Category Archives: Podcast episodes

Episode 13 — A Pigment of his Imagination: James Watson, Race, and Intelligence

If you’ve been following the news at all lately, you’ve probably heard an earful about James Watson — the Nobel laureate stirred up a bit of controversy lately by essentially stating that people of African descent aren’t as intelligent as people of European descent. Predictably, most media outlets focused on the dramatic and controversial aspects of the whole affair, without explaining that Watson’s comments have precisely zero basis in science. Listen to this episode, and I’ll lead you through the messy and emotionally charged terrain of race, intelligence, and genetics…. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Humanity, Media madness, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 13 — A Pigment of his Imagination: James Watson, Race, and Intelligence

Episode 12 — Getting to Sputnik

Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Earth’s first artificial satellite — Sputnik 1. Lots of news sites are covering various aspects of this anniversary — mostly dealing with what’s happened in space in the intervening 5 decades, and what we may see in the future. What seems to be getting far less coverage, though, is the twisted path that led to the launch. Sputnik’s launch didn’t take place in a vacuum (no pun intended), after all — a number of social, political, and technical forces were at play. Tune in this week, and I’ll fill you in on all of the good “deep background” information that’s often lost in the shuffle. Continue reading

Posted in History, Podcast episodes, Politics and science, Space, Technology | Comments Off on Episode 12 — Getting to Sputnik

Episode 11 — Colony Collapse Disorder

So, what’s the buzz about honeybees? Listen in to this episode, and you’ll learn about honeybees, how important they are to modern agriculture, and how damaging something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has become — at least, in the U.S. and Europe. I try to put recent news in a bit of perspective, and talk a bit about the work that still needs to be done…. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 11 — Colony Collapse Disorder

Episode 10 — Quantum Mechanics

Now it’s time for some much odder physics than you’re likely used to — we’re getting down to the sub-atomic level with quantum mechanics…. If you’re new to the podcast, you’ll want to check out episodes 4 (Physics: A Brief History, 6 (Special Relativity), and 8 (General Relativity) first, just to put this material in context…. Continue reading

Posted in History, Physics, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 10 — Quantum Mechanics

Episode 9 — Stem Cells

Stem cells — everybody talks about them, but how much do all these talking heads really know about them? Listen in to this episode, and you’ll get a basic background in stem cells, and why you should care about them. What stem cells are, what they’re useful for, what kinds have ethical concerns attached, and which shouldn’t — it’s all in here for your listening pleasure. I also talk about some promising new news from Japan — the dawn of guilt-free stem cells may be just down the road… Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Humanity, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 9 — Stem Cells

Episode 8 — General Relativity

Now that we have some of the preliminaries out of the way, it’s time to take a quick look at General Relativity. Fortunately for the physics impared, it’s actually a bit easier to get your head around than is Special Relativity — and you get black holes, the big bang, and gravitational lensing in the bargain! Continue reading

Posted in Foundations of science, Physics, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 8 — General Relativity

Episode 7 — Meet the Neanderthals, Part 2 (Cousin / Cuisine?)

Now that you got a little background on the history of Neanderthal studies in episode 5, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. This episode is all about how we may be related to them — as ancestors, or just distant cousins. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Humanity, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 7 — Meet the Neanderthals, Part 2 (Cousin / Cuisine?)

Episode 6 — Special Relativity

So, you may be asking, what’s so darned special about relativity? Well, it’s just the foundation of modern physics — and then, there’s that little E=mc2 thing. At the very least, as preparation for some future episodes, you’ll need a little background in modern physics. If you’re new to the podcast, you’ll want to check out episode 4 (Physics: A Brief History) first, just to put this in context with its historical predecessors…. Continue reading

Posted in Foundations of science, History, Physics, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 6 — Special Relativity

Episode 5 — Meet the Neanderthals

As a prelude to some episodes on human evolution and our historical relatives, I thought it would be helpful to start out with a bit of history. So this episode is devoted to the history of Neanderthal discoveries, and how those discoveries were viewed culturally…. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Foundations of science, History, Humanity, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 5 — Meet the Neanderthals

Episode 4 — Physics: A Brief History

In future episodes, I’ll be discussing various turning points in our understanding of the universe around us — so it made sense to me to start with a little historical context. This episode is an overview of the history of physics, at a very high level so I can get through everything (at least briefly) in under half an hour… Continue reading

Posted in Foundations of science, History, Physics, Podcast episodes | Comments Off on Episode 4 — Physics: A Brief History