ENCORE A new herbal supplements is on the shelf, and it claims to improve memory. Should you take it? It’s not easy to sort through the firehose of health and nutrition advice that comes at us daily. Find out how to get healthy about health advice, plus hear the story of Bernarr Macfadden, the eccentric who kicked off America’s fitness craze; he believed that eating less was good for you, but he didn’t believe germ theory.
The recipe for being a scientist was easy in the old days… just be born into a rich family, have an interest in nature and plenty of time to indulge yourself. But are the days of gentlemen scientists over? Maybe not.
We go to the Maker Faire and check out how small-scale projects have big-scale ambitions.
Also, how everyday experience often tells us something profound about the universe.
ENCORE It’s always a surprise to go digging in Seth’s garage – who knows what we’ll find! In this impressive heap of paraphernalia, tucked between boxes of old radio tubes and hydraulic jacks, we stumble upon the secrets to our galaxy’s central black hole… witness the dance of the PhD theses… uncover the genome of milk (while moo-ving boxes) and … hey? Who’s that crunching numbers in the corner? It’s astrophysicist Mario Livio addressing the mathematical mysteries of universe.
ENCORE We should award frequent travel miles to your brain. After all, it’s evolved a long way from the days of guiding brachiation from tree-to-tree to become the three pounds of web-surfing, Sudoku-playing powerhouse it is today. But a suite of technologies may expand human brains further still.
From smart pills to nano-wires: discover the potential – and peril – of neuro-engineering to repair and enhance our cognitive function.
Also, how our brains got so big in the first place: a defense of the modern diet.
There are a lot of scientific claims out there – how do you separate the good from the bad and the outright fraudulent? Experts failed to do so for years in the case of a physicist whose published papers claimed the invention of a new bio-based transistor. Plus, other stories of deceit – such as the scientist who stooped to coloring mouse fur with markers.
Also, why climate science is solid, but its scientists need to be more open with the public.
And, from the undersea “bloop” to the Denver airport conspiracy theory. Why urban myths are so popular.
ENCORE Dr. Robot, I presume? Your appendix may be removed by motor-driven, scalpel-wielding mechanical hands one day. Robots are debuting in the medical field… as well as on battlefields. And they’re increasingly making important decisions – on their own. But can we teach robots right from wrong? Find out why the onslaught of silicon intelligence has prompted a new field of robo-ethics.
Plus, robo-geologists: NASA’s vision for autonomous robots in space.
ENCORE With more water than land on this planet, Earth is more aptly-named “Ocean” or “Water.” The oceans have been here for billions of years, and make all life possible. Yet, it’s taken less than a century for humans to deal some serious blows to the watery cradle of our existence. Discover how our oceans are changing and the worrisome increase in their acidity from the maker of the documentary film, A Sea Change
We place sharks in aquariums and elephants in zoos – to observe and conserve. But what if aliens have done the same to us? We’ll hear from Stephen King on a doomed result of a domed experiment - hatched by off-Earth beings, and why captivity may actually save some species on this planet.
Plus, you’re entering the Habitable Zone: which is the best bet for life elsewhere in the Solar System - Europa, Enceladus or Mars?
It’s always a surprise to go digging in Seth’s crawl space – who knows what we’ll find! In this cramped never-never land, tucked between piles of spilled cat litter and old clarinet reeds, we stumble upon the language of whales … the future of technology … the secret to plant power … and the answer to whether photographic memory exists. Tune in, find out and, grab a broom, will you?
The Apollo moon landing is a hoax! 9-11 was an inside job! Our government keeps alien bodies racked and stacked in an underground bunker! And as for the evidence … well … put on your tin hats, folks, we’re going deep, deep, deep into conspiracy with journalist David Aaronovitch.
Also – the truth is out there, but it’s ignored. Jonah Lehrer on why scientists can overlook evidence.
Plus, money for meters and your spooks for free: ghost detectors hit the market.
And Hollywood Reality Check and Phil Plait on bogus bomb detectors.
ENCORE Hello! Is anyone out there? As the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence marks its 50th anniversary, there’s been no contact as yet with alien beings. But SETI researchers maintain that we are not alone. Find out why in a SETI retrospective that looks at the past and future of the search.
We remember the first scientific SETI search… Carl Sagan... how the SETI Institute began… the WOW signal…and the 1993 NASA budget cuts.
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.