Why is air turbulence getting worse?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
2d ago
On Tuesday a British man died and several others were injured when their plane encountered severe turbulence between London and Singapore. And it looks like this kind of turbulence is something we’ll have to get used to. Last year a study found severe clear-air turbulence had increased by 55% between 1979 and 2020. Ian Sample speaks to Guy Gratton, associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University, to find out why this is happening, and whether there’s anything we can do to reverse the trend.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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In their prime: how trillions of cicadas pop up right on time
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
4d ago
Right now, across much of the midwestern and eastern US, trillions of cicadas are crawling out from the soil. And this year is extra special, because two broods are erupting from the ground at once. The first brood hasn’t been seen for 13 years, the other for 17 years and the last time they emerged together Thomas Jefferson was president. Ian Sample speaks to entomologist Dr Gene Kritsky to find out what’s going on, why periodical cicadas emerge in cycles of prime numbers and how they keep time underground. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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AI, algorithms and apps: can dating be boiled down to a science?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
1w ago
Last week the founder of the dating app Bumble forecasted a near future dating landscape where AI ‘dating concierges’ filter out prospective partners for us. But does AI, or even science, really understand what makes two people compatible? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Amie Gordon, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, to find out what we know about why two people go the distance, and why she’s designing her own dating app to learn more.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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Backstabbing, bluffing and playing dead: has AI learned to deceive?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
1w ago
As AI systems have grown in sophistication, so has their capacity for deception, according to a new analysis from researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr Peter Park, an AI existential safety researcher at MIT and author of the research, tells Ian Sample about the different examples of deception he uncovered, and why they will be so difficult to tackle as long as AI remains a black box. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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Why are the world’s cities sinking?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
2w ago
A study has found that more than two dozen US coastal cities are sinking by more than 2mm a year. It’s a similar picture across the world. Nearly half of China’s major cities, as well as places such as Tehran and Jakarta, are facing similar problems. These issues are compounded by sea level rises caused by global heating. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Manoochehr Shirzaei of Virginia Tech University and Prof Robert Nicholls of the University of East Anglia to find out what’s making our cities sink and whether anything can be done to rescue them from the sea. Help support our independent journ ..read more
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The extraordinary promise of personalised cancer vaccines
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
3w ago
Glioblastomas are an extremely aggressive type of brain tumour, which is why the news this week of a vaccine that has shown promise in fighting them is so exciting. And this comes right off the back of the announcement of another trial of the world’s first personalised mRNA vaccine for melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. Ian Sample talks to Prof Alan Melcher of the Institute of Cancer Research about how these vaccines work and whether they could one day be used to target cancer before it is even detectable on scans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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The stream of plastic pollution: could a global treaty help us turn off the tap?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
3w ago
Guardian Seascapes reporter Karen McVeigh tells Madeleine Finlay about a recent trip to the Galápagos Islands, where mounds of plastic waste are washing up and causing problems for endemic species. Tackling this kind of waste and the overproduction of plastic were the topics on the table in Ottawa this week, as countries met to negotiate a global plastics treaty. But is progress too slow to address this pervasive problem?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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From birds, to cattle, to … us? Could bird flu be the next pandemic?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
1M ago
As bird flu is confirmed in 33 cattle herds across eight US states, Ian Sample talks to virologist Dr Ed Hutchinson of Glasgow University about why this development has taken scientists by surprise, and how prepared we are for the possibility it might start spreading among humans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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Hardwired to eat: what can our dogs teach us about obesity?
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
1M ago
Labradors are known for being greedy dogs, and now scientists have come up with a theory about the genetic factors that might be behind their behaviour. Science correspondent and flat-coated retriever owner Nicola Davis visits Cambridge University to meet Dr Eleanor Raffan and Prof Giles Yeo to find out how understanding this pathway could help us treat the obesity crisis in humans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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Soundscape ecology: a window into a disappearing world
Science Weekly
by The Guardian
1M ago
What can sound tell us about nature loss? Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston tells Madeleine Finlay about her visit to Monks Wood in Cambridgeshire, where ecologist Richard Broughton has witnessed the decline of the marsh tit population over 22 years, and has heard the impact on the wood’s soundscape. As species lose their habitats across the world, pioneering soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause has argued that if we listen closely, nature can tell us everything we need to know about our impact on the planet. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod ..read more
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