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Covid-19: behind the app – the ethics of digital contract tracing part 1 from The Guardian's Science Weekly

From The Guardian's Science Weekly - As a trial of the revised English coronavirus app gets under way, many of us will be watching closely to see what it can and cannot do, and whether it could help to contain Covid-19. But alongside issues of efficacy are other, deeper questions about what this technology means for the citizens who use it - today and in the future. Split over two episodes, Ian Sample talks to Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan about data privacy, the involvement of Google and Apple, and if we should expect track-and-trace apps to become a normal part of our lives. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


The Guardian's Science Weekly
The award winning Science Weekly is the best place to learn about the big discoveries and debates in biology, chemistry, physics, and sometimes even maths. From the Guardian science desk - Ian Sample, Hannah Devlin & Nicola Davis meet the great thinkers and doers in science and technology.

Covid-19: behind the app – the ethics of digital contract tracing part 1
2020-08-17 21:00:27
As a trial of the revised English coronavirus app gets under way, many of us will be watching closely to see what it can and cannot do, and whether it could help to contain Covid-19. But alongside issues of efficacy are other, deeper questions about what this technology means for the citizens who use it - today and in the future. Split over two episodes, Ian Sample talks to Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan about data privacy, the involvement of Google and Apple, and if we should expect track-and-trace apps to become a normal part of our lives. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>
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From the archives: How do we save society?
2020-10-21 21:00:15
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to highlight health and economic inequalities, and the US election fast approaching, this week we return to the archive to explore how divisions in society arise and what we can do about them. In this episode from 2017, Ian Sample investigates where group splits come from, how we can connect to those we disagree with, and what could happen if we fail. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: what can we learn from the HIV/Aids pandemic?
2020-10-19 21:00:56
Prof Ravi Gupta's career has informed HIV treatment and curative strategies in the UK and at the Africa Health Research Institute. His treatment of a London patient is, to date, only the second ever successful treatment of an HIV patient, where the person remains long-term virus free. Gupta talks to Sarah Boseley about how a career in HIV research is informing the testing and treatment for Covid-19 and what we can learn in any parallels between the two viruses. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


How do animals undergo metamorphosis, and why? - podcast
2020-10-15 03:59:55
Metamorphosis - where a creature remodels itself between life stages - is one of the most astounding and bizarre feats of biology. It's also surprisingly common. Why do animals bother undertaking this huge transformational change, and how do they rebuild their bodies from one form to another? Natalie Grover investigates. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: training dogs to sniff out the virus
2020-10-12 21:00:01
What does a disease smell like? Humans might not have the answer, but if they could talk, dogs might be able to tell us. Able to sniff out a range of cancers and even malaria, canines' extraordinary noses are now being put to the test on Covid-19. Nicola Davis hears from Prof Dominique Grandjean about exactly how you train dogs to smell a virus, and how this detection technique could be used in managing the spread of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part two)
2020-10-07 21:00:27
In this second episode of our age of extinction takeover, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore the impact that conservation and national parks can have on Indigenous communities and the biodiversity surrounding them If you haven't already, go back and listen to Tuesday's episode on the history of national parks and some of the challenges they face. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part one)
2020-10-05 21:00:02
In a special two-part takeover by colleagues from the age of extinction project, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston investigate whether national parks actually benefit the environment and biodiversity, or if there might be a better way of doing things. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 2
2020-09-30 21:00:01
According to a UN study published last year, smart assistants with female voices are often programmed with contrite and demure responses to verbal abuse or harassment, entrenching harmful gender biases. In the second of two episodes, Alex Hern takes a look at the sexualisation of female AI and robots, what this means for how we treat them, and asks how we can give them a feminist reboot. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 1
2020-09-29 04:08:55
From Rosie the Robot in the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons to Siri and Alexa today, technologies that perform the roles of housekeeper and secretary are often presented as female. What does the gendering of these machines say about our expectations of who should be doing this kind of work? In the first of two episodes exploring the world of fembots and female AI assistants, the Guardian's UK technology editor, Alex Hern, examines whether smart assistants are reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: is it possible to predict how sick someone could get?
2020-09-24 03:00:23
Nine months in, and with over 30 million people having been infected with Covid-19, we now know some of the main factors that put people at higher risk of a severe case of the disease, such as age and having other health problems. But there is still a lot to learn about why some people, and not others, become very ill from catching Sars-CoV-2. Nicola Davis takes a look at the researchers attempting to rapidly work out how to predict who is going to get very sick. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


What does it mean to be alive? Paul Nurse on defining 'life'
2020-09-21 21:00:03
Is it possible to define the biological, chemical and physical functions that separate cells, plants and even humans from inanimate objects? In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists - what does it really mean to be alive? Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it's important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19 ethics: should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? Part 2
2020-09-16 21:00:47
Teams around the world are hard at work developing Covid-19 vaccines. While any potential candidate will need to be tested on thousands of volunteers to prove its safety and efficacy, some scientists have argued that the race to the finish line could be sped up by human challenge trials – where participants are infected with a special strain of the virus. Ian Sample delves into some of the misconceptions and hurdles inherent in this kind of research. In the second of two episodes, Ian explores the importance of rescue treatments, what happens if something goes wrong, and whether it would ever be morally permissible to deliberately infect those most at risk of Covid-19, like volunteer octogenarians. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)
2020-09-14 21:00:15
Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 2)
2020-09-09 21:00:33
As the northern hemisphere heads into autumn and winter, cold and flu are beginning to spread and more people find themselves with coughs, fevers and a runny nose. With Covid-19, this brings new challenges. Should we quarantine at the first sign of the sniffles? Could co-infections of flu and Covid-19 make your symptoms worse? Do we have the capacity to test for more than one virus? In part 2 of our investigation into what happens when flu season hits, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Peter Horby about what it might mean for both individuals and medical professionals if multiple respiratory viruses are circulating, and how we can best prepare for a potential winter resurgence of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1)
2020-09-07 21:00:12
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet - both on a population level, and on the human scale. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: why do pandemics trigger civil unrest? - podcast
2020-09-03 03:08:13
As countries entered lockdowns to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, many citizens came out to protest against measures such as social distancing, face masks and potential vaccination programmes. Demonstrations have subsequently erupted around around the world, with causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to protests against inequality and corruption. Taking a look at some of the social psychology underpinning such action, Nicola Davis asks Prof Clifford Stott why pandemics can trigger social unrest, how disease outbreaks should be policed, and what Covid-19 might mean for community relationships. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


The science of healthy eating: Why are we still getting it wrong?
2020-09-01 06:43:22
According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory diet advice, as well as endless food fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London about his new book Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we're still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, supplements and calorie labels. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


From the archives: the fate of Arctic sea ice
2020-08-26 21:00:43
As the Science Weekly team continue their summer break, we're digging through the archives. Today's episode takes us back to 2016, when Ian Sample explored the crisis of melting Arctic sea ice. Recently, this worrying phenomenon hit the headlines once again when a new model found that the Arctic could experience summers completely free of sea-ice as early as 2035. In our episode from the archive, Ian asks a host of experts what some of the potential ramifications might be of the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


From the archives: nudge theory and the psychology of persuasion
2020-08-24 21:00:44
While the Science Weekly team take a summer break, we're bringing you an episode from the archives - one that seems particularly pertinent as the pandemic continues and governments take a more prominent role in our day-to-day lives. Back in 2017, Ian Sample investigated how we're constantly "nudged" to change how we act. Exploring the psychology, history and ethics of nudge theory, Ian spoke to the Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein and Dr David Halpern, one of the field's founders, who is currently advising the UK government on nudging during the coronavirus outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19 ethics: digital contact tracing (part 2)
2020-08-19 21:00:11
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the economic, health, and social disparities faced by minorities and those living in more deprived areas. Although track-and-trace apps have the potential to reduce the spread of Covid-19, there remain questions about what role digital contact-tracing systems might have in reducing - or increasing - inequality, and who an app will really work for. In the second part of a conversation about the ethics of track-and-trace apps, Ian Sample discusses these issues with Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: behind the app – the ethics of digital contract tracing part 1
2020-08-17 21:00:27
As a trial of the revised English coronavirus app gets under way, many of us will be watching closely to see what it can and cannot do, and whether it could help to contain Covid-19. But alongside issues of efficacy are other, deeper questions about what this technology means for the citizens who use it - today and in the future. Split over two episodes, Ian Sample talks to Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan about data privacy, the involvement of Google and Apple, and if we should expect track-and-trace apps to become a normal part of our lives. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


From the archives: the chemistry of crime fiction
2020-08-12 21:00:44
The Science Weekly team are taking a summer break - well, some of them - and so we're bringing you an episode from the archive. And not just any episode, one of Nicola Davis's favourites. Back in 2017, Nicola sat down with with Dr Kathryn Harkup to discuss a shared love of crime fiction and the chemistry contained within their poisonous plots. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: tracking the spread of a virus in real time
2020-08-11 02:15:31
Central to infectious disease control is tracking the spread of a pathogen through the population. In Cambridge, UK, researchers are looking at genetic mutations in samples from Covid-19 patients to rapidly investigate how and where hospital transmissions are occurring. Dr Estée Török tells Nicola Davis what this real-time pathological detective work can reveal about the origins of an outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


The fight over the Hubble constant
2020-08-06 05:11:16
When it comes to the expansion rate of the universe, trying to get a straight answer isn't easy. That's because the two best ways of measuring what's known as the Hubble constant are giving different results. As each method becomes increasingly accurate, the gap between widens. Is one of them wrong? Or is it time to rejig the Standard Model of Cosmology? Madeleine Finlay investigates the so-called 'Hubble tension' with Prof Erminia Calabrese. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


Covid-19: does more testing always mean more cases?
2020-08-03 21:00:21
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 'test, test, test' has been the key message from epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and healthcare professionals alike. But how does a country know if it's doing sufficient testing? Or that it's catching enough of the asymptomatic cases? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Rowland Kao about the positivity rate, a value that can help to answer some of these difficult questions. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


How Red Sea 'supercorals' are resisting the climate crisis
2020-07-29 21:00:08
Ian Sample speaks to marine biologist Prof Maoz Fine about his surprising research on the relationship between increasing ocean temperatures and the Red Sea's coral reefs. Help support our independent journalism at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod">theguardian.com/sciencepod</a>


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