There are 7 billion people on this planet today needing water, food and shelter. There will be another billion in 12 years. How many humans can the earth sustain? Steve Scher talks with Alan Weisman about strategies to ease the human impact on earth. Weisman has written “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For A Future On Earth.”
The classic observer of human behavior would tell you all of our decisions have a rational basis. But new research indicates that “rational” may not be based on any conscious factors, but instead, is more deeply hardwired in our DNA. Vladas Griskevicius is co author of a new book called “The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think.” He talks with Marcie Sillman.
The Record's Steve Scher speaks with writer Richard Dawkins about his new memoir, The Making of a Scientist. To get his points across to the general public, he uses, science of course, as well as math and sometimes, poetry, like this one by the writer, Aldous Huxley.
Paychecks and research have come to a halt at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle due to the partial government shutdown. Some NOAA researchers have been given special dispensation to come in to work only to feed the fish and invertebrates they study.
Morale at NOAA is pretty low for the skeleton crew that continues to come in to forecast the weather. So on Thursday they held a potluck to raise their spirits, serving up dishes with names like sequester quencher soda and filibuster parfait.
Radiolab is a show about, as the creators simply say, curiosity. It looks into questions on science, philosophy and the human experience. This year, they are touring around the country with their live show, "Apocalyptical." Marcie Sillman talks with hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad about their roots and translating science to radio.
Correction 10/9/2013: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Lake Natron was 402 miles wide. The lake is 402 square miles.
A lake in Tanzania has come into the spotlight recently thanks to a series of eerie photographs released by photographer Nick Brandt. In his book, “Across the Ravaged Land,” Brandt shows the world what happens to some wildlife when it’s submerged Lake Natron, and it’s not pretty.
For decades, government agencies and business groups have equated science degrees with job security. Employment projections from Washington state show growth in life science jobs, and policy groups lament a shortage of American scientists. But people who counted on a secure career in the lab are having the rug yanked out from under them. In the wake of the recession and the federal budget sequester, they’re having to develop a Plan B.
NASA is trying sell the historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and two billionaire-backed space ventures are vying for it. One is Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, the other is Elon Musk’s SpaceX based in California. The fight over the sole use of Launch Complex 39A caused NASA to postpone their decision on what to do with it. Alan Boyle, science editor for NBCnews.com explains the dispute.
Brain surgery is now done by lasers. But doctors must still open up the skull in an incredibly difficult procedure. Scientists are developing a transparent skull to make it easier. The transparent skull will serve as a window into the brain allowing immediate access to check the progress of cancer without repeated surgeries. It could take a decade before the see-through skull is perfected. Ross Reynolds talks with Masa Rao, assistant professor in mechanical engineering at the University of California Riverside who is working on the skull.
University of Washington computer science professor Oren Etzioni will lead a new institute on artificial intelligence founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Etzioni designed the technologies behind startup companies Netbot and Farecast. He talks with Ross Reynolds about what he could do working for Allen that he couldn’t do at the University of Washington.
With last week's confirmation of the existence of a brand new element (ununpentium), we're thinking about the periodic table of the elements, which predicts the behavior of elements long before they're discovered. Many of us haven't thought about the periodic table since high school. But it's one of the most powerful visual graphics ever created.
Above: A lovely wall ceramic tile periodic table from the main facade of the Sciences Building in the University of Jaén (Spain). (Dr. Antonio Marchal) Everyone knows it when they see it. The classic "castle with turrets" periodic table is a beautiful and concise icon that contains a great deal of amazing information, if you only know how to read it.
We take for granted the fact that we can predict long-term weather forecasts. Now scientists at the University of Washington are working on ways to forecast the changing conditions of the ocean. They hope these forecasts can help them better understand how those conditions affect Northwest fisheries.
Samantha Siedlecki is a research scientist at the University of Washington Joint Institute of the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean; she helped develop the forecasting tools and explains the way they work.