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Playlist: Science

Compiled By: Jeff Conner

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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Fungi Fear

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

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The zombie eco-thriller “The Last of Us” has alerted us to the threats posed by fungi. But the show is not entirely science fiction. Our vulnerability to pathogenic fungi is more real than many people imagine. 

Find out what human activity drives global fungal threats, including their menace to food crops and many other species. Our high body temperature has long kept lethal fungi in check; but will climate change cause fungi to adapt to warmer temperatures and threaten our health? 

Plus, a radically new way to think about these organisms, how they make all life possible, and how we might find balance again.

Guests:

Emily Monosson – Toxicologist who writes about changes in the natural world. A member of the Ronin Institute and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she is the author of “Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic.”

Arturo Casadevall – Microbiologist, immunologist, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Michael Hathaway – Anthropologist, director of the Asian Studies Center at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and author of “What a Mushroom Lives For.”

Originally aired February 13, 2023

Featuring music by Dewey Dellay and Jun Miyake

You can get early access to ad-free versions of every episode by joining us on Patreon. Thanks for your support!

Big Picture Science is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Please contact advertising@airwavemedia.com to inquire about advertising on Big Picture Science.

 

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:

Subsurface granite on the Moon? The anatomy of a lunar hot spot

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

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A decades-old lunar mystery gets an update in this week's Planetary Radio. Matt Siegler from the Planetary Science Institute shares his team's surprising findings about the granite formation that might lie beneath Compton-Belkovich, a thorium-rich hot spot on the far side of the Moon. Then Bruce Betts, chief scientist of The Planetary Society, shares What's Up in the night sky.


Discover more at: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/2023-subsurface-granite-on-the-moon

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2024-04-12 Nearly 2 Years In… Is the Inflation Reduction Act Delivering Yet?

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:56

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Almost two years ago, Congress passed the biggest piece of climate legislation in our nation’s history: The Inflation Reduction Act, which put $400 billion into boosting the transition to a clean energy economy over the next ten years. 


The IRA is a huge bill with many tax incentives for investors, manufacturers, business owners and homeowners. It seeks to do two things: One, to push “mature” clean energy technologies further into the mainstream – think solar panels, electric cars, batteries. And two: it’s supposed to help emerging technologies – like green hydrogen, carbon capture, and sustainable aviation fuel – get more fully developed so they can be useful in curbing carbon emissions down the line. 


Most of the benefits are focused on tax incentives and other “carrots” for individuals and companies that choose to shift to lower carbon emitting systems, rather than regulatory “sticks.” 


“Overall, the IRA is working largely as expected,” says Trevor Houser, a partner at Rhodium Group, an independent think tank that has been tracking clean energy investment throughout the economy in collaboration with MIT. A couple months ago, they released a progress report that shows how different projections of the law’s impact stack up against what's happened so far.


“The pace of deployment of clean energy technology is accelerating dramatically. We have seen really explosive growth in clean energy manufacturing in the U.S.” Houser says. “Last year, there was $239 billion of investment in clean energy technologies throughout the economy, up 38 percent year on year, double the pace just a few years ago.” Notably, this was additional, private investment, incentivized by government action.


Still, many are dissatisfied with how the pace of progress has been stymied by non-funding-related obstacles like inflation, transmission interconnection and permitting timelines. 


“We need just a quicker response rate and more alacrity from those that are promulgating [the IRA]. I know it's too important to rush and I understand that, but I think we need to work out how to build things with intent,” says clean energy investor Danny Kennedy. 


“We need ‘yes in my backyard’ sort of approaches and concierge services from state development agencies and people that are in the business of clearing the lines and connecting the dots so that these developments can be built. We've got a decade to do this work and we can't take 18 months to just sort of get the instructions.”

As part of President Biden’s Justice 40 Initiative, a large portion of IRA grants and projects are targeted at communities that were home to fossil fuels production or have suffered the pollution burden from the industry. Bineshi Albert, a climate justice advocate, says the IRA legislation should have focused on a more wholesale phase out of fossil fuels.  


“I think where this kind of project sort of missed the mark is creating opportunities, even for tribal nations, to change their economic base,” Albert says. “And instead, we have these programs in the IRA which basically say, ‘okay, you can still produce as long as you invest in these offsets or invest in these programs that, you know, you can reduce carbon in other ways.’”


The Inflation Reduction Act seeks to accomplish a 40 percent reduction in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. Much could change in the years ahead. But at this point in time, Trevor Houser says if the pace of utility-scale, clean electricity investment does not increase meaningfully soon, we’ll fall short of that goal. 


“We need to dramatically expand the amount of wind and solar and storage and other clean electricity technologies like geothermal that we're adding to the grid. The good news is that the cost of those technologies is very cheap now, thanks to the IRA. The challenge is, can we build it fast enough? Can we train the labor source needed? Can we mobilize supply chains? And can we expedite the permitting processes so that those plants can be built in the timeline needed?”


Related Links:

Clean Investment in 2023 report

New federal laws have lots of money for climate projects – if cities can actually get it

Climate Justice Alliance

New Energy Nexus



Sound Ecology (Series)

Produced by Jessica Eden

Most recent piece in this series:

Sound Ecology: Native Bees

From Jessica Eden | Part of the Sound Ecology series | 01:28

Sound_ecology_logo_small An audio postcard highlighting native bees -- including nuances of their behavior, life history and ecological importance.

Got Science? (Series)

Produced by This Is Science With Jess Phoenix

Most recent piece in this series:

Lean, Clean, Green Machines

From This Is Science With Jess Phoenix | Part of the Got Science? series | 29:01

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In this episode

Colleen talks to Bridget and Paula about:

  • the modeling and analysis that shows how states can reach 100% renewable energy by 2035
  • what policies are needed to reach an equitable transition
  • what a just and sustainable future could look like

A Moment of Science (Series)

Produced by WFIU

Most recent piece in this series:

AMOS 24-80: Dino Snouts as Air Conditioning, 4/22/2024

From WFIU | Part of the A Moment of Science series | 02:00

Mos-fullcolor-rgb-stacked_small Dino Snouts as Air Conditioning

Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature (Series)

Produced by Bioneers

Most recent piece in this series:

245: The Blue Economy: Too Good Not to Be True, 4/17/2024

From Bioneers | Part of the Bioneers - Revolution From the Heart of Nature series | 28:30

Bren-smith-e1535478830208_copy_small In this second of a two-part program, we plunge into the mind-bending proposition that we get a second chance to remake our broken food economy. Bren Smith, co-founder and co-Executive Director of GreenWave, has created a revolutionary polycultural farming model that has low upfront costs, is easily scalable, and can help mitigate climate change. It’s called regenerative ocean farming and aims to redesign the food economy away from destructive profit-driven practices and agribusiness monopolies in favor of democratizing the food economy.

The 90-Second Naturalist (Series)

Produced by WGUC/ WVXU

Most recent piece in this series:

90 Second Naturalist – April 2024 Modules”

From WGUC/ WVXU | Part of the The 90-Second Naturalist series | 33:00

Nsn_podcast_logo_small 90-second modules that celebrate the natural world and bring the wonder of nature into daily life.

This Week in Water (Series)

Produced by H2O Radio

Most recent piece in this series:

This Week in Water for April 14, 2024

From H2O Radio | Part of the This Week in Water series | 06:16

H2o_logo_240_small The EPA has taken its first step to regulate “forever chemicals” in drinking water.

“Archaic plumbing” inside the Glen Canyon Dam is aggravating Colorado River Basin woes.

An environmental crisis has been averted following the Baltimore bridge collapse...so far.

ten-minute walk could deliver clean water—and faster if you pick up the pace.