Podcast

Science Friday

Brain fun for curious people.

Episodes

  • Bio-Inspired Concrete, Nose Microbiome, Space News. May 29, 2020, Part 2

    May 29 2020

    The human microbiome—our own personalized bacteria profile—plays a part in our health. The different parts of our body, from our skin to our gut, each have their own microbial profile. A team of researchers decided to explore the bacteria living inside our nose, publishing this week in the journal Cell Reports. Microbiologist Sarah Lebeer, one of the authors of the study, discusses what beneficial bacteria reside in our nose—and how this could be used to create a probiotic for upper respiratory ...more

  • Vaccine Rate Decrease, Mind-Body Music. May 29, 2020, Part 1

    May 29 2020

    One unintended consequence of families sheltering at home is that children’s vaccination rates have gone way down. In New York City, for example, vaccine doses for kids older than two dropped by more than 90 percent. That could mean new outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, even while we’re struggling with COVID-19. Joining Ira to talk about decreasing vaccination rates are two pediatricians, James Campbell, professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore...more

  • Ancient East Asian Genomes, COVID And Clotting, And Cassowary Plumage. May 22, 2020, Part 2

    May 22 2020

    The cassowary, a large flightless bird native to Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, has a reputation for aggression and wickedly clawed feet that can cause serious injury. Indeed, they’ve been known to attack humans dozens of times, and even occasionally kill people. But they also have a beauty trick: Their glossy black body feathers have a structure for producing shine that’s never before been seen in birds. Where other black birds like crows are shiny because of structures in their fea...more

  • Degrees Of Change: Regulatory Rollbacks. May 22, 2020, Part 1

    May 22 2020

    The Trump administration is in the process of reversing nearly 100 environmental rules and regulations—threatening air, water, and public health. For example, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has relaxed enforcement for air pollution violations, allowing emissions to continue unchecked during the spread of a respiratory illness. “We’ve never seen anything like the systematic rollback of all things environmental the way we have in this administra...more

  • Galileo, Home COVID Monitoring Tech, Origin Of The Feces. May 15, 2020, Part 2

    May 15 2020

    Galileo’s Battle Against Science Denial Galileo Galilei is known as the father of observational astronomy. His theories about the movement of the Earth around the sun and his experiments testing principles of physics are the basis of modern astronomy. But he’s just as well known for his battles against science skeptics, having to defend his evidence against the political and religious critics and institutions of his time. In his new book Galileo and the Science Deniers, astrophysicist Mario Livi...more

  • Global COVID Hotspots, Fact Check My Feed, Koji Fermenting. May 15, 2020, Part 1

    May 15 2020

    Fact Check My Feed: Finding The Falsehoods In ‘Plandemic’ Science Friday continues to weigh the truth and sift through the seemingly never-ending stream of misleading claims about the novel coronavirus. This week, virologist Angela Rasmussen joins Ira to help us decipher the uncertainties around this week’s COVID-19 headlines. While what we know and don’t know about COVID-19 changes daily, some things are certain: Rasmussen lays out some of the many falsehoods in the viral “Plandemic” video that...more

  • Moon Maps, Brain Replay, Contact Tracing. May 8, 2020, Part 2

    May 08 2020

    Have you ever had to learn something new and repeat it over and over—until it feels like you’re doing it in your sleep? Maybe you are. In research published this week in the journal Cell Reports, scientists monitored the brain activity of two people implanted with fine grids of neural electrodes as part of a brain-computer interface study for tetraplegia: paralysis of all four limbs. With the implants and a computer model to process the signals, the study participants were able to use their thou...more

  • COVID-19 Inequalities. May 8, 2020, Part 1

    May 08 2020

    Coronavirus is still hitting the U.S. hard. And breaking down infections by race shows a striking pattern: Black, Latino, and Native American people are hit much harder than other communities. National data shows black Americans account for nearly 30% of COVID-19 deaths, despite only being 13% of the population. In New York City, the epicenter of America’s epidemic, the death rate among black and Latino residents is more than double that of white and Asian residents. Coronavirus is spreading on ...more

  • Evolutionary Biologist Neil Shubin, Bee Virus Behavior, Search for Lost Apples. May 1, 2020, Part 2

    May 01 2020

    The Twists And Turns Of The Evolution Of Life On Earth In an evolutionary tree, neat branches link the paths of different species back through time. As you follow the forking paths, you can trace common ancestors, winding down the trunk to see the root organism in common.  Evolution in the real world is a little messier—full of dead ends and changes happening beneath the surface, even before new traits and species appear. And the research and science that gave us a better picture about how life ...more

  • COVID-19 By The Numbers, 1918 Flu. May 1, 2020, Part 1

    May 01 2020

    Navigating COVID-19 By The Numbers Ever since the first news about a new virus in China, we’ve been seeing projections, or models predicting how it might spread. But how are those models created? There’s a lot of math that goes into understanding what might come next. Ira turns to a group of scientists who make their living in crunching the numbers—the people who make mathematical models to approximate different scenarios, trying to minimize loss of life. Sarah Cobey from the University of Chica...more

  • Vaccine Process, Hubble Space Telescope Anniversary, Alchemy Of Us. April 24, 2020, Part 2

    Apr 24 2020

    Over 50 pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms around the world are now racing to develop vaccines for the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Anthony Fauci has said that it might be possible to develop a vaccine in as quickly as 12 to 18 months—but so far, researchers still don’t know which of several approaches might be most safe and effective. Paul Offit, head of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that usually, the standard time to develop a new va...more

  • Valley Fever, Citizen Science Month Finale. April 24, 2020, Part 1

    Apr 24 2020

    When you think of fungal infections, you might think athlete’s foot or maybe ringworm—itchy, irritating reactions on the skin. But other fungal diseases can cause much more serious illness. One of them is Valley Fever, caused by the soil fungus Coccidioides. In 2018, over 15,000 people were diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis, commonly known as Valley Fever, in the United States, mainly in the American West, and in parts of Mexico, and Central and South America. But the numbers could be much highe...more

  • COVID-19 Factcheck, Digital Earth Day, City Nature Challenge, Ancient Antarctic Forest. April 17, 2020, Part 2

    Apr 17 2020

    Can Coronavirus Reactivate In Patients After Recovery? These days, newsfeeds are overloaded with stories of the coronavirus, but Science Friday continues to explain the science behind COVID-19 headlines. Here, we learn about South Korea reports of 116 patients who recovered from the disease tested positive. Angela Rasmussen, associate research scientist and virologist at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, breaks down how reactivation works in viruses in diseases such as herpes. Plus, ...more

  • Degrees of Change: Climate Anxiety and Depression. April 17, 2020, Part 1

    Apr 17 2020

    You Aren’t Alone In Grieving The Climate Crisis As the consequences of unchecked climate change come into sharper focus—wildfires in the Amazon and Australia, rising seas in low-lying Pacific Islands, mass coral bleaching around the world—what is to be done about the emotional devastation that people feel as a result? In 2007, Australian eco-philosopher Glenn Albrecht described this feeling as homesickness “for a home that no longer exists,” which he called “solastalgia.” Others have settled on ...more

  • Spring Sounds, Luxury Ostrich Eggs, ISeeChange. April 10, 2020, Part 2

    Apr 10 2020

    Enjoying Spring From Quarantine You may be trapped inside, but outside, it’s bird migration season. Flowers are blooming from coast to coast, and even the bees are out getting ready for a year of productive buzzing around.  Producer Christie Taylor talks to Atlanta birder and Birds of North America host Jason Ward, and Nature Conservancy land steward Kari Hagenow about the best ways to get started as a new birder under quarantine. Then, University of California entomology researcher Hollis Wooda...more

  • Healthcare Ripple Effects, Resilient Flowers, Cancer Detection. April 10, 2020, Part 1

    Apr 10 2020

    Routine Healthcare Is Falling Through The COVID-19 Cracks Our healthcare system is straining under the weight of the coronavirus epidemic, with hospital emergency rooms and ICUs around the country facing shortages of masks, ventilators, hospital beds, and medical staff. But the epidemic is also upsetting parts of the healthcare system that aren’t directly treating COVID patients. How are you supposed to keep up with regular medical care when you’re not supposed to leave the house, or when your p...more

  • SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Quarantine'

    Apr 07 2020

    Quarantine has been on many of our minds lately. The phrases “shelter in place” and “self-quarantine” have filled up our news, social media, and conversations since the first inklings of the coronavirus pandemic. But this is far from the first time cities and countries have used the practice of physical separation to battle the spread of disease.  You might think of Mary Mallon, who many know as “Typhoid Mary.” In the early 1900s, she spent nearly 30 years  in a cottage on a small island in New ...more

  • DIY Masks, Neanderthal Diet, Symbiotic Worms. April 3, 2020, Part 2

    Apr 03 2020

    During the global COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country are running low on PPE—personal protective equipment. This includes masks, gowns, face shields, and other important gear to keep healthcare workers safe. These supplies are the first line of defense between healthcare workers and potentially sick patients. Cloth masks are usually only advised as a last resort for healthcare workers, but an increasing number of hospitals are seeking them out. Some hospitals, including Barnes-Jewish...more

  • COVID-19 Supplies Shortage, Citizen Science Month, Mercury Discovery. April 3, 2020, Part 1

    Apr 03 2020

    April is Citizen Science Month! It’s a chance for everyone to contribute to the scientific process—including collecting data, taking observations, or helping to analyze a set of big data. And best of all, a lot of these projects can be done wherever you happen to be personally isolating. Caren Cooper, an associate professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and co-author of the new book A Field Guide To Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Differe...more

  • SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Cobalt'

    Mar 31 2020

    Cobalt has been hoodwinking people since the day it was pried from the earth. Named after a pesky spirit from German folklore, trickery is embedded in its name.   In 1940s Netherlands, cobalt lived up to its name in a big way, playing a starring role in one of the most embarrassing art swindles of the 19th century. It’s a story of duped Nazis, a shocking court testimony, and one fateful mistake. Want more Science Diction? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and sign up for our newsletter. ...more

  • Squid Lighting, Tongue Microbiome, Invasive Herbivores. March 27, 2020, Part 2

    Mar 27 2020

    How Humboldt Squid Talk To Each Other In The Dark Cephalopods are masters of changing their bodies in response to their environments—from camouflaging to sending warning signals to predators. The art of their visual deception lies deep within their skin. They can change their skin to different colors, textures, and patterns to communicate with other animals and each other. But how does this play out in the darkness of the deep ocean? That’s the question a team of scientists studied in the deep d...more

  • COVID Near You Citizen Science, Fact-Check Your Feed. March 27, 2020, Part 1

    Mar 27 2020

    These days, our newsfeeds are overloaded with stories of the coronavirus. This week, Science Friday continues to dig into the facts behind the speculation—the peer-reviewed studies and reports published by scientists investigating the virus. But what we know—and don’t know—about the new virus is changing daily, making it hard to keep up. Everyone, for example, wants to know more about possible therapies for treating COVID-19 patients. After President Trump publicly speculated about the tried and...more

  • SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Dinosaur'

    Mar 24 2020

    At the turn of the 19th century, Britons would stroll along the Yorkshire Coast, stumbling across unfathomably big bones. These mysterious fossils were all but tumbling out of the cliffside, but people had no idea what to call them. There wasn’t a name for this new class of creatures.  Until Richard Owen came along. Owen was an exceptionally talented naturalist, with over 600 scientific books and papers. But perhaps his most lasting claim to fame is that he gave these fossils a name: the dinosau...more

  • Coronavirus Fact-Check, Poetry of Science, Social Bats. March 20, 2020, Part 2

    Mar 21 2020

    As new cases of coronavirus pop up across the United States, and as millions of people must self-isolate from family and friends at home, one place many are turning to for comfort and information is their news feed. But our regular media diet of politics, sports, and entertainment has been replaced by 24/7 coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Nearly every outlet is covering the pandemic in some way—celebrities live streaming their self-quarantine, restaurants rolling out new health practi...more

  • Jane Goodall, Coronavirus Update, Science Diction. March 20, 2020, Part 1

    Mar 21 2020

    60 years ago this year, a young Jane Goodall entered the Gombe in Tanzania to begin observations of the chimpanzees living there. During her time there, Goodall observed wild chimpanzees in the Gombe making and using tools—a finding that changed our thinking about chimps, primates, and even humans. Now, Goodall travels the world as a conservationist, advocate for animals, and United Nations Messenger of Peace.  She joins guest host John Dankosky to reflect on her years of experience in the field...more

  • SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Vaccine'

    Mar 17 2020

    For centuries, smallpox seemed unbeatable. People had tried nearly everything to knock it out—from herbal remedies to tossing back 12 bottles of beer a day (yep, that was a real recommendation from a 17th century doctor), to intentionally infecting themselves with smallpox and hoping they didn’t get sick, all to no avail. And then, in the 18th century, an English doctor heard a rumor about a possible solution. It wasn’t a cure, but if it worked, it would stop smallpox before it started. So one s...more

  • Farmers’ Stress, Tiny Dino-Bird Discovery. March 13, 2020, Part 2

    Mar 13 2020

    The Farm Crisis of the 1980s was a dark time for people working in food and agriculture. U.S. agricultural policies led to an oversupply of crops, price drops, and farms closures. At the same time, the rate of farmer suicide skyrocketed. The industry struggled, until organizations like Farm Aid and others popped up to give voice to the crisis. But farm advocates agree that farmers are in the middle of another period of hardship, one brought on by the same factors that caused the Farm Crisis in t...more

  • Coronavirus: Washing and Sanitizing, Science Diction, New HIV PrEP Drugs. March 13, 2020, Part 1

    Mar 13 2020

    The number of people in the U.S. confirmed to be infected with the pandemic-level respiratory coronavirus continues to rise, even as testing and diagnosis capacity continues to lag behind other nations. In the meantime, epidemiologists are urging people all over the country to take actions that help “flatten the curve,” to slow the rate of infection so the number of cases don’t overwhelm the healthcare system and make the virus even more dangerous for those who get it. And the best methods to fl...more

  • SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Meme'

    Mar 10 2020

    Remember that summer when the internet was one Distracted Boyfriend after another—that flannel-shirted dude rubbernecking at a passing woman, while his girlfriend glares at him? Everyone had their own take—the Boyfriend was you, staring directly at a solar eclipse, ignoring science. The Boyfriend was youth, seduced by socialism, spurning capitalism. The Boyfriend could be anyone you wanted him to be.    We think of memes as a uniquely internet phenomenon. But the word meme originally had nothing...more

  • Astronaut Training, Marsquakes, Whale Migration. March 6, 2020, Part 2

    Mar 06 2020

    Do You Have The ‘Right Stuff’ To Be An Astronaut? If you’ve ever considered being an astronaut, this might be your chance to land that dream job. This week, NASA opened applications for a new class of astronaut candidates. It’s a full-time position based in Houston, Texas, paying over $104,000 per year. Job duties would include “conducting operations in space, including on the International Space Station (ISS) and in the development and testing of future spacecraft” and “performing extravehicula...more

  • Coronavirus Genetics, Prosthetic Hands. March 6, 2020, Part 1

    Mar 06 2020

    A New Trick For Dexterity In Prosthetic Hands Researchers working on the next generation of prosthetic limbs have a few fundamental engineering problems to overcome. For starters, how can people using prosthetic limbs effectively signal what motions they want to perform?  A team of researchers may have a solution: A surgical technique that uses muscle tissue to amplify the nerve signals. Participants fitted with prosthetic hands after this surgery, described in Science Translational Medicine thi...more

  • Coronavirus Preparedness, Facebook’s History. Feb 28, 2020, Part 2

    Feb 28 2020

    This week, the world’s attention has turned to the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that was first detected in Wuhan, China, late in 2019. More countries are finding cases, and in the United States, a California patient has become the first known case of possible “community spread”—where the patient had not traveled to affected areas or had known exposure to someone who had been infected. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control said Americans should prepare for “significant disru...more

  • Degrees of Change: Building Materials. Feb 28, 2020, Part 1

    Feb 28 2020

    In order to slow a warming planet on track to increase by 2 degrees celsius, nearly every industry will be forced to adapt: airlines, fashion, and even the unglamorous and often overlooked building materials sector.  Just like the farm to table movement, consumers are increasingly thinking about where the raw materials for their homes and cities come from, and how they impact climate change. And in response to this concern, the materials sector is serving up an unusual menu option: wood. “Mass t...more

  • Coronavirus Update, Genuine Fakes, Neanderthal News. Feb. 21, 2020, Part 2

    Feb 21 2020

    What Is Real And Fake? There are two ways to grow a diamond. You can dig one up from the Earth—a product of billions of years of pressure and heat placed on carbon. Or you can make one in a lab—by applying lots of that same heat and pressure to tiny starter crystals—and get it made much faster.  Put these two objects under a microscope and they look exactly the same. But is the lab-grown diamond real or fake? The answer lies somewhere in between. The same goes for many other things, like artific...more

  • Ask A Dentist. Feb. 21, 2020, Part 1

    Feb 21 2020

    Brushing Up On Tooth Science Most of us spend our time at the dentist holding our mouths open, saying “ahhh,” and occasionally sticking out our tongues. But if you could ask a dentist anything, what would you want to know? Ira asks University of Utah researcher Rena D’Souza and UPenn’s Mark Wolff about cavity formation, the oral microbiome, gum disease, and the future of stem cells in teeth restoration. Plus, NYU researcher Rodrigo Lacruz explains new research on how excessive fluoride can disru...more

  • Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

    Feb 14 2020

    The human heart is one of the most complicated organs in our body. The heart is, in a way, like a machine—the muscular organ pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood in an adult human every day. But can we construct a heart in the lab? Some scientists are turning to engineering to find ways to preserve that constant lub dub when a heart stops working. One team of researchers created a biohybrid heart, which combines a pig heart and mechanical parts. The team could control the beating motion of the h...more

  • Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

    Feb 14 2020

    The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s surface drinking water, with Lake Superior holding half of that alone. The lakes stretch from New York to Minnesota, and cover a surface area of nearly 100,000 square miles—large enough to cover the entire state of Colorado. And they’re teeming with life. Fish, phytoplankton, birds, even butterflies call the lakes home for some portion of their lives. But not all is calm in the waters. In The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, journalist Dan Egan tells the...more

  • SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

    Feb 13 2020

    The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a country of 58,000 people spread across 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. And in a world where seas are both rising and acidifying, the Marshall Islands are exceptionally vulnerable: Those atolls rise a mere two meters above the original ocean height on average, and rely on the health and continued growth of their coral foundations to exist. A 2018 study projects that by 2050, the Marshall Islands could be mostly uninhabitable due to salt-contaminated...more

  • Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

    Feb 07 2020

    How Tech Can Make Us More—And Less—Empathetic Much of technology was built on the promise of connecting people across the world, fostering a sense of community. But as much as technology gives us, it also may be taking away one of the things that makes us most human—empathy. Meet Alice Ball, Unsung Pioneer In Leprosy Treatment In 1915, an infection with leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease) often meant a death sentence. Patients were commonly sent into mandatory quarantine in “leper colonies,” ...more

  • Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

    Feb 07 2020

    How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the effects of climate change. This is due to a mix of cultural, economic, policy and historical factors. Some Native American tribal governments and councils have put together their own climate risk assessment plans. Native American communities are very diverse—and the challenges and adaptations are just as varied. Professor Kyle Whyte, a tribal member of ...more

  • Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

    Jan 31 2020

    ‘Radical’ Explores The Hidden History Of Breast Cancer  Nearly 270,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, along with a couple thousand men. But the disease manifests in many different ways, meaning few patients have the same story to tell.  Journalist Kate Pickert collects many of those stories in her book Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America. And one of those stories is her own. As she writes about her own journey with breast cancer, Pickert del...more

  • Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

    Jan 31 2020

    Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus Outbreak This week, the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak—which began in Wuhan, China—is a public health emergency of international concern. Nearly 8,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of the virus from some of the patients who were infected early on in the outbreak. Virologist Kristian Andersen discusses how the genetics of the virus can provide clues to how it is transmitted and ...more

  • SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

    Jan 28 2020

    2020 has just begun, but we’re still celebrating all the amazing work done by science journalists in 2019. Thanks to them, we’ve been informed on stories like the new illnesses linked to vaping, the first image of a black hole, and the increase in youth-led climate change protests. At our year in review event at Caveat in NYC on December 18, 2019, three science storytellers—Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Sarah Zhang, and Ariel Zych—took the stage with a notable story they reported in 2019, including the ...more

  • Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

    Jan 24 2020

    A novel coronavirus—the type of virus that causes SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and common cold symptoms—has killed 18 people, and sickened more than 600. In response, Chinese officials have quarantined several huge cities, where some 20 million people live. In this segment, Ira talks with epidemiologists Saskia Popescu and Ian Lipkin about what we know about the virus, how it appears to spread, and whether efforts to contain it are effective—or ethical.  Do you know where your...more

  • Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2

    Jan 24 2020

    Before any new drug comes to market, it goes through a time-consuming process. Researchers have to recruit human subjects for a clinical trial, collect all the data, and analyze the results. All of that can take years to complete, but the end result could be worth it: a drug that treats a rare disease or improves patients lives with fewer side effects.  Or the opposite could happen: The drug doesn’t have any effect or makes patients worse. So the question is, how is the public informed of the ou...more

  • Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

    Jan 17 2020

    The Science Of Polling In 2020 And Beyond In today’s fast-paced digital culture, it is more difficult than ever to follow and trust political polls. Campaigns, pollsters, and media outlets each say that their numbers are right, but can report different results. Plus, the 2016 election is still fresh in the public’s mind, when the major story was how political polling got it wrong.  But despite how people may feel about the practice, the numbers suggest that polls are still working. Even as telep...more

  • Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

    Jan 17 2020

    Living Robots, Designed By Computer Researchers have used artificial intelligence methods to design ‘living robots,’ made from two types of frog cells. The ‘xenobots,’ named for the Xenopus genus of frogs, can move, push objects, and potentially carry materials from one place to another—though the researchers acknowledge that much additional work would need to be done to make the xenobots into a practical tool. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jo...more

  • Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

    Jan 10 2020

    The Mysteries Of Migraines What do sensitivity to light, a craving for sweets and excessive yawning have in common? They’re all things that may let you know you’re about to have a migraine. Of course each person’s experience of this disease—which impacts an estimated 38 million people in the U.S.—can be very different. One person may be sensitive to light while another is sensitive to sound. Your pain may be sharp like a knife while your friend’s may be dull and pulsating. Or perhaps you don’t h...more

  • Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

    Jan 10 2020

    How Climate Change Is Fanning Australia’s Flames  All eyes have been on Australia in recent weeks as the country’s annual summer fire season has spun out of control with devastating damage to endangered wildlife, homes, farms, indigenous communities, and—as smoke drifts across unburned major metropolitan centers like Sidney and Canberra—air quality.  Vox reporter Umair Irfan and fire scientist Crystal Kolden explain why climate scientists are pointing the finger squarely at climate change for co...more

  • Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

    Jan 03 2020

    In the context of climate change, geoengineering refers to deliberate, large-scale manipulations of the planet to slow the effects of human-induced global warming—whether by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely, or altering the atmosphere to reflect the amount of incoming sunlight that is absorbed as heat.  But neither strategy is uncomplicated to deploy. Carbon capture is expensive and is often used to enhance fossil fuel extraction, not to actually reduce emissions. Meanwh...more