ENCORE There´s no escape from the chattering classes –“ they talk, squawk, squeal and sing all around us. Every animal communicates in some form –“ it´s essential for survival. They´ve evolved to understand each other ... but do we understand them?
Find out what´s coded in humpback whale song and whether human-cetacean dialogue is possible... how information theory reveals communication patterns within the animal kingdom... how plants call out to animals to protect them... and why only humans evolved language.
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Wish you could ditch computers? There´s no escape button for that. Computers are not only a part of your daily grind, they may soon be a part of you. We´ll hear from the world´s first cyborg about why we should make nice in our arms race with machines.
Also, the secret behind the extraordinary breakthroughs that DARPA scientists are making –“ from building autonomous cars to wiring robotic surgeons.
Plus, making space for humans... and their bodily functions: the engineering tricks of toiletry. And, a carbon-based astronaut on the view of Earth from orbit.
Wait! Before you step outside… is it Friday the 13th? Any black cats prowling around? Broken a mirror lately? Homo sapiens are a superstitious lot. Find out why our brains are wired for irrational belief. Plus, from the 2012-end-of-the-world prophesy to colliding planets –“ why some people believe the universe is out to get –˜em.
Also, Brains on Vacation takes on a challenge to relativity and our Hollywood skeptic has doubts about exorcism. It´s enough to make your head spin on Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it!
ENCORE Medicine´s back.. and this time it´s personal. Get ready to have your genome read... your brain scanned... and undergo a chemical analysis so detailed, it´ll reveal the Twinkie you had for lunch. Everyone´s different, and reading those differences at the level of the gene may provide a more accurate profile of health and how to treat disease. But are you ready to know what´s wrong with you?
Discover the future of personalized medicine with biologist Craig Venter, as well as a man who turned his body over to the new science. Learn what his tests revealed.
Plus, why stem cell research really is a horse race. And, why getting sick is sometimes the best thing.
What you can´t see ... can make you sick. Humans have been battling viruses and bacteria since the beginning of time. The malaria parasite has been keeping deadly company with us for 500,000 years. King Tut had it and so did Julius Caesar. What´s keeping this bug going today?
Also, how disease almost halted the most ambitious engineering project in the world ... how elite disease detectives puzzle out perplexing epidemics ... And –“ could tiny bugs from spaaace, ace, ace be our ancestors?
“Aspirin and Old Lace?” Okay, it would take a bottle full of pills in a glass of elderberry wine to really harm you, but aspirin can be deadly. So can too much of anything, including water. Dose is key in toxicology, after all, but there are some poisons that can do deadly work in tiny amounts.
Hear about the chemistry of poisons ... why Botox may freeze your emotions as well as your face... which animal is most lethal to humans... and how 19th-century poisoners got away with murder –“ until the birth of forensic science.
ENCORE We could choose not to pay income tax and suffer the consequences. But we can´t avoid death. The biological functions of all organisms eventually cease. But why should this be? Find out why animals die and meet one creature that is biologically immortal.
Plus, a trip to the Body Farm where decaying bodies help science...how we might cheat the Big Sleep with drugs... why Mexican cemeteries look like villages... and a doctor´s fight against one of the world´s deadliest diseases.
ENCORE A new herbal supplements is on the shelf, and it claims to improve memory. Should you take it? It´s not easy to sort through the firehose of health and nutrition advice that comes at us daily. Find out how to get healthy about health advice, plus hear the story of Bernarr Macfadden, the eccentric who kicked off America´s fitness craze; he believed that eating less was good for you, but he didn´t believe germ theory.
Plus, our Hollywood skeptic spills his guts and other entrails for a phony class for nurses and Phil Plait gives us the latest lapse in critically-thinking brains.
It´s Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it.
Shh –“ can you keep it down? Nope. Not unless you want to do away with civilization. Our buzzing, humming, whirling, machine-driven world is a poster child for technological progress, right? As is hearing loss. It´s driven one man to search the world for silence. We´ll hear what he didn´t hear, and what Einstein predicted we should hear in deep space, where gravitational waves may reveal the hidden sounds of the universe, including the birth of black holes.
The recipe for being a scientist was easy in the old days... just be born into a rich family, have an interest in nature and plenty of time to indulge yourself. But are the days of gentlemen scientists over? Maybe not.
We go to the Maker Faire and check out how small-scale projects have big-scale ambitions.
Also, how everyday experience often tells us something profound about the universe.