Media Mining Digest 169 – Feb 6, 2015: Alien Contact, Arc Lighting, Bartering, Body Armor, Botanic World, Brain Inflation, Brazil, Buckley vs Vidal, Bumblebees, Christopher Columbus, Climate Red Zone, Coal Industry, Community Colleges, Computer History, Computing Universe, Consciousness, Crashes, Creative Destruction, Data-driven Design, Decarbonization, Deep Web Operation, Desertification, Educational Reform, Failure Cult, Farm Debt, Fuel Concerns, Fusion Research, Growing a Company, Managing Scandal, Marketplace Forces, Medicine by Gawande, Memory Formation, Michael J Fox Case, Microwave Oven Inventor, Munition Storage Problems, Net Smart, Ocean Plastic, Oliver Sacks Interview, Patient to Doctor, Plastics Processing, Private Cities, Robot Futures, Salmonella Summary, Sex Problems, Suicide Bombers, Synthetic Biology, Teamwork, Technology Benefits, Terror Management Theory, Textbook Costs, Vaccines, Video Games, Virus Research issues, Water Needs, Water Shortage, Women Scientists

The following audio files come from a larger group of 145 for the week. Double or ctrl-click individual highlighted links, below, to get single podcasts.  A zip file of all 62 podcasts converted to 1.5x speed will download here for four months. Older groups of podcasts are discussed at the end of this episode.

Alien Contact 52 mins – “Ever since the invention of radio and television, humans have been sending signals into outer space, announcing their existence to other civilizations and waiting for a reply, waiting for contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. In a new documentary called The Visit, Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen constructs a believable scenario of first contact on Earth. Ultimately, the film is an exploration of humanity’s fear of strangers and the unknown.” At the link right-click the play button beside “Listen” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Arc Lighting 18 mins – “In 1885, Austin, Texas was terrorized by a serial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator.  The murderer was never actually found, but he claimed eight victims, mostly black servant girls, all attacked in the dark of night. The very, very dark night of Austin in 1885. Back then, once night fell, Austin had only moonlight.  The city had no outdoor lighting until 1894, when Austin decided to buy more moonlight, in the form of towers. They were fifteen stories tall, each crowned with a circle of six lights, soaring way up above the city….” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Bartering 27 mins – “Bartering is an ancient practice. With the emergence of money-based transactions, it’s no wonder that people might think bartering is a thing of the past. Tune in to learn more about the bartering process — and where it’s still used today.” AT the link find the title, “How Bartering Works,” right-click “Media files 2011-02-08-sysk-bartering.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Body Armor 18 mins – “Body armor has used by bodyguards, celebrities and soldiers for thousands of years. Tune into this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn how the constant innovation in weaponry has led to a similar evolution in defense and armor.” At the link find the title, “How Body Armor Works: A Special Request,” right-click “Media files 2009-01-08-sysk-body-armor.mp3” and select “Save link As” from the pop-up menu.

Botanic World P2 57 mins – “Prof Kathy Willis, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, examines the race to culture the prized Amazonian water lily; smuggling of rubber seeds out of Brazil; orchid cultivation; invasive species; and how the behaviour of hybrids led to the birth of modern genetics.” At the link find the title, “plantsfrtr: Omnibus, 2 of 5 17 Oct 14,” right-click “Media files plantsfrtr_20141118-1531a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Botanic World P3 57 mins – “Prof Kathy Willis, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, examines how the complete picture of photosynthesis led to new opportunities to manipulate plant growth; legacy of tree diseases; wild crops; and botanical medicines.” At the link find the title, “plantsfrtr: Omnibus, 3 of 5 24 Oct 14,” right-click “Media files plantsfrtr_20141118-1546b.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Botanic World P4 57 mins – “Prof Kathy Willis, Director of Science at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, examines new insights into plant hormones; unlocking biodiversity; surprising benefits of the 1987 storm; seed banking; and sequencing of the first plant genome.” At the link find the title, “plantsfrtr: Omnibus, 4 of 5 31 Oct 14,” right-click “Media files plantsfrtr_20141118-1602b.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Botanic World P5 57 mins – “Prof Kathy Willis, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, examines how the technology that helped map whole genomes in plants and animals was to revolutionise the classification of flowering plants; evolution of rain forests; and the future role of plants as providers of food.” At the link find the title, “plantsfrtr: Omnibus, 5 of 5 07 Nov 14,” rp-up menu.ight-click “Media files plantsfrtr_20141118-1632a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Brain Inflation 50 mins – “Ed Boyden is the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Synthetic Neurobiology research group and he wants blow up the brain. Sort of. He and his team have discovered a way to examine brain tissue by physically expanding it—a process that lets them look at tissue which would normally be extremely difficult to see even under a microscope. Boyden explains how it all works—and a lot more—on this week’s episode.” At the link find the title, “71 Ed Boyden – Blowing Up the Brain,” right-click “Media files 188593234-inquiringminds-71-ed-boyden-blowing-up-the-brain.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Brazil 9 mins – A special report from “The Economist” about economic and social conditions in the country. At the link find the titlek “Special report: Brazil,” right-click “Media files 20130926_sr_brazil.mp3” and select “Savelink As” from the pop-up menu.

Buckley vs Vidal 52 mins – “…director Robert Gordon joins us to discuss his documentary film Best of Enemies, which profiles the caustic rivalry between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. Two brilliant and eloquent men who represented two wholly opposite ideologies, they engaged in a first-of-its kind series of debates on the ABC network in 1968 during the political national conventions. The broadcasts burned with the fire of the men’s mutual hatred for one another and it laid the groundwork for the future of TV.

Bumblebees 60 mins – “…we’re learning about the fascinating lives of bees, and the important role they play in our global ecosystem. We’ll speak to University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulson about his book “A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees.” And we’ll talk to Jocelyn Crocker, founding member of YEG Bees, about the rewards and challenges of urban beekeeping.” At the link right-click “Listen now” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Christopher Columbus 52 mins – “Christopher Columbus’ name has been worked into numerous cities across the United States, the names of ships and universities – even a space shuttle. And from an early age, schoolchildren learn about the voyages of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María and the man who “discovered” the American continent. But many Americans have also questioned Columbus’ legacy – should we venerate a man who symbolizes European colonization, and began the decimation of native American populations that would continue for centuries? So on this episode of BackStory, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore the controversial Columbian legacy, diving into current debates, and looking back on how earlier generations have understood America’s purported discoverer.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Climate Red Zone 60 mins – “According to one climate scientist, “We are at the extreme weather stage and rapidly heading into the red zone.” That is when “all hell breaks loose”. Who else says so? Your insurance company. Both Lloyd’s of London and Zurich Insurance in Switzerland just warned of extreme weather events coming this year of 2015. The climate scientist is Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa. He has two Masters Degrees, and is working on his PHD in climate science. Paul lives out the late Steven Schneider’s call for scientists that communicate.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Coal Industry 14 mins – “We will not find “exposure to burning coal” listed as the cause of death on a single death certificate, but tens of thousands of deaths from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses are clearly linked to coal-derived pollution. As politicians and advertising campaigns extol the virtues of “clean coal,” the dirty secret is that coal kills. In The Silent Epidemic, Alan Lockwood, a physician, describes and documents the adverse health effects of burning coal. Lockwood’s comprehensive treatment examines every aspect of coal, from its complex chemical makeup to details of mining, transporting, burning, and disposal–each of which generates significant health concerns. He describes coal pollution’s effects on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, and how these problems will only get worse; explains the impact of global warming on coal-related health problems; and discusses possible policy approaches to combat coal pollution….” At the link right-click “Listen to Interview” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Community Colleges 47 mins – “An awful lot of America’s biggest challenges these days run through the humble institution of America’s community colleges.  K-12 education falling short?  Let community colleges retrofit.  Industry needs job training?  Call the community college.  Higher education too expensive?  Go to a community college.  Worried about inequality?  Pray community colleges will build a floor under the workforce.  Where America unravels, community colleges knit, or try to.  This hour On Point:  community college leaders from across the country on their “hold it together” role now.” At the link right-click ‘Download this story” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Computer History 33 mins – “Ian Sample talks to Tony Hey about The Computing Universe, his book with Gyuri Papay charting the evolution of computers from Babbage, Lovelace and Turing, throwing forward to the potential of AI and computational thinking. Tony Hey is a prolific writer and academic who spent the first part of his career working in particle physics, before switching to computer science. Until last year he was Microsoft Research’s vice president, responsible for the company’s worldwide university research collaborations….” At the link right-click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Computing Universe 33 mins – “Ian Sample talks to Tony Hey about The Computing Universe, his book with Gyuri Papay charting the evolution of computers from Babbage, Lovelace and Turing, throwing forward to the potential of AI and computational thinking. Tony Hey is a prolific writer and academic who spent the first part of his career working in particle physics, before switching to computer science. Until last year he was Microsoft Research’s vice president, responsible for the company’s worldwide university research collaborations.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Consciousness 17 mins – “What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. This engaging book—part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation—describes Koch’s search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. Koch recounts not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest—his instinctual (if “romantic”) belief that life is meaningful….” At the link right-click “Listen to interview” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Crashes 49 mins – “This weekend, we focus on crashes, in the global economy, in our personal finances, and even in our cars. Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch and guest host David Lazarus discuss what happens when a country crashes. Meteorologist Gary Dobbs tells his story of what happened when his world came literally crashing down around him. David talks with Patrick Markee about homelessness, and Darlene Bel Grayson talks about what it feels like to be homeless temporarily for the first time. David talks with Bloomberg’s Katie Benner about tech bubbles and bursts. We talk about crashes and recoveries — in Atlantic City, and for former professional gambler Josh Axelrad. On next week’s show, we’re talking about cheating. If you have a story about about how your personal economy changed because of cheating — financial cheating, romantic cheating, or even a time you cheated yourself — tell us. What happened? How did you make it through? Write to us here, on the web, or tweet us @MarketplaceWKND.” At the link find the title, “01/30/2015 Marketplace Weekend – Crashes,” right-click “Media files weekend_20150130_pod_64.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Creative Destruction 34 mins – “Economists preach the gospel of “creative destruction,” whereby new industries — and jobs — replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Data-driven Design 17 mins – “This week on the O’Reilly Radar Podcast, O’Reilly’s Roger Magoulas talks with Arianna McClain, a senior hybrid design researcher at IDEO, about storytelling through data; the interdependent nature of qualitative and quantitative data; and the human-centered, data-driven design approach at IDEO….” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Decarbonization 16 mins – “The global economy has become increasingly, perhaps chronically, unstable. Since 2008, we have heard about the housing bubble, subprime mortgages, banks “too big to fail,” financial regulation (or the lack of it), and the European debt crisis. Wall Street has discovered that it is more profitable to make money from other people’s money than by investing in the real economy, which has limited access to capital–resulting in slow growth and rising inequality. What we haven’t heard much about is the role of natural resources–energy in particular–as drivers of economic growth, or the connection of “global warming” to the economic crisis. In The Bubble Economy, Robert Ayres–an economist and physicist–connects economic instability to the economics of energy.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Deep Web Operation 33 mins – “Perhaps you didn’t realize that when you search the web you’re only skimming the surface. In fact, the types of web pages that turn up in your search engine results represent only a mere fraction of the total web. Immerse yourself in the Deep web and its dark corners in this episode.” At the link find the title, “How the Deep Web Works,” right-click “Media files 2014-01-23-sysk-deep-web.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Desertification 23 mins – “Josh and Chuck discuss the problem of desertification, from what causes serious degradation of dryland ecosystems to possible ways to repair the damage, in this episode.” At the link find the title, “How Desertification Works,” right-click “Media files 2010-04-06-sysk-desertification.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Educational Reform 16 mins – “Behind the lectern stands the professor, deploying course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, PowerPoint slides, podcasts, and plagiarism-detection software. In the seats are the students, armed with smartphones, laptops, tablets, music players, and social networking. Although these two forces seem poised to do battle with each other, they are really both taking part in a war on learning itself. In this book, Elizabeth Losh examines current efforts to “reform” higher education by applying technological solutions to problems in teaching and learning. She finds that many of these initiatives fail because they treat education as a product rather than a process. Highly touted schemes—video games for the classroom, for example, or the distribution of iPads—let students down because they promote consumption rather than intellectual development.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Failure Cult 60 mins – “Author Andrew Keen discusses his book, [The Internet is Not the Answer],” about his objections to the overuse of technology in our society and the creation of what he says are false communities through social networking.” At the link find the title, “Q&A: Andrew Keen,” right-click “Media files program.384978.MP3-STD.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Farm Debt 31 mins – “Frank is joined by James Robinson of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) to discuss the ongoing transition from tobacco to diversified agriculture as price supports through acreage quotas have slowly been phased out in the Southeastern United States. Also discussed is RAFI’s efforts to assist farmers on the brink of bankruptcy.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Fuel Concerns 30 mins – “It comes as little surprise that the author of a book entitled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is a critic of the natural gas industry and a proponent of peak oil theory. With the recent plunge in oil prices, it feels like the right time to check back in with Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute and get his perspective on how plunging oil prices will affect the energy and transportation industries. Heinberg and host Alex Wise discuss the impact of cheap oil on the North American natural gas boom, how it may alter consumer behavior in the near term, and the need for sound policy to guide us through the long-term challenge of living in a post-carbon world.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” fro he pop-up menu.

Fusion Research 38 mins – “At Iter in the south of France, seven international partners have pooled their financial and scientific resources to build the biggest fusion reactor in history. Their aim is to resolve critical scientific and technical issues, and take fusion to the point where industrial applications can be designed. In the Observer this week, Alok Jha writes from the Iter construction site. But concerns have been voiced about the large number of unsolved technological problems relating to fusion, and the huge efforts necessary before a large commercial breeder prototype can be designed.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Growing a Company 59 mins – “Visionary architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang discusses how the process of co-creation with clients and diverse teams leads to uniquely designed works that achieve aesthetic beauty and, at the same time, make bold statements. Founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, Gang describes growing her firm without diluting creativity or camaraderie.” At the link click “Podcast,” then right-click “Download mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Managing Scandal 48 mins – “Eric Dezenhall, who heads one of the nation’s leading crisis management firms, talks about his new book, “Glass Jaw: A Manifest for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal.” At the link find the title, “Managing Scandal in a 24-Hour News Cycle,” right-click “IM_20150124.mp3” and select “Save link As” from the pop-up menu.

Marketplace Forces 19 mins – “Feature films, television shows, homemade videos, tweets, blogs, and breaking news: digital media offer an always-accessible, apparently inexhaustible supply of entertainment and information. Although choices seems endless, public attention is not. How do digital media find the audiences they need in an era of infinite choice? In The Marketplace of Attention, James Webster explains how audiences take shape in the digital age. Webster describes the factors that create audiences, including the preferences and habits of media users, the role of social networks, the resources and strategies of media providers, and the growing impact of media measures—from ratings to user recommendations. He incorporates these factors into one comprehensive framework: the marketplace of attention. In doing so, he shows that the marketplace works in ways that belie our greatest hopes and fears about digital media.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Medicine by Gawande 2 parts 108 mins – “In the 2014 BBC Reith Lectures, surgeon, professor and author Atul Gawande dissects a field defined by what he calls “the messy intersection of science and human fallibility.” At the link find the titles ”The 2014 BBC Reith Lectures by Dr. Atul Gawande, Part 1 [and 2],” right-click “Download The 2014 BBC Reith Lectures by Dr. Atul Gawande, Part 2” and “Download The 2014 BBC Reith Lectures by Dr. Atul Gawande, Part 1” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menus.

Memory Formation 15 mins – “Imagine the astonishment felt by neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga when he found a fantastically precise interpretation of his research findings in a story written by the great Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges fifty years earlier. Quian Quiroga studies the workings of the brain—in particular how memory works—one of the most complex and elusive mysteries of science. He and his fellow neuroscientists have at their disposal sophisticated imaging equipment and access to information not available just twenty years ago. And yet Borges seemed to have imagined the gist of Quian Quiroga’s discoveries decades before he made them….” At the link right-click “Listen to Interveiw” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Michael J. Fox Case 13 mins – “Michael J Fox, star of the Back to the Future trilogy, was born in 1961, moved to Hollywood aged 18 and while avidly lapping up the customary attention and refreshments, he developed Parkinson’s disease. He has now authored a memoir describing his experience of the disease alongside his career as an actor. PN editor Phil Smith gathered the PN book club to discuss the memoir with Fox’s neurologist from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Allan Ropper, and in this podcast you can hear his thoughts, as well as contributions from book club lead Katherine Harding, Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, and Huw Morris, expert in early onset Parkinson’s, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Microwave Oven Inventor 3 mins – “Percy Spencer was naturally inquisitive. In 1910, he was just a teenager when electricity came to his community in rural Maine; he quickly figured out how it worked and installed it in a local factory. When he grew up, Spencer worked to pump out radar equipment for Raytheon during World War II. He worked seven days a week as he kept trying to make improvements to the systems. One day, as Spencer worked with a part of a radar called the magnetron, he noticed the candy bar in his pocket getting hot. This tiny detail led him to ask the fateful question: Would this happen to other foods? He began experimenting with popcorn kernels, which started popping all over the room. Then he moved on to an egg. Inevitably, it exploded on a co-worker’s face. Early microwave ovens – like other early technology – were not exactly consumer-friendly. They weighed 750 pounds, clocked in at six feet tall, and cost thousands of dollars. Although microwaves were presented as a futuristic convenience in the late 1960s, they didn’t become household fixtures until the 1980s, after Spencer had passed away.” At the link click “Download,” then select “Save” from the pop-up menu.

Munition Storage Problems 7 mins – “Unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) are a significant safety concern for governments and a major security challenge for the international community. The Small Arms Survey has documented more than 500 such incidents in 100 countries over the 35-year period from 1979 to 2013. The Handbook ‘Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS): Excess Stockpiles as Liabilities rather than Assets’, published in June 2014, is a reference and training tool that provides contextual information and analysis .useful for policy makers, programmers, and practitioners addressing stockpile management and surplus destruction concerns….” At the link find the title, “The Dangers of Excess Munitions Stockpiles: the UEMS Handbook,” right-click “Media files SAS-Podcast-23-The-Dangers-of-Excess-Munitions-Stockpiles-the-UEMS-Handbook.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Net Smart 15 mins – “Like it or not, knowing how to make use of online tools without being overloaded with too much information is an essential ingredient to personal success in the twenty-first century. But how can we use digital media so that they make us empowered participants rather than passive receivers, grounded, well-rounded people rather than multitasking basket cases? In Net Smart, cyberculture expert Howard Rheingold shows us how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, mindfully….” At the link right-click “Listen to Interview” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Ocean Plastic 30 mins – “Doug Woodring is the founder of the Ocean Recovery Alliance. His name may sound familiar to long-time listeners of Sea Change Radio because we featured Woodring back in 2010, when he was leading Project Kaisei, a mission to gather information on and document the massive repository of plastic that has accumulated in the North Pacific Gyre. The Ocean Recovery Alliance is the next logical step on Woodring’s path. The organization focuses on advocacy, raising awareness, and actually cleaning up the plastic floating in our world’s oceans and interfering with marine ecosystems. Woodring provides a status update on oceanic health, walks us through some of the cost incurred by our global plastic habit, and tells us about what the Alliance and its projects are accomplishing to help us clean up our act and our oceans.” At the link right-click “Download mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Oliver Sacks Interview 15 mins – “Listen to Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology and NYU School of Medicine, discuss the role of narrative in neurology, and the parallels between the skills of detectives and clinicians in the specialty. This interview is part of a Practical Neurology package on neurology and detective writing. For more information, and the other interviews in the set, see bit.ly/19YiaEM.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Patient to Doctor 19 mins – “Welcome to the The Checkup. Our sixth episode “Talking Back to Your Doctor,” opens with a question: Why do so many of us find it so hellishly hard to speak freely with our doctors? What is it about a white coat that makes even normally assertive people clam up? We begin with the dramatic story of Alicair Peltonen, an administrative assistant diagnosed with a rare cancer who had to have a chunk the size of a baseball removed from her thigh. Throughout her medical saga, she found that she often had urgent questions echoing in her mind, but felt too inhibited to voice them. She set out to find out why.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Plastics Processing 58 mins – “Last year, 100 million tonnes of plastic were produced by industry. At the same time sufficient waste plastic was found floating in the world’s oceans to make a string of bottles long enough to make it to the Moon. This week we find out what plastic is, how it is made, how to recycle it and why, in the future, it might literally grow on trees. Plus, reading Roman scrolls buried 2000 years by a volcano, how the magnetic history of a meteorite sheds light on the early Solar system, and an antidote to radiation.” At the link right-click “Download mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Private Cities 68 mins – “Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a recent paper Tabarrok co-authored with Shruti Rajagopalan on Gurgaon, a city in India that until recently had little or no municipal government. The two discuss the successes and failures of this private city, the tendency to romanticize the outcomes of market and government action, and the potential for private cities to meet growing demand for urban living in India and China.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Robot Futures 15 mins – “With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhuman abilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces, with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have minds of their own, thanks to artificial intelligence. They will be fully connected to the digital world, far better at carrying out online tasks than we are. In Robot Futures, the roboticist Illah Reza Nourbakhsh considers how we will share our world with these creatures, and how our society could change as it incorporates a race of stronger, smarter beings.” At the link right-click “Listen to Interview” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Salmonella Summary 67 mins – “Hosts Vincent Racaniello up with special guest: Stanley Maloy on the campus of San Diego State University to talk about his career in microbiology and his work as Dean of Sciences.” At the link right-click “TWIM#95” and select ”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Sex Problems 20 mins – “A while back we wrote about a national sex survey that found one-third of women experienced pain during sex. There were skeptics back then who thought, nah, that can’t be possible, otherwise we’d be having a nationwide conversation about how to fix such a huge problem. But now, the lead author of that study, Debby Herbenick, a researcher at Indiana University, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, and a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, confirms those numbers in a follow-up survey.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow t the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Suicide Bombers 27 mins – “It 1981 the first modern suicide bomber blew himself up. But this was by no means the first suicide bombing. Israeli psychologists evaluated the motivations of suicide bombers and found a number of commonalities. Join Josh and Chuck to learn more.” At the link find the title, “How Suicide Bombers Work,” right-click “Media files 2011-06-21-sysk-suicide-bombers.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Synthetic Biology 34 mins – “In 2014, the European Commission defined synthetic biology as, “the application of science, technology and engineering to facilitate and accelerate the design, manufacture and modification of genetic materials in living organisms”. It was followed last month by a draft opinion from the commission’s scientific committees that focuses on risks in synthetic biology. Specifically, it asked whether the methods used to assess the potential risks of the field were sufficient. To discuss the implications, Ian Sample is joined by Nicola Davis, commissioning editor of Observer Tech Monthly, and Professor Paul Freemont from Imperial College, London, who is co-director of its Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation. Dr Filippa Lentzos from King’s College London also joins us down the line from Switzerland.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Teamwork 47 mins – “The world is going to teamwork.  In the 1950s, about half of our work was done in teams.  Today, by one measure, it’s more like 90 percent.  Maybe it’s at the office.  Maybe it’s on Google Hangout.  Maybe it’s at the PTA.  But what makes a good team?  A smart team?  It’s not just a bunch of smart people, says a big new study.  It’s a crew that shares the floor, the talking time, it claims.  It’s a team that has high social sensitivity.  And it’s often, it says, a team with more women.  We need a cultural revolution, they say, to optimize our teams.  This hour On Point:  Are you onboard?  We’re talking teamwork.” At the link right-click ‘Download this story” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Technology Benefits 11 mins – “We’re living in an unprecedented technological age. If you want proof, pull that powerful computer out of your pocket and take a closer look at it. A 64 gigabyte smartphone “has one million times more digital storage capacity than the computer that went to the moon on board Apollo 11 in 1969,” says Robert Bryce, author of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong. And it’s not just computers and other gadgets. …For decades, he explains, the peak oil movement has predicted that oil supplies would run dry, but today markets are flooded with cheap oil. “Better technology is allowing us to produce more oil than ever before, but it’s not just a supply story. It’s also a consumption story and we’re getting better and better at using that oil,” he adds. …“We will impose costs on the planet, we will impose costs on each other, but we are improving living standards more than any other time in human history. More people are living longer, healthier, freer lives than at any other time in human history.” One more note of optimism for the road: Bryce also believes that America will continue to be the premier innovation hotspot. “This idea about starting your own company – being an entrepreneur – it’s very deeply rooted in how Americans view themselves.” At the link click “Download” and select “Save” from the pop-up menu.

Terror Management Theory 26 mins – “Terror management theory isn’t about mid-level bureaucrats in Al-Qaeda — so what exactly is it, and what does it say about human culture and our perception of mortality? Join Chuck and Josh as they explore the implications of terror management theory.” At the link find the title, “What is terror management theory?” right-click “Media files 2011-05-24-sysk-terror-management-theory.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Textbook Costs 14 mins – “Lugging around a massive Norton Anthology or Campbell Biology textbook is a long-standing rite of passage for each successive crop of college freshman in the U.S. But it might not be that way for much longer. “Textbook costs have risen so astronomically, as compared to the cost of everything else – including housing and medical care – that it now becomes cost prohibitive,” explains Linda Williams, a business administration professor at Tidewater Community College. Williams has even seen cases where the cost of a course textbook exceeds the cost of tuition, especially at the community college level.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save” from the pop-up menu.

Vaccines 22 mins – “Somehow, over the last few years, one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements has turned into one of modern American parents’ most fraught subjects. In this episode of The Checkup, our podcast on Slate, we offer Shots: Vaccine Facts And Fictions, in which we attempt to have a rational, fact-based discussion about some of the vaccines you may encounter in the immediate future: the flu vaccine and, if you have pre-adolescent children, the HPV vaccine….” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Video Games P1 mins – “Video games are a ubiquitous component of modern life and pop culture. But is there more to them than entertainment? In Part 1, Neil deGrasse Tyson finds out if video games breed violence and what kids actually learn from shooter games with guests Jeffrey Ryan, author of “Super Mario – How Nintendo Conquered America” and Will Wright, creator of The Sims and Spore. They chat about the evolution of choice and moral dilemma in video games; Moore’s Law of processing speed; and computer game graphics, verisimilitude and the cartoon laws of physics. You’ll also find out why Space Invaders sped up as you played it, what inspired Will Wright to create SimAnt and why co-host Eugene Mirman thinks Happy Days started the U.S./Iran conflict.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Video Games P2 mins – “In Part 2 of The Science of Video Games, Neil and Will Wright discuss artificial intelligence, the Turing Test, IBM’s Watson and how Spore ascends in scale from a microscopic organism to a multi-player galaxy where everyone can encounter the life forms you create. Jeffrey Ryan explains the secret origin of Lara Croft to co-host Eugene Mirman and how fear is built into the mechanics of survival horror games like Resident Evil. You’ll also learn how the lines between the virtual and real world are blurring, from “Gold Farmers” in China who support online economies in World of Warcraft, to military drone pilots who grew up on video games, to soldiers in Iraq who return from patrol and play Counter-Strike on Xbox in their tents.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Virus Research Issues 100 mins – “Guest Paul Duprex joins the TWiV team, Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, and Kathy Spindler, to discuss the current moratorium on viral research to alter transmission, range and resistance, infectivity and immunity, and pathogenesis.” At the link right-click “Download TWiV 321,” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Water Needs P1 51 mins – “Join StarTalk Live! as we explore the world of water: from Earth, to the ancient subsurface sea of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, to the comets that first brought water to our planet. Recorded live at New York’s Beacon Theater, host Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-host Eugene Mirman dive into science, humanitarian issues, economics, politics, and of course comedy, with the help of Waterkeeper Alliance founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, “Guardian of the Himalayas”; hydrogeologist Dr. Tess Russo and actor Jason Sudeikis. In Part 1, we investigate the physical properties of water, one of the most common 3-atom molecules in the universe. Discover how we know which comets have “our” kind of water (it’s all about the Deuterium) and how on Mars, water can exist side-by-side as a gas, a liquid and a solid (water’s “triple point”). Listen to RFK Jr. attack the “energy incumbents… and the big polluters: the Koch Brothers and their indentured servants in our political process.” You’ll learn about The Gyalwang Drukpa’s efforts to protect the water supply for half the world’s population, and find out what Kung Fu Nuns have to do with the fight for gender equality. And that’s just Part 1.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Water Needs P2 54 mins – “In the conclusion to our show from the Beacon Theater in NYC, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman navigate the waters of greed, bad science and a lack of basic understanding about water, with the help of their guests Robert F. Kennedy Jr., His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, hydrogeologist Dr. Tess Russo and Jason Sudeikis. You’ll hear His Holiness explain how he ended disease in a Himalayan village by convincing people to stop throwing dead bodies – human and animal – into their local lake. Find out why depleting ground water can reduce the available surface water, and how both fracking and rising sea levels can lead to the contamination of aquifers. RFK Jr. explains that the most important environmental issue we face is having livable cities so we can preserve the wilderness to protect the water supply. You’ll learn about desalinization plants, managed recharge, and other water technologies, including drip agriculture that can reduce water use in farming by 95%. And you’ll discover the dangers of the trillion-dollar water privatization industry, and why the Pentagon says global warming and water shortages are the principal threat to US security (and have already lead to wars over water in Bolivia and Belize).” t the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Water Shortage 13 mins – “In 1995, World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin declared that “the wars of the next century will be about water.” Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn what happens once we run out of water.” At the link find the title, “Exactly what happens if we run out of water?” right-click “Media files 2008-07-31-sysk-run-out-water.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Women Scientists 19 mins – “Ten years ago, Larry Summers made a few, off-the-record remarks. It was at the most benign of settings: a National Bureau of Economic Research conference. But amidst a sea of black and grey suits, Summers put forth some ideas about why so few women hold elite professorships in science and math – ideas that sparked a national controversy. One possibility, he said, is that women don’t want to devote the same kind of time to demanding jobs as male colleagues. Or it could be natural aptitude – men may just be more genetically predisposed to be geniuses. Eileen Pollack remembers the moment well…. She set out to research why other women had similar issues – and why things haven’t changed much since the 1970s. Some of what Pollack discovered shouldn’t be surprising: Women often lack encouragement. “A lot of scientists say, ‘Well, we don’t encourage anybody, male or female, to go on in the field because it’s so difficult.’ But what they don’t understand is that the entire society is encouraging men to go on in science, and discouraging women.” …Now after years of research, Pollack’s book is on the way – featuring a response by Larry Summers himself, who Pollack says has been very supportive. “In a strange way, Larry may have done a service to women in science by raising these questions, and getting so many women so angry that they went out and did the studies.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save” from the pop-up menu.

 

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ARCHIVE

An alphabetic encyclopedia of 5000 of these hyperlinked descriptions is here and updated quarterly. A file of the podcasts is here , updated weekly, and can be downloaded as a 30+ GB zipped file, or individually. A separate folder of C-Span, Diane Rehm, et. al. files that aren’t available at their sites is here, too, and can also be downloaded as a zip file or individually. Over 210 feeds used to prepare this blog are harvested with a podcast aggregator. The feeds are available in this opml file which most aggregators can import. A list of the feeds is here MP3 Speed Changer is used on batches of new files to boost playback speed 150%. A speed listening background article is here.  Please comment on any problems with the links and downloads.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

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About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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