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Ep. 475: Fast Radio Bursts

You know what's fun? Mysteries. Here's one: fast radio bursts. Astronomers have been detecting mysterious one-time signals from across the sky. What's causing them? Nobody knows for sure, but the search is on to get to the bottom of them.

Unearthed letters reveal changes in Fields Medal awards, and predicting crime with computers is no easy feat

Freelance science writer Michael Price talks with Sarah Crespi about recently revealed deliberations for a coveted mathematics prize: the Fields Medal. Unearthed letters suggest early award committees favored promise and youth over star power. Sarah also interviews Julia Dressel about her Science Advances paper on predicting recidivism—the likelihood that a criminal defendant will commit another crime. It turns out computers aren’t better than people at these types of predictions, in fact—both are correct only about 65% of the time.   Jen Golbeck interviews Paul Shapiro about his book, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, in our monthly books segment.   Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: Greg Chiasson/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

18 January 2018: Climate sensitivity, and the fetal microbiome

This week, pinning down the climate's carbon dioxide sensitivity, and the battle over babies' first bacteria.

Ep. 474: Predictions for 2018

Phew, 2018, time to press the reset button and enjoy a whole new year of space exploration and space science. What’s coming up this year? What should we expect to launch, and what will we see in the sky?

Salad-eating sharks, and what happens after quantum computing achieves quantum supremacy

David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about two underwater finds: the first sharks shown to survive off of seagrass and what fossilized barnacles reveal about ancient whale migrations. Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about what happens after quantum computing achieves quantum supremacy—the threshold where a quantum computer’s abilities outstrip nonquantum machines. Just how useful will these machines be and what kinds of scientific problems might they tackle? Listen to previous podcasts.  [Image: Aleria Jensen, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

10 January 2018: Conflict conservation, and the shape of a memory

This week, tabletop physics, what a memory looks like, and conflict's toll on wildlife.

Ep. 473: Remembering the Best Space Science of 2017

2017 was a crazy year for, well, you know. But, it was a great year for space science, a kilonova, extrasolar planets, reusable rockets and more. Let’s look back at the year that was and remember our favorite space science.

Who visits raccoon latrines, and boosting cancer therapy with gut microbes

David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a long-term project monitoring raccoon latrines in California. What influence do these wild bathrooms have on the ecosystem? Sarah also interviews Christian Jobin of the University of Florida in Gainesville about his Perspective on three papers linking the success of cancer immunotherapy with microbes in the gut—it turns out which bacteria live in a cancer patient’s intestines can predict their response to this cutting-edge cancer treatment. Read the related papers: Routy et al., Gut microbiome influences efficacy of PD-1–based immunotherapy against epithelial tumors, Science 2018 Gopalakrishnan et al., Gut microbiome modulates response to anti–PD-1 immunotherapy in melanoma patients, Science 2018 Matson et al., The commensal microbiome is associated with anti–PD-1 efficacy in metastatic melanoma patients, Science 2018 aan4236 Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: cuatrok77/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Ep. 472: Best Modern Sci Fi for the Science Lover - Part 4: Bioscience

What happens when the future meets biology? Bioscience science fiction, of course. And that's our focus today as we continue our journey though science-based science fiction.
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humanoidhistory: Behold the ultimate Christmas ornaments, the Earth and Moon seen from the Apollo 8 spacecraft during its yuletide lunar odyssey, December 21-27, 1968.

Reposted frommr-absentia mr-absentia

Backchat December 2017: Trump, physics, and uncited papers

Backchat’s back, with discussions of Donald Trump, papers with zero citations, and the perils of writing about physics.

Ep. 471: Best Modern Sci Fi for the Science Lover - Part 3: Human Computer Relations

It's time to talk computers, and how we're going to be dealing with them in the future. In our next segment on modern sci-fi, we talk about the future of the human-computer interface.

Science’s Breakthrough of the Year, our best online news, and science books for your shopping list

Dave Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a few of this year’s top stories from our online news site, like ones on a major error in the monarch butterfly biological record and using massive balloons to build tunnels, and why they were chosen. Hint: It’s not just the stats. Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about the 2017 Breakthrough of the Year. Adrian talks about why Science gave the nod to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory team for a second year in a row—for the detection of a pair of merging neutron stars. Jen Golbeck is also back for the last book review segment of the year. She talks with Sarah about her first year on the show, her favorite books, what we should have covered, and some suggestions for books as gifts. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: f99aq8ove/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

21 December 2017: Earth AI, a news quiz, and sci-fi

This week, our end of year special, featuring Earth science AI, a news story quiz, and science fiction in the modern era.

Ep. 470: Best Modern Sci Fi for the Science Lover - Part 2: 3D Printing

Our journey through interesting science fiction, this time we talk about speculative fiction dealing with materials science, nanotechnology and 3D printing. It’s a staple in Star Trek, but what other stories deal with it?

Putting the breaks on driverless cars, and dolphins that can muffle their ears

Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing and are known to be harmed by loud underwater noises. David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about new research on captive cetaceans suggesting that some species can naturally muffle such sounds—perhaps opening a way to protect these marine mammals in the wild. Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Jeffrey Mervis about his story on the future of autonomous cars. Will they really reduce traffic and make our lives easier? What does the science say?    Listen to previous podcasts.    [Image: Laura Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

14 December 2017: Volcanoes, viruses & electric eels

This week, electric eel inspired batteries, virus inspired protein shells, and modelling magma viscosity.

Ep. 469: Best Modern Sci Fi for the Science Lover - Part 1 Space Exploration

We’ve always been fans of science fiction, but we really like our science. Today we’ll talk about some books we’ve been reading recently that do a good job of dealing with the science in science fiction.

Folding DNA into teddy bears and getting creative about gun violence research

This week, three papers came out describing new approaches to folding DNA into large complex shapes—20 times bigger than previous DNA sculptures. Staff Writer Bob Service talks with Sarah Crespi about building microscopic teddy bears, doughnuts, and more from genetic material, and using these techniques to push forward fields from materials science to drug delivery. Sarah also interviews Philip Cook of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, about his Policy Forum on gun regulation research. It’s long been hard to collect data on gun violence in the United States, and Cook talks about how some researchers are getting funding and hard data. He also discusses some strong early results on open-carry laws and links between gun control and intimate partner homicide. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: : K. WAGENBAUER ET AL., NATURE, VOL. 551, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

7 December 2017: Exoplanet geology & duck-like dinosaurs

This week, exoplanet geology and a dual-terrain, duck-like dinosaur.

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