Big Picture Science
The Light Stuff08/24/15
The light bulb needs changing. Edison’s incandescent bulb, virtually unaltered for more than a century, is now being eclipsed by the LED. The creative applications for these small and efficient devices are endless: on tape, on wallpaper, even in...
Skeptic Check: Skeptic Seth
Are you skeptical? Sure, you raise an eyebrow when some Nigerian prince asks for your bank numbers, or when a breakfast cereal claims that it will turn your kid into a professional athlete overnight. But what do you really know about the benefits of...
Solar System Vacation
Ever gone bungee jumping on Venus? Of course not. No one has. However your great-great-great grandchildren might find themselves packing for the cloudy planet … or for another locale in our cosmic backyard. That’s what we picture as we accelerate our...
The Fix is In
The moon jellyfish has remarkable approach to self-repair. If it loses a limb, it rearranges its remaining body parts to once again become radially symmetric. Humans can’t do that, but a new approach that combines biology with nanotechnology could...
Skeptic Check: Are You Sure You're Sure?
ENCORE Nuclear fission powers the Sun. Or is it fusion? At any rate, helium is burned in the process, of that you are certain. After all, you read that article on astronomy last week*. You know what you know. But you probably don’t know what you don’t...
"If it bleeds, it leads” is the tried and true tenet of news. Indeed, headlines are often no more than a long list of moral atrocities. Yet one man argues that we’re living in the most civilized era in history. And he credits this to scientific...
Forget to Remember
ENCORE You must not remember this. Indeed, it may be key to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things; otherwise we’d have the images of every face we saw on the subway rattling around our head all day long. Yet we’re building...
Dogged Pursuit of Pluto
Pluto is ready for its close up – but the near encounter during this historic flyby will last less than three minutes. Be ready for the action with our special New Horizons episode! Hear from researchers who are Pluto rock stars: the astronomer who...
What the Hack
ENCORE Acomputer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and...
Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race
ENCOREIt’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one reason why – according to a...
It's All Relative
Acentury ago, Albert Einstein rewrote our understanding of physics with his Theory of General Relativity. Our intuitive ideas about space, time, mass, and gravity turned out to be wrong. Find out how this masterwork changed our understanding of how...
And To Space We Return
Earth may be the cradle of life, but our bodies are filled with materials cooked up billions of years ago in the scorching centers of stars. As Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.” We came from space, and some say it is to space we will return....
Math's Days Are Numbered
ENCORE Imagine a world without algebra. We can hear the sound of school children applauding. What practical use are parametric equations and polynomials, anyway? Even some scholars argue that algebra is the Latin of today, and should be dropped from...
Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter
There are few enduring truths, but one is that no one gets out of life alive. What’s less certain is what comes next. Does everything stop with death, or are we transported to another plane of existence? First-hand accounts of people who claim to have...
They Know Who You Are
You’re a private person. But as long as you’re on-line and have skin and hair, you’re shedding little bits of data and DNA everywhere you go. Find out how that personal information – whether or not it’s used against you – is no longer solely your own....
A Fundy Thing Happened
Get ready for déjà vu as you listen to some of our favorite interviews from the past year. It’s our annual fundraising podcast. Come for the great interviews, stay for the great interviews. Lend us your support along the way. What’s for dinner? Maybe...
The Evolution of Evolution
Darwinian evolution is adaptive and slow … millennia can go by before a species changes very much. But with the tools of genetic engineering we can now make radical changes in just one generation. By removing genes or inserting new ones, we can give...
ENCORE You can’t see it, but it’s there, whether an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean … but we have technology that allows us to detect what eludes our sight. When we do, whole worlds open up. Without telescopes, asteroids become...
Life in Space
Discovering bacteria on Mars would be big news. But nothing would scratch our alien itch like making contact with intelligent life. Hear why one man is impatient for the discovery, and also about the new tools that may speed up the “eureka” moment....
Skeptic Check: Monster Mashup
ENCORE Monsters don’t exist. Except when they do. And extinction is forever, except when it isn’t. So, which animals are mythical and which are in hiding? Bigfoot sightings are plentiful, but real evidence for the hirsute creature is a big zilch. Yet,...
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