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77 posts categorized "Science Odyssey"

February 05, 2012

Science Odyssey: Darwin Day Finale

By Clay Farris Naff

Darwinday

With Darwin Day approaching, Science Odyssey features two sides of the contemporary religious reaction to Charles Darwin the man and his theory of biological evolution. We hear first from biologist Ted Burk of Creighton University, who responds to fundamentalist charges that Darwin was a racist by taking a dispassionate look at Darwin's upbringing, outlook and legacy on race. Burk will give a public lecture on this subject at Creighton onthe afternoon of Feb. 8th. 

In the second half of the program we hear from biologist Michael Zimmerman of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He's the founder of the Clergy Letter Project, which has succeeded in getting nearly 13,000 religious leaders to sign onto an affirmation of the compatibility of religion and science, including evolution.

This will be the last Science Odyssey program for the foreseeable future. A farewell message comes at the end of Part II.  Thanks for listening.

Darwin Day, Part 1
Darwin Day, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

January 28, 2012

Science Odyssey: Probing the Mysteries of Entropy and Information

By Clay Farris Naff

Entropycartoon

Entropy has been called the supreme law of the universe, yet more than a century after Ludwig Boltzmann wrote down the equation for it, entropy remains a deeply confusing concept. In that regard, it's much like its cousin, information.

In Part 1 of this program, we hear from Chemistry Professor Emeritus Frank Lambert of Occidental College on his effort to correct what he sees as a fundamental misunderstanding about entropy.

In Part 2, we turn to  the distinguished physicist and computer scientist Steven M. Girvin of Yale to learn about the curious relationship of entropy and information and how it complicates the effort to develop quantum computing.

Entropy, Part 1
Entropy, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

January 22, 2012

Science Odyssey: Freeing Climate Change From Distortions

By Clay Farris Naff

Sun

Climate change has equaled or surpassed evolution as a scientific subject mired in political controversy. In this edition we learn how scientific recommendations and data have been distorted, and how the National Center for Science Education is responding. Full disclosure: Naff has written for and contributed to the National Center for Science Education in the past.

 In Part 1 we hear from their new climate science education advocate, Mark McCaffrey. In Part 2, we talk with Dr. Richard A. Muller. He's a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley who found reasons to doubt that the data in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports was being properly collected or presented. To clear up his doubts, he took on the monumental task of independently confirming the global land temperature records of the last 200 years. He and his team found that their data closely match the IPCC's.

Climate Education, Part 1
Climate Education, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

December 17, 2011

Science Odyssey: What the Higgs Is Going on at CERN?

By Clay Farris Naff

CMS Higgs-eventThe week began with rumors that at long last the so-called God particle has been discovered. Then, CERN, the international organization that operates the Large Hadron Collider on the French-Swiss border held a press conference that produced considerable confusion among reporters.

In Part 1, we hear excerpts of the announcements made at CERN and some of the bizarre reaction to them. In Part 2, we turn to Ken Bloom, a University of Nebraska physicist and member of the CMS team at CERN for some answers about what it all means. 

Higgs, Part 1
Higgs, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

December 10, 2011

Science Odyssey: Astronomers Discover the Biggest Black Holes Ever

By Clay Farris Naff

Click to see animationBlack holes are the most exotic objects in the universe, and until recently their very existence was a matter of debate. Now, a team of astronomers reports finding a pair of them weighing in at 10 billion solar masses each. If you take their event horizons -- the boundary past which nothing that falls in can ever re-emerge -- these are by far the biggest black holes ever found.

In Part 1, we talk with astronomy graduate student Nicholas McConnell of the University of California - Berkeley, who is the lead author of the paper announcing the discovery. In Part 2, we hear from Professor of Astronomy and Physics Priya Natarajan of Yale University. She's a cosmological theorist who predicted the discovery and whose calculations suggest that these are the biggest that will ever be found.

Black Holes, Part 1
Black Holes, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

December 03, 2011

Science Odyssey: If Climate Talks Fail, What Does the Future Hold?

By Clay Farris Naff

Dr. Gerald MeehlInternational climate talks are being held Durban, South Africa, to try to hammer out a new global accord on climate change to replace the soon-to-expire Kyoto Treaty of 1997. On today's program, we ask two climate scientists about what their models foretell in the event we continue on our present course.

In Part 1, Dr. Gerald Meehl, senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) talks about how computer models of climate have improved since the 2007 IPCC report, and what they show for the future.

In Part 2, Dr. Andreas Schmittner, associate professor of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, talks about research he and colleagues have just published in the online journal Science. It shows that our worst fears of temperature rise in this century are unlikely to come to pass. But, says Dr. Schmittner, that does not mean we can do nothing and get by. It only means that hope lives on.

Climate Talks, Part 1
Climate Talks, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

November 19, 2011

Science Odyssey: Medicine's Yucky New Frontier

By Clay Farris Naff

Diverse_e_ColiSuppose your doctor offered to inject a stool sample from another patient into your bowel via enema. What would you say? After listening to this program, you might well say, "Bring it on!" Fecal transplants are proving to be a remarkably safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of disorders. They have proven their worth in curing otherwise incurable bowel disorders, and may be useful for treating diabetes, behavioral disorders, and even obesity. The key is restoring a healthy colony of bacteria in the patient's gut.

In Part 1, we hear from Dr. Thomas Borody, an Australian gastroenterologist who has pioneered the use of fecal bacteriotherapy. In Part 2, Dr. Lawrence Brandt, a professor of gastroenterology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, talks about his work with the technique and the amazing variety of ailments it has the potential to treat.

Gut Flora, Part 1
Gut Flora, Part 1

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

November 12, 2011

Science Odyssey: Dodging (and Studying) Bullets from Space

By Clay Farris Naff

AsteroidAn asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier went hurtling past the Earth recently. It passed within 200,000 miles -- less than the distance to the moon. In this episode, we hear from two astronomers on what we've learned about such Near Earth Objects, and what we need to do to defend ourselves against them.

In Part 1, we talk with David Trilling, assistant professor of astronomy at Northern Arizona University, about how astronomers are able spot asteroids like the one that just went by, and what's still needed to ensure we don't miss any.

In Part 2, we talk with Michael A'Hearn, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, about the recommendations he helped formulate for defending our planet, and what needs to be done to get them in place before the inevitable big one hits. 

Asteroids, Part 1
Asteroids, Part 2

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

 

November 06, 2011

Science Odyssey: Vast Stores of Geothermal Energy Discovered

By Clay Farris Naff

800px-Geothermal_energy_methodsThe search for green, sustainable energy has focused largely on wind and solar, but a new study suggests that one of the most plentiful sources may be right under our feet. Researchers at Southern Methodist University have found that the entire United States has plentiful stores of geothermal energy.

In Part 1, we talk with SMU Geothermal Lab coordinator Maria Richards about the potential for geothermal electric generation.

In Part 2, we talk with Dr. Jim Bose of Oklahoma State University about the use of geothermal for heating and cooling homes, businesses, and schools.

Geothermal, Part 1 (15547.8K)
Geothermal, Part 2 (11584.5K)

Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

October 29, 2011

Science Odyssey: No Dinosaurs in Heaven?

By Clay Farris Naff

NodinosThe late Russian biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Today, virtually all professional biologists agree. Yet, evolution continues to be dissed or downplayed by a majority of high school science teachers in America, and even some college biology professors are closet creationists.

Filmmaker Greta Schiller learned this first hand when she enrolled in a graduate program for science teachers. Her encounter with a creationist biology professor led her to make a documentary called "No Dinosaurs in Heaven".

In Part 1, we hear from Schiller about her experience. Then, in Part 2, Professor Randy Moore of the University of Minnesota, a biologist firmly committed to the teaching of evolution, describes his research into the effects of high-school exposure to creationism in the science classroom.

No dinos, Part 1

No dinos, Part 2

"No Dinosaurs in Heaven" website and movie trailer:

http://www.nodinos.com/

 Clay Farris Naff is (claynaff.com) is a science author and blogger whose weekly radio program, Science Odyssey, airs Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 9 a.m. CST on KZUM, Lincoln's community radio station. You can hear it over the air at 89.3 FM or on the web live at kzum.org. Clay's science and religion blog on the Huffington Post can be seen here.

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