Science And Technology
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
July 25th marked the 33rd birthday of the first test-tube baby. Since then, 4 million children have been born with the help of IVF, now a booming $5 billion business in the United States. Holly Finn, who is undergoing her sixth attempt at in vitro fertilization this week, discusses the challenges women face when they wait too long to have a baby. In The Baby Chase: An Adventure in Fertility she shares her personal story and writes about the new scientific frontiers of fertility, and breaks the silence around egg and sperm donation.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Jason Munshi-South, assistant professor at Baruch College, and Rob Dunn, associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University and author of The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today, discuss how cities and urban environments change the animals, insects—and even bacteria—that live within them. They’ll also cover how natural selection and evolution work and how they study it.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Artist Cory Arcangel, best known for his Internet interventions and modified video games, discusses the exhibition “Cory Arcangel: Protools,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition revolves around the concept of “product demonstrations.” Works featured—ranging from video games, single channel video, kinetic sculpture, prints, and pen plotter drawings—have been created with technological tools, often mixing and matching professional and amateur technologies.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg and Siddhartha Srinivasa, Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, talk about the future of robots and how robots are becoming more human. Max Aguilera-Hellweg took the photographs for the article “Making Robots Human,” in the August issue of National Geographic magazine, and Siddhartha Srinivasa is featured in the story. With advances in technology that allow robots to speak, blink, smile and perform such tasks as folding clothes and cooking, questions are being raised as to how human is too human. They explore how much everyday human function we want to outsource to machines, how the robot revolution will change the way we relate to each other, and if we’re ready for robots.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Weeds pop up in lawns and gardens and even in cracks in sidewalks. Lars Anderson, plant physiologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service on the campus of UC Davis; and Kristin Schleiter, Curator of Outdoor Gardens and Herbaceous Collections at the New York Botanical Garden, look at the wide variety of weeds, why they seem to thrive everywhere, and ways to eliminate—or accept—them.
How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explores the relationship between pleasure and addiction. The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good combines an evolutionary perspective with cutting-edge research in neuroscience and explores how the two connect.
Friday, July 15, 2011
This summer wildfires have raged in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as throughout the country, and so far over 5,800,000 acres have burned this year alone. Ken Frederick and Tom Romanello, Bureau of Land Management fire specialists at the National Interagency Fire Center, explain how wild fires start and spread, how they behave, and how they’re contained and extinguished. We’ll also find out why there seem to be so many this year, and what happens to an area after a fire.
Call us at 646-829-3985 to ask a question about fires, or leave a comment!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Richard Francis discusses the new scientific field of epigenetics, the study of how stress in the environment can impact an individual's physiology so deeply that those biological scars actually can be inherited by the next generations. In Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance he explains why researchers believe that epigenetics holds the key to understanding obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, and diabetes.
Friday, July 08, 2011
A series of new studies has revealed that jellyfish are far more than mindless blobs that can spoil your day at the beach. On today’s Please Explain, Steve Bailey, Curator of Fishes at the New England Aquarium, and Marine Biologist and Chief Aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Michael Howard discuss why jellyfish are much more complex and interesting than scientists once thought.
Friday, July 01, 2011
Tim Flannery, scientist, explorer, conservationist, and co-founder and Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, discusses the Earth’s evolution—from a galactic cloud of dust and gas to a planet teeming with life. Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet describes how the Earth’s crust and atmosphere formed, how its oceans transformed from toxic brews of metals to life-sustaining bodies of water covering 70 percent of the planet’s surface, and how our own species evolved.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Alex Prud'homme tells the evolving story of freshwater—as the climate warms and the world population grows, demand for water has surged, but supplies of freshwater are static or dropping, and new threats to water quality appear every day. The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-first Century investigates the state of our water infrastructure, the supply and quality of water, how secure our water supply is, new sources of water, and discusses whether the wars of the 21st century will be fought over water.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The FDA passed new federal regulations on sunscreen labels, to take effect next year. On today's Please Explain Dr. Michelle Hanjani, Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center tells us what those changes are, what they mean, how sunscreen works, and how much it really protects us from the sun's harmful rays.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
A number of scientists believe that the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima reactors in Japan is much worse than what governments are revealing. Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses what some in the scientific community are saying about the effects of the meltdown.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Molly Birnbaum talks about how she found her way—in the kitchen and beyond—after an accident destroyed her sense of smell. An aspiring chef, she was afraid that not being able to smell meant not being able to cook, but she tells how she picked herself up and set off on a quest to learn to smell again in Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found Myself.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Neuroscientist Tali Sharot looks at the human brain’s tendency toward optimism. Psychologists have long been aware that most people maintain an often irrationally positive outlook on life. In fact, optimism may be crucial to our existence. The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain looks at experiments, research, and findings in cognitive science that help explain the biological basis of optimism. Sharot examines how the brain generates hope and what happens when it fails.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Juliet Eilperin, environmental reporter for The Washington Post, looks at the ways different people and cultures relate to sharks, the ocean’s top predator. She reminds us why sharks remain among nature’s most awe-inspiring creatures. Demon Fish: Travels through the Hidden World of Sharks takes us from Belize to South Africa to show us how sharks live and why they are at risk of extinction.
Friday, June 17, 2011
New data that's just been released from NASA's Mercury Messenger spacecraft could reveal how Mercury formed and changed over the 4.5-billion-year history of the Solar System. The planet appears to have shrunk as it has aged. Denton Ebel is the curator of Meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History and is involved in educational outreach programs for the Mercury Messenger mission at the museum. He explains why scientists are finding new reasons to study the planet.