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The University of Liverpool Podcast
22 minutes | Nov 13, 2018
#046 3D printing muscle and bone
There is a tremendous amount of hype about the potential of 3D printing. The technology is already able to produce customized, one-of-a-kind prosthetic limbs, or artificial hips for patients. These devices are designed specifically to fit each individual’s unique anatomy. On today’s podcast, we’re going to take a leap into the not-so-distant future of 3D printing. A place where limbs are not so much 3d printed as grown. And the components are not plastic and metal but flesh and blood. Dr Kate Black, she is a lecturer in Lecturer in Additive Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Eng at the University of Liverpool.
32 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
#044 What the Irish referendum tells us about fake news
Professor Louise Kenny knew she would find herself embedded in a heated debate when she joined the campaign to repeal Ireland's eighth amendment. After all, the change to the Irish constitution would end the country's near-total ban on abortion. What was surprising however was the degree to which fake facts, false stories and foreign opinions infiltrated the discussion. It is increasingly clear there was an organized effort by foreign parties to influence the outcome of a democratic process. But in the end, it didn't work. And the 'Yes' side's success offers a fascinating case study in how to rise above the growing tide of fake news.
30 minutes | Oct 2, 2018
#43: The bright side of ancient Egypt's ‘dark age’
For many, ancient Egypt conjures up images of the Great Pyramids of Giza or the splendours of Tutankhamun’s tomb. A series of eras between those two well-known chapters in Egypt’s history are known as the intermediate periods. Historians have long referred to this time as a dark age, but recent scholarship is challenging that idea. Dr Glenn Godenho is a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on this 120-year period following the collapse of the first kingdom that built the famous pyramids.
32 minutes | Sep 17, 2018
#042 The struggle to balance work and non-work roles
Many modern couples begin their lives together expecting to share work and non-work roles equitably. But soon after children enter the picture, a mix of unequal workplace policies and differing cultural expectations for each partner challenges that egalitarian impulse. Eventually, many couples find the division between work and non-work roles becomes increasingly unbalanced as their family grows. Dr Laura Radcliffe researches and lectures on managing non-work roles and identities. Dr Radcliffe is a lecturer in organisational behaviour at the University of Liverpool. In her public talks, Dr Radcliffe uses storytelling to demonstrate how roles and identities can form almost mysteriously, without any clear decision to follow one particular path. She brings that story to us in this episode. Music is by Lee Rosevere under CC license. Listen to more of Lee's music here: https://leerosevere.bandcamp.com/
25 minutes | Sep 3, 2018
#041 How to overcome decision inertia
On 3 July 2018, Thai rescuers safely extracted the last of 12 boys and their football coach from deep inside a flooded cave. The rescue mission was complex, dangerous and had to be devised and executed quickly. For Professor Laurence Alison, this makes the rescue a fascinating case study in overcoming decision inertia. Decision inertia is the psychological process during crises that freezes decision making. It happens when a decision maker struggles to commit to a choice, when all options could yield negative consequences. Prof Alison contrasts the Thai cave rescue with the Grenfell Tower fire disaster and discusses how emergency responders, and by extension, all high-stakes decision makers, can overcome the paralysing effects of decision inertia.
20 minutes | Aug 20, 2018
#040 Click Farms and Digital Slavery
Nearly 5 million people in the UK are now self-employed. Technology has made it easier than ever to open a business or offer your services to others willing to pay but this shift towards gig employment concerns many analysts including Dr Ming Lim. Dr Lim is an Associate Professor in Marketing and Management, University of Liverpool. She argues that many of the folks we see, tapping away at computers at off hours in coffee shops are actually working for click-farms and the work they do, is actually a form of slavery.
23 minutes | Aug 7, 2018
#039 Rebroadcast: A History of Slimming
The hit program Love Island came under a lot of pressure after it aired an ad for Skinny Sprinkles. The diet product is aimed at helping people become slim and as such, it is one small part of a giant weight loss market estimated to be worth 66 billion dollars in the US alone. Europe isn’t too far behind that at 44 billion. It is big business and yet surprisingly, its origins can be traced to a time when food was scarce. This is a rebroadcast of our interview with Myriam Wilks-Heeg history of slimming in the UK and how it became an obsession for women. Dr Wilks-Heeg is a Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool. Did you know that the University of Liverpool has more international online postgraduate students than any other UK university? Find out more at online.liverpool.ac.uk
26 minutes | Jul 23, 2018
#038 Antibiotic resistance and farms: Are we reaping what we’ve sown?
In the battle against the growing problem of antibiotic resistance one industry, in particular, is coming under a lot of pressure. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80% of medically important antibiotics are used in the animal sector. Most of these medicines are used on healthy animals. Unfortunately, cutting down on veterinary medicines is not a simple thing to do. And even if we do, it’s not clear how much of a difference it would make on its own. Dr Jonathan Rushton is a Professor of Animal Health and Food Systems Economics. Dr. Lucy Coyne is a veterinarian and researcher in Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Liverpool.
28 minutes | Jul 9, 2018
#037 How to Predict a Volcanic Eruption?
Scientists are getting quite good at predicting where and when lava will erupt around the Kilauea volcano, and that is a good thing for the residents of the island of Hawaii. Kilauea has been very active for the past several months. Indeed, in just the past 7 days, residents in the area around Kilauea have experienced more than 900 earthquakes. For the most part, these have been very minor tremors, often only showing up on seismographs. The quakes are caused by magma deep inside the volcano moving underground, infiltrating cracks and fissures and occasionally shooting lava into the air in dramatic fashion. All of this is being very closely watched by Dr. Janine Kavanagh. She is a lecturer in Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences at the University of Liverpool.
34 minutes | Jun 25, 2018
#036 Rebroadcast: Is it really mental ‘illness’?
Revisiting the discussion with Dr Peter Kinderman, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and Vice President of the BPS, on the use of the term ‘illness’ in relation to mental health. Dr Kinderman says things are changing and, he believes, improving. We respond to life’s stressors in different ways and the treatment he prescribes is for all of us to take greater social responsibility to address the situation rather than reaching for medication.
24 minutes | Jun 12, 2018
#035 The not-so paleo diet
The Paleo Diet is one of the most popular diets in the UK, the US and across the developed world. The basic idea behind the so-called ‘caveman’ diet is to eat what Paleolithic humans ate. According to Paleo diet advocates, this is supposed to mean staying away from things like grains, legumes and certain vegetables. Yet, according to Dr Ceren Kabukcu, an archaeology fellow at the University of Liverpool, the Paleo Diet doesn't have a much in common with what humans actually ate during the Paleolithic Era.
30 minutes | May 28, 2018
#034 Jackie Bell Has What It Takes
It’s easy to see why theoretical particle physicist, athlete, and a certified space junkie, Dr Jackie Bell, was selected for the BBC2 programme "Astronaut: Do You Have What It Takes." Astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield and his colleagues put exceptional applicants through a series of challenges to see if they have the mental, physical and emotional capacity to become an astronaut. Jackie's journey - from an 8-year old in Liverpool watching Red Dwarf with her Dad, to being one of twelve candidates selected for astronaut training - is a remarkable, funny and inspiring story.
28 minutes | May 14, 2018
#033 Darwin's Robots
Researchers are designing robots with artificial intelligence that evolve on their own. The programmer sets a goal to be accomplished and then, generation after generation, successful traits are passed on to the next generation. The result is AI that evolves at an astonishing rate to complete the complex task or goal, without the guidance of a programmer. The process is called Neuro-evolution and University of Liverpool PhD student James Butterworth is conducting research into applying artificial intelligence to drones. Here is an example of Super Mario neuro-evolution: http://bit.ly/uolmario Another fascinating example: http://bit.ly/uoltruck Here is some recent work from James showing drones trying to maximally cover an area. http://bit.ly/uoldrone Music in the podcast is by Kai Engel http://www.kai-engel.com/
24 minutes | Apr 30, 2018
#032 Extreme Decision Making
Major events, such as a terrorist attack or a disaster, are a crucible for emergency services. Immediately, police, paramedics, and firefighters are forced to make split decisions under extreme stress and often with very little information. To make matters worse, these scenarios are frequently unique, so decision makers have little past experience to fall back on. This makes it a fascinating focus for research into decision making and planning. Dr Sara Waring is a lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Liverpool and the research director for the Critical and Major Incident Psychology Research Group. She discusses the challenges emergency services face they're required to make crucial decisions under the most stressful situations imaginable.
23 minutes | Apr 17, 2018
#31 Who is being left out online?
As the world around us grows increasingly digital, education, shopping, and social service programmes go online, who is being left out? Who is being excluded? Simeon Yates is the Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities and Social Science at the University of Liverpool. He recently led a major initiative to develop a new digital culture policy in the UK. This highlighted one of his chief concerns about digital policy: the serious and growing problem of digital exclusion.
28 minutes | Apr 2, 2018
#30 Can Donald Trump deliver a great speech?
Donald Trump's detractors criticize the president's speaking style for its seeming lack of coherence, simplicity and its appeal to raw emotions. Yet to his supporters, Trump's extemporaneous style communicates an honest and genuine connection with his audience. It is a style that stands in stark contrast to the rehearsed, formally structured speeches of his political opponents. Dr Karl Simms is a Reader in English at the University of Liverpool and an expert on rhetoric. In this episode, he dissects Trump’s discursive strategies and distills what they teach us about effective communication. iTunes link to this episode: http://bit.ly/uolTrump *This episode features music from Lee Rosevere used under a Creative Commons license. The track is "As I Was Saying" and you can find it here: http://bit.ly/lrosevere.
26 minutes | Mar 19, 2018
#029 Twitter predicts the future
Can Twitter predict the future? Costas Milas says the social media platform is very good at predicting financial future financial events, such as the cost of borrowing. In some cases, it performs better than the most sophisticated financial tools. Costas Milas is a professor of Finance at the University of Liverpool. His latest research extends beyond Twitter to look at internet search trends. He says the simple searches people type into Google just might tell us a lot about how something as complex as Brexit is likely to unfold.
23 minutes | Mar 6, 2018
#028 Do we know the right dose of medicine for children?
Paediatric medicine faces a troubling challenge. For good ethical reasons, scientists have long been reluctant to experiment on children. As a result, many of the oldest and most common medications used in pediatric medicine have not been tested on the youngest patients. This means there is very little good quality research on efficacy or proper dosage. This concerns Dr Dan Hawcutt. He’s a Senior Lecturer Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool who wants to further what we know about the medicines we give to children.
26 minutes | Feb 19, 2018
#027 Extreme weather: an intimate history
The study of extreme weather usually involves lots of numbers, graphs, and statistical comparisons. What's missing is the human element; the way people responded to unusual weather events. During the ice cold winter of 1838, did people stay huddled indoors or learn to skate? How about the flooding of the river Trent in the early 19th century? Were they scared? Georgina Endfield is a professor of environmental history at the University of Liverpool. Her team has assembled a fascinating collection of diaries, letter and other personal accounts of how people felt about dramatic shifts in weather over the past several centuries. This history of extreme weather raises important questions about our own, modern, ability to withstand a changing climate. Extreme weather history database: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/geography/extreme-weather/search/ University of Liverpool Online's programs: https://www.online.liverpool.ac.uk/ Kai Engel's compositions: https://www.kai-engel.com/ Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
26 minutes | Feb 5, 2018
#026 How much is your favourite Premier League player really worth?
All of a sudden mathematics wizards and statisticians are moving into the front offices of major sports teams. Ian McHale, Professor of Sports Analytics at the University of Liverpool, discusses the remarkable rise of analytics in professional sport. We see it in cycling, baseball, basketball… but what about football? McHale says the Premier League is behind other sports in adopting analytics to drive performance. This means some star players might be over-valued (and overpaid) while the role their teammates play may be overlooked. University of Liverpool's Online MSc in Big Data Analytics http://edu.university-liverpool-online.com/canada/ontario/programmes/information-technology/msc-in-big-data-analytics University of Liverpool's Online Graduate Management Degrees http://edu.university-liverpool-online.com/canada/ontario/programmes/management/
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