The next show follows the previous show and precedes the show two weeks from now. Guests will include those people invited to participate in the program to discuss a subject in which they may have some expertise. There will also be a skit. Or not.
Arctic ice is melting, atmospheric temperatures are climbing – yet climate change science is under attack. Detractors claim that researchers are manipulating data and hoodwinking the public. And the public is increasingly skeptical about the science.
Find out what’s behind the surge of climate change skepticism - and what global warming deniers learned from big tobacco about how to spin scientific evidence.
It’s Skeptic Check… but don’t take our word for it!
Hollywood horror flicks have captivated us with alien blobs, but the slime slithering on our own planet is as beguiling. From microscopic machines to life on ocean floors, new research reveals how essential slime is to life on Earth, and possibly other worlds.
Discover the new materials made from hagfish slime… the social life of a slime mold… and the threat posed by the gray goo of self-replicating nanobots.
Plus, it’s been 50 years since it first oozed across the screen: why there’s no escape from The Blob!
It’s goodnight moon from President Obama, as he calls for canceling the program that would return astronauts to the moon by 2020. We’ll hear from the private sector, which might win in this deal, and consider whether we should really replace human explorers with robots.
Plus, if we can’t fly you to the moon, would you settle for a few acres and a deed? Meet the man who claims to have property on the moon – but will it hold up in court?
The extra-solar planet count is more than 400 and rising. Before long we may find an Earth-like planet around another star. If we do, and can visit, what next? Stake out our claim on an alien world or tread lightly and preserve it?
We’ll look at what our record on Earth says about our planet stewardship. Also, whether a massive technological fix can get us out of our climate mess. Plus, what we can learn about extreme climate from our neighbors in the solar system, Venus and Mars.
Love makes us feel warm and mushy, but the sweet sting of Cupid's arrow makes a compelling chemistry lesson, too. Research into animal mating and human courtship provides clues to an eternal mystery: what's the purpose of love?
Learn lessons from the family values of field mice, and affectionate same-sex penguin pairs. Plus: Darwin's take on speed dating, and the science of smooching.
ENCORE Ever since Einstein, we've known that time doesn't barrel willy-nilly into the future. Moving clocks tick at a different rates, and by riding a fast rocket, we can slow time to a crawl. Such tricks may give you a way to see the distant future, but can you go back in time?
Discover one man's quest to build a time machine. Also learn how to put the brakes on aging by getting near a black hole.
Plus, does your entire life really pass before your eyes if you jump off the Brooklyn Bridge? Our perception of time.
ENCORE Time's a mystery, yet we've invented clever ways to capture it. From sundials to atomic clocks, trace the history of time-keeping. Also, discover the surprising accuracy of nature's dating schemes - from the decay of carbon to laying down tree rings.
Plus, why the "New York minute" stretches to hours in Rio de Janeiro: cultural differences in the perception of time.
A massive black hole lies at the center of our galaxy, a monster hunkered down in the Milky Way’s innermost sanctum. Here, the bizarre laws of General Relativity take over, as the physics we know break down. And our spaceship is headed straight for it.
Join us on a special dramatized 26,000 light-year adventure to the Galaxy’s hulking heart of darkness. We explore a cosmos held together by gravity – discover why it’s not really a force – and try to avoid getting too close to a black hole, the ultimate expression of gravity.
While the Kepler spacecraft hunts for habitable planets beyond the solar system, we’ve let one of our own planets slip away! Find out why Pluto’s demotion to dwarf status created a public uproar as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson reads us his hate mail. From third-graders!
Also, how we might find Earth-like planets… the possibility of life on Saturn’s moon Titan… and TED Prize winner Jill Tarter’s vision for finding E.T.
And, the man who made it all possible: 400 years of Galileo and the telescope. Part of our series for the International Year of Astronomy.
Can animals think? Merely asking the question was once thought ridiculous. But studies that range from chimps to birds to sea creatures have prompted scientists to reassess the cognitive capabilities of our animal friends. These results challenge not only our idea of intelligence, but man’s unequivocal perch at the top.
Learn the secret communication between camouflaging cuttlefish… how the smarts of Alex the parrot turned “birdbrain” into a compliment… and why brawn sometimes trumps brains in evolution.
As the anti-vax campaign rages, parents are just saying “no” to vaccines. But now the incidence of childhood diseases such as whooping cough are on the rise.
A number of studies have refuted the link between vaccines, autism and other chronic conditions, yet the anti-vaccine movement continues. Find out why. Also, how the media have irresponsibility framed the debate.
Plus, we panic over plague, sweat about swine flu, but don’t think twice about jumping in a car and roaring down a crowded highway at 70 mph. Discover why most of our health worries are overblown.
Bond it to oxygen and it’s the scourge of climate change. But earthly life wouldn’t be possible without carbon, and maybe that’s true for alien life, too.
And carbon has other exciting forms: tiny diamonds may be evidence of a catastrophic comet impact 13,000 years ago. And, chalky carbonates may point to a once-habitable Mars.
So get cozy with carbon. Find out if you could swap it for silicon in DNA. Plus, the conundrum of calculating a carbon footprint.
Hollywood has a few ideas of how the world will end: killer asteroids … lethal pandemics … deadly ice-ages. These themes have all played out on the big screen. But, hey, they’re only movies, right?
We’ll separate the science from the fiction in doomsday movies. From the 2012 prophesy of the Mayans … to colliding worlds … to abrupt climate change, find out which among this crowd of cinematic scares are for real, and which aren’t worth the price of popcorn.
Popping a pill may help when you’re sick… but maybe not for the reasons you think. Sugar pills - placebos - cure illness better than prescription pills in as many as half of all cases in clinical trials … and the placebo effect is getting stronger.
Plus, the safety – or otherwise - of electromagnetic waves, and the “electro-sensitive” refugees who have built a camp to protect themselves from waves they say are causing pain. Is it all in their minds?
The undead, those mindless shambling specters from the grave, are enjoying a cultural (if not literal) resurgence, in films, books, and through strange, urban “zombie crawls.”
Discover the unearthly appeal of these reanimated beings and why playing dead may mirror the real social alienation of our digital lives. Also, how mathematicians use “zombie attacks” to model real disease epidemics, such as swine flu.
Plus – another case of life in suspension: the promise and peril of cryonics.
And, Phil Plait’s vacationing brains swallow a hoax moon-landing-hoax story.
It’s hot, too darn hot! And bright, too darn bright! But over-the-top photon flux doesn’t stop scientists from studying the sun. And solar eclipses are an ideal time for observing our favorite nuclear reactor. Discover what it was like to observe totality during the 2009 China solar eclipse.
Plus, how a star is born … the latest from the NASA Kepler mission to seek Earth-like planets … and, planet-hunter extraordinaire Mike Brown discovers the tenth planet: an icy body beyond Pluto.
What makes up the universe? Lots of tiny particles with strange names: bosons, leptons, quarks and neutrinos. But physicists think there are more members to be discovered in this particle zoo.
From strange particles to dark matter to vibrating strings, find out why you have to think small to understand the physics of the universe.
Plus, other cosmic connections: is SETI a religion?
Say what you mean. That's difficult, if you don't know what you're thinking. But the neuromarketers do, and they'll be happy to tell Madison Avenue what's on your mind. Discover why this marketing strategy is wired for success.
Also, Steven Pinker on how language reveals private thoughts as well as why the big-brained Homo neanderthalensis couldn't out-compete Homo sapiens. And, we tease your gray matter with the "Monty Hall Problem."
From iPods to Google to Facebook - information swims at our fingertips and friends are just a txt msg away. Digital devices have re-defined what it means to be connected - but how else are they shaping behavior? Join us for the second of a two-part series on how the network is changing how we think and act.
Part II: Behavior: how computers compel us to interact with them... why your iPod may improve your health... why Facebook may leave you friendless... the unintended consequences of past innovation... and the growing threat of "videophilia."