn it!

Guests:

  • Madhu Khanna –“ Professor of Agriculture and Environmental Economics at the University of Illinois and at the Energy Biosciences Institute
  • Stephen Long –“ Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Michelle Chang –“ Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley
  • Bret Stroegn –“ Graduate student researcher, Energy Bioscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley
  • Jonathan Trent –“ Bioengineering Research Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center and founder of Global Research into Energy and the Enviornment (GREEN )
  • Richard Obousy –“ Physicist and co-founder and project leader for Project Icarus

Descripción en español

04/25/11


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