WNPR

Science

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

Highly drug resistant gonorrhea has been reported in England. It’s the latest in a growing list of superbugs that are becoming resistant to last-resort antibiotics.

For much of the last century, doctors have been able to cure many once-fatal bacterial infections with a simple course of meds. But over the years, diseases have evolved and even the best drugs aren’t enough to combat the deadly bacteria.

This hour, we ask an infectious disease specialist--how worried should we be?

Brett Streutker / Flickr

As secular attitudes increase around the world and beliefs in the supernatural decline, how is it that the demand for exorcisms has never been higher?

In America and across Europe, the Catholic Church is struggling to keep up. And as the Vatican is busy teaching courses to train new exorcists, the question remains: Why now?

This hour we speak with a historian, a psychiatrist, and an officially sanctioned exorcist to unravel the mystery behind the twenty-first-century resurgence of this age-old Catholic practice.

GUESTS:

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Thumb on the scale, loading the dice -- the English language is full of idioms for people who cheat the system.

If you’ve ever wondered why so many of those expressions invoke images of weights and measures, a good “rule of thumb” is to look back at New England’s colonial history, when standardizing the way we define our world today was a priority.

Christina Carolus

For over a century, Americans have looked to National Geographic to learn about other people and cultures around the world.

Now for the first time ever, the magazine has acknowledged its “exotic” portrayals of other cultures, which it was known for during much of its history, were based on racist ideas.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

K Kendall / Creative Commons

For most of time, microbes ruled the planet alone. Microbes have been around for billions of years - long before people ever began to inhabit the earth.  Am I giving you a good picture of how small humans are in this grander view of life? 

Wikimedia Commons

For a few moments, one of the world’s foremost experts on gravity was free of it. His smile -- and his eyes -- couldn’t have been brighter.

There aren't very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.

Alice Collins Plebuch

Unearthing family history -- one saliva sample at a time.

This hour: how low-cost DNA testing helped spawn an industry and, with it, a new wave of genealogical sleuthing.

Ancestry.com, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA -- how far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to spend to better understand your roots? 

Arthur Caranta / Flickr

They may not look like R2D2 or BB8, but in 2018, robots are an important part of our world.

This hour we talk about ​automation—new advances in “smart” technology during a period of time that’s been dubbed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

yardenxanthe / flickr

Slime is not something we often think about. But there are plenty of reasons why that should probably change: From the theory that life on Earth may have have first emerged from a primordial ooze, to the current slime-making craze that's sweeping the internet.

Roman Vanur / flickr creative commons

Consciousness has been an elusive enigma for philosophers and scientists alike for about as long as there've been philosophers and scientists.

And, while it's long been thought that artificial intelligence would bring us the next big breakthroughs in our understanding of consciousness, A.I. authority David Gelernter has a different idea entirely.

He looks for answers to these fundamental questions in, instead... literature.

Before a screening of "Black Panther," artist Martha Walker-Dawkins paints the face of Zaniah Welsh, a fourth-grader at West Hartford's Smith STEM School. Engineer David Johnson sponsored the event to inspire students.
Vanessa de la Torre / WNPR

As a child in the Midwest, David Johnson said he dreamed of becoming an engineer.

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

...Parkland?

"Starman" in Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster with Earth in the background
SpaceX / Flickr

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made history in February when his Falcon Heavy rocket launched a red Tesla convertible into outer space. In the driver seat is a dummy astronaut dubbed “Starman” who’s now flying through space, orbiting the sun.

Pages