Tag Archives: podcast

Internet Findings of the Week for September 25, 2015

This week I was confused about rhino hunting, in awe of a clever medical invention,  and overly entertained by lip-syncing celebrities.

Podcast of the Week

The Rhino Hunter

A Black Rhino. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The hunting of exotic wild animals is a very polarizing topic. When Cecil the lion was killed a few months ago, there was an outcry. Last year a hunting expert won an auction to kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia, news which also faced public criticism. In this podcast, the RadioLab team interviews hunter Corey Knowlton about winning the auction for $350,000, and follows him on his recent rhino hunting trip to Namibia. Knowlton says he would never kill an endangered animal if he didn’t think there was a good reason for it. He says the hunt is justified because the auction money goes directly towards conservation in Namibia, and only very aggressive, old male rhinos who have killed other, younger rhinos are allowed to be hunted. Knowlton believes he is actually saving the rhinos as a species, by hunting one.

Science of the Week

Brooklyn Startup Uses Algae to Heal Wounds

Algae. Photo by Josef Reischig via Wikimedia commons

This Brooklyn-based lab has invented a way to stop bleeding that could completely change the way doctors deal with wounds. Vetigel is a gel made mainly of algae, which forms a mesh that clots blood and can stop bleeding in around 10 seconds, including arterial bleeding. So far it is only approved for use on internal bleeding in animals, but the inventor hopes it can be used for humans within two years.

Video of the Week

Lip Sync Battle With Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen De Generes chooses some hilarious songs to sing in her lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon often outdoes his guests in these battles, but this battle was extremely evenly matched. Fallon first does a very true and passionate rendition of “Mr Brightside” by The Killers, and DeGeneres performs a bizarrely sweet enaction of Diana Ross’s Do You Know Where You’re Going To”. Then the competition seriously heats up and Fallon busts out current hipster dancefloor anthem “Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae)” by Silento, complete with true-to-viral-video dance moves. DeGeneres then blows everyone away with her fantastic gangster performance of Rihanna’s “B***h Better Have My Money”. Watch this right now.

Internet Findings of the Week for September 11, 2015

This week I was intrigued by the CIA interacting with filmmakers, learning more about elements, hearing how ebola survivors are coping, and seeing a poignant reminder of 9/11.

Article of the Week

How the CIA Helped Produce ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Film

When I saw the film “Zero Dark Thirty” about the killing of Osama bin Laden at the cinema in early 2013, I found it immensely interesting and enlightening about how US forces operate in the Middle East. However I also questioned how much of it was true, and how much was artistic licence. Some of it seemed unlikely, and the torture scenes were very difficult to watch. It also came across as unusually detailed for a film about covert operations (although this could be hindsight). Before I saw the movie I had also read a Vanity Fair article about the killing of Bin Laden, which was told from the president’s perspective, rather than the agents on the ground. I was intrigued to find out that the CIA was actually involved in giving the filmmakers access to restricted information they needed for the movie, plus helping with the script. According to Vice News, one of the reasons the CIA helped the filmmakers, may have been so the film would portray torture as useful and effective.

Podcast of the Week

Elements

Picture by Armtuk via Wikimedia Commons

I enjoyed science at high school, and learning about the periodic table. But I never found it THIS enthralling or personalized. This podcast tells three very different stories about human interactions with elements. First, we hear about a woman who struggled with strange episodes where she wasn’t herself, and found a simple elemental salt could completely cure her. Second we hear about how elements are formed inside stars and during supernovas, told in a very dramatic way. Third we hear about how the dropping of atomic bombs has surprisingly helped scientists work out the age of individual cells in human bodies. But for a more comical take on the elements and how they interact, watch this hilarious video.

Video of the Week

Erison and the Ebola Survivors

We haven’t been hearing much about the ebola outbreak in recent months, but in Sierra Leone people are still suffering the consequences. There are are orphaned children and people who have lost their whole families. And though many people had ebola and made a full recovery, those people are now being shunned by society, as others are scared they could catch it from them. But it is heartwarming to hear in this NY TImes documentary that many of these ebola survivors are coming together to show everyone that they are normal and should be treated as such.

Photos of the Week

Rainbow Begins at World Trade Center Day Before 9/11

Living in New York, the lasting effects of September 11, 2001 are obviously more real and saddening than anywhere else. I’ve visited the memorial a number of times, and it is always very moving and intense being there and thinking of the death and destruction that happened there. So a beautiful natural phenomenon like a rainbow is just a lovely and perfect way to remember all the beautiful souls who perished that day, and to believe that the forces of nature are also paying tribute. Photos taken by Ben Sturner.

Internet Findings of the Week for June 26, 2015

I found an interesting mix of things this week, including film news, cultural discussions and scientific breakthroughs.

Video of the week

My Hijab has nothing to do with Oppression. It’s a feminist statement.

Twenty-two-year-old muslim student Hannah Yusuf wants the world to know why she wears a hijab or head-scarf. She says she chooses to wear it, and it is not a sign of oppression. She finds it liberating in that she is not judged by her looks and doesn’t have to conform to society’s requirements for women to look a certain way. She says it’s true that many women are forced to cover up and wear hijabs, but people shouldn’t assume that all women are forced to wear it. Many choose to wear it as a form of empowerment.

Excitement of the week

First Photos from New Ghostbusters Movie Set

The original Ghostbusters HQ in NYC. Photo by Rob Young via Wikimedia Commons

I only just found out this movie is being made here in NYC! And starring three amazing female comedians! The original Ghostbusters movie starred three male comedians, Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd and Harold Ramis, and was awesome. I think this is a fantastic idea to remake it with women leads. I have been a big fan of Kristen Wiig for a while. She is a brilliant actress, a hilarious comedian, and talented writer (she wrote and produced the film “Bridesmaids”). I discovered the versatile Kate McKinnon watching Saturday Night Live – she is equally convincing playing both Justin Bieber and Hillary Clinton. And the third comedian Melissa McCarthy is one of those comical people who shows up in all sorts of interesting TV shows and films (like Gilmore Girls and The Hangover Part III). I am so excited to see the new Ghostbusters film!

Podcast of the week

Antibodies Part 1: CRISPR

E Coli bacteria. Photo by Mattosaurus via Wikimedia Commons

A type of common bacteria called E Coli has shown scientists that it is possible to easily edit DNA. This easy-to-understand and often funny podcast explains how it is now technically possible for scientists to add in or exchange genes in an organism’s DNA and easily change the characteristics of that organism. They can pinpoint the exact gene they want to edit, and replace it. I find it fascinating that this is possible. And scientists say it will have amazing implications for genetic medicine and curing cancer. But it could also be dangerous and negatively affect evolution if done incorrectly. This method of editing DNA is called CRISPR. I like the name as it sounds like my last name.

Worry of the week

Exposure to mixture of common chemicals may trigger cancer

This is scary because scientists are saying that chemicals humans are exposed to can mix together inside the body and cause diseases like cancer. But the scariest thing is that they don’t seem to know yet which chemicals are mixing and how we can avoid them. Scientists plan to start testing combinations of common chemicals soon.

 

Internet Findings of the Week for June 19, 2015

This week my findings, although varied, are all quite serious or thought-provoking issues.

Article of the week

Will Self-Driving Cars Be Programmed to Kill You?

Google_self-driving_car_in_Mountain_View

Photo by Mark Doliner via Wikimedia Commons

Google, Mercedes, Audi, Daimler and others are currently developing computer-driven cars. Now an ethical debate has arisen over how to program self-driving cars to react when a collision is unavoidable. What happens if the car has to decide between swerving into a bus of people or hitting a pedestrian? Will it use utilitarian ethics to cause the least harm to the most people, or will it be programmed to choose randomly in these situations to reduce any blame on the programmers? For me as a philosophy and ethics major, it is an interesting issue and one I am keen to follow to see what happens. Although apparently, driver error causes 94% of all crashes, so if all cars on the road at any time are computer driven then the collision rate should be statistically lower.

Podcast of the week

As Global Population Grows, Is The Earth Reaching The ‘End Of Plenty’?

Photo by Alosh Bennett via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Alosh Bennett via Wikimedia Commons

This is a worrying topic – that food production can’t keep up with the pace of population growth. This podcast is about journalist Joel Bourne’s book “The End of Plenty” about exactly that. He talks about how growing animals for meat is not sustainable, because you have to grow the grain to feed them as well. Inefficient use of water is also a problem, especially in areas with droughts or water shortages. He also talks about new, possibly more efficient, ideas for producing protein such as deep-sea fish farms. But what he doesn’t talk about is the huge amount of food that is wasted every day. This is an issue that is very current right now, with a new documentary coming out called Just Eat It which claims that 50% of edible food is wasted every day. A new supermarket also opened recently which sells food that other supermarkets were going to throw out.

Issue of the week

Frozen Human Eggs

More and more women seem to be freezing their eggs for one reason or another. Some freeze them because they have an illness which could damage their ovaries and they want to be able to conceive after they get better. Others want to delay motherhood and focus on their careers, so they freeze their eggs while they are young to try and increase the likelihood of having a healthy baby at a less-than-optimum age for conceiving. There are new issues with these practices every day. A woman in the UK died of cancer, leaving behind unused frozen eggs, then this week her bereft mother tried unsuccessfully to get permission to use those eggs to give birth to her own grandchild. In May this year “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-boyfriend had a dispute about whether to destroy fertilized eggs they had frozen before they broke up. But there are other issues as well about how reproduction is now going to be explained to children, when there is more than one way to conceive a child. Musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates give a very crude (and negative) but funny suggestion of what a parent might have to tell their clinically-conceived child: