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ENCORE The march of computer technology continues. But as silicon chips and search engines become faster and more productive –“ can the same be said for us?
The creator of Wolfram Alpha describes how his new "computational knowledge engine" is changing –“ and improving –“ how we process information. Meanwhile, suffering from data and distraction burnout? Find out what extremes some folks take to stop their search engines.
Also, the Singularity sensation of humans merging with machines... and, why for the ancient Greeks all of this is "been there, done that." A deep sea dive turns up a 2,000 year old computer!
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ENCORE It´s always an adventure to go digging in Seth´s storage locker –“ who knows what we´ll find ...
In this imposing pile of paraphernalia, tucked between boxes of socket wrenches and old 45s, we stumble upon the hunt for extrasolar planets, the evidence for water on moons of the solar system, theories of language, a controversial hypothesis for the peopling of the Americas, and a new dinosaur fossil.
Every ten microseconds, someone places a cell phone call. These portable gadgets are ubiquitous, and increasingly a take-for-granted part of everyday life.
But could cell phones be dangerous? Could holding a microwave transmitter up to your head for hours each day substantially increase the risk of cancer?
We investigate some of the latest thinking on the danger of cell phones, and also explain that everyone –“ even you –“ is a radio transmitter.
It´s Skeptic Check on Are We Alone. And we´ve got your number.
The language of science is mathematics. As incredible as it seems, the universe seems to run according to laws we can write down on chalkboards.
But it´s not just lab-coated researchers who wield the tool of math: Madison Avenue knows that if they tell you that a shampoo is 32 percent better, you´re likely to buy it.
Also, how scientists of the early twentieth century were forced to invent entirely new mathematical paradigms to describe the cosmos on big scales and small –“ the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Plus, what about everyday arithmetic? Have pocket calculators and digital cash registers dumbed down the populace?
The times are a changing -" rising temperatures, growing population, and new technology coming at us faster than a greased cheetah.
So how will humans respond? Find out about future farming in the city -" your vegetables might be grown in downtown, hi-rise greenhouses. Also, a population expert tells us how our planet can cope with billions more people, and the man who invented the term -˜cyberspace describes what the future might hold for the techno-savvy.
Darwinian evolution takes a long time to accommodate to new environments. But Homo sapiens can beat that rap by wielding the right technology -" and becoming early adapters.
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ENCORE We think of major geologic events as taking place a long time ago –“ but the Earth is just as active as it ever was. We´re a planet in motion. Discover why earthquakes might be increasing worldwide... descend into daring cave exploration... and take a trip to Hawaii where new volcanoes are gurgling up right now.
Plus –“ the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park… when might it erupt again?
You are one-of-a-kind, unique, indispensible... oh, wait, never mind! It seems that computer over there can do what you do ... faster and with greater accuracy.
Yes, it´s silicon vs. carbon as intelligent, interactive machines out-perform humans in tasks beyond data-crunching. We´re not only building our successors, we´re developing emotional relationships with them. Find out why humans are hard-wired to be attached to androids.
Also, the handful of areas where humans still rule... as pilots, doctors and journalists. Scratch that! Journalism is automated too –“ tune in for a news story written solely by a machine.
They´re here! About one-third of all Americans believe we´re being visited by extraterrestrial spacecraft. But wait, you want evidence?
UFO sighting are as prevalent as flies at a picnic. But proof of visitation –“ well, that´s really alien.
Hear why belief in extraterrestrial UFOs persists ... and why military sightings that "can´t be explained" don´t warrant rolling out a welcome mat for ET.
Plus, the most fab UFOs in the movies!
It´s Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it!
If someone asks where you get off, you can now respond with precision. Satellites and computers spit out coordinates accurate to a few paces. And digital maps stand the Copernican principle on its head –“ putting you at the center of everything (how does it feel?).
Find out how today´s maps are shuffling our world view. Also, how does a rat navigate a maze without GPS? Hear of the plotting that goes on in that tiny rodent brain.
Plus, mapping the universe and pinpointing just where we are in cosmic time –“ lucky for us, human evolution is right on schedule.