Big Picture Science – The Fix Is In

by Gary Niederhoff on August 2, 2015

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Big Picture Science – The Fix Is In

The moon jellyfish has remarkable approach to self-repair. If it loses a limb, it rearranges its remaining body parts to once again become radially symmetric. Humans can’t do that, but a new approach that combines biology with nanotechnology could give our immune systems a boost. Would you drink a beaker of nanobots if they could help you fight cancer?

Also, materials science gets into self-healing with a novel concrete that fixes its own cracks.

Plus, why even the most adaptive systems can be stretched to their limit. New research suggests that the oceans will take a millennium to recover from climate change.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Lea Goentoro and Michael Abrams / Re-Symmetrizing Jellyfish
Part 2: Sarah Moffitt / Marine Biodiversity
Part 3: Mark Miodownik / Self-repairing Concrete
Part 4: Shawn Douglas / Cancer Fighting Nanbots

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Big Picture Science – Are You Sure You’re Sure?

Nuclear fission powers the Sun, right? Or is it fusion? At any rate, helium is burned in the process, of that you’re certain. After all, you took astronomy in college.

You know what you know. But you probably don’t know what you don’t know. Few of us do. Scientists say we’re spectacularly incompetent at recognizing our own incompetency, and that sometimes leads to trouble.

Find out why wrongness is the by-product of big brains and why even scientists – gasp! – are not immune. Plus, a peek into the trash bin of history; the biggest scientific blunders and the brighter-than-bright brains that made them. Including Darwin and Einstein.

Oh, and the Sun burns hydrogen to produce helium. But then, you knew that.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: David Dunning / Confident Idiots
Part 2: Robert Burton / Scientific (un)Certainty
Part 3: Brendan Nyhan / Uncertain Science
Part 4: Mario Livio / Brilliant Blunders

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Big Picture Science – Moral’s Law

July 19, 2015

Big Picture Science – Moral’s Law “If it bleeds, it leads” is the tried and true tenet of news. Indeed, headlines are often no more than a long list of moral atrocities. Yet one man argues that we’re living in the most civilized era in history. And he credits this to scientific thought and reason. […]

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David Brin on sending messages into space

July 17, 2015

We recently participated in a California Academy of Sciences NightLife event. The theme for the night was “how-to” and we discussed how to talk to aliens. Part of our presentation included a video that science fiction author David Brin put together, outlining his reasons against sending messages into space (aka active SETI, aka METI). His […]

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Big Picture Science – Forget to Remember

July 13, 2015

Big Picture Science – Forget to Remember You must not remember this. Indeed, it may be key to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things; otherwise we’d have the images of every face we saw on the subway rattling around our head all day long. Yet we’re building computers with the […]

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Big Picture Science – The Dogged Pursuit of Pluto

July 10, 2015

Big Picture Science – The Dogged Pursuit of Pluto Pluto is ready for its close up – but the near encounter during this historic flyby will last less than three minutes. Be ready for the action with our special New Horizons episode! Hear from researchers who are Pluto rock stars: the astronomer who discovered two […]

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Big Picture Science – What the Hack

June 28, 2015

Big Picture Science – What the Hack A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and transportation systems as scientists try to […]

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race

June 22, 2015

Big Picture Science – Evolutionary Arms Race It’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one reason why – according to a recent poll – one-third […]

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Big Picture Science – It’s All Relative

June 13, 2015

Big Picture Science – It’s All Relative A century ago, Albert Einstein rewrote our understanding of physics with his Theory of General Relativity. Our intuitive ideas about space, time, mass, and gravity turned out to be wrong. Find out how this masterwork changed our understanding of how the universe works and why you can thank […]

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Big Picture Science – And To Space We Return

June 8, 2015

Big Picture Science – And To Space We Return Earth may be the cradle of life, but our bodies are filled with materials cooked up billions of years ago in the scorching centers of stars. As Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.” We came from space, and some say it is to space we […]

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