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New targets for the world’s biggest atom smasher and wood designed to cool buildings

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was built with one big goal in mind: to find the Higgs boson. It did just that in 2012. But the question on many physicists’ minds about the LHC is, “What have you done for me lately?” Host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Adrian Cho about proposals to look at the showers of particles created by its proton collisions in new ways—from changing which events are recorded, to changing how the data are analyzed, even building more detectors outside of the LHC proper—all in the hopes that strange, longer-lived particles are being generated but missed by the current set up. Also this week, Sarah talks with Tian Li of the University of Maryland in College Park about a modified wood designed to passively cool buildings. Starting from its humble roots in the forest, the wood is given a makeover: First it is bleached white to eliminate pigments that absorb light. Next, it is hot pressed, which adds strength and durability. Most importantly, these processes allow the wood to emit in the middle-infrared range, so that when facing the sky, heat passes through the wood out to the giant heat sink of outer space. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast

23 May 2019: Pre-industrial plankton populations, European science, and ancient fungi.

This week, how climate change has affected plankton, the future of European science, and evidence of an ancient fungus.

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  Russian space shuttles, gathering dust in an abandoned hangar in Kazakhstan.
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Nonstick chemicals that stick around and detecting ear infections with smartphones

The groundwater of Rockford, Michigan, is contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemicals found in everything from nonstick pans to dental floss to—in the case of Rockford—waterproofing agents from a shoe factory that shut down in 2009. Science journalist Sara Talpos talks with host Meagan Cantwell about how locals found the potentially health-harming chemicals in their water, and how contamination from nonstick chemicals isn’t limited to Michigan. Also this week, host Sarah Crespi talks with Shyamnath Gollakota of the University of Washington in Seattle about his work diagnosing ear infections with smartphones. With the right app and a small paper cone, it turns out that your phone can listen for excess fluid in the ear by bouncing quiet clicks from the speaker off the eardrum. Clinical testing shows the setup is simple to use and can help parents and doctors check children for this common infection. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Ads on this show: Science Rules! podcast with Bill Nye Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast [Image: Dennis Wise/University of Washington; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
  Construction of a spiral turbine from @Voithgroup in 1931. The turbine produces 9000HP and is dedicated for a power plant in Norway.
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16 May 2019: Recoding genomes, and material from the Moon's far side

This week, rewriting the script of life, and a trip to the far side of the Moon.

Ep. 530: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 2

530: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 2 Astronomy Cast 530: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 2 by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay South America, especially the Atacama Desert in Chile has become one of the best places in the world to put a telescope. It's dry, high, and the nights are clear. Today we'll talk about the monster telescopes already in operation in this region, and the big ones coming soon.

Probing the secrets of the feline mind and how Uber and Lyft may be making traffic worse

Dog cognition and social behavior have hogged the scientific limelight for years—showing in study after study that canines have social skills essential to their relationships with people. Cats, not so much. These often-fractious felines tend to balk at strange situations—be they laboratories, MRI machines, or even a slightly noisy fan. Online News Editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss several brave research labs that have started to work with cats on their terms in order to show they have social smarts comparable to dogs. So far, the results suggest that despite their different ancestors and paths to domestication, cats and dogs have a lot more in common then we previously thought. Also this week, host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Greg Erhardt, assistant professor of civil engineering at University of Kentucky in Lexington about the effect of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft on traffic in San Francisco, California. His group’s work showed that when comparing 2010 and 2016 traffic, these services contributed significantly to increases in congestion in a large growing city like San Francisco, but questions still remain about how much can be generalized to other cities or lower density areas. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Download the transcript (PDF)  Ads on this show: KiwiCo Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast [Image: Thomas Hawk/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

09 May 2019: Urban vs Rural BMI, and the health of rivers

This week, body mass increases around the world, and river connections in decline.

Ep. 529: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 1

529: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 1 Astronomy Cast 529: Astronomy of the Andes - Then and Now Pt. 1 by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay The Andes mountains in South America are a hotspot of astronomy today, but ancient peoples knew it was a great place for astronomy and lived their lives in tune with the night sky. Today we'll learn all about what they knew, and how they mapped the movements of the stars and planets.
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  A massive turbine at the Bonneville Dam 1937.
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Old steam engine, can produce over 1000 hp.
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The age-old quest for the color blue and why pollution is not killing the killifish

Humans have sought new materials to make elusive blue pigments for millennia—with mixed success. Today, scientists are tackling this blue-hued problem from many different angles. Host Sarah Crespi talks with contributing correspondent Kai Kupferschmidt about how scientists are looking to algae, bacteria, flowers—even minerals from deep under Earth’s crust—in the age-old quest for the rarest of pigments. Also this week, host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Andrew Whitehead, associate professor in the department of environmental toxicology at the University of California, Davis, about how the Atlantic killifish rescued its cousin, the gulf killifish, from extreme pollution. Whitehead talks about how a gene exchange occurred between these species that normally live thousands of kilometers apart, and whether this research could inform future conservation efforts. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy Download the transcript (PDF) Ads on this show: KiwiCo Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast

02 May 2019: China's growing science network, and talking brain signals

This week, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and translating brain patterns into speech.

Ep. 528: Modern Astronomy of the American Southwest

528: Modern Astronomy of the American Southwest Astronomy Cast 528: Modern Astronomy of the American Southwest by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Last week we talked about the ancient astronomy of the American Southwest. But this is actually Pamela's stomping grounds, and she's spent many a night perched atop mountains in this region staring in the night sky with gigantic telescopes. How does astronomy get done in this region today?

REBROADCAST: Nature PastCast April 1953

This year, Nature celebrates its 150th birthday. To mark this anniversary we’re rebroadcasting episodes from our PastCast series, highlighting key moments in the history of science.

Over 60 years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick published their famous paper proposing a structure for DNA. Everyone knows that story – but fewer people know that there were actually three papers about DNA in that issue of Nature. In this podcast, first broadcast in April 2013, we uncover the evidence that brought Watson and Crick to their conclusion, discuss how the papers were received at the time, and hear from one scientist who was actually there: co-author of one of the DNA papers, the late Raymond Gosling.

Race and disease risk and Berlin’s singing nightingales

Noncancerous tumors of the uterus—also known as fibroids—are extremely common in women. One risk factor, according to the scientific literature, is “black race.” But such simplistic categories may actually obscure the real drivers of the disparities in outcomes for women with fibroids, according to this week’s guest. Host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Jada Benn Torres, an associate professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, about how using interdisciplinary approaches— incorporating both genetic and cultural perspectives—can paint a more complete picture of how race shapes our understanding of diseases and how they are treated. In our monthly books segment, book review editor Valerie Thompson talks with David Rothenberg, author of the book Nightingales in Berlin: Searching for the Perfect Sound, about spending time with birds, whales, and neuroscientists trying to understand the aesthetics of human and animal music. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Download the transcript (PDF) Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast [Image: Carlos Delgado/Wikipedia; Matthias Ripp/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

25 April 2019: Tiny earthquakes, the genetics of height, and how US-China politics is affecting research

This week we’ve got an extended News Chat between presenter Benjamin Thompson and Nature's European Bureau Chief Nisha Gaind. They discuss a new way to identify tiny earthquakes, new insights into the heritability of height, and how political tensions between the US and China are affecting scientists and research.

Ep. 527: Ancient Astronomy of the American Southwest

527: Ancient Astronomy of the American Southwest Astronomy Cast 527: Ancient Astronomy of the American Southwest by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela Gay Ancient peoples had no light pollution, and they knew the night skies very well. In fact, they depends on them to know when to plant and when to harvest. Today Pamela talks about the archeoastronomical sites of the American Southwest.
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