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Playlist: Science

Compiled By: Jeff Conner

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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

The Play's the Thing

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:00


Has children’s play become too safe? Research suggests that efforts to prioritize safety harms children’s mental and physical development during play and contribute to anxiety. One solution: introduce risk into play. We visit an adventure playground where kids play unsupervised with anything from scraps of metal to hammers and nails. Plus, what are the evolutionary benefits of play? After all, we’re not the only species who like to roughhouse, sled, or chase balls. And, reclaiming play for those who have outgrown recess.


David Toomey - Professor of English, University of Massachusetts. Amherst and author of “Kingdom of Play: What Ball-Bouncing Octopuses, Belly-Flopping Monkeys, and Mud-Sliding Elephants Reveal About Life Itself.”

Mariana Brussoni - Developmental psychologist who studies children's outdoor risky play, and professor at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Medicine

Yoni Kallai - Interim director, head playworker and co-founder of play:groundNYC

Peter Gray - Psychology researcher at Boston College and author of  "Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life"

Featuring music by Dewey Dellay and Jun Miyake


Sidedoor (Series)

Produced by Smithsonian

Most recent piece in this series:

Wild Orchid Mystery

From Smithsonian | Part of the Sidedoor series | 22:47

Side_door_logo_640x640_small You probably know orchids as the big, colorful flowers found in grocery stores and given as housewarming gifts. But those tropical beauties represent only a fraction of the estimated 25,000 orchid species worldwide. While their showy relatives fly off the shelves, North America’s more understated native orchids are disappearing in the wild. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are working to protect these orchids and their habitats, but first they need solve a surprisingly difficult problem: how to grow one.

Planetary Radio (Series)

Produced by Mat Kaplan

Most recent piece in this series:

Subsurface granite on the Moon? The anatomy of a lunar hot spot

From Mat Kaplan | Part of the Planetary Radio series | 28:50


A decades-old lunar mystery gets an update in this week's Planetary Radio. Matt Siegler from the Planetary Science Institute shares his team's surprising findings about the granite formation that might lie beneath Compton-Belkovich, a thorium-rich hot spot on the far side of the Moon. Then Bruce Betts, chief scientist of The Planetary Society, shares What's Up in the night sky.

Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2023-subsurface-granite-on-the-moon

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2024-05-24 Staycation: All I Ever Wanted

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:57


Summer is on its way, and for many people that means one thing: vacation. Traveling can offer some amazing experiences, but the carbon cost of traveling can be significant, especially if traveling by plane. But what if there were a way to experience some of those same feelings of discovery and awe much closer to home? 

“I live in a fairly ordinary bit of England, just outside London. and for me being born and bred and raised in England, it feels extremely familiar to the point of really being quite boring and average,” says adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys. 

That outlook is understandable. Humphreys has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, hiked across the world's largest sand desert and cycled across continents, to name just a few of his adventures. But, Humphreys says, “I realized that not everyone can be cycling across continents all the time. Real life gets in the way,” 

“So how could I get some of those things that you love about wild places and adventure and shrink it down into something compatible with your busy schedule, where you happen to live, that maybe you can do at the weekend around your family commitments,” wondered Humphreys. That search led him to coin the phrase microadventures, which he defines as, “An adventure, but on a short, simple, affordable, achievable scale.” 

Microadventures really start close to home, and can change your perception of your neighborhood. Humphreys started looking for adventure near his home, but after spending a year exploring his hometown with fresh eyes he says, “I realized that there's more wildness and beauty around where I live than I'd imagined.” 

Humphreys first microadventure was hiking alongside the M25, a 120 mile freeway that circles the outer edges of London. Humphreys says, “The M25 is famous in Britain for being the road to hell, the worst possible place, the most awful congestion.” And yet, “Every day I was going to new places, which is part of the appeal of being a traveler. Every day, I was meeting new people and having little conversations with them. And they were nearly all good kinds of people like they are when you're off traveling around the world. And really importantly, I was discovering for the first time that between all of these boring commuter towns were tiny little pockets of wildness.” 

Of course, like most climate considerations, many factors come into play when making travel decisions. Humphreys says, “I don't want to flight-shame young people into never doing anything interesting. I just would urge people to really weigh up the carbon benefits of what you're doing. You know, maybe don't fly to Las Vegas for a weekend stag party, but maybe do fly to China if you're going to spend two months trekking through inner Mongolia and have a life changing experience.” 

When Humphreys thinks about what kind of travel is right for him, he asks, “Do I love glaciers enough to stop going to them?” He continues, “I found that deeply, selfishly, painfully hard to do, but it felt like the right thing to do. I don't need to go to a glacier to see that it's melting.” 

Sound Ecology (Series)

Produced by Jessica Eden

Most recent piece in this series:

Sound Ecology: Native Bees

From Jessica Eden | Part of the Sound Ecology series | 01:28

Sound_ecology_logo_small An audio postcard highlighting native bees -- including nuances of their behavior, life history and ecological importance.

Got Science? (Series)

Produced by This Is Science With Jess Phoenix

Most recent piece in this series:

Lean, Clean, Green Machines

From This Is Science With Jess Phoenix | Part of the Got Science? series | 29:01


In this episode

Colleen talks to Bridget and Paula about:

  • the modeling and analysis that shows how states can reach 100% renewable energy by 2035
  • what policies are needed to reach an equitable transition
  • what a just and sustainable future could look like

A Moment of Science (Series)

Produced by WFIU

Most recent piece in this series:

AMOS 24-119: Male Mammals Aren't Always Bigger Than Females, 6/14/2024

From WFIU | Part of the A Moment of Science series | 02:00

Mos-fullcolor-rgb-stacked_small Male Mammals Aren't Always Bigger Than Females

Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature (Series)

Produced by Bioneers

Most recent piece in this series:

03-18: Climbing Out of the Man Box: What Does Healthy Manhood Look Like?, 6/5/2024

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature series | 28:30

Kevin_powell_075_-_wo_small There is a growing movement to redefine manhood, and to address ways that violence is baked into our cultural expectations of masculinity. Courageous, visionary men are rising to the challenge. One of those men is activist, writer and public speaker Kevin Powell. In this half-hour, Powell boldly and bravely discusses his experiences with toxic masculinity and his journey to redefine what it means to be a man.

The 90-Second Naturalist (Series)

Produced by WGUC/ WVXU

Most recent piece in this series:

90 Second Naturalist – June 2024 Modules

From WGUC/ WVXU | Part of the The 90-Second Naturalist series | 30:00

Nsn_podcast_logo_small 90-second modules that celebrate the natural world and bring the wonder of nature into daily life.

This Week in Water (Series)

Produced by H2O Radio

Most recent piece in this series:

This Week in Water for May 19, 2024

From H2O Radio | Part of the This Week in Water series | 06:02

H2o_logo_240_small One major U.S. bank stands to lose billions of dollars if countries take immediate steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

A major dispute between the U.S. and Mexico is brewing—not over drugs or immigration—but over water.

This plant can be used to make a flame-retardant, smoke-suppressing, and water-repellant glass.

How to safely kill pests on crops? Stick it to them.