30 minutes | Jun 5, 2023
#196 Animal Liberation Now: Peter Singer on eating and living ethically
What does it mean to eat and live ethically in today’s world? In 1975, Australian philosopher Peter Singer published his landmark book Animal Liberation, in which he advocated for a vegan diet and the improved treatment of animals, sparking a global movement for animal rights. Almost 50 years on, amid scientific and ethical advancements, Singer has released an updated version of his book: Animal Liberation Now. New Scientist reporter Madeleine Cuff asks Singer how his views on eating ethically have changed, particularly as the science around climate change has solidified. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24 minutes | Jun 1, 2023
#195 Breakthrough in suspended animation; treatment using stem cells from umbilical cord; moon dust threat
Suspended animation - the stuff of science-fiction, or a real-world solution to surviving long voyages into deep space? Actually it’s neither, but researchers have now successfully induced hibernation in mice and rats, suggesting that the same may be possible for humans... The team explores what this could mean for future medical treatments. Sand martins – known as bank swallows in North America - have returned to their breeding grounds. Ornithologist Bill Haines takes Rowan under his wing at the London Wetland Centre and introduces him to these remarkable tunnel-digging birds… Wharton earth…? New research shows that Wharton Jelly, the stem-cell-rich goo found in umbilical cords can have important therapeutic benefits for those suffering from certain autoimmune diseases. The team discusses its recent success in treating Type 1 Diabetes. The Clarion-Clipperton Zone, deep in the Pacific Ocean, is of great interest to biologists and industrialists alike, as it is home to thousands of previously-unknown marine species… and replete with the likes of nickel, cobalt, copper, titanium and rare earth elements. As Matt explains, many of these species could be lost to deep-sea mining before we have a chance to discover them all. Finally, the team discusses a major nuisance to lunar travel: moon dust! Moon landings will kick up millions of these tiny, razor-sharp particles, even blasting them out of lunar orbit where they could pose a risk to orbiting space stations. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Michael Le Page, Alexandra Thompson and Matt Sparkes. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
34 minutes | May 26, 2023
#194 Rewilding special: a night in the beaver pen at the rewilded Knepp Estate
The world is undergoing a catastrophic biodiversity crisis, and the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. The problems are big, but there are solutions. On this special episode of the show, host Rowan Hooper reports from the Knepp Estate in southern England, a large estate owned by Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell, who have become pioneers in the rewilding movement. Rowan spent the night wild camping in the beaver enclosure and being serenaded by nightingales. He speaks with Isabella and Charlie about their new book, The Book of Wilding; to beaver reintroduction expert Derek Gow about the magic of this keystone species, and to ecologist Andy Hector of the University of Oxford. To hear a livestream of the sounds of nature from Knepp, listen to Wilding Radio here. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31 minutes | May 25, 2023
#193 Drug that could cure obesity; world’s largest organism; octopus dreams; mood-enhancing non-alcoholic drink
A new class of drugs that can reliably help you lose weight are generating great excitement in the fight against obesity - and Elon Musk and Hollywood actors have been using them too. Weight-loss scientists have developed hormone-mimicking injections that can reduce body fat by 20 per cent... and the team discuss how it works. The world’s largest organism is not the blue whale. In fact, Pando the aspen grove in Utah weighs 35 times more than a blue whale and has lived for thousands of years. The team discovers why this incredible life form - a forest of genetically identical, connected trees - may now be at risk, and thanks to sound artist Jeff Rice, we get to experience how it may “hear” the world around it. We’ve all seen our sleeping pups run in mid-air as they dream of chasing squirrels, but did you know that octopuses dream too? And, as the team learns, by observing one very special octopus, scientists now believe they also have nightmares. Reaching out to aliens… could we trust them? The team discusses some of the concerns around making contact and suggests some fantastic reads on the subject. Always struggled with “Dry January”? Your prayers may finally have been answered. Sam Wong tests a new type of non-alcoholic drink… that still gets you tipsy. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Clare Wilson, Michael Le Page, Alison Flood and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: firstname.lastname@example.org newscientist.com/nslpod Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
18 minutes | May 18, 2023
#192 Life-extending mutation; Kangaroo poo transplant for cows; irregular sleep linked to increased risk of death
Want to live 20 percent longer? Well, it may be possible in the future thanks to a new discovery. A life-extending mutation has been found in mice, and the team explains how its benefits can be transferred by transplanting blood stem cells. But will it work in humans? Cows’ burps are a big problem for global warming - but could kangaroo poo be the solution? We hear about a novel new idea to replace the bacteria in cows’ stomachs. A special kind of particle that can remember its past has been created using a quantum computer. The team explains the mind-bending qualities of this non-Abelian anyon, and how its creation could serve as a building block for advanced quantum computers. A new study has linked irregular sleeping patterns with an increased risk of death. The team finds out what’s going on. Climate change may have broken a link between desert grasslands and the Pacific Ocean. We learn how this severed connection is impacting biodiversity in North America’s Chihuahuan desert. On the pod are Chelsea Whyte, Sam Wong, Michael Le Page, James Dinneen, Alexandra Thompson and Alex Wilkins. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: newscientist.com/wondersofspace Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19 minutes | May 11, 2023
#191 Special episode: the most mind-bending concepts in science
On this bonus episode of the podcast we present a guide on how to think about some of the most important and mind-bending concepts in science, from artificial intelligence to mental health, from nutrition to virtual particles. It all comes from a special How To Think About issue of New Scientist that is out now – the team discuss some of the things it covers. Other topics include consciousness, wormholes, ageing, origins of life, quantum gravity, and even happiness. Make yourself happy subscribing to our podcast and by checking out the special issue. On the show this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Dan Cossins, Cat de Lange, Abby Beal and Clare Wilson. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28 minutes | May 11, 2023
#190 Problems for lab-grown meat; do we need vitamin D supplements?; waking the sleeping Arctic ocean; fish sing for Eurovision
Lab-grown meat may be cruelty free, but is it really better for the environment? Not at the moment. In fact, the team finds out how it’s up to 25 times worse than normal meat. And with prices still astronomically high, will it ever become a viable replacement? Are we waking up the sleeping Arctic ocean? Melting sea ice from rising global temperatures is having a knock on effect on one of the Arctic’s major ocean currents, the Beaufort Gyre. Rowan speaks to earth scientists Harry Heorton and Michel Tsamados of University College London, authors of a new paper looking at the changes to the gyre. Rowan asks them whether we’re approaching a climate tipping point where changes become self-perpetuating and irreversible. In the unlikely event that you have ever wondered what a church organ would sound like if it was played on another planet - wonder no more! Thanks to Timothy Leighton, professor of ultrasonics at the University of Southampton, we get to hear a church organ as it would sound on Mars, Jupiter and Venus. The team explains how this work might come in handy during future missions to these planets. When it comes to sharing their food, chimps are just like 4 year-old kids. The team finds out about a new study which clues us into the evolution of altruism in apes. Vitamin D supplementation has been the subject of a lot of controversy. Do we need to take them or not? The team highlights a new kind of study which shows how vitamin D can help fight off certain diseases. And the team signs off the show by playing a genius entry to this year’s Eurovision song contest - EuroFISHion, a track recorded with hydrophones at the SeaLife London Aquarium. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Clare Wilson and Alice Klein. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: newscientist.com/spacetelescope Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23 minutes | May 4, 2023
#189 Spinal cord stimulation: bringing movement back to paralysed stroke survivors
Spinal cord stimulation has, for the first time, been shown to help two people with upper body paralysis due to stroke regain some arm movement. To find out how this groundbreaking technology works, New Scientist health reporter Grace Wade speaks to two researchers who helped conduct this research - Nikhil Verma at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Erynn Sorensen at the University of Pittsburgh. She also speaks to Heather, one of the study’s participants, who explains the emotional moment when she was able to open and close her hand for the first time in a decade. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23 minutes | May 4, 2023
#188 Consciousness measured at point of death; the lifeform with seven genomes; impact of Covid on the gut
From bright lights at the end of a tunnel, to hearing dead loved ones, there are many common sensations related to near death experiences. But what’s going on in the brain to cause them? The team hears about a signal measured in the brains of people just before they died. Aliens may make contact with Earth as early as 2029. That’s the theory at least. The team explains how some of NASA’s deep space spacecraft could be used to beam back messages from distant planets. For the first time an organism has been discovered with seven entirely distinct genomes inside it. The team finds out about this record breaking cryptomonad alga. Covid-19 could be wreaking havoc on our gut microbiome, explaining why so many people experience gastrointestinal symptoms while infected. The team finds out how the disease is interacting with the gut, and whether there are any long term effects. Alpha male elephant seals with the largest harems die younger than those with fewer females. Listen to the sounds of their territorial grunts as the team finds out what’s going on. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Clare Wilson, Alexandra Thompson and Michael Le Page. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: newscientist.com/rewilding newscientist.com/universeweekend Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15 minutes | Apr 28, 2023
#187 CultureLab: The Power of Trees with Peter Wohlleben
As humans are responsible for the devastation of the world’s forests, surely it’s our job, then, to step in and make things right? Well, not according to German forester and best-selling author Peter Wohlleben. In his latest book ‘The Power of Trees’, he argues that forestry management, tree planting, and the exploitation of old growth forests is ecologically disastrous, and that trees and forests need to be left to heal themselves. In this episode of CultureLab, New Scientist culture and comment editor Alison Flood asks Peter about the book, and why he believes forests have the capacity to deal with climate change on their own. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29 minutes | Apr 27, 2023
#186 Private space company crashes on the moon; hypnotherapy as anaesthetic; record-breaking ocean warming; Rosalind Franklin and DNA
With SpaceX’s Starship blowing up, and ispace’s lander crashing into the moon, in the last week two of the most exciting missions of the year have failed. The team finds out what went wrong, and how long it’ll be until these missions can try again. Fish farts and genital stridulation - the team shares a beautiful underwater soundscape of British ponds, recorded using a hydrophone. They learn about the daily acoustic activity cycles of ponds, and find out why researchers are collecting these sounds. Hypnosis is becoming a more mainstream part of surgery, with patients being eased into operations with suggestive language and calming phrases. The team finds out how it’s helping to supplement normal anaesthetics, reducing pain and anxiety. 2024 may be the year we breach 1.5 degrees of global warming. Despite dramatic weather events over the last few years, the Earth has actually been in a cooling period called La Niña. So as we enter an El Niño, a period of warming, the team says we should brace for more intense, record-breaking heat. It comes as ocean warming hits new, and very concerning highs. Was Rosalind Franklin really the “wronged heroine” of DNA? Did Francis Crick and James Watson really swindle her out of her share of the credit for the breakthrough discovery of DNA’s double helix structure? That’s what Watson’s famous book ‘The Double Helix’ would have you believe. But Rowan speaks to biologist Matthew Cobb who sheds new light on what really happened. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Leah Crane, Madeleine Cuff and Clare Wilson. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: Great Mysteries of Physics Royal College of Anaesthetists self-hypnosis scripts Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20 minutes | Apr 26, 2023
#185 CultureLab: Cosmo Sheldrake on capturing the sounds of our oceans
Have you ever stopped to think about what life underwater sounds like? Well, now is your chance to hear it first-hand as multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Cosmo Sheldrake, has released a collection of music composed entirely out of recordings from our oceans and the animals that inhabit them. 'Wild Wet World' has been a decade in the making and features the sounds of humpback whales singing, oyster toadfish grunting and haddock drumming. In this episode of the CultureLab podcast from New Scientist, Bethan Ackerley speaks to Cosmo about some of the complexities of piecing together the album and how he hopes it will help to raise awareness about the impact of noise pollution on our oceans. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
16 minutes | Apr 23, 2023
#184 Dead Ringers TV review: Revolutionising the future of reproductive health
Based on the 1988 David Cronenberg film, the new six-part TV series Dead Ringers tells the story of identical twin doctors - played by Rachel Weisz - as they explore innovations in childbirth and fertility. In this bonus episode of the podcast, our TV columnist Bethan Ackerley speaks to the show's lead writer, Alice Birch, about how she took on Cronenberg’s twisted tale, why it was important to include graphic and realistic depictions of birth in the series, and about the emerging medical technologies that play a part in the show. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20 minutes | Apr 20, 2023
#183 How To Blow Up A Pipeline film review: Is it time for more radical climate activism?
With action on climate change moving so slowly, is it time for more radical activism? Have we been left with no option but to use sabotage and property destruction as a way to protect our planet? Those are the questions a new film, How To Blow Up A Pipeline, aims to get you thinking about. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Swedish academic Andreas Malm, the film leaves viewers questioning whether sabotaging an oil pipeline is a logical form of climate activism. In this bonus episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper speaks to the film’s director Daniel Goldhaber, lead actor/co-screenwriter Ariela Barer, and the movie editor Daniel Garber. Rowan’s interview with Andreas Malm can be heard here. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30 minutes | Apr 20, 2023
#182 3D-printing inside living organisms; what ChatGPT means for human intelligence; why insects fly towards light; carbon storage in the oceans
We’ve all seen the moths gather around the kitchen light or campfire flame at night, but have you ever wondered why they’re drawn to it? Well, there are loads of theories, but the team explores a brand new one which suggests insects don’t come seeking the light, but are instead imprisoned by it. Life finds a way. Even amid the vast swathe of plastic and junk in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creatures have set up home, thousands of miles from their natural habitats. Is this a reassuring sign of adaptability, or do we need to be worried? Our cyborg future is upon us. It may be early stages, but the team finds out about a new experiment which has, for the first time, printed conductive material inside a living organism. This material may one day be used to create working circuits and implants inside the body. The ocean is a massive carbon sink - but can we enhance its effects? The team discusses a concept called ocean alkalinisation, which aims to boost carbon storage by dumping a load of alkaline material into the sea. An experimental project is set to test the theory soon - but is it safe? With the rise of AI large language models like GPT-4 and Bard, will we begin to see them rival human level intelligence - or will an entirely new type of intelligence emerge? As a taste of New Scientist’s special issue on the AI Revolution, we hear from Melanie Mitchell, professor of complexity at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Madeleine Cuff, Michael Le Page and Alex Wilkins. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: Lyma: Laser therapy research Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
32 minutes | Apr 13, 2023
#181 New York goes quantum; a tipping point in human culture; JUICE mission to Jupiter
How many people can we physically feed on Earth? As the global population is predicted to reach 11 billion by the end of the century, do we have enough land to feed all those mouths? The team discusses the safest ways to feed the world, and finds out the absolute limit of Earth’s capacity. You know those fetching tunics Stone Age people wore? Well, we may have figured out how they stitched them together. The team discusses the discovery of a 40,000 year old horse (or bison) bone, and what it tells us about a vital tipping point in human cultural evolution. An unhackable quantum internet is being constructed in New York City. While this isn’t the first quantum network ever built, the team explains how this particular experiment is bringing us closer than ever before to a quantum internet we can all use. This episode goes live on launch day of the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer - JUICE. The mission will stop by Ganymede, Callisto and Europa, and the team explains what they’ll be looking for. Sadly you’ll have to wait 8 years before you can check back into the podcast for the next update though… And we hear a report from Abby Beall who’s been stargazing in the Atacama Desert in Chile on a New Scientist Discovery tour. She speaks to Elke Schulz, who runs stargazing tours nearby and is trying to get her valley recognised as a dark sky sanctuary. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane, Madeleine Cuff, Alison George, Karmela Padavic Callaghan and Abby Beall. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: New Scientist Live early bird tickets: newscientist.com/nspodcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23 minutes | Apr 6, 2023
#180 Maximum human lifespan; a twist on a classic physics experiment; saving the kākāpō
How long can a human live for? The world record is 122 years, and while some people believe our bodies aren’t capable of surpassing that, a new theory suggests we could see the record broken in a decade’s time. The team explains how this could be possible. An upgraded version of the classic double-slit experiment has observed how light interacts through differences in time rather than space. Researchers used a special type of material in the experiment, which the team says could be used to make time crystals. Nutritional deficiencies, tuberculosis and self harm - child asylum seekers in Australian detention centres have experienced dire living conditions. The team finds out about the impact of these centres on their health and lessons that other countries could learn. The incredible kākāpō is our life form of the week. The team explains how researchers are trying to save this endangered, flightless bird by looking at the preserved poo of their ancestors. And it’s been discovered that giving your brain a good work-out can ramp up its waste disposal system - something we thought only happened when we sleep. The team explains how this finding may be useful for preventing neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Sam Wong, Leah Crane, Alice Klein and Clare Wilson. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: Use the code NEWSCIENTIST at historyhit.com to get a free month’s subscription. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31 minutes | Mar 30, 2023
#179 Black holes older than time; nine animals to save the climate; the largest creature ever to walk the Earth
Sea otters, American bison and grey wolves are among nine groups of animals that could help fight climate change. The team discusses the various attributes that make these groups particularly impactful, and they explain what we’d need to do to help populations grow. An ancient supermassive black hole that formed in the early moments of the universe has been spotted by the James Webb Space Telescope. The team explains how it might’ve formed so early into the universe’s existence - and they discuss the mind-boggling prospect of black holes that are older than the universe. An immense sauropod dinosaur, Patagotitan mayorum, the largest known land-animal of all time, is currently towering above visitors to London’s Natural History Museum. Rowan went to see the incredible beast up close, and asks palaeontologist Paul Barrett how sauropods got so big. A newly discovered “hat” has mathematicians all excited. For the first time, researchers have found a single shape that can be used to cover a surface without ever creating a repeating pattern. The team explains the shape, which apparently looks like a hat, and what it might be used for. Many of the problems we face in the world today are caused by our inability to think about the long-term future. But in this modern world where we’re forced to think short-term, how do we escape this trap? Rowan asks Richard Fisher for help - he’s just released a book titled The Long View: Why we need to transform how the world sees time. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Alex Wilkins and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: New Scientist Fermilab event: newscientist.com/fermilab Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
#178 Botox affects your understanding of emotions; GPT-4 exhibits human-level intelligence; IPCC climate change report 2023
As countries continue dragging their feet on emissions reductions, the latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is another call to arms, warning of catastrophic impacts of climate change. The team digs into the report and asks whether the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C is now beyond reach. ChatGPT’s successor GPT-4 is here, and excitement is brewing as the language model has begun to demonstrate signs of artificial general intelligence, when machines demonstrate flexible ability to tackle different tasks. From passing law examinations to coding entire websites, the team explains what GPT-4 is capable of, and why it may have begun a paradigm shift in the world of machine learning. For Lifeform of the Week, the team hear that garden dormice glow in the dark. After shining UV light on some dormice, researchers have found they emit a bright red glow, and their feet and nose shine blue-green. The team finds out what’s going on and why they might have evolved this skill. It’s no surprise that it’s harder to read the emotions of people who’ve had Botox. What is surprising is that people who’ve had Botox find it harder to read other people’s emotions, too. The team explains how this could come down to something called the ‘facial feedback hypothesis’. Despite being ridiculously cold to the point where chemical reactions struggle to get going, Saturn’s moon Titan may still be able to develop life thanks to a strange quantum phenomenon. The team learns about the bizarre effect of quantum tunnelling. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Alex Wilkins, Alice Klein and Leah Crane . To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes: New Scientist Tours: newscientist.com/tours Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20 minutes | Mar 21, 2023
#177 Field report from the High Arctic: polar bears and melting glaciers in Svalbard
In this bonus episode, join host Rowan Hooper as he ventures to Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago in the far north, just 1000 km from the North Pole. The Arctic is warming far faster than any other region on the planet, making Svalbard an incredible natural laboratory to study climate change, and particularly, melting glaciers. Svalbard is also home to a large population of the world’s largest land carnivore, the polar bear. Rowan speaks with Jon Aars of the Norwegian Polar Institute about the fate of this spectacular predator. To read about subjects like this and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.