Jan 31, 2011
You´re right: it´s a show about ESP. And, correct again: we´re excited about the publication of a paper that claims precognition exists. You´ve already divined what our paranormal investigator says about the paper, whether the statistics that it cites are significant, and what the editor-in-chief of a major scientific journal has to say on the tricky matter of publishing such a result at all.
You´re not surprised that Brains on Vacation takes on the matter of Armageddon-by-exploding-star, because, you knew that. You also knew that it will be an excellent show. But, tune in anyway –“ consider it a repeat.
- Bruce Alberts –“ Editor-in-chief of Science
- Jim Underdown –“ Executive Director, Center for Inquiry –“ Los Angeles
- Jeff Rouder –“ Quantitative psychologist, University of Missouri
- Phil Plait –“ Skeptic and keeper of the website badastronomy.com
- Steve Macknik –“ Neuroscientist, author of Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions
Jan 24, 2011
We all hear about research discoveries, but what about what scientists don´t find? Tune in for a round-up of eureka moments that have yet to come, such as the hunt for the dark energy of the universe and the search for the elusive elementary particle responsible for the mass of objects.
Also, we miss the woolly mammoth so much, scientists plan to clone the hairy beast and bring the extinct animal back.
Plus, why the missing link is no longer missing, what extrasolar planets have now been found, and –“ NASA money for science: where´d it go?
- Alan Stern –“ Aerospace consultant and planetary scientist
- Natalie Batalha –“ Deputy Science Team Lead for NASA´s Kepler Mission
- Leslea Hlusko –“ Biologist at the University of California, Berkeley
- Ian Sample –“ Science writer, author of Massive: The Missing Particle That Sparked the Greatest Hunt in Science
- Saul Perlmutter –“ Physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Darin Croft –“ Professor of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland
Jan 17, 2011
It´s the star of our solar system, but much about the Sun is still mysterious. Find out what a new NASA mission to our favorite fireball might discover about its super-hot outer regions.
Also, why the most common stars in the galaxy don´t shine thanks to nuclear energy as our Sun does. And, recreating Sol´s energy source on Earth at the National Ignition Facility.
Plus, an ex-Star Wars animator and photographer on how to film an atomic blast.
- Peter Kuran –“ An animator on Star Wars, now a filmmaker, documentarian of “”http://www.atomcentral.com/trinity.html">Trinity and Beyond," and author of How To Photograph an Atomic Bomb
- Davy Kirkpatrick –“ Astronomer, California Institute of Technology, and scientist for NASA´s WISE mission
- Stuart Bale –“ Physicist at the University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory
- Mike Dunne –“ Physicist, and Program Director for Fusion Energy at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
Jan 10, 2011
Random is as random does… makes sense doesn´t even that anyway in tune hear to randomness how lives rules.
Brain chaos the drives, restoration role of help insight ecology may into randomness the, numbers sense of make statistics can´t why we or, ants not seem of erratic behavior why the may but is.
- Leonard Mlodinow –“ Theoretical physicist and author of The Drunkard´s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (Vintage)
- Jon Chase –“ Biologist and director of the Tyson Research center at Washington University in St. Louis
- Lori Marino –“ Evolutionary biologist, Emory University
- Deborah Gordon –“ Biologist, Stanford University
- John Beggs –“ Physicist, Indiana University at Bloomington
Jan 3, 2011
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!
- Jo Marchant –“ Freelance science journalist and author of Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer—and the Century-Long Search to Discover Its Secrets
- Stephen Wolfram –“ Mathematican, computer programmer, and founder of Wolfram Research and Wolfram Alpha
- Fred Stutzman –“ PhD student at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science
- Peggy Orenstein –“ author and contributing editor to the New York Times Magazine, which is where we found her article "Stop Your Search Engines"
- Ray Kurzweil –“ Inventor, futurist and author, most recently, of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
Dec 27, 2010
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.
- Steve Brusatte –“ Vertebrate paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History in New York
- Steven Pinker –“ Psychologist, Harvard University
- Geoff Marcy –“ Astronomer, University of California, Berkeley
- Adam Showman –“ Planetary scientist at the University of Arizona
- Mike Collins –“ Associate Director, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory
Dec 20, 2010
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.
- James Geary –“ Author and journalist. Read “The Man Who Was Allergic to Radio Waves”
- Richard Muller –“ Professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide
- Devra Davis –“ Scientist, and author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family
Dec 13, 2010
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?
- Charles Seife –“ Professor of journalism at New York University, and author of Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception
- James Kakalios –“ Professor of physics at the University of Minnesota, and author of The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science that Made Our World
- Leonard Mlodinow –“ Physicist, and author with Stephen Hawking of The Grand Design
- Aimee Ellington –“ Professor of mathematics at Virginia Commonwealth University
Dec 6, 2010
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.
- Dickson Despommier -” Emeritus professor of public health and microbiology at Columbia University, author of The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century
- William Gibson -” Author, most recently, of Zero History
- Joel Cohen -” Mathematician and biologist at Rockefeller University
- David DeGusta -” Paleoanthropologist at the Paleoanthropology Institute in California
Nov 29, 2010
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?
- Robert Nadeau –“ Geologist, University of California, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory and part of a team from Rice University researching the San Andreas Fault
- Joel Achenbach –“ Reporter, author of "When Yellowstone Explodes", August 2009 National Geographic cover story
- Jim Kauahikaua –“ Scientist-in-Charge, United States Geologic Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
- Pat Kambesis –“ Geologist, Assistant Director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at Western Kentucky University
Nov 22, 2010
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.
- Clifford Nass –“ Social psychologist at Stanford University and Director of the Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab
- Tom Jones –“ United States astronaut, space consultant, and veteran of four Space Shuttle flights
- Chris Ford –“ Business director at Pixar Animation Studios
- Eric Van De Graaff –Cardiologist at Alegent Health
- James Bennighof –“ Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and professor of music theory at Baylor University in Texas
- Kathy Abbott –“ Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Flight Deck Human Factors at the Federal Aviation Administration
- Kristian Hammond –“ Co-founder, Narrative Science
Nov 15, 2010
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!
- Phil Plait –“ Keeper of the skeptical website badastronomy.com
- Benjamin Radford –“ Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and managing editor of "Skeptical Inquirer Science Magazine"
- Leslie Kean –“ Journalist, and author of UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record
- Susan Clancy –“ Psychology Researcher, Harvard University
and author of Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens
- Thomas Bullard –“ Folkorist at Indiana University and author of The Myth and Mystery of UFOs
Nov 8, 2010
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.
Nov 1, 2010
Humans are pleasure-seekers –“ from food to sex to fine art. But do we know why we crave what we do? Discover the surprising motivation behind our desires. Also, why our hedonistic cousins, the bonobos, may hold the secret to world peace.
Plus, self-awareness in monkeys: can they really pass the mirror test? Can bacteria, for that matter? Nope! But since you are, cell for cell, more microbe than human, you´ll want to know just how cognitively aware these critters are.
- Paul Bloom –“ Psychologist at Yale University and author of How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like
- Julie Neiworth –“ Psychologist, Carleton College
- Vanessa Woods –“ Research scientist at Duke University and author of Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo. Find out more about helping bonobos.
- Jim Shapiro –“ Bacterial geneticist, University of Chicago
Oct 25, 2010
If a tree feel on another planet, would we be able to detect it? Not quite yet –“ but we might be able to tell if the planet was habitable. A living-planet is the promise of newly-discovered Gliese 581g. But does the planet exist at all?
Discover how we learn a planet´s geology and chemistry from afar. Also, what we learn about a civilization from what it discards, beginning with our own sloppy habits.
Plus, the hunt for derelict alien spaceships… and a man who sketches alien creatures for a living –“ based on real science.
- Lisa Kaltenegger –“ Astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Brad Bebout –“ Biologist, NASA Ames Research Center
- Robin Nagle –“ Anthropologist, New York University
- Robin Hanson –“ Economist, George Mason University
- Joel Hagen –“ Computer graphics instructor, Modesto Junior College