Category Archives: Podcasts

Science & Medicine: What Are Risks Of Monkeypox?

The sudden surge of monkeypox cases outside Africa has alarmed public health authorities around the world. In Europe and North America it’s the first time community transmission has been recorded among people with no links to west or central Africa. So what is happening?

Ian Sample talks to virologist Oyewale Tomori about why monkeypox is flaring up, whether we should fear it, and what we can learn from countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which have been tackling this virus for decades.

Science: Fossil Mystery Solved, A Silk Mother Of Pearl, Bolivian Amazon

The puzzle of PalaeospondylusOver a hundred years ago, archaeologists discovered fossils of the aquatic animal Palaeospondylus. But since then researchers have been unable to place where this animal sits on the tree of life. Now, new analysis of Palaeospondylus’s anatomy might help to solve this mystery.

08:18 Research Highlights

A strong, silk-based version of mother of pearl, and the parrots that use their heads when climbing.

Research Highlight: Silk imitates mother of pearl for a tough, eco-friendly material

Research Highlight: A ‘forbidden’ body type? These parrots flout the rules

10:51 How lasers revealed an ancient Amazonian civilization

Archaeologists have used LiDAR to uncover evidence of an ancient civilization buried in the Bolivian Amazon. The team’s work suggests that this area was not as sparsely populated in pre-Hispanic times as previously thought.

Research article: Prümers et al.

News and Views: Large-scale early urban settlements in Amazonia

Nature Video: Lost beneath the leaves: Lasers reveal an ancient Amazonian civilisation

16:21 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the debate surrounding the first transplant of pig kidneys into humans, and the plants grown in lunar soil.

Nature News: First pig kidneys transplanted into people: what scientists think

Wednesday News: Turkey’s Foreign Policy, Russia In Donbas, World Economies

What are Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign-policy aims? Plus: Russian troops try to encircle Ukrainian special forces in the Donbas region, a dispatch from our team at the World Economic Forum, and the latest business news. 

Opinion: Russia’s War Triggers Hunger, Crypto Fades, Graphene’s Future

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, how the war in ukraine is tipping a fragile world towards mass hunger (10:36), why the tide is out for cryptocurrency assets (16:40), and pouring graphene’s bright future.

Morning News: Biden Asia Trip, Australia Elections, 2022 Cannes Film Festival

We discuss President Biden’s trip to Asia and his goals to strengthen ties in the region. Plus: we preview this weekend’s elections in Australia, catch up on the latest from the Cannes Film Festival, and hear about a symphony that is out of this world.

Morning News: North Korea Covid Surge, Turkey Voters, Arab School Girls

North Korea’s zero-covid strategy appears to have failed. The country has officially acknowledged 162 cases; the true number is probably orders of magnitude more. 

The country’s health-care system is inadequate, and pre-existing conditions such as tuberculosis and malnutrition are rampant. With elections impending in Turkey, politicians have begun competing with each other to scapegoat refugees. And why girls outperform boys in the Arab world’s schools.

Science: Galaxies Without Dark Matter, High Helium Levels, Solar Energy Jump

Dark matter makes up most of the matter in the Universe, and is thought to be needed for galaxies to form. But four years ago, astronomers made a perplexing, and controversial discovery: two galaxies seemingly devoid of dark matter. 

This week the team suggests that a cosmic collision may explain how these, and a string of other dark-matter-free galaxies, could have formed.

Research article: van Dokkum et al

News and Views: Giant collision created galaxies devoid of dark matter

08:39 Research Highlights

How fossil fuel burning has caused levels of helium to rise, and a high-efficiency, hybrid solar-energy system.

Research Highlight: Helium levels in the atmosphere are ballooning

Research Highlight: Flower power: ‘Sunflower’ system churns out useful energy

10:49 Researchers experiences of the war in Ukraine

We hear the stories of scientists whose lives have been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including researchers who have become refugees, soldiers and activists in the face of a horrifying conflict.

Nature Feature: How three Ukrainian scientists are surviving Russia’s brutal war

20:46 Imaging the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way

Last week, a team of researchers released an image of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive blackhole at the centre of our galaxy. We hear how they took the image and what it is revealing about these enormous objects.

Nature News: Black hole at the centre of our Galaxy imaged for the first time

Opinion: India’s Economy, Workplace Surveillance, Infant Genome Screening

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the forces that stand to transform India’s economy over the next decade (11:06), how surveilling workers could enhance productivity (21:07), and full-genome screening for newborn babies is now on the cards.