In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”―including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens―recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. [more inside]
In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. [more inside]
From one of the world’s leading natural scientists and the acclaimed author of Trilobite!, Life: A Natural History of Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and Dry Storeroom No. 1 comes a fascinating chronicle of life’s history told not through the fossil record but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, throughout time. Evolution, it seems, has not completely obliterated its tracks as more advanced organisms have evolved; the history of life on earth is far older—and odder—than many of us realize. [more inside]
The story of Theranos, a multi-billion dollar tech company, its founder Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made female billionaire, and the massive fraud that collapsed the company. Directed and written by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room).
A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome's power, a story of nature's triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. [more inside]
First patented in 1856, baking powder sparked a classic American struggle for business supremacy. For nearly a century, brands battled to win loyal consumers for the new leavening miracle, transforming American commerce and advertising even as they touched off a chemical revolution in the world's kitchens. Linda Civitello chronicles the titanic struggle that reshaped America's diet and rewrote its recipes. [more inside]
A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice. [more inside]
High adventure fraught with cliffhanger twists marks this runaway-slave narrative, which leaps, sails, and soars from Caribbean cane fields to the fringes of the frozen Arctic and across a whole ocean. (Opening line from Kirkus Review, one of many publications to list Esi Edugyan's novel among the best fiction of 2018). Booker Prize shortlisted nominee. [more inside]
Brainchild: Brainchild - a science show for tweens Season 1, Ep 0
Now on Netflix, Brainchild, is a 13 episode series for tweens and teens. [more inside]
The agents travel to Spain and France in 1943 to ensure the success of Britain's "Operation Mincemeat" during WWII. A Spanish spy captured in Nazi-occupied France is revealed to be an important figure in the Ministry's past and its present. [more inside]
The Department of Time: Con el tiempo en los talones (With Time on His Heels) First Watch Season 3, Ep 1
Amelia and Alonso are sent to the premiere of "Vertigo" at the 1958 San Sebastián Film Festival, to foil a plan by Russia to kidnap Alfred Hitchcock and force him to produce propaganda films. While the Ministry is under construction, a wheelchair-bound Salvador becomes suspicious of a Sony Walkman-wearing construction worker he observes through his office window. [more inside]
It's 1977 in the London suburb of Croydon. Young Enn and his punk-loving best friends stumble upon a bizarre gathering on the way to a party. Enn falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious stranger, who in turn is weirdly fascinated by him. Together, they embark on a delirious adventure through the kinetic, punk rock world of 1970s London that ends in a crazy and unusual showdown. [more inside]
The Department of Time: Un virus de otro tiempo (A Virus from Another Time) First Watch Season 2, Ep 5
During a mission in 1918 to attend the birth of Carmen Amaya, Irene falls ill with the Spanish flu. New undersecretary Susana orders (against regulations)) that Irene be retrieved and returned to the Ministry, risking widespread exposure to a highly contagious disease that once killed millions and for which there is no vaccine. Soon, more personnel begin to show flu symptoms and the Ministry is forced to close its doors to prevent the disease from being spread through time. [more inside]
Season Premiere: Lola Mendieta is in prison. Julián is back after some rest and psychiatric therapy. A new case awaits: the discovery of dated remains that could belong to El Cid, who was thought to be buried in the Burgos cathedral. Alonso and Amelia are sent with Ambrogio Spinola to the eleventh century to lead the investigation... which means pulling Julián from the team. [more inside]
SGU Stargate Universe: Subversion Season 1, Ep 18
Dr. Rush and Homeworld Command investigate when Colonel Telford is suspected of spying for the Lucian Alliance. [more inside]
The Expanse: Here There Be Dragons Season 2, Ep 11
Bobbie makes a decision that changes her life forever. [more inside]
In 1996, two teenagers stumbled across some very old human remains. The struggle to identify them and determine who owns them kicked off a fight that has lasted 20 years -- and is finally about to be resolved. [more inside]
Forests feel like a place of great stillness but dig deeper and there's a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE Season 5, Ep 13
"Fantastic! Weird! Horrifying!" "Alive...Without A Body... Fed By An Unspeakable Horror From Hell!" How gifted does a doctor have to be that, when his GF is decapitated in a crash, his thought is, "I can fix this!" Two-for-two on a bad idea streak, he goes out and tries to kill attractive women so he can get her a new chassis. This movie teaches us that not only are free-standing heads capable of speech, they can communicate with horrible monsters. It's Mike Nelson's first episode as host, and boy, they change a lot of things with this episode, including updating the set and changing the door sequence! It's a pretty good episode riffing-wise, too. YouTube (1h31m) Premiered October 30, 1993. Did you know there is a stage musical based on the film, "Head: The Musical!" (Vimeo 1h40m) [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Science Season 3, Ep 11
- Ted Cruz drops out of the race for the Republication Nomination, leaving Donald Trump as presumptive nominee. (YT 4m, via Fortune!)
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls the first meeting of their Worker's Party since 1980. (YT 4m)
- And Now: The Next President of the United States
- Main story: Science (YT 19m), and how good, and not-so-good, studies get trumpeted by the media as saying things that they don't all the fucking time. LWT presents a parody of TED talks, "TODD," to make their point.
Houdini & Doyle (and Constable Adelaide Stratton) have started up on ITV, and will be coming to the US on Fox in early May. Should we chat now, or wait until it hits state-side? [more inside]
The Infinite Monkeys return for a new series, the first of which will see them head to the USA for their first live tour. This week [physicist] Brian Cox and [comedian] Robin Ince can be found on stage in New York asking the question, Is Science a Force for Good Or Evil? They are joined on stage by Bill Nye the Science Guy, cosmologist Janna Levin, actor Tim Daly and comedian Lisa Lampanelli.
How a tiny group of social engineers are making our online relationships kindler and gentler, whether we like it or not. [more inside]
Jupiter Jones, an undocumented immigrant working as a maid in Chicago, finds out she's the heir to an interstellar fortune including the ownership of Earth. This is the latest film by the Wachowski siblings.
Helix: Densho Season 2, Ep 4
The CDC team continues to not get off the island of Brother Michael and his scary disciples, insisting that they have to find the source of the virus that turns people stabby. Alan, the team's former leader, doesn't care much as he has own reasons for pretending to be a member of the cult. In the future, Hatake tries to bond with his daughter Julia, but she'd prefer her mummy. This continues to anger her dead brother. Sadly, Doreen from season 1 remains dead.
Helix: Scion Season 2, Ep 3
As the CDC team continues to investigate the mystery viral breakout on the island of the culty people, the creepiness factor gets upped with fraternizations, confrontations, beautifully large ornate windows, drugs, a very unBrady Bunch like gang of children in the woods and a family reunion with the world's greatest dad.
Helix: San Jose Season 2, Ep 1
There's a pandemic on an island with virtually no communications. Let's go there right now! And wander around! Oh, there's a cult there, that's going to go well.
Radiolab brings a preview of Invisibilia . The lines between boy and girl can be blurry but NPR's Invisibilia introduces us to someone with a very new idea of how blurry they can be. [more inside]
Ascension: Night Three Season 1, Ep 6
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from Cape Kennedy aboard a colony ship. Six hundred peeps set sail that day for a ten-decade tour. A ten-decade tour! [more inside]
The metaphor, magic, and money coursing through our veins... [more inside]
One of our favorite human beings turns 80 this week. To celebrate, Robert asks Oliver Sacks to look back on his career, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career. [more inside]
A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. [more inside]
Under the Dome: In The Dark Season 2, Ep 6
A dust storm hits Chester's Mill; Barbie and Sam explore the tunnels; Julia and Rebecca co-operate. [more inside]
The efforts of theoretical physicists around the world come to fruition at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where experimental physicists bring their theories to life on the largest scale possible. Particle Fever tracks passionate scientists from both camps from 2008 to 2012, as the LHC fires up in an effort to discover the Higgs boson -- an elusive particle that may hold the key to our understanding of the universe, not to mention the future of physical science itself. [more inside]
Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried Season 2, Ep 10
In which Sarah makes a sacrifice for her daughter, Kira learns about Science! Cosima and Scott try to help Sarah and Rachel see eye to eye, a new dimension of the conspiracy behind Dyad is revealed, and the Clone Club has a dance party. Season finale.
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey: Unafraid of the Dark Season 1, Ep 13
Victor Hess discovers cosmic rays, and Fritz Zwicky explains them. Tyson moves on to current questions in cosmology — just what are dark matter (also first proposed by Zwicky) and dark energy? The Voyager spacecraft are discussed, along with Sagan's role in designing the "golden record" they carry, and his suggestion that Voyager 1 take the "Pale Blue Dot" photograph of earth.
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey: The World Set Free Season 1, Ep 12
Tyson shows the result of a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus. The earth has been getting warmer since the industrial revolution — but it's not too late.
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey: The Immortals Season 1, Ep 11
On the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. How meteorites may carry life between worlds, as well as allow earthly life to have survived the scouring of the earth's surface in its early history. The possibility and potential problems of communicating with intelligent extraterrestrial life. How civilizations die, and how ours may survive.
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey: The Electric Boy Season 1, Ep 10
Michael Faraday, with little formal education, makes incredible discoveries regarding electromagnetism. [more inside]
Orphan Black: Governed as It Were by Chance Season 2, Ep 4
Sarah investigates Mrs. S's mysterious past while Cosima investigates the mysterious photograph, and Alison and Helena each awaken to find themselves under someone else's control.
We travel through Earth's past, glimpsing at how different the world used to be and learning what processes and events caused (and continue to cause) its changes. [more inside]