Big Picture Science – Space Rocks!

by Gary Niederhoff on November 19, 2018


Big Picture Science – Space Rocks!
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It’s not a bird or a plane, and probably not an alien spaceship, although the jury’s still deliberating that one. Some astronomers have proposed that an oddly-shaped object that recently passed through our Solar System could be an alien artifact. We consider the E.T. explanation for ‘Oumuamua, but also other reasons asteroids are invigorating our imagination. Are these orbiting rocks key to our future as a spacefaring species?

Find out why traditional incentives for human exploration of space – such as political rivalry –aren’t igniting our rockets the way they once did, but why the potentially trillions of dollars to be made mining asteroids might.

These small bodies may also hold the key to our ancient past: the New Horizons flyby of Thule in early 2019 will provide an historic look at a distant Kuiper belt object, and provide clues about the formation of the Solar System.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Roger Launius / Space Exploration
Part 2: J.L. Galache / Asteroid Mining
Part 3: Mark Showalter / Ultima Thule
Part 4: Avi Loeb / ‘Oumuamua Or…?

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Science Denial

by Gary Niederhoff on November 12, 2018


Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Science Denial
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Climate change isn’t happening. Vaccines make you sick. When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction of the population still denies the consensus of scientific evidence. But it’s not the first time – many people long resisted the evidentiary link between HIV and AIDS and smoking with lung cancer.

There’s a sense that science denialism is on the rise. It prompted a gathering of scientists and historians in New York City to discuss the problem, which included a debate on the usefulness of the word “denial” itself. Big Picture Science was there. We report from the Science Denial symposium held jointly by the New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers Global Health Institute.

Find out why so many people dig in their heels and distrust scientific findings. Plus, the techniques wielded by special interest groups to dispute some inconvenient truths. We also hear how simply stating more facts may be the wrong approach to combating scientific resistance.

Live stream of the Science Denial: Lessons and Solutions conference.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: What is Science Denialism?
Part 2: Sheila Jasanoff / Denial or Distrust?
Part 3: Michael Dahlstrom / Science and Storytelling
Part 4: Allan Brandt / Manufacturing Doubt
Part 5: David Scheer / Science and Industry
Part 6: Matthew Nisbet / Framing Denialism
Part 7: Arthur Caplan / Scientists’ Responsibility
Part 8: Nancy Tomes / Convert Outreach

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Big Picture Science – Rerouting… Rerouting

November 5, 2018

Big Picture Science – Rerouting… Reroutingclick to listen! Lost your sense of direction? Blame your GPS. Scientists say that our reliance on dashboard devices is eroding our ability to create cognitive maps and is messing with our minds in general. We don’t even look at landmarks or the landscape anymore. We’ve become no more than […]

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Big Picture Science – You’ve Got Whale

October 29, 2018

Big Picture Science – You’ve Got Whale SMS isn’t the original instant messaging system. Plants can send chemical warnings through their leaves in a fraction of a second. And while we love being in the messaging loop – frenetically refreshing our browsers – we miss out on important conversations that no Twitter feed or inbox […]

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Big Picture Science – Air Apparent

October 22, 2018

Big Picture Science – Air Apparent Whether you yawn, gasp, sniff, snore, or sigh, you’re availing yourself of our very special atmosphere. It’s easy to take this invisible chemical cocktail for granted, but it’s not only essential to your existence: it unites you and every other lifeform on the planet, dead or alive. The next […]

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Big Picture Science – DNA is Not Destiny

October 15, 2018

Big Picture Science – DNA is Not Destiny Heredity was once thought to be straightforward. Genes were passed in an immutable path from parents to you, and you were stuck – or blessed – with what you got. DNA didn’t change. But now we know that’s not true. Epigenetic factors, such as your environment and […]

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Big Picture Science – Creature Discomforts

October 8, 2018

Big Picture Science – Creature Discomforts Okay you animals, line up: stoned sloths, playful pandas, baleful bovines, and vile vultures. We’ve got you guys pegged, thanks to central casting. Or do we? Our often simplistic view of animals ignores their remarkable adaptive abilities. Stumbly sloths are in fact remarkably agile and a vulture’s tricks for […]

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Big Picture Science – Wonder Women

October 1, 2018

Big Picture Science – Wonder Women We’re hearing about harassment of, and barriers to, women seeking careers in politics and entertainment. But what about science? Science is supposed to be uniquely merit-based and objective. And yet the data say otherwise. A new study reveals widespread harassment of women of color in space science. We look […]

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BiPiSci – Wonder Women: Antonia Franco / SACNAS

October 1, 2018

Big Picture Science / SACNAS click to listen (trt 7:09) Click above to listen to Part 4 of Wonder Women, featuring Antonia Franco, Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

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BiPiSci – Wonder Women: Angela Saini / Inferior Memo

October 1, 2018

Big Picture Science / Inferior Memo click to listen (trt 10:17) Click above to listen to Part 2 of Wonder Women, featuring Angela Saini, journalist and author of “Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong”, discussing the various logical shortcomings of Google guy’s misguided memo.

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