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?
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!).
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.
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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.
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.
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!
The universe is big –“ really big.* Galaxies, for instance, are often large enough to hold a trillion stars. But how did these heavenly heavyweights come to be? Hear how still-mysterious dark matter is implicated in the birth of galaxies.
Also, gamma ray bursts –“ explosions more energetic than anything since the Big Bang –“ take place somewhere in the visible universe every day. What are they, and could they obliterate life on Earth?
And, the biggest cosmic mystery de jour: dark energy. Why new, super-size telescopes may finally reveal just what it is.
We´re living large on "Big, Really Big."
*appreciative nod to Douglas Adams
ENCORE Public distrust of science is higher than at any time since the Enlightenment. New Yorker writer Michael Specter argues how our anti-science bias and our irrationalism about everything from genetically modified foods to climate change to childhood vaccines endangers our future.
And remember when... a look back at scientists who at first pooh-poohed plate tectonics… meteorites, and quantum physics. How the evidence turned them around.
It´s Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it.
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.
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."