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Are We Alone Back
 Skeptic Check: Sheer Lunacy

ENCORE Watch out, the moon is full... of intrigue. Our lovely satellite is blamed for all sorts of Earth-bound mischief –“ from robberies to shape-shifting to general nutty behavior. It´s also the setting for more than one loony tale. In this hour, as NASA spacecraft return to the moon, a look at the mythology it inspires.

Discover the true correlation between crime and a full moon... the 1835 reports of unicorns and man-bats living on moon... and, our favorite hair-raising howler: the werewolf! Also, why some still insist the Apollo moon landing is a hoax.

Plus, space travel –“ boxed and bundled.


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 What Makes Us Human Part I: Others

Are humans unique or do we just do some things a little better than other species? In the first of our two-part series on the nature of humanity: how the influence of others has shaped our evolution.

Find out how baby talk gave root to human language and why social isolation can make us sick. Plus, the joke´s on us –“ new research says we´re not the only laughing species: meet your giggling gorilla cousins.

And, what a writer´s visit to a chimp retirement center revealed about human discomfort with our animal ancestry.

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 Light, the Universe, and Everythings

What´s it all about? And we mean ALL. What makes up this vast sprawling cosmos? Why does it exist? Why do we exist? Why is there something rather than nothing? Ow, my head hurts!

For possible answers, we travel to the moment after the Big Bang and discover all that came into being in those few minutes after the great flash: time, space, matter, and light. Plus, the bizarre stuff that makes up the bulk of the universe: dark energy and dark matter.

Also, what we set in motion with the invention of the light blub. How artificial light lit up our homes, our cities and –“ inadvertently –“ our skies.



 Say What?

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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 We've Got You Made

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.


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 Skeptic Check: Superstition

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!



 Rxs Get Personal

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.


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 Bug Off!

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?


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 What's Your Poison?

“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.



 Grave Matters

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 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.


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