Big Picture Science – Replace What Ails You

by Gary Niederhoff on July 28, 2014


Big Picture Science – Replace What Ails You
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Germs can make us sick, but we didn’t know about these puny pathogens prior to the end of the 19th century. Just the suggestion that a tiny bug could spread disease made eyes roll. Then came germ theory, sterilization, and antibiotics. It was a revolution in medicine. Now we’re on the cusp of another one. This time we may cure what ails us by replacing what ails us.

Bioengineers use advancements in stem cell therapy to grow red and white cells for human blood. Meanwhile, a breakthrough in 3D printing: scientists print blood vessels and say that human organs may be next.

Plus, implanting electronic grids to repair neural pathways. Future prosthetics wired to the brain may allow paralyzed limbs to move.

We begin with the story of the scientist who discovered the bacteria that caused tuberculosis, and the famous author who revealed that his cure for TB was a sham.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Thomas Goetz – Tuberculosis Cure History
Part 2: Pirate Prosthetics
Part 3: Jose Carmena – Brain-Machine Interface
Part 4: William Murphy – Stem Cell Research
Part 5: Ali Khademhosseini – 3D Printing Human Tissue

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Big Picture Science – Stellar Job

by Gary Niederhoff on July 19, 2014


Big Picture Science – Stellar Job
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The stars are out tonight. And they do more than just twinkle. These boiling balls of hot plasma can tell us something about other celestial phenomena. They betray the hiding places of black holes, for one. But they can also fool us. Find out why one of the most intriguing discoveries in astrobiology – that of the potentially habitable exoplanet Gliese 581g – may have been just a mirage.

Plus, the highest levels of ultraviolet light ever mentioned on Earth’s surface puzzles scientists; is it a fluke of nature, or something manmade?

And a physicist suggests stars could be used by advanced aliens to send hailing signals deep into space.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Paul Robertson – Goodbye Gliese581g
Part 2: Mike Joner – Black Holes
Part 3: Nathalie Cabrol – Ultraviolet Overload
Part 4: Anthony Zee – Stars as Messengers

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Face to Face

July 14, 2014

In our recent show Skeptic Check: About Face, we interviewed creative technologist Greg Borenstein, who uses FaceTracker software to find the “faces” we often see thanks to a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia. In the above image, you can see the “smiley face” in the key, overlaid with the vectored “face” detected by the software. In […]

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Big Picture Science – What Do You Make Of It?

June 23, 2014

Big Picture Science – What Do You Make Of It? You are surrounded by products. Most of them, factory-made. Yet there was a time when building things by hand was commonplace, and if something stopped working, well, you jumped into the garage and fixed it, rather than tossing it into the circular file. Participants at […]

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Check the Skeptics

June 16, 2014

Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Check the Skeptics One day, coffee is good for you; the next, it’s not. And it seems that everything you eat is linked to cancer, according to research. But scientific studies are not always accurate. Insufficient data, biased measurements, or a faulty analysis can trip them up. And that’s […]

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Big Picture Science – Apt To Adapt

June 8, 2014

Big Picture Science – Apt To Adapt If you move with the times, you might stick around long enough to pass on your genes. And that is adaptation and evolution, in a nutshell. But humans are changing their environment faster than their genes can keep pace. This has led to a slew of diseases – […]

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Big Picture Science – A New Hope For Life In Space

June 1, 2014

Big Picture Science – A New Hope For Life In Space Alien life. A flurry of recent discoveries has shifted the odds of finding it. Scientists use the Kepler telescope to spot a planet the same size and temperature as Earth … and announce that there could be tens of billions of similar worlds, just […]

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Big Picture Science – Just For The Fund Of It

May 25, 2014

Big Picture Science – Just For The Fund Of It Get ready for déjà vu as you listen to some of our favorite interviews in 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 fried […]

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Sethstify! Mr. Shostak Goes To Washington

May 23, 2014

On Wednesday May 21, Seth spoke at a congressional hearing before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee regarding the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and its funding. “At least a half-dozen other worlds that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, […]

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Big Picture Science – We Can Rebuild It

May 18, 2014

Big Picture Science – We Can Rebuild It What goes up must come down. But it’s human nature to want to put things back together again. It can even be a matter of survival in the wake of some natural or manmade disasters. First, a portrait of disaster: the eruption of Tambora in 1815 is […]

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