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#477 Cure for Catastrophe

From Science for the People - Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. These are the sorts of natural disasters movies are made from, because throughout history we've learned that natural disasters often become human disasters. But how much are we contributing to the scale of the human toll of natural disasters when they hit? How much do our decisions about where to build, what to build, and how to build impact that cost? We spend the hour with Robert Muir-Wood, author of "The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disaster", talking about what he's learned over his 25 years working to understand the risks associated with...


Science for the People
Science for the People is a weekly syndicated long-format interview radio show and podcast which explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy, to help listeners understand the evidence and arguments behind what is in the news and on the shelves. Every week, our hosts sit down with science researchers, writers, authors, journalists, and experts to discuss science from the past, the science that affects our lives today, and how science might change our future.

#477 Cure for Catastrophe
2018-06-07 21:00:00
Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. These are the sorts of natural disasters movies are made from, because throughout history we've learned that natural disasters often become human disasters. But how much are we contributing to the scale of the human toll of natural disasters when they hit? How much do our decisions about where to build, what to build, and how to build impact that cost? We spend the hour with Robert Muir-Wood, author of "The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disaster", talking about what he's learned over his 25 years working to understand the risks associated with...
1 hour


#486 Volcanoes
2018-08-09 21:00:00
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...


#485 Fine Times with Wine
2018-08-02 21:00:00
How do you pick your wine? By its history? By its grape? By the picture on the bottle? Well you're about to get your wine world turned upside down. We'll hear about the history of this fabulous fermentation from Kevin Begos, author of the book "Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine". Then we'll talk with Erika Saymanski about the little microbes that make it all possible, yeast! On the way, we're going to have Science for the People's first ever wine tasting! Related links: Background music: Mozart Flute Quartet in D...


#484 Animal Weapons (Rebroadcast)
2018-07-26 21:00:00
This week, we're talking about weapons: both the ones that evolve in nature, and those created by humanity. We'll talk about the arms races that spur the development of horns and claws, warships and nuclear weapons, with Doug Emlen, Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana, and author of "Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle."


#483 Wild Moms
2018-07-19 21:00:00
This week we're talking about what it takes to be a mother in the wild, and how how human moms compare to other moms in the animal kingdom. We're spending an hour with Dr. Carin Bondar, prolific science communicator and author. We'll be discussing a myriad of stories from her latest book, "Wild Moms: Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom", covering the exciting, stressful and even sinister sides of motherhood.


#482 Body Builders
2018-07-12 21:00:00
This week we explore how science and technology can help us walk when we've lost our legs, see when we've gone blind, explore unfriendly environments, and maybe even make our bodies better, stronger, and faster than ever before. We speak to Adam Piore, author of the book "The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human", about the increasingly amazing ways bioengineering is being used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings. And we speak with Ken Thomas, spacesuit engineer and author of the book "The Journey to Moonwalking: The People That Enabled Footprints on the Moon" about...


#481 23 and You
2018-07-05 21:00:00
These days, all you need to do is fill a tube with spit and mail it off to find out all about your ancestors, and even about your risks for certain diseases. Loads of DNA sequencing and typing companies exist to tell you all about yourself. But how accurate are they? And how safe is that information? We'll speak with science writer Tina Hesman Saey about her big project sending off her spit to more companies than she can count. For science, of course. Then, we'll take out ethical concerns to bioethicist Kelly Hills, to talk about the potential pitfalls...


#480 Cursing and Conversation
2018-06-28 21:00:00
Ever notice how the bits of language we use all the time are often the bits we study the least? Like 'ums' and 'uhs', the way conversations flow and of course curse words! Today we're taking a deeper look under the hood of the conversation machine, and inspecting it's sweary bits and bobs a little more closely than usual. First we'll take a closer look at the flow of a typical conversation with Nick Enfield, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sydney, about his book "How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conversation" and examine the signalling we use...


#479 Garden of Marvels (Rebroadcast)
2018-06-21 21:00:00
This week we're learning about botany and the colorful science of gardening. Author Ruth Kassinger joins us to discuss her book "A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of the Way Plants Work." And we'll speak to NASA researcher Gioia Massa about her work to solve the technical challenges of gardening in space. 


#478 She Has Her Mother's Laugh
2018-06-14 21:00:00
What does heredity really mean? Carl Zimmer would argue it's more than your genes along. In "She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity", Zimmer covers the history of genetics and what kinship and heredity really mean when we're discovering how to alter our own DNA, and, potentially, the DNA of our children.


#477 Cure for Catastrophe
2018-06-07 21:00:00
Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. These are the sorts of natural disasters movies are made from, because throughout history we've learned that natural disasters often become human disasters. But how much are we contributing to the scale of the human toll of natural disasters when they hit? How much do our decisions about where to build, what to build, and how to build impact that cost? We spend the hour with Robert Muir-Wood, author of "The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disaster", talking about what he's learned over his 25 years working to understand the risks associated with...


#476 Science in Fiction
2018-05-31 21:00:00
Nerds and geeks of all stripes love to dissect exactly how their favorite (or least favorite) sci-fi and fantasy tales got science so wrong. But many TV shows, movies and book actually manage to get science pretty right (except for those pesky time-travel impossibilities). How do they do that? A lot of times, they phone a scientist. We'll speak with one of those scientists, Mika McKinnon, about the work she does advising TV shows and movies on physics, space and more. And we'll talk with science journalist and novelist Annalee Newitz about the scientists she consulted for her novel, "Autonomous"....


#SB1 2018 Science Birthday Bonus Short Minisode: Lloyd Quarterman
2018-05-30 21:00:00
Our very first Science Birthday spotlight shines on Lloyd Quarterman, born May 31, 1918. He died in 1982, but not before leaving his mark on science. Join Bethany and Rachelle in a little special birthay minisode celebrating Lloyd and his accomplishments. Thanks to everyone who joined our Patreon anew!


#475 Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You (Rebroadcast)
2018-05-24 21:00:00
This week, we're learning how deadly and delightful our planet and its ecosystem can be. We're joined by biologist Dan Riskin, co-host of Discovery Canada's Daily Planet, to talk about his book "Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You: a Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World." And we'll talk to astronomer and author Phil Plait about Science Getaways, his company that offers educational vacation experiences for science lovers.


#474 Appearance Matters
2018-05-17 21:00:00
This week we talk about appearance, bodies, and body image. Why does what we look like affect our headspace so much? And how do we even begin to research a topic as personal and subjective as body image? To try and find out, we speak with some of the researchers at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Psychology Professor Phillippa Diedrichs walks us through body image research, what we know so far, and how we know what we know. Professor of Appearance and Health Psychology Diana Harcourt talks about visible...


#473 Colour Me... Structurally?
2018-05-10 21:00:00
This week on Science for the People, we're looking at a different way of producing colour than you might be used to. Structural colour relies on nano-scale structures to reflect particular wavelengths of light. To start things off, we'll be discussing some of the science behind naturally occurring colours, and the engineering to produce manufactured ones with PhD student Victoria Hwang. After that, Dr. Maria McNamara joins us to discuss how colour information is preserved in the fossil record and where the research is going. And we couldn’t give you an episode on colour without some pictures! Photos of structural...


#472 A Good Bout of Plague
2018-05-03 21:00:00
Who doesn't love a good medical pandemic? This week we're diving into the bubonic plague. We'll talk with Boris Schmid about whether rats should really get the blame for the Black Death, and we'll talk with Loren Cassin Sackett about what happens today when plague strikes... prairie dog towns! Don't blame the rats for spreading the Black Death on Science News Human ectoparasites and the spread of plague in Europe during the Second Pandemic Do pathogens reduce genetic diversity of their hosts? Variable effects of sylvatic plague in black-tailed prairie dogs. Does the host matter? Variable influence of host traits...


#471 Pigs and Fish: Personality in Animals
2018-04-26 21:00:00
This week we learn about how personality is studied in two of our favorite animals: pigs and fish. We'll be speaking with Rose O'Dea, PhD candidate at the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre in Sydney, about using computer animation technology to stimulate behavioral responses in zebrafish. Then we'll speak with Kristina Horback, assistant professor at the University of California-Davis, about the connection between personality traits in domesticated pigs and their ability to cope with stressful farm conditions. Related links: Computer Animation Technology in Behavioral Sciences: A Sequential, Automatic, and High-Throughput Approach to Quantifying Personality in Zebrafish


#470 Information Spookyhighway
2018-04-19 21:00:00
This week we take a closer look at a few of the downsides of the modern internet, and some of the security and privacy challenges that are becoming increasingly troublesome. Rachelle Saunders speaks with cyber security expert James Lyne about how modern hacking differs from the hacks of old, and how an internet without national boards makes it tricky to police online crime across jurisdictions. And Bethany Brookshire speaks with David Garcia, a computer scientist at the Complexity Science Hub and the Medical University of Vienna, about the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, and how social media platforms put a wrench...


#469 The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
2018-04-12 21:00:00
What happens when you take 5 enourmous freshwater lakes isolated in the middle of a continent and suddenly open them up to the Atlantic? The ecology of the North American Great Lakes is changing fast. We spend the hour with Dan Egan, an award-winning writer and reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a senior water policy fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences, to talk about his book "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes" and how invading species have caused havoc in the Lakes, from sea lampreys making their way up canals to zebra...


#468 Slicing into Surgery
2018-04-05 21:00:00
Surgery isn't generally a good time these days. There's pain and danger. But surgery today is nothing to the surgery of the past, when desperate patients had to sit, awake and with no painkillers, through the sawing-off of their own limbs. If they made it through that, they frequently died of infections from the dirty hands and instruments of their own doctors. What changed, and who changed it? This week we talk about the transformation of the butchering art with Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris, author of "The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's quest to transform the grisly world of Victorian medicine". And...


#467 Pests in the City (Rebroadcast)
2018-03-29 21:00:00
This week, we're exploring the ways human-made environments support - and shape - the lives of many species we think of as vermin. We'll talk to Geography and Environmental Studies Professor Dawn Day Biehler about her book "Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats." And we'll speak to postdoctoral researcher Clint Penick about his research on the junk food diets of urban ants.


#466 Wildfire
2018-03-22 21:00:00
This week we're talking about fire: in particular, wildfires. How they spread and how we manage them, but also the deeper history of wildfires on our planet and how they've been shaping our world for a long, long time. We speak with Andrew Scott, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Royal Holloway, University of London, about his book "Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time", learning about wildfire on our planet now and in deep history. And we catch up with Caroline Weinberg, interm executive director of the March for Science organization, about this year's march on April 14.


#465 How The Nose Knows
2018-03-15 21:00:00
We've all got a nose but how does it work? Why do we like some smells and not others, and why can we all agree that some smells are good and some smells are bad, while others are dependant on personal or cultural preferences? We speak with Asifa Majid, Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at Radboud University, about the intersection of culture, language, and smell. And we level up on our olfactory neuroscience with University of Pennsylvania Professor Jay Gottfried.


#464 How We Endure
2018-03-08 20:00:00
Endurance athletes. How do they do it? How does someone push themselves to run an almost 2 hour marathon? How does someone else push themselves to finish a marathon at all? How did humans conquer Everest and free dive to the ocean floor? There's a new book for that. Just in time for the Winter Olympics, we'll hear from Alex Hutchinson, author of the new book Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. And we'll hear from neuropsychologist Lori Haase Alasantro about her work using mindfulness to change the brains of endurance athletes. Related links: A...


#463 Trench to Bedside (Rebroadcast)
2018-03-01 20:00:00
This week we're taking on maggots, wounds, and diarrhea in an episode about medical problems that plague the military, so make sure your last meal is a few hours behind you before you tuck in your ear buds. We speak with Captain Mark Riddle, the director of the United States Military Diarrheal Disease Vaccine Research Program at the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, about new ways to prevent and treat travelers' diarrhea. And we talk with George Peck, a medical entomologist, about using maggots to help wounds heal. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from...


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#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...