natural science

Something Wild takes pride in introducing to the residents of the state to the wonder in the wild that surrounds us all. Someone who discovered that wonder at a young age is David Carroll, “I was 8 years old when I had that experience with the first spotted turtle.” Naturalist, writer, artist are among the many descriptors frequently attached to Carroll’s name.

Science Cafe: A Closer Look At Sugar

Mar 17, 2015

Our Science Café tackles sugar: the average American now eats about 130 pounds of sugar every year. It’s in everything from tomato sauce to milk. But what exactly is sugar? And how does it affect our bodies?

GUESTS:

dailyinvention via Flickr Creative Commons

Underwear, television and delusion. No, not a David Sedaris essay. These are some of the topics we are exploring on today’s Word of Mouth. Join us for an interview with psychiatrist Joe Gold about increasing prevalence of “Truman Show Delusions,” wherein people believe their life to be an elaborate reality show. Then, we talk to NY Times TV critic, Neil Gezlinger, about why television might not be the brain melting fluff we have been taught to think. Plus, producer Taylor Quimby makes a startling confession about his undergarments. Also, birds are in our trees, on the beach and constantly in sight during the summer months, so we bring you two stories featuring these graceful creatures. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Barbara via flickr Creative Commons

There are between 800,000 and 1.2 million moose in North America, but scientists are concerned that their numbers are shrinking – and fast. Moose populations from New Hampshire to Minnesota have been plummeting for years – as much as twenty-five percent each year in some cases – and while there are plenty of theories, nobody’s quite sure why.

Jim Robbins is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the New York Times. He wrote about the moose die-off for the Times’ environment section.

Matt Celeskey via flickr Creative Commons

To call someone a Neanderthal is to liken one to the heavy browed, ape-like troglodytes we see in history books or movies, but were they more sophisticated?

Sophisticated might be stretching it a bit, but a debate has surfaced in the scientific community about whether Neanderthals had a more complex culture than previous thought, and maybe even the cognitive powers equal to anatomically modern humans of the time.

Journalist Marek Kohn’s has been following the debate, his article “The Neanderthal Mind” appeared in the latest issue of Aeon magazine. He says the story starts with a perforated shell some fifty thousand years ago.

New Zealand cat owners are reacting with outrage against a plan to drastically reduce the number of free-roaming cats proposed by renowned environmental activist Gareth Morgan.

The movement is rooted in a long-standing national concern about the dwindling native bird populations, including the kiwi, that are struggling against New Zealand’s cat population, which is the largest per-capita in the world. Here to discuss Kiwi’s cat war is ecologist Dr. James Russell, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland.

Joe Hanson courtesy of his blog, It's Okay To Be Smart

Drive south of the Massachusetts border this summer and you’re bound to hear the deafening buzz of the 17-year cicada.  From the Carolinas to Connecticut, residents can expect a full-on plague of these large, loud, winged creatures to emerge after nearly two decades of underground hibernation.  We wanted to better understand these bizarre bugs – called “brood-two” cicadas - so we called biologist Joe Hanson, host and writer of PBS digital studios’ It’s Okay To Be Smart.

And if you're interested in a cheap snack this summer, David George Gordon is author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook.  We called him to ask, what does a Cicada taste like?

USDA

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I couldn’t believe my ears: “genetically engineered mosquitoes?” Why on Earth would they be created? And I understand there are plans to release them into the wild? -- Marissa Abingdon, Sumter, SC

Giant and colossal squids can be more than 40 feet long, if you measure all the way out to the tip of their two long feeding tentacles. But it's their eyes that are truly huge — the size of basketballs.

Now, scientists say these squids may have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom because they need to detect a major predator, the sperm whale, as it moves toward them through the underwater darkness.

Photo credit: Chausino, via Flickr Creative Commons

In the Eighteenth century, explorers set out to catalog the variety of life on Earth... Until then, even educated people believed in mythological creatures lurking outside the relative safety of their home environments.  Today, there are two million documented species on Earth.  Richard Conniff,  Guggenheim Fellow and Guest Columnist for the New York Times discusses his new book "The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life On Earth".