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7 minutes | 10 days ago
Oddities of outer space
In the last few decades, the study of exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — has exploded. Since the first one was spotted in 1992, scientists have found thousands of different exoplanets in their own unique systems, each of which has told us something new about the cosmos. Hidden among planets made of diamond and systems that we didn’t think could exist is a wealth of scientific information. To the people that study these strange celestial bodies, finding a “weird one” is a sign that there are still questions to be answered and cosmic investigation to be done. And they are more than ready to start investigating. Photo: An artist’s interpretation of the K2-138 system. When they were discovered, these exoplanets gave scientists a window into how planets form when nothing interrupts the process. [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) | Public Domain] Music: https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music https://pixabay.com/music/ SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida) For more information about this episode, please visit: https://scienceline.org/2021/02/oddities-of-outer-space/
7 minutes | a month ago
What does the coronavirus sound like?
In the 1980s, Mark Temple was the drummer for the indie pop band The Hummingbirds. He toured the world and saw his music played on MTV, but eventually left the band and returned to school. When the university where he teaches shut down earlier this year, Temple used his time at home to rekindle his pastime: He turned the coronavirus genome into music. Each genetic letter contained within SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was converted into a musical note, bass line or drum beat. The resulting composition, which is more than an hour long, sounds a bit like ambient electronica; it is surprisingly beautiful. But will people want to listen to music that reminds them of the pain and suffering of these last nine months? Combining interviews with musicians and researchers in Sydney, Australia, this episode of the Scienceline podcast deconstructs the story of Mark Temple, and his quest to make music out of a global crisis. Guests include: Dr. Mark Temple, a senior lecturer at Western Sydney University, and Mike Anderson, an Australian guitarist who collaborated with Temple for live performances of the coronavirus music. This story was reported, edited and produced by Niko McCarty, with additional contributions by Ethan Freedman. Photo: During the pandemic, confined to homes and small apartments, some people rekindled old interests; they started working on a book, or learned an instrument. A cancer researcher in Sydney, Australia used his background in music to create compelling sounds from the coronavirus genome. [Credit: Unsplash, United Nations] Music by: Jahzzar, Mark Temple, Mike Anderson and Ryan Andersen
7 minutes | 9 months ago
Is artificial intelligence changing art?
As artists harness the powers of technology for their art, several essential questions arise. What does it mean to create art with artificial intelligence? Are these techniques truly new? And why do we even need art that uses algorithms? This seven-minute episode will explore these questions, among others.
7 minutes | 9 months ago
Listening to the urban choir
Perhaps you were woken up today by the calls of a singing bird — perhaps trying to mate, or simply to communicate. In an Anthropocene world, those birdsongs are changing. Songbirds today, many of whom live in the midst of human cities, are singing into increasingly noisy skies. Their songs must compete with the din of planes, trains, and automobiles — and birds have been adapting their song to compensate.
5 minutes | 10 months ago
Hot or not, cigarette butts release toxins
We all know smoking is bad for your health. So is second-hand smoke. It turns out, even a leftover cigarette butt could be bad for you as well. Most butts are made with plastic and are not biodegradable. Scientists know nicotine and other toxins leach out of these ubiquitous plastic waste products, but recent research shows they could expose us to hazardous chemicals through an unexpected path — the air.
6 minutes | a year ago
Coronavirus: a name game
Corryn Wetzel speaks with a professor of ethnic studies, a civil rights organization and an infectious disease expert to understand how rhetoric around COVID-19 has impacted Americans.
11 minutes | a year ago
How volcanic eruptions may hold the key to averting the climate crisis
As the world faces unprecedented climate disasters — from the months-long bushfires in Australia to the rapidly melting ice-sheets of Greenland and Antarctica — teams of scientists from around the globe are busying themselves to come up with new climate solutions.
6 minutes | 2 years ago
Hablemos en Español
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6 minutes | 3 years ago
PODCAST: The Hudson River is flowing with pharmaceutical drugs
Prescription drugs seep from Manhattan into the Hudson River, where they can wreak havoc on unsuspecting fish. A recent study found drugs at several points along the river, providing one more piece of evidence in a trend found across the nation. Dan Shapley, one of the study’s authors, explains how the drugs made their way into the river, and Jim Meador, an aquatic toxicologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, describes the potential consequences for fish.
4 minutes | 3 years ago
PODCAST: Take a Tour of Central Park's Feathered Friends with Birding Bob
Robert DeCandido, or Birding Bob as he is known by his legions of fans, is infamous in New York’s birding community for his boisterous antics and extreme enthusiasm. Experts and novices alike flock to him (pun intended) to lead them through Central Park’s surprisingly abundant avian wildlife. In this podcast, I follow along on his tour to learn how a big city can offer great birdwatching.
6 minutes | 3 years ago
PODCAST: Sense of self
Humans begin as tiny clumps of cells. Somehow, we evolve into mature individuals with unique personalities. I wanted to dissect that process and discover how babies develop a sense of identity. In this podcast, I speak with Peter Gordon at Teacher’s College, Columbia University and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda at New York University to learn about the milestones that mark the development of identity. I also interview Katie Moisse and her daughter Lou to watch the process unfold.
6 minutes | 3 years ago
PODCAST: In herbs we trust
After spending years in the biodiverse jungles of Bolivia and tropical islands of the Caribbean, Ina Vandebroek came to New York City to study plants. To find them, she didn’t visit the parks or upstate forests. She went to the Bronx. More specifically, she went to botánicas, suppliers of amulets, candles, religious articles and hundreds of fresh and dried plants. There, Ina discovered a whole community of immigrants and Latinos who rely on these stores as an alternative health care system. An immigrant herself, she also found a home there.
6 minutes | 3 years ago
PODCAST: Bring oysters back into NYC’s waters
New York City used to be the Big Oyster before it was the Big Apple. But pollution and overharvesting drove oysters to extinction in this area. Now high school students and community volunteers are bringing these bivalves back into the city's waters. They believe that by helping oysters they can also help New Yorkers to develop a closer relationship with nature. Scienceline's Cici Zhang reports.
6 minutes | 4 years ago
Keeping up with the collections
Universities and museums are stores of human knowledge, but not just in a metaphorical sense. Millions of plants, animals, and minerals fill cabinets in collections across the world. But collecting specimens is easy compared to cataloging them. Harrison Tasoff went to learn how institutions are addressing a growing backlog of samples.
7 minutes | 4 years ago
PODCAST: The harp doctor is in
You can tune a harp, and then you can regulate a harp. The latter is a more intricate and precise tuning. If that’s what you need, Rachael Galbraith can help you. Galbraith is a certified harp technician, making her one of a small cohort of professionals trained to execute the miniscule adjustments needed to regulate a harp. Scienceline’s Leslie Nemo joined Galbraith for one of her appointments and learned a thing or two about the mechanical side of the musical instrument.
5 minutes | 4 years ago
PODCAST: Sensing the team
Scientists pinpoint how chemicals drive social behavior in ants Ants are incredibly social animals. Thousands of ants scuttle around the colony, working together to accomplish all kinds of complicated tasks. Scientists have investigated the evolution of social behavior, revealing where and how sociability is built into an ant’s DNA. In this podcast, I speak with biologist Daniel Kronauer at Rockafeller University and James Traniello at Boston University to explore why ants are social butterflies. Produced by Abigail Fagan
9 minutes | 4 years ago
PODCAST: New wind turbines are for the birds
Engineers place more powerful wind turbines further apart, but still can’t save the birds Wind turbines in the Altamont Pass in California have killed thousands of Golden Eagles, and even more songbirds. But we’ve come a long way since they were first installed. In this podcast, I speak to wildlife biologist Todd Katzner, bird conservationist Michael Hutchins and wind energy researcher Robert Preus about how wind technology is improving, and how it might affect birds. Produced by Ellen Airhart
9 minutes | 5 years ago
PODCAST: Treating insomnia without medication
Scienceline explores non-pharmaceutical ways for insomnia sufferers to get a better night sleep This podcast pilot will reviews various sleep-help methods for folks suffering from insomniacs. While many insomnia sufferers resort to drugs, intentioned changes to behavior or listening to music while trying to fall asleep might help, too. I talk to Austin Frakt, an insomnia sufferer and blogger for The Incidental Economist, Kira Vibe Jespersen at Aarhus University in Denmark, and John Watson who runs the Sleep Radio service in New Zealand. Sleep easy! Produced by Ryan F. Mandelbaum [Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London | CC BY 4.0]
8 minutes | 5 years ago
PODCAST: Decrypting You on the streets of New York City
If you get angry while walking in crowds, you’re not alone Whether on the sidewalk, at the mall or in the grocery store, we’ve all been there. Someone in front of you is walking slower than you want to be walking, and the rage bubbles up as you’re thwarted in your attempts to pass them. Maybe you keep a lid on your frustration, but it’s there. Decrypting You takes a look at sidewalk rage and its close cousin road rage to find out where that anger comes from. Produced by Ellie Kincaid [Image Credit: Gary McCabe | CC BY-SA 2.0]
12 minutes | 5 years ago
PODCAST: A Sense of Place digs into the Venetian lagoon
How water and forest combined to build a city We all have places we love, but we don't often stop to think about what makes these places special. A Sense of Place is all about exploring how a place's surroundings shape its history and culture. In this episode, we visit Venice--the sinking city of canals. [Image credit: NASA/GSFC/MITI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
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