01.05.16: What the Media is Really Saying About Oregon, Exciting Science, & CRISPR

Jan 5, 2016

After a group of anti-government activists took over an Oregon wildlife refuge last weekend, news outlets are struggling with how to identify them and their goals. On today’s show, a media reporter says in today's partisan, all-in media landscape, news reporters have an obligation to choose words carefully.

Then, 2015 was a banner year for science, from Pluto’s photo shoot, to the Ebola vaccine. So what's next? We'll hear about some of the big ideas in store for 2016, including the future of the gene editing tool: CRISPR.

Listen to the full show. 

What the Media is Really Saying About Oregon

News outlets are struggling with how to identify the group occupying a federal wildlife management office in eastern Oregon, along with what, exactly the group is doing.   It's a dilemma for traditional journalism that Paul Farhi outlines in his Washington Post article: "Terrorists? Freedom Fighters? Oregon Standoff Poses Quandary for Media."

Related: "Why aren't we calling the Oregon Occupiers Terrorists?" by Janell Ross

What Fools These Mortal Be!

In 1884, Republican Presidential candidate James G. Blaine was running against his democratic rival Grover Cleveland. Blaine was a charismatic contender - but one well-known for being corrupt. Cleveland had a great reputation - but had also fathered a child out of wedlock. Producer Emily Gadek tells us how political cartoons played a crucial role in the election that year.

You can listen to this segment again at PRX.org.

Gold Dust

For the rest of the show, we’re going to be talking about some of the big science stories that are coming up in 2016 - but before we do, we want to look back at one of the big science stories of 2004, one that didn't exactly go as planned. Producer Laurence Yeung has the story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Exciting Science in 2016
Credit Alden Jewell via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rGhDBZ

Each year, Popular Science looks forward to the year to come, highlighting some of the big ideas that could be game changers in science, technology, the environment, health, space, and the military: whether it be the inevitability of killer robots used in warfare, providing internet access to billions of people who cannot get online, or researching how environmental pollution today and can affect generations to come. Cliff Ransomeditor-in-chief, shared some of the big ideas covered in the January/February issue of Popular Science.

CRISPR: Pros and Cons

There are huge questions remaining about genetic modification, much of it focused on a new technology called CRISPR. Antonio Regalado is Biomedicine Editor for MIT Technology Review where he reported on the international summit on human gene editing held in Washington.