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The Undark Podcast

Podcasts

The Undark Podcast continues our mission of illuminating the places where science intersects — and sometimes collides — with our everyday lives, in the form of audio documentaries released monthly from September to May. Scientific questions and challenges, after all, are woven deeply into our politics, our economics, our culture — and they are animated by a wide spectrum of competing values and interests. Our goal is to present rich, narrative-driven audio stories of science as it manifests amid that push-and-pull of human society.

The Undark Podcast continues our mission of illuminating the places where science intersects — and sometimes collides — with our everyday lives, in the form of audio documentaries released monthly from September to May. Scientific questions and challenges, after all, are woven deeply into our politics, our economics, our culture — and they are animated by a wide spectrum of competing values and interests. Our goal is to present rich, narrative-driven audio stories of science as it manifests amid that push-and-pull of human society.

Location:

United States

Genres:

Podcasts

Description:

The Undark Podcast continues our mission of illuminating the places where science intersects — and sometimes collides — with our everyday lives, in the form of audio documentaries released monthly from September to May. Scientific questions and challenges, after all, are woven deeply into our politics, our economics, our culture — and they are animated by a wide spectrum of competing values and interests. Our goal is to present rich, narrative-driven audio stories of science as it manifests amid that push-and-pull of human society.

Twitter:

@undarkmag

Language:

English


Episodes

Ep. 60: Cascading Effects of Pollution in Lebanon’s Litani River

4/28/2022
Residents of Lebanon's Beqaa Valley say pollution in the Litani River is responsible for a host of chronic health problems. While a causal link is hard to prove, cleanup efforts are precarious amid the country's economic crisis and shifting blame between refugees and government inaction.

Duration:00:37:38

Ep. 59: Water Cremation Ignites Debate Over Dignified Death

3/30/2022
Alkaline hydrolysis is an end-of-life option that’s gaining popularity in Canada and the U.S. It’s marketed as a greener form of cremation — a way to still end up with ashes, but without sending harmful emissions into the air. But getting the technology approved by lawmakers has proven difficult.

Duration:00:29:32

Ep. 58: When an Intellectual Disability Means Life or Death

1/31/2022
When Pervis Payne was sentenced to death more than three decades ago, it was permissible to execute someone with an intellectual disability. A Supreme Court decision changed that in 2002, but Payne's disability was acknowledged only last year. Why did it take so long to remove him from The Row?

Duration:00:36:51

Ep. 57: In Lagos, Vulnerable Communities Buried by Urbanization

12/6/2021
Urbanization in Lagos, Nigeria, is moving at a rapid clip — burying mangrove forests and wetlands under mounds of sand to make way for wealthy subdivisions. Without strong regulations around how that sand is harvested, the social, economic, and environmental consequences are vast.

Duration:00:32:49

Ep. 56: Understanding a Terrorist's Brain

7/1/2021
Scientists and counterterrorism experts believe understanding the underlying motivations of radical extremists will help them deradicalize people. Now, one group has studied the brain activity of active extremists after asking them to contemplate the values they are willing to fight and die for.

Duration:00:31:57

Ep. 55: In Pursuit of Climate-Friendly Refrigerants

5/31/2021
In December of last year, Congress passed legislation that gives the Environmental Protection Agency authority to phase out most hydrofluorocarbons — potent greenhouse gases that keep refrigerators cool — over the next 15 years. But there's no perfect alternative to replace them.

Duration:00:23:40

Ep. 54: Translating Portugal’s Approach to Drugs and Addiction

3/31/2021
Twenty years ago Portugal decriminalized all drugs as part of a bigger national strategy to fight addiction. Last month Oregon became the first U.S. state to do the same, in a policy modeled off Portugal’s approach — but many questions about how success may translate remain unanswered.

Duration:00:29:18

Ep. 53: ‘Mainstreaming’ Psychedelic Drugs to Treat Mental Health

2/26/2021
Amid a worldwide mental health emergency, the discovery of new pharmaceuticals to treat conditions like depression has stalled. But researchers and therapists are showing that when paired with therapy, psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms are a new class of promising treatments.

Duration:00:30:43

Ep. 52: In India, Mismanaging the Monkey Menace

1/29/2021
In India, macaque monkeys are a menace — attacking people for food, breaking into offices, and in one state, damaging at least 54 million dollars worth of crops. A sterilization program aimed to curb the population, but some experts and locals question if it’s working or even the right approach.

Duration:00:31:48

Ep. 51: A Scramble to Define ‘Habitat’ — and the Future of Conservation

12/23/2020
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the dusky gopher frog now has conservationists and developers squaring off over the legal definition of the term ‘habitat.’ The accepted meaning will guide American lawmakers in designating protected areas for endangered species across the country.

Duration:00:30:26

Ep. 50: Studying and Surviving the Pandemic's Collective Trauma

11/30/2020
In South Africa, trauma researchers are studying — and working to ease — the psychological toll of Covid-19, while trying to endure the pandemic themselves. They warn the widespread and long-lasting impacts of this collective trauma could span generations and cross national borders.

Duration:00:28:42

Ep. 49: When Wildfires and a Pandemic Collide

10/29/2020
As smoky summers resulting from wildfires have become the new normal across much of the West Coast, communities have tried to put better systems in place protect their most vulnerable residents. But this year, they didn’t plan on dealing with a smoke wave in the middle of a pandemic. How are they coping?

Duration:00:25:39

Ep. 48: Capturing the Songs of a Changing Climate

9/22/2020
This month: Acoustic ecologists are racing to record Earth’s shifting soundscapes before they disappear. Some researchers are using their recordings to answer questions about how the environment and its inhabitants are changing, while others are sounding the alarm on pressing conservation issues.

Duration:00:26:48

Ep. 47: The Toll of the Culture of Silence in Animal Research

5/30/2020
This month: Communicating about animal research with the public can open early career scientists up to social stigma and even campaigns that threaten careers. But working with animals can be an emotionally taxing job — and the silence could isolate scientists further and strengthen public misconceptions.

Duration:00:25:59

Ep. 46: A Debate on the Dregs of Asbestos Mining

5/6/2020
This month: Ground-up waste leftover from asbestos mining still lines the landscape of Quebec. Now, a number of companies are eager to transform that waste into profitable product — but health officials worry this new industry might reawaken an old problem the province finally seemed to be moving away from.

Duration:00:26:42

Ep. 45: Making Precision Medicine a Reality

3/31/2020
This month: Tailoring medicine to each individual patient could make health care more affordable and effective. But that reality won’t come to fruition unless researchers, industry, the government, and the public reach a consensus on issues like patient privacy, data bias, and sharing of medical records.

Duration:00:31:24

Ep. 44: Confronting Knowledge Gaps in Intersex Health Care

2/27/2020
This month: The impulse to “fix” intersex infants with invasive surgeries is facing increased and, some would argue, long overdue scrutiny. As doctors, parents, and intersex people face decisions that may affect their long-term health, researchers grapple with defining and measuring outcomes.

Duration:00:30:19

Ep. 43: A Reality Check on Regenerative Agriculture

1/31/2020
This month: A new farming method has been touted as better for the earth and for struggling farmers. Some are putting these claims to the test.

Duration:00:28:37

Ep. 42: Screening Illicit Drugs to Prevent Fentanyl Deaths

12/30/2019
This month: Harm reduction organizations take a controversial step in checking illicit drugs for fentanyl.

Duration:00:35:16

Ep. 41: India's Battle to Control Forest Fires

11/26/2019
This month: The story of a devastating wildfire in India reveals how a complex tangle of law, policy, and science are hindering the country's efforts to contain and prevent forest fires.

Duration:00:26:57