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This week's show

Political Scientist
Apr 16, 2018

Skeptic Check: Political Scientist Is activism good or bad for science?

Hundreds of thousands of scientists took to the streets during the March for Science.  The divisive political climate has spurred some scientists to deeper political engagement – publicly challenging lawmakers and even running for office themselves.   But the scientist-slash-activist model itself is contested, even by some of their colleagues. 

Find out how science and politics have been historically intertwined, what motivates scientists to get involved, and the possible benefits and harm of doing so. Is objectivity damaged when scientists advocate? 

Plus, how Michael Mann became a reluctant activist, whether his “street fighter” approach is effective in defending climate science, and the price he and his family paid for speaking out.

Also, how the organization 314 Action is helping a record number of scientists run for Congress.  But will the group support only Democratic contenders?


  • Robert YoungGeologist, Western Carolina University

  • Douglas HaynesHistorian of medicine and science, University of California, Irvine

  • Michael MannProfessor, atmospheric science, Director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State University 

  • Shaugnessy NaughtonFounder and President, 314 Action

  • Alex BerezowSenior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health

Descripción en español

Brain Dust
Apr 09, 2018
Brain Dust
Getting inside your head

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ENCORE  Know your brain?  Think again.  Driven by a hidden agenda, powered by an indecipherable web of neurons, and influenced by other brains, your grey matter is a black box.

Apr 02, 2018
A genius's cosmological quest

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Stephen Hawking felt gravity’s pull.  His quest to understand this feeble force spanned his career, and he was the first to realize that black holes actually disappear – slowly losing the mass of everything they swallow in a dull, evaporative glow called Hawking radiation. 

Mar 26, 2018
Skeptic Check: Your Inner Lab Coat
Think like a scientist.

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ENCORE  Sherlock Holmes doesn't have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally – like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly logical from the most famous sleuth on Baker Street.

The X-Flies
Mar 19, 2018
The X-Flies
Are insects disappearing?

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Insect populations are declining.  But before you say “good riddance,” consider that insects are the cornerstone of many ecosystems.  They are dinner for numerous animal species and are essential pollinators.   Mammals are loved, but they are not indispensable.  Insects are.