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17 January 2023

Life’s Edge, by Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer is a veteran science writer, a journalist who has been pumping out terrific popular natural history explorations for decades now. His latest explores the marginal zone between living and nonliving: Life’s Edge. I found it to be an interesting and enjoyable volume, entirely as I’ve come to expect from Zimmer. Biology is a science with an interesting conundrum at its heart – it’s not totally clear what qualifies …

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2 December 2022

29-Fire: Lighting the skies with fireflies

Did you ever wonder how random flashes of fireflies gradually acquire synchrony? Studies have shown that  this surreal coordination of twinkling occurs through a natural cadence among certain species of fireflies during the mating season.

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31 October 2022

Halloween special: Nessie & the kraken

We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, …

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30 October 2022

Halloween special: Sasquatches & mermaids

We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, the legend in grounded in fact. 

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30 September 2022

21-Storied careers: Scouring seas from the skies

This episode is about how satellite technology is being used to study a big chunk of the earth’s surface. Seventy percent of the earth comprises water but we know very little about it. Color sensors aboard some satellites can actually reveal a lot about phytoplankton or microalgae blooms that are linked to ocean temperatures. These tiny organisms contribute to half the photosynthesis on the planet.

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2 September 2022

18-Ice: Ancient knowledge for modern tech

To the untrained eye, Arctic ice appears unchanging, but conditions can shift quickly, and often reveal life-threatening hazards when they do. It is an unforgiving environment, but the Inuit know how to navigate it. That knowledge has been passed down through generations, and a new app is giving centuries-old Inuit knowledge a very modern form.

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19 August 2022

16-Ice: Shells of an ice-less past

Brian Huber is a climate detective at the Smithsonian who grew up collecting arrowheads in the woods of Ohio, but now collects and studies fossils from sediment cores. Brian uses fossils of tiny organisms − foraminifera − to track climate over millions of years, including the Cretaceous Hot Greenhouse climate.

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12 August 2022

15-Ice: Birds foretelling climate change

Anant Pande is an Indian polar researcher who studies snow petrels –  shy pelagic (sea-faring) birds who nest on rock crevices in Antarctica. These endemic birds prefer to nest near less icy waters. Climate change has melted polar oceans and perhaps made it less energy intensive — as they have to fly shorter distances to find non-frozen oceans.

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22 July 2022

12.5-A podcast of ice and fire

Cool off from the summer heat with our next six-part miniseries all about ice – from those who call it home to its use as a tool in science.

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17 June 2022

8-Extinctions: The (Maybe) Cambrian (Not Really) Explosion

The Cambrian explosion is commonly labelled as the time in Earth’s history when animals suddenly appear. But research from geoscientist Rachel Wood and her team turns this explanation on its head.

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10 June 2022

7-Extinctions: Dinosaurs, a Big Rock, and…Climate Change?

When you hear the word “extinction,” chances are you probably think of the extinction of the dinosaurs and a big rock. But did you know that there were other factors at play that lead to that extinction including volcanos and sea-level rise?

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3 June 2022

6.5-Extinctions: Dinosaurs, volcanoes, the space station, oh my!

Join us for our next six-part miniseries on Extinctions as we learn about the demise of the dinosaurs, what makes a comet “extinct,” the Cambrian and Triassic periods, volcanoes, and the aforementioned (planned) fiery end of the International Space Station!

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27 May 2022

6-True story: Migrating robins & thieving capuchins

Emily Williams has traveled the world in search of birds. As a biologist, she’s worked in Kansas, Argentina, Australia, and Denali, and studied loons, flycatchers, kingbirds, and more. And even with all these experiences and diverse species interactions, she’s now landed (ha, get it?!) on studying the common robin.

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13 May 2022

4-True story: Using TikTok for (shark) science good

Jaida Elcock says she thrives in chaos. And we’re inclined to believe her. From her ridiculously entertaining TikToks on animal facts, to her work with the non-profit Minorities in Shark Sciences (oh, did we mention she’s currently pursuing her Ph.D.), she seems to be managing that chaos pretty well. We talked with her about all of her endeavors, her inspiration from conservationist Jeff Corwin, and what (or who) she would like to see in science.

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29 April 2022

2-True story: Lassoing lizards (for science)

Gina Zwicky love lizards. And frogs. And turtles. Basically, all sorts of amphibians and reptiles. The love has turned into a career looking at how lizards fight off parasites and how those parasites evolve to be, well, better parasites.

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1-True story: Slapped by a (misinformation) shark

David Shiffman is a shark guy. It’s in his Twitter handle, he’s writing a book about it, and he was wearing a shark shirt the day we interviewed him. But more broadly he’s a marine conservation biologist, meaning he studies all sorts of ocean-going animals.

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22 April 2022

True (science) stories you’ve never heard before

Third Pod from the Sun is back, and we’re going weekly! Join us as we combat misconceptions about sharks, learn how to lasso lizards, hear from a Martian here on Earth, spark science joy via Tiktok, journey to Antarctica, and fight over food with some capuchins!

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27 October 2021

Staff Picks: Mythical monsters & their real-life inspirations (Part 2)

We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, the legend in grounded in fact.

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12 October 2021

Staff Picks: Mythical monsters & their real-life inspirations (Part 1)

We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, the legend in grounded in fact. 

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23 June 2021

Standing Up for Science During an Epidemic

Before COVID, before the swine flu, there was the bird flu outbreak of the mid-2000s. An international group of scientists came together to combat the deadly virus, including Dr. Ilaria Capua, a virologist, and now Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Capua played a key role in helping to quell the outbreak, but little did she know that experience would not be the most trying moment of her career.

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