Big Picture Science – On Defense

by Gary Niederhoff on October 9, 2017

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Big Picture Science – On Defense

The military is a dangerous calling. But technology can help out, so researchers are constantly trying to make soldiers safer. Writer Mary Roach investigates how scientists studying so-called human factors are protecting troops from such aggressive foes as heat, noise, and fatigue. She also learns how bad odors were once considered a secret weapon.

And while soldiers have long used camouflage to help them blend in, insects may be the original masters of disguise. A discovery in fossilized amber shows that a variety of bugs employed D.I.Y. camouflaging tricks 100 million years ago.

But where is the defense race headed? The top-secret branch of the Pentagon whose job is to make tomorrow happen today has some ideas. A reporter shares DARPA’s plan for augmented super-soldiers.

Plus, do we always need a technological boost to stay safe? Find out how your innate chemical defense system protects you. It’s an adrenaline rush!

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Mary Roach / Military Fatigue
Part 2: Michael Engel / Insect Camouflage
Part 3: Annie Jacobsen / Future Soldiers
Part 4: Brian Hoffman / Adrenaline

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