Ira questions the motives of overly ambitious scientists and inventors. (2 minutes)
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Producer David Kestenbaum took issue with the entire premise of today’s show, and explains why.
Producer David Kestenbaum tells the story of an astronaut who returns with a very unexpected view of the great beyond.
Guest host David Kestenbaum talks to producer Diane Wu about a list she keeps of things she means to know. Sweet potatoes vs. yams.
Among the things we tend to take for granted: The sun comes up and goes down like clockwork. Except when it doesn’t.
Remember learning that women’s menstrual cycles tend to sync up when they spend a lot of time together? Producer Diane Wu was skeptical. So she went looking for evidence.
If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we heard from the extraterrestrials yet? Producer David Kestenbaum explains The Fermi Paradox to host Ira Glass. The possibility that we are alone in the universe makes David sad.
David’s story continues. He visits his old physics professor, who helps him figure out what to think.
A year ago, we did a story about a study that found that a simple 20-minute conversation could change someone’s mind about controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion. But a few weeks after we aired the story, the study was discredited.
The story from the prologue continues, with the researchers re-doing the canvassing experiment. And the results are even more surprising this time around.
Ira asks Jefrey Emtman do to the impossible—describe the indescribable color he sees in his left eye. Jefrey Emtman is the host of the podcast Here Be Monsters.
Journalist David Epstein tells the story of Jill Viles, who has muscular dystrophy and can’t walk. But she believes that she somehow has same condition as one of the best hurdlers in the world, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.
NPR Science reporters Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller explain to Ira Glass how they smuggled a rat into NPR headquarters in Washington, and ran an unscientific version of a famous experiment first done by Psychology Professor Robert Rosenthal. It showed how people’s thoughts about rats could affect their behavior.
Lulu tells the story of Daniel Kish, who’s blind, but can navigate the world by clicking with his tongue. This gives him so much information about what’s around him, he does all sorts of things most blind people don’t.
Daniel Kish says that through clicking, he forms mental pictures. He actually sees.
Science teacher Jason Pittman, who teaches pre-school through sixth grade at a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, won a big teaching award this week. In fact, during his ten years teaching, he’s won many, many awards.
David Kestenbaum tells Ira about the time, when he was doing graduate work in physics, he and his other single friends decided to figure out the mathematical probability that they’d find girlfriends. They wanted to know what the chances were that there was more than one person in the world for them.
Reporter Josh Bearman tells Ira a story about two coded messages that Galileo sent to fellow scientist Johannes Kepler back in the 17th century. Galileo was trying to tell Kepler about some of the amazing discoveries he made with his new telescope.
We sent a reporter named Dan Grech to the Hundred Year Starship Public Symposium, which aims to tackle the technological problems related to interstellar space travel. And as host Ira Glass explains, Dan found this gathering to be way more adventurous than your average scientific conference.
Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim.
Ira Glass tells the story of how science is being used to fight the ultimate neighborhood plague: Dog poop.
Do cell phones give people brain tumors? Ira speaks with Christopher Ketcham, who wrote an article on this subject for GQ magazine.
You can divide all living creatures into two camps. We humans are in one camp, along with lots of other things like dogs and birds and trees and caterpillars.
Another story about parasites. When Jasper Lawrence learned that hookworms might lessen the effects of his allergies, he set out on a unique mission: To travel to West Africa and purposefully become infected with the parasite.