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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:

Flush With Excitement

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


The toilet: A ubiquitous appliance that dates to the time of Shakespeare. But billions of people around the world still lack modern sanitation infrastructure. And the incentive to modernize includes the possibility that recycling human waste could help with conservation efforts, energy generation, and even medicine.

Also, a sixth-grader puts lipstick on cats’ bottoms to map places their tush has touched, and in Michigan, why peeing on the peonies can be a good thing.


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:

Amateur Astronomers Saving the World

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

Neo_impact_art_getty_small_small The Planetary Society has awarded more than 60 Shoemaker near-Earth object grants to astronomers around the world, enabling them to discover, track, and characterize thousands of asteroids. We’ll hear from two of these dedicated observers. The Society’s Rae Paoletta takes us to Venus where three new spacecraft will help answer big questions. Chief scientist Bruce Betts offers a new What’s Up space trivia contest. Hear and discover more at https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/shoemaker-neo-awardees-venus missions

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2021-06-18 Shepard Fairey, Mystic, and the Power of Art

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:59


Host: Greg Dalton


Shepard Fairey, graphic designer, street artist and activist

Mystic, hip hop artist, community educator and program manager with the Hip Hop Caucus

Shepard Fairey is best known for creating the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” portrait during the 2008 presidential election. Fairey’s work is now included in the collections of the Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Modern Museum of Art in New York and many others. Fairey says as a young man, he was drawn to counterculture. 

“Punk rock and skateboarding showed me a culture that was about ignoring what the mainstream was doing, using creativity to build your own scene and it made it cool to have an honest and unvarnished voice,” he says. 

Much of his art and activism has focused on the environment and climate change. He says he uses dark humor and human protagonists to draw people into his pieces. 

“I'm taking a lot of different approaches but rarely is it just ‘Save the Whales,’” he says. “I do want the whales to be saved, but … it's more seducing people with something that maybe will get them to reflect upon it and make their own choice rather than feeling like they're being judged.” 

Fairey says it can be difficult to walk the line between motivating people and discouraging them with the full picture of what’s at stake with the climate crisis. 

“It's important that people understand the severity of the issue, but it's also important that they don't feel paralyzed because it's too overwhelming.  So, I'm always trying to see how I can get the balance right in my communications with both the text and the imagery I'm using.”

For Grammy-nominated hip hop artist Mystic, art has allowed her to build a platform to advocate for social justice and connect with people in power.  

“Art allows people to tune in, right? I think sometimes when we’re enjoying ourselves or engaging with art, some of our defenses come down,” she says. 

Humor can also be an important tool and form of release, she says, especially when talking about difficult subjects like climate change. Mystic is also a community educator, and currently the Program Manager for Hip Hop Caucus’ Think 100% FILMS division, which produces films that center on climate justice. Their first film is a comedy special called “Ain’t Your Mama’s Heat Wave.”

“How do you make the climate crisis funny, right? Something that's not funny at all. How can we talk about it in ways that open up where people can think about it in different ways and we can start to have conversation... And so, Ain't Your Mama’s Heat Wave is really about joy as part of resistance.” 

But Mystic says that doesn’t mean forgetting the need to respond to the crisis at our doorsteps, especially in minority and low-income communities. 

“This is a call, this is an emergency that’s happening, and we need to understand that the climate crisis is not just in other places in the world, but it's happening in communities, in our nation, in Black communities.” 

Related Links:

Ain’t Your Mama’s Heat Wave Trailer

Hip Hop Caucus

Shepard Fairey Art

Sound Ecology (Series)

Produced by Jessica Eden

Most recent piece in this series:

Sound Ecology: Apapane

From Jessica Eden | Part of the Sound Ecology series | 01:00

Sound_ecology_logo_small The apapane is a forest bird native to the Hawaiian islands. It is a member of the honeycreeper family and an important pollinator.

Got Science? (Series)

Produced by Got Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Empty Trains, Packed Trucks: How COVID-19 Changed Transportation

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 29:09


In this episode

Colleen and Elizabeth discuss:

  • transportation trends during the pandemic
  • President Biden's infrastructure plan
  • how we build a better, holistic, transportation system