This week's show

On Thin Ice
Jul 16, 2018

On Thin Ice
Climate change as icebreaker.

ENCORE  Water is essential for life – that we know.  But the honeycomb lattice that forms when you chill it to zero degrees Celsius is also inexorably intertwined with life.

Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise sea levels.  It’s part of Earth’s cooling system … a barrier preventing decaying organic matter from releasing methane gas … and a vault entombing ancient bacteria and other microbes. 

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, global ice is disappearing.   Find out what’s at stake as atmospheric CO2 threatens frozen H2O. 

Guests:

  • Peter Wadhams - Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University in the U.K. and the author of A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic

  • Eric Rignot - Earth systems scientist, University of California, Irvine, senior research scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Åsmund Asdal - Biologist, Nordic Genetic Resource Center, coordinator for operations and management of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Svalbard, Norway

  • John Priscu - Polar biologist, Montana State University

Descripción en español

​originally aired August 14, 2017

What Goes Around
Jul 09, 2018
What Goes Around
How to recycle nearly everything.

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ENCORE  It’s not just tin cans and newspapers.  One man says that, from a technical standpoint, everything can be recycled – cigarette butts, yoga mats, dirty diapers.  Even radioactive waste.  You name it, we can recycle it.  But we choose not to.  Find out why we don’t, and how we could do more. 

Frogs' Pants
Jul 02, 2018
Frogs' Pants
Clever experiments to define and detect life.

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ENCORE  It’s one of the most bizarre biological experiments ever. In the 18th century, a scientist fitted a pair of tailor-made briefs on a male frog to determine the animal’s contribution to reproduction.  The process of gestation was a mystery and scientists had some odd-ball theories.  

Free Range Dinosaurs
Jun 25, 2018
Free Range Dinosaurs
When dinosaurs ruled.

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Dinosaurs are once again stomping and snorting their way across the screen of your local movie theater.  But these beefy beasts stole the show long before CGI brought them back in the Jurassic Park blockbusters.  Dinosaurs had global dominance for the better part of 165 million years.

Perpetual Emotion Machine
Jun 18, 2018
Perpetual Emotion Machine
Compassionate computers and irrational human behavior.

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ENCORE  Get ready for compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get where you’re coming from.  Computers that can tell by your voice whether you’re pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or muscle tension to determine your mood.  Empathetic electronics that you can relate to.