Big Picture Science

by Big Picture Science · · · · 148 subscribers

The surprising connections in science and technology that give you the Big Picture. Astronomer Seth Shostak and science journalist Molly Bentley are joined each week by leading researchers, techies, and journalists to provide a smart and humorous take on science. Our regular "Skeptic Check" episodes cast a critical eye on pseudoscience.

A Stellar Job Jan. 4, 2016
ENCORE The stars are out tonight. And they do more than just twinkle. These boiling balls of hot plasma can tell us something about other celestial phenomena. They betray the hiding places of black holes, for one. But they can also fool us. Find...
ENCORE Sure you have a big brain; it’s the hallmark of Homo sapiens. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve cornered the market on intelligence. Admittedly, it’s difficult to say, since the very definition of the term is...
ENCORE Sure you have a big brain; it’s the hallmark of Homo sapiens. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve cornered the market on intelligence. Admittedly, it’s difficult to say, since the very definition of the term is...
Look Who's Not Talking Dec. 14, 2015
We may be connected, but some say we’re not communicating. The consequences could be dire. A U.S. Army major says that social media are breaking up our “band of brothers,” and that soldiers who tweet rather than talk have...
Look Who's Not Talking Dec. 14, 2015
We may be connected, but some say we’re not communicating. The consequences could be dire. A U.S. Army major says that social media are breaking up our “band of brothers,” and that soldiers who tweet rather than talk have...
Happily Confused Nov. 30, 2015
ENCORE Do you feel happy today? How about happily disgusted? Maybe sadly surprised, or sadly disgusted? Human emotions are complex. But at least they’re the common language that unites us all – except when they don’t. A tribe...
Happily Confused Nov. 30, 2015
ENCORE Do you feel happy today? How about happily disgusted? Maybe sadly surprised, or sadly disgusted? Human emotions are complex. But at least they’re the common language that unites us all – except when they don’t. A tribe...
Climate Conversation Nov. 23, 2015
The Paris climate talks are scheduled to go ahead despite the terrorist attacks, and attendees hope to sign an international agreement on climate change. A BBC reporter covering the meetings tells us what we can expect from the...
Climate Conversation Nov. 23, 2015
The Paris climate talks are scheduled to go ahead despite the terrorist attacks, and attendees hope to sign an international agreement on climate change. A BBC reporter covering the meetings tells us what we can expect from the...
ENCORE What’s for dinner? Meat, acorns, tubers, and fruit. Followers of the Paleo diet say we should eat what our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago, when our genes were perfectly in synch with the environment. We investigate the reasoning...
ENCORE What’s for dinner? Meat, acorns, tubers, and fruit. Followers of the Paleo diet say we should eat what our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago, when our genes were perfectly in synch with the environment. We investigate the reasoning...
One day, coffee is good for you; the next, it’s not. And it seems that everything you eat is linked to cancer, according to research. But scientific studies are not always accurate. Insufficient data, biased measurements, or a faulty analysis can...
One day, coffee is good for you; the next, it’s not. And it seems that everything you eat is linked to cancer, according to research. But scientific studies are not always accurate. Insufficient data, biased measurements, or a faulty analysis can...
Smiley Virus Oct. 19, 2015
For many, the word virus is a synonym for disease – diseases of humans, plants, and even computers. Ebola is an example: a virus with a big and terrifying reputation. And yet the vast majority of viruses are not only friendly, they are essential...
Smiley Virus Oct. 19, 2015
For many, the word virus is a synonym for disease – diseases of humans, plants, and even computers. Ebola is an example: a virus with a big and terrifying reputation. And yet the vast majority of viruses are not only friendly, they are essential...
Space for Everyone Oct. 12, 2015
ENCORE Is space the place for you? With a hefty amount of moolah, a trip there and back can be all yours. But when the price comes down, traffic into space may make the L.A. freeway look like a back-country lane. Space is more accessible than...
Space for Everyone Oct. 12, 2015
ENCORE Is space the place for you? With a hefty amount of moolah, a trip there and back can be all yours. But when the price comes down, traffic into space may make the L.A. freeway look like a back-country lane. Space is more accessible than...
Martian Madness Oct. 5, 2015
It’s the starkly beautiful setting for the new film “The Martian,” and – just in time – NASA has announced that the Red Planet is more than a little damp, with liquid water occasionally oozing over its surface. But...
Martian Madness Oct. 5, 2015
It’s the starkly beautiful setting for the new film “The Martian,” and – just in time – NASA has announced that the Red Planet is more than a little damp, with liquid water occasionally oozing over its surface. But...
ENCORE We all have worries. But as trained observers, scientists learn things that can affect us all. So what troubles them should also trouble us. From viral pandemics to the limits of empirical knowledge, find out what science scenarios give...