Read Science!

Conversations about Science Communication and Communicating Science

Nov
21

S10:E04, “Soonish” edition, with Kelly and Zach Weinersmith (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 21 November 2017

Streamed live on 9 November 2017.

“This is one of those books where we predict the future.” So say authors Kelly & Zach Weinersmith as the first sentence of the introduction to their book, Soonish : Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. As they note, predicting the future is easy, but getting the predictions right is harder. So, instead of worrying over much about the accuracy of the predictions, the authors look at 10 things that might happen in the not-so-distant future, and then consider in some detail interesting potential and ideas and questions and emerging technologies that might get us there soonish.

Interesting and exciting stuff like space elevators, asteroid mining, fusion, buckets of stuff, bioprinting, and brain-computer interfaces all make an appearance, along with lots of cartoons featuring characters that will look familiar to fans of “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal”.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Nov
21

S10:E04, “Soonish” edition, with Kelly and Zach Weinersmith (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 21 November 2017

Streamed live on 9 November 2017.

“This is one of those books where we predict the future.” So say authors Kelly & Zach Weinersmith as the first sentence of the introduction to their book, Soonish : Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. As they note, predicting the future is easy, but getting the predictions right is harder. So, instead of worrying over much about the accuracy of the predictions, the authors look at 10 things that might happen in the not-so-distant future, and then consider in some detail interesting potential and ideas and questions and emerging technologies that might get us there soonish.

Interesting and exciting stuff like space elevators, asteroid mining, fusion, buckets of stuff, bioprinting, and brain-computer interfaces all make an appearance, along with lots of cartoons featuring characters that will look familiar to fans of “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal”.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Nov
10

S10:E03, “Good Death” edition, with Caitlin Doughty (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 10 November 2017

Streamed live on 9 November 2017.

Americans have an uneasy relationship with death and dying, but could benefit greatly from a more forthright approach. Different cultures have very different funerary customs, and the differences highlight the benefits that could come from changes in habits. Surprisingly many of our customs, which we think must be steeped in tradition, only arose in the early 20th century.

We discussed all those ideas as they are presented in author Caitlin Doughty’s new book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. As happens, ours was a wide-ranging discussion that ranged from funeral pyres and the origins of embalming in America, to LED Buddhas and watermelons.

Mentioned in the video was an organization founded by Caitlin, the “Order of the Good Death”; for more, visit the website: http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/. Also of interest: Caitlin’s video series “Ask a Mortician”, on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Nov
10

S10:E03, “Good Death” edition, with Caitlin Doughty (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 10 November 2017

Streamed live on 9 November 2017.

Americans have an uneasy relationship with death and dying, but could benefit greatly from a more forthright approach. Different cultures have very different funerary customs, and the differences highlight the benefits that could come from changes in habits. Surprisingly many of our customs, which we think must be steeped in tradition, only arose in the early 20th century.

We discussed all those ideas as they are presented in author Caitlin Doughty’s new book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. Ours was a wide-ranging discussion that ranged from funeral pyres and the origins of embalming in America, to LED Buddhas and watermelons.

Mentioned in the video was an organization founded by Caitlin, the “Order of the Good Death”; for more, visit the website: http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/. Also of interest: Caitlin’s video series “Ask a Mortician”, on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Oct
19

S10:E02, “Last Breath” edition, with Sam Kean (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 19 October 2017

Streamed live on 12 October 2017.

When Julius Caesar, having been stabbed in the Roman Senate, exhaled his last breath, the molecules in his breath began spreading around the Earth. How likely is it that, when you inhale, you inhale a molecule that Caesar exhaled?

Well, that answer, plus many, many more observations and answers about so many things you never even knew you wanted to know about are to be found in Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, the most recent book from author Sam Kean, who was with us in this episode of “Read Science!” to talk about the book, his earlier books (The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Disappearing Spoon, and The Violinists Thumb), and other fascinating things like how he does his research, how he finds the curious stories he relates, and how he turns them into his informative and readable books.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Oct
19

S10:E02, “Last Breath” edition, with Sam Kean (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 19 October 2017

Streamed live on 12 October 2017.

When Julius Caesar, having been stabbed in the Roman Senate, exhaled his last breath, the molecules in his breath began spreading around the Earth. How likely is it that, when you inhale, you inhale a molecule that Caesar exhaled?

Well, that answer, plus many, many more observations and answers about so many things you never even knew you wanted to know about are to be found in Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, the most recent book from author Sam Kean, who was with us in this episode of “Read Science!” to talk about the book, his earlier books (The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Disappearing Spoon, and The Violinists Thumb), and other fascinating things like how he does his research, how he finds the curious stories he relates, and how he turns them into his informative and readable books.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Sep
22

S10:E01, “Big Chicken” edition, with Maryn McKenna (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 22 September 2017

Streamed live on 20 September 2017.

Industrial chicken farming, antiobiotic resistance, and the future of both were on our minds, and in our conversation, today when we talk with Maryn McKenna, author of Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats. The word “incredible” seems almost inadequate to describe the stories she tells.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Sep
22

S10:E01, “Big Chicken” edition, with Maryn McKenna (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 22 September 2017

Streamed live on 20 September 2017.

Industrial chicken farming, antiobiotic resistance, and the future of both were on our minds, and in our conversation, today when we talk with Maryn McKenna, author of Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats. The word “incredible” seems almost inadequate to describe the stories she tells.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Sep
22

S09:E06, “Not A Scientist” edition, with Dave Levitan (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 22 September 2017

Streamed live on 5 September 2017.

Oh, those crafty politicians! Are they all the same? In this episode, Joanne and Jeff speak with journalist Dave Levitan about his book, Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science. Lots of current topics (with quite a bit of climate change represented) flash by as we shed light on all the ways that politicians prevaricate about science and scientific results.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Sep
22

S09:E06, “Not A Scientist” edition, with Dave Levitan (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 22 September 2017

Streamed live on 5 September 2017.

Oh, those crafty politicians! Are they all the same? In this episode, Joanne and Jeff speak with journalist Dave Levitan about his book, Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science. Lots of current topics (with quite a bit of climate change represented) flash by as we shed light on all the ways that politicians prevaricate about science and scientific results.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Aug
10

S09:E05, “Curiosity” edition, with Mario Livio (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 10 August 2017

Streamed live on 9 August 2017.

Curiosity is something we value here at “Read Science”, and today we talked about it with Mario Livio, author of Why? What Makes Us Curious. We heard stories about Richard Feynman, learned about theories of curiosity, what it is and how it happens in the brain, talked about exciting curiosity in science communication, and the role curiosity has in overcoming fear of the unknown. We also guarantee that no cats were harmed in the making of this episode.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Aug
10

S09:E05, “Curiosity” edition, with Mario Livio (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 10 August 2017

Streamed live on 9 August 2017.

Curiosity is something we value here at “Read Science”, and today we talked about it with Mario Livio, author of Why? What Makes Us Curious. We heard stories about Richard Feynman, learned about theories of curiosity, what it is and how it happens in the brain, talked about exciting curiosity in science communication, and the role curiosity has in overcoming fear of the unknown. We also guarantee that no cats were harmed in the making of this episode.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Aug
05

S09:E04, “Incredible Stories from Space” edition, with Nancy Atkinson (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 5 August 2017

Streamed live on 4 August 2017.

NASA’s robotic exploration mission were our topic today as we talked with writer-about-all-things-space and editor of “Universe Today” Nancy Atkinson about her book, Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.

Martian rovers, a Pluto flyby, photos from Jupiter, voyages to asteroids, unforgettable photos from the Hubble Space Telescope–we talked about all those amazing things, and more.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Aug
05

S09:E04, “Incredible Stories from Space” edition, with Nancy Atkinson (audio)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 5 August 2017

Streamed live on 4 August 2017.

NASA’s robotic exploration mission were our topic today as we talked with writer-about-all-things-space and editor of “Universe Today” Nancy Atkinson about her book, Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.

Martian rovers, a Pluto flyby, photos from Jupiter, voyages to asteroids, unforgettable photos from the Hubble Space Telescope–we talked about all those amazing things, and more.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.

Aug
03

S09:E03, “Gallery of the Infinite” edition, with Richard Evan Schwartz (video)

Posted by jnshaumeyer on 3 August 2017

Streamed live on 27 July 2017.

We haven’t talked much about math so far on “Read Science!”, but with this episode we got down to serious business and went directly to Big Numbers and Infinity — and beyond!

Our guest was mathematician Richard Evan Schwartz, author of Gallery of the Infinite, Really Big Numbers, and You Can Count on Monsters, his remarkably informative yet playful graphical books about numbers, big numbers, and lots and lots of numbers. We discussed numbers and art and his penchant for making drawings to explain these ideas. We also learned more about the “Infinite Chicken” and “Rational Crocodile”. It’s good to be reminded that math can be this much fun.

Look for his books at your library or at the American Mathematical Society’s bookstore:
http://bookstore.ams.org/#search?schwartz?page=0

For more about “Inkscape”, the vector-drawing program Rich uses to create his images, or to download a free copy, visit their official website: https://inkscape.org/en/.

Like “Read Science!” on Facebook to hear about upcoming programs, easy links to the archive, and news about RS! guests: https://www.facebook.com/ReadScience/.