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Playlist: Science

Compiled By: Jeff Conner

Caption: PRX default Playlist image
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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

End of Eternity

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


End of Eternity

Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe has several possible endings. Will there be a dramatic Big Rip or a Big Chill­–also known as the heat death of the universe–in trillions of years? Or will vacuum decay, which could theoretically happen at any moment, do us in? Perhaps the death of a tiny particle – the proton – will bring about the end.

We contemplate big picture endings in this episode, and whether one could be brought about by our own machine creations. 


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:

Author Andy Weir and Project Hail Mary

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

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2021-04-30 Distorted Democracy and the “Zero-Sum Game”

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


Heather McGhee, Political Strategist & Author, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
Rebecca Willis, Researcher & Author, Too Hot to Handle? The Democratic Challenge of Climate Change

In the US, we’ve become accustomed to climate -- like nearly everything else -- being politicized. Even when potential solutions might benefit everyone, a zero-sum mentality has taken hold, where there’s an “us” and a “them” and progress for them comes at the expense of us.

“When you can be divided and get easily manipulated into cheering the destruction of things that could be beneficial to part of the American people. says political strategist Heather McGhee, “that's making life harder for everyone.”

McGhee is board chair of Color of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization, and author of the new book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. In it she argues that racism in our politics and policymaking is distorting our ability to respond to big problems that require collective solutions by framing them as a so-called zero-sum game.

“The belief is that there's only so much to go around and what is good for an ‘other’ is bad for us,” she explains. “You can't dig into the social science data and see how much racial resentment became highly correlated ... with white public opinion on issues that nominally should have nothing to do with race during the Obama era.”

But does it have to be this way? In the UK, for example, climate politics are rarely marked by the partisan and racial divides of the American climate debate.

“We still have a very consensual approach to climate change,” says Rebecca Willis from Lancaster University, author of Too Hot to Handle? The Democratic Challenge of Climate Change, noting that the UK’s 2008 Climate Act has endured across conservative and progressive governments. Willis sees both a promise and a warning in US climate politics, as well as broader implications for global climate action. 

“Maybe this is democracy’s moment,” she says, “maybe this is the time that we see that we need collective action because we sure as hell can't solve this one as individuals working through the market.”

Color of Change
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together 
Too Hot to Handle? The Democratic Challenge of Climate Change

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:

How Science and the Law Can Make Polluters Pay

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 28:58


In this episode

Colleen and Kathy talk about

  • how science can link global warming emissions and their impact to specific fossil fuel companies
  • what the future for fossil fuel looks like and how companies can shift to less carbon-intensive fuels
  • how we use science to advocate for these changes