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Babbage from Economist Radio

The Economist

Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

The Economist

Description:

Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Language:

English


Episodes

Babbage: Where it began

4/14/2021
Almost a year and a half since the discovery of the virus that causes covid-19, The Economist’s health policy editor, Natasha Loder, investigates one of the pandemic’s most compelling mysteries: where did SARS-CoV-2 come from? Peter Daszak, who was part of the World Health Organisation’s controversial fact-finding mission to China, explains what evidence they gathered from Wuhan’s animal markets and the city’s microbiology laboratories. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and...

Duration:00:35:46

Babbage: Finger on the pulse of bias

4/7/2021
Hospitals routinely measure patients' blood-oxygen levels to determine the severity of covid-19. Why do these and other medical devices and treatments work less well for non-white people and women? Also, if you can have microwave ovens—why not microwave boilers for central heating? And, we explore how bees run vaccination campaigns too. Kenneth Cukier hosts For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new...

Duration:00:23:10

Babbage: Early warning

3/31/2021
How can technology be used to forecast future pandemics? We speak to the researchers creating an observatory to spot incipient health crises before they take off. Is data the ultimate weapon in the fight against covid-19 and future viruses? And, the rapid genetic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 made early testing possible—but testing infrastructure needs to be improved. Kenneth Cukier hosts. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at...

Duration:00:25:22

Babbage: Shooting out the messenger

3/24/2021
The pandemic has fueled the rapid advancement of emerging biotechnologies. The Economist’s science editor explores the potential of RNA beyond covid-19. Also, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli explains the implications of quantum physics on our interactions with objects. And, creating self-healing materials where roads repair themselves. Kenneth Cukier hosts For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new...

Duration:00:26:46

Babbage: Baidu it

3/17/2021
As the Chinese tech giant Baidu prepares for a secondary listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, how will Baidu’s rise influence technological innovation in China and beyond? Also, the humidity inside facemasks is helpful in fighting covid-19, not just preventing transmission. And Dr Tolullah Oni, an urban epidemiologist, on improving health in rapidly growing cities. Kenneth Cukier hosts For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at...

Duration:00:25:00

Babbage: Coronavirus, a year on

3/10/2021
A year ago the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The Economist’s health-care correspondent reflects on the future path of covid-19 infections. Also, how have past pandemics shaped today's society? And, epidemiologist Professor Dame Anne Johnson explores the opportunities for the “new normal”. Kenneth Cukier hosts For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly...

Duration:00:24:28

Babbage: Variations on a gene

3/3/2021
As global vaccination efforts continue, how is the coronavirus mutating to stay ahead? The head of Britain's covid-19 genomics consortium explains why genetic sequencing is crucial. Also, how studying individual cancer genes may improve precision treatments. And an AI for an eye—host Kenneth Cukier investigates the potential of AI in medicine first hand. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See...

Duration:00:24:40

Babbage: Collusions and collisions

2/24/2021
After Facebook reached a deal with Australia, the tech giants are coming under fire once again -- this time from each other. Are their cosy monopolies under threat? Also, The Economist’s defence editor investigates the multi-billion dollar industry which exploits vulnerabilities in vital software. And, how whales could help the study of seismology in the ocean. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:27:20

Babbage: Hard reboot

2/17/2021
Intel is the world’s biggest chipmaker. So why is it underperforming—and can its new boss turn the company around? As the search for life on Mars hots up, astrophysicist Avi Loeb argues science has already detected evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. And, why parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than those with sons. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See...

Duration:00:26:34

Babbage: Go with your gut

2/10/2021
The human microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Scientists are researching how these tiny creatures could be linked to Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and other diseases. Also, how understanding soil microbiomes could help combat climate change. Kenneth Cukier hosts. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer And subscribe to our weekly science newsletter at...

Duration:00:24:13

Babbage: Clash of the titans

2/3/2021
As Facebook and Apple go head-to-head over privacy, the impact could be felt across the digital world. We ask Michael Wooldridge, a leading AI researcher, whether artificial intelligence is the answer to the world’s problems, the seed of humanity’s eventual destruction—or neither. And the world would look very different without the LED: we speak to one of the engineers behind this illuminating technology. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print,...

Duration:00:28:39

Babbage: Is the model looking good?

1/27/2021
As initial data arrives from countries with high vaccination rates, how will the covid-19 vaccines affect the need for lockdowns? Epidemiologist Professor Mark Woolhouse explains his models of the future of the virus. Plus: a new way of getting concentrated oxygen out of the air and Britain's state-run strategies for capitalising on the growing space economy. Kenneth Cukier hosts. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:25:22

Babbage: Photon opportunity

1/20/2021
How has Albert Einstein’s work on photons ushered in a golden age of light? Oliver Morton, The Economist's briefings editor, explores why the laser's applications have been spectacular and how solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in many countries. Also, he talks to the scientists scanning the skies with the largest digital camera in the world. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See...

Duration:00:23:43

Babbage: Innovation’s new wave

1/13/2021
Covid-19 has catalysed scientific advancement and boosted technological optimism. Could innovation be the answer to decades of slowing growth in Western countries? Also, why magnetic tape still reigns supreme in “cold” data storage. And how effective are traditional herbal remedies at treating tropical diseases? Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Duration:00:28:21

Babbage: Viral defences

1/6/2021
A new strain of covid-19 is surging in Britain, America and Europe—vaccines can curb the effects, but can governments speed up the roll-out? Also, in 2020 some regions acted rapidly enough to avoid severe waves of infection. Host Kenneth Cukier speaks to the public health leaders who initiated “elimination” strategies. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out...

Duration:00:30:11

Babbage: Baby it’s cold outside

12/30/2020
In a special holiday episode, we travel to the Russian Arctic to meet the "prophet of the permafrost", take an extraterrestrial hike in the tracks of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars and meet the researchers cataloguing culture. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Duration:00:26:56

Babbage: The parasites and the pandemic

12/23/2020
While the world has been preoccupied with tackling covid-19, deadly malaria epidemics are continuing around the world. Robert Guest, The Economist’s foreign editor, investigates how covid-19 has affected the fight against malaria and talks to scientists in Senegal working to eliminate the disease. Also, historian Timothy Winegard explains how malaria has shaped life on Earth. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:33:13

Babbage: Taming the tech titans

12/16/2020
This week the EU unveiled its plan to rein in big tech—the draft laws target the American giants, but European firms may not benefit much. Also, how a failed study has revealed a promising new gene-therapy treatment for blindness. And, which science stories were overlooked in a year dominated by covid-19? Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and...

Duration:00:28:49

Babbage: Lighter than air

12/9/2020
The aviation industry is under pressure to curb carbon-dioxide emissions—hydrogen fuel could offer a greener way to fly. Also, host Kenneth Cukier unravels the inner workings of the human mind with psychologist Howard Gardner and neuroscientist David Eagleman. If there are multiple intelligences, what happens when they work together? And, how technology can tap into the abilities of the ever-changing brain. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:25:32

Babbage: Testing testing

12/2/2020
Britain has become the first country to license a fully tested covid-19 vaccine—the Economist’s health policy editor explains why this a historic milestone. Until vaccines become widespread, mass testing can be used to curb contagion. And, is it possible to detect covid-19 from the sound of a cough? Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out...

Duration:00:32:26