Category Archives: Podcasts

Top Podcast Interviews: ‘Confronting Leviathan’ Author David Runciman

Morning News: Crime & Crisis In Nigeria, South Korea’s Samsung, “Dune”

Criminal gangs in north-western states, jihadists in the north-east, a rebellion in the south-east: kidnappers, warlords and cattle rustlers are making the country ungovernable.

The new head of Samsung Electronics has a legacy to build—and aims to do so by breaking into the cut-throat business of processor chips. And the sci-fi classic “Dune” gets a good cinematic treatment at last.

Science: Vikings In North America, Magnets Moving Non-Magnetic Metals

An ancient solar storm helps pinpoint when Vikings lived in the Americas, and using magnets to deftly move non-magnetic metals.

In this episode:

00:53 Pinpointing Viking presence in North America

It’s well-understood that Vikings went to North America around a thousand years ago. However, working out a precise date has proven difficult. Now, thanks to an ancient solar storm, researchers have been able to identify an individual year when Vikings were definitely living on the continent.

Research article: Kuitems et al.

14:57 Research Highlights

How shoulder muscles gave Pterosaurs an aerodynamic edge, and mysterious radio waves coming from near the centre of the Milky Way.

Research Highlight: How ancient reptiles were streamlined for flight

Research Highlight: A mysterious radio signal object is beaming radio waves into the Milky Way

17:45 Magnets move non-magnetic metals

Scientists have created an array of magnets capable of moving non-metallic objects in 6 dimensions. They hope their new approach could one day be used to clean up debris in space.

Research article: Pham et al.

News and Views: Non-magnetic objects induced to move by electromagnets

27:06 What Francis Collin’s retirement means for the US NIH

After 12 years, Francis Collins announced plans to retire from his role as Director of the United States National Institutes of Health. We discuss his legacy and what this means for the world’s biggest public funder of biomedical research.

Editorial: COVID, racism, China: three tests for the next NIH leader

News: Francis Collins to step down at NIH: scientists assess his legacy

Analysis: Green Era Energy Shock, From Pandemic To Endemic, Poland’s ‘Polexit’

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the first big energy shock of the green era, how covid-19 will move from pandemic to endemic (11:29) and our Charlemagne columnist assesses the odds of “Polexit” versus a “dirty remain” (17:21).

Science: Ripple Effects Of Mass Incarceration, Dog-Sniff Evidence Reliability

This week we are covering the Science special issue on mass incarceration. Can a dog find a body? Sometimes. Can a dog indicate a body was in a spot a few months ago, even though it’s not there now? 

There’s not much scientific evidence to back up such claims. But in the United States, people are being sent to prison based on this type of evidence. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Peter Andrey Smith, a reporter and researcher based in Maine, about the science—or lack thereof—behind dog-sniff evidence.

With 2 million people in jail or prison in the United States, it has become incredibly common to have a close relative behind bars. Sarah talks with Hedwig Lee, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, about the consequences of mass incarceration for families of the incarcerated, from economic to social.