science

History Unfolded, Impostor Syndrome, & Fishpocalypse

Apr 29, 2016
Luc De Leeuw via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5eM3mF

You can't confront the horror that was the Holocaust without facing inescapable questions of America's role. What did the United States know about the Holocaust and how did it respond? Today, the United States Holocaust Museum is asking the public to help uncover how the American press covered the genocide of millions of Jews - and whether or not anyone was listening.

Then, recent public health crises like Ebola and Zika show how fear grabs public and media's attention. But there's another virus potentially be more harmful on a mass scale that's crept under the radar. Today, we'll hear about a virus that's killing off Tilapia by the millions - and what that could mean for our global food supply.

Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7jeDS3

Recent public health crises like Ebola and Zika show how fear grabs public and media's attention. But there's another virus potentially be more harmful on a mass scale that's crept under the radar. Today, we'll hear about a virus that's killing off Tilapia by the millions - and what that could mean for our global food supply.

Then, Vladimir Lenin died in 1924 - but you wouldn't know that by looking at his exquisitely preserved corpse. So what's the secret?

Guy Sie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6gdiLA

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But now vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. Today, the history and science behind a mostly unregulated market.

Plus, can a dress shirt be racist?  An online retailer has come up with an algorithm they say ensures a near-perfect fit... But part of that data set includes ethnicity, prompting questions about the connection between ethnicity and biology.

N.H. Debates Drones

Apr 12, 2016
Jim Lowe / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire is among many states attempting to navigate the brave new world of these unmanned flying machines, addressing privacy and safety concerns.  Meanwhile, the federal government could swoop in and make all these measures moot as lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider legislation that would allow the FAA to trump state laws.

Chiot's Run via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/a9qgh4

Once a staple of medicine, the case study is in decline - replaced in recent years by a treasure trove of patient data.  But what happens when doctors and doctors-in-training rely on statistics over story?  Today on Word of Mouth, a defense of the medical case study.  

Then, crowdfunding has been used to fund countless projects and but now people are turning to it for a whole new purpose - staying out of jail.

Plus, a history of the humble mason jar.  

takomabibelot via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8KAyxE

A while ago came the news that the US is in grave danger of a clown shortage. Today we'll get a report from a clown convention and find out why membership is down, but why clowns are still unlikely to completely disappear. 

We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality.

Plus, the latest 10-Minute Writer's Workshop with anatomical historian Alice Dreger. 

Agustín Nieto via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/nSseJW

Gluten-free? Olive or coconut oil for cooking? Mediterranean or paleo? If nutrition is a science, why does the research vary so wildly, and why all the zany correlations between who we are and what we eat? On today’s show, faith, party affiliation and other fictions from food science.

Plus, truth in advertising? Think again. From TV ads, to menus and billboards, we all know food photography looks too good to be edible- today we'll hear the truth behind those perfectly crisped turkeys, immaculately sculpted ice cream cones, and more.  

2.1.16: Dead Presidents & Killer Heels

Feb 1, 2016
Brady Carlson / bradycarlson.com

After Iowans caucus tonight, the candidates will be back in New Hampshire, making a case for why they deserve to be president. The job's got plenty of perks, but it also means giving over your life, and your death. On today’s show, from mountainside monuments to commemorative sandwiches, we'll explore how America remembers its dead presidents.

Also today, high heeled shoes: mocked, coveted, and symbolic to feminists and fashionistas. We'll learn about the history of high heel shoes and why they haven’t always been a symbol of feminine status.

http://gph.is/18Y0uxF

Gluten-free? Olive or coconut oil for cooking? Mediterranean or paleo? If nutrition is a science, why does the research vary so wildly, and why all the zany correlations between who we are and what we eat? On today’s show, faith, party affiliation and other fictions from food science.

Then, with ringing cell phones and sing alongs, the Filter Theater production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is anything but reverent, and that's the way they like it.

Karla via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/gr3Bno

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.

12.30.15: "Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" & What to Talk About

Dec 30, 2015
Ted Kerwin via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/49bSHq

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in an elevator and your boss steps in. You scan your brain for something clever to say and come up with…bupkis. On today’s show we'll get some tips on how to get a good conversation started with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Then, conversations between the deaf and hard of hearing rely on near constant eye contact, which turns walking and talking into an elaborate dance of avoiding obstacles to maintain sightlines. Later in the show, we'll hear about a University with buildings and spaces designed for how deaf people communicate.

1950sUnlimited via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/dADdFQ

This week, SpaceX overcame a huge hurdle for commercial space flight--by landing a reusable rocket less than an hour after launching it into space. But technical barriers are one thing; how will a blossoming space tourism industry deal with the physical and psychological issues presented by space flight?

Plus from birth dates as ATM pins to pet names as security questions; a look at the surprisingly deep stories behind our digital passwords.

And a preview of our new podcast - The Ten-Minute Writers Workshop. Bestselling author  Alexander McCall Smith talks about the worst distraction and best advice for aspiring writers.   

Reza via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3p2JUe

Personal branding is a part of all political campaigns, but female candidates face different considerations. On today’s show, a look at what the evolution of Hillary Clinton’s name signifies for women in politics, and why she took on Bill's surname in the first place.

Then from Newton and the apple to the solitary genius of Darwin, the scientific world is rife with myths and legends. Among the most pervasive, that Galileo’s imprisonment was long and excruciating.  We’ll find out more about the origins of these stories, why they persist, and how they shape our view of science.

mrd00dman via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4Ar6iz

As the obesity epidemic grows, so does the business of weight-loss - a nearly 60 billion dollar industry devoted to the promise that losing weight improves quality of life, health and self-esteem. But does shedding pounds make you happier? On today’s show, we’ll explore the tenuous relationship between losing weight and improving your mood. Plus, a scholar investigates the history of religious satire from Martin Luther to Monty Python, and explains why comedy, rather than rage, is more likely to affect change.  

Lehigh University / Flickr/CC

Over the last decade, high schools and universities have adopted programs encouraging female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, and there’s been a lot of talk about closing the gap.  But now, this divide is changing, with women dominating in some stem fields and men in others.  We’re getting the latest picture.

Guests:

John W. Iwanski via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/adzSde

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In times of mourning, we emphasize the cyclical nature of life and death - and yet, American burial practices are mostly designed to halt the natural process of decomposition. Today on Word of Mouth, a look at the historical forces that pushed America towards embalming and containment, and the growing "green burial" movement. Plus, how American judges are grappling with a difficult to interpret form of evidence that's starting to be introduced in the courtroom - the emoji.

Penn State via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/auaiVV

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status. Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Thomas Heyman via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/76AXNt

From the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer to the temperance movement, America’s relationship with alcohol is complicated and often contentious. Today, we’ll explore America’s history through the bottom of the bottle. Then, our collective image of dinosaurs has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. Instead of herds of lizard-like grayish brown creatures, fossil recovery has revealed not only the presence of feathers for some, but also clues to what color dinosaurs actually were. 

Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/7xUSvx

The Barbie doll has been targeted for her unrealistic proportions and for setting up an unattainable ideal for girls. Well, meet the new model - equipped with artificial intelligence, Barbie just got even more persuasive. Plus, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” has long kicked off the story of how babies are made.  But what about now,  when surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms? We talk with the author of a series of books about sex for kids without gender, and without judgment. Today, we learn about the birds, bees, and biology.

Earth Touch via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fsQZH8

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time …which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case. Today, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, more than 30,000 African elephants are poached every year, mostly out of East Africa. In an effort to understand the illegal ivory trade, a journalist commissioned a tusk made of fake ivory with a GPS tracker inside. We speak with the man behind that tusk.

Chris Lott via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fBHKmY

Grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists – human beings seem compelled to put things into manageable order…but the result can be anything but mundane.  We take a look at some of the most memorable lists ever written – from Walt Disney’s un-used dwarf names, to a day in the life of  country legend Johnny Cash. And, we’ll talk with a computer scientist who will forever be remembered not for his AI research, but as inventor of the emoticon. Plus, a writer attends her first autopsy, and says Hollywood gets it all wrong.

8.19.15: The Case Against C8 & The Power of Two

Aug 19, 2015
Roadsidepictures via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/53XEWe

C8 - it’s a chemical you may or may not have heard of.  And yet…“99.7% of Americans have some amount in their blood. It’s a manmade chemical that didn’t exist a century ago.” Today, an investigative reporter dives into chemical giant DuPont’s role in a tobacco-industry scale cover-up of the dangers of C8.  And, the myth of the lone genius gets knocked down by an exploration of creative duos. We’ll find out why artistic and scientific breakthroughs often come from dynamic collaborations.

xandert / Morguefile

The humble little mouse has become big business at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The research center uses selective breeding to create mice that have the genetic traits to make them useful for scientists searching for cures to human diseases. David Brooks recently visited Jackson Labs and learned a lot about the business of mice. He’s a columnist for the Nashua Telegraph and writer at Granitegeek.org. He spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.
 

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

Monday afternoon, high school students in a program with University of New Hampshire launched a weather balloon they designed and assembled themselves.

Giving Matters: Chemical Reactions at SEE Science Center

Jul 4, 2015

The SEE Science Center offers scientific explorations for all ages. Barnstead teacher Annie Bourque makes an annual trip with her 6th grade class to take advantage of the chemistry lab there. 

7.2.15: Helium, Nitrate Film, & Hunting for Elements

Jul 2, 2015
Glen Van Etten via Flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/5P2Zf5

It's the stuff that makes you sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks when you inhale it, it's the gas that fills balloons at birthday parties and is used in MRI machines and nuclear reactors -- and turns out, it's an increasingly rare element. Helium. (He) On today's show, we learn that it's not here to stay. Then, a hunt for elements. The periodic table has changed a lot, especially since 1941, when researchers at the University of California Berkeley produced the first man-made element: plutonium. (Pu) And the search to make more continues. And finally, a conversation about the Nitrate Picture Show in Rochester New York, a festival that screens incredibly flammable nitrate (NO3) films. 

Shandi-lee Cox via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/9kWmqX

Jurassic World opened this weekend to big crowds but mixed reviews from the scientific community. On today’s show a paleoartist takes issue with the film’s inaccurate depiction of dinosaurs.

Then, from tips for Hollywood filmmakers, to tips for aspiring comics, a comedy insider, and former editor of The Onion, explains what it takes to earn a living making people laugh.

©John Conway / johnconway.co

When Jurassic Park was released in theaters back in 1993, the scientific community was in shock. Happy shock, that is. For once, Hollywood got the science part—mostly­­—right. Long thought to be lumbering beasts, who slogged around the earth, Jurassic Park ushered in a new era of understanding when it came to dinosaurs: they were actually fast and smart.

Nic McPhee via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4zGJzN

Vocal anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy have got some in the science community saying if you don’t have an advanced degree, you have no right to question the experts.  But are they right?

On today’s show, a science journalist makes a bold argument: that free speech trumps good science. Then, we’ll tackle a controversial question for pet owners: whether or not to keep domestic cats indoors in the name of saving birds.

Plus, we’ll find out why more and more Europeans are ditching Darwin’s theory of evolution and embracing creationism.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Eugene Mirman Majored In Comedy

Apr 2, 2015
Photo by Brian Tamborello via eugenemirman.com

Eugene Mirman is a writer, stand-up comedian, the voice of Gene on Fox’s animated series Bob’s Burgers, Neil Degrasse Tyson’s partner in crime on the show Star Talk Radio, creator of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and proprietor of the post-stru

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