Did Cooking Make Us Human?

Is there one thing responsible for humans becoming human? Some evolutionary biologists think that the way we process our food, namely cooking it, could explain why our species developed so differently from others. Did cooking make us human? Dr. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Dr. Rachel Carmody of UCSF and Harvard discuss the impact that cooked food has had on human evolution.
Produced by Briana Breen and edited by Audrey Quinn. Music by Henry Nagle.

Origin Stories – The Leakey Foundation | 31st December 2016

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Simply Happy

Can we learn more about happiness through science? Or are there simpler ways to achieve it? We hear from five TED speakers who contemplate different paths to finding happiness. Researcher Matt Killingsworth says we’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. Journalist Carl Honore believes our society’s emphasis on speed erodes our ability to feel happy. Writer Graham Hill makes the case for simplicity as a way out of the confusion. Psychologist Dan Gilbert challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we lose what we want. Brother David Steindl-Rast reflects on looking where you’re going and being grateful.
Illustration: DINONABI

TED Radio Hour | 30th December 2016

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Corruption in America

Donald Trump will be committing an impeachable offense by not relinquishing an ownership stake in his multiple companies before Jan 20. “[N]o person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” These words, from Article I of the U.S. Constitution, are unambiguously clear. Legal scholar Zephyr Teachout explains why corruption in the presidency was such anathema to the nation’s founders.
In the remainder of the episode are few highlights from a recent symposium about the current state of free speech on campus. The event was organized by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.
Hosted by Dahlia Lithwick

Slate’s Amicus | 24th December 2016

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Alien Intelligence

Free will, what it might be like to be an octopus, and which prehistoric animal would be the most interesting to resurrect. Jason Gots in discussion with Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney in Australia. He has also spent a lot of time floating around in an octopus colony in Australia, studying smart cephalopods and taking photos and videos that have been used by National Geographic. His fascinating new book is “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness”.

Big Think – Think Again | 24th December 2016

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Constructed Reality: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

What if we are living in a computer simulation that more technologically-capable humans have constructed for us? Tech mogul Elon Musk says the likelihood that we are not actually all living in a simulated world is ‘one in billions’. In this episode philosopher and cognitive scientist Dr David Chalmers weighs in to explore those odds.
Presented and produced by Matt Shore

Chips with Everything | 23rd December 2016

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Owning Our Bodies

If we have rights and ownership of anything it is surely of our own body. Yet we cannot dispose of it as we please, intoxicants are outlawed, and selling our body for sexual pleasure or organ donation is restricted. Is our body strangely not our own after all? Should we insist on our rights and freedom or do we need to be protected from ourselves?
Belle de Jour blogger Brooke Magnanti, bioethicist John Harris, and author of “Our Bodies, Whose Property?” Anne Phillips interrogate ownership.
Illustration: Drawing by Gustav Klimt

Philosophy for Our Times | 20th December 2016

 

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The Science of Whiskey

Whether in a hot toddy or on the rocks, there’s a good chance whiskey will be poured during this month’s holiday parties. Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company head distiller Rob Arnold and TCU chemistry professor Eric Simanek join us to talk about how grain and water combine to make bourbon, rye and scotch. They explain the process in “Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey”

KERA’s Think | 20th December 2016

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The Scientific Process

There is a replication “crisis” in psychology: many findings simply do not replicate. Some critics take this as an indictment of the entire field — perhaps the best journals are only interested in publishing the “sexiest” findings, or universities are pressuring their faculty to publish more. But take a closer look at the so-called crisis. While there certainly have been cases of bad science, and even fraudulent data, there are also lots of other reasons why perfectly good studies might not replicate. We’ll look at a seminal study about stereotypes, Asian women, and math tests.

Hidden Brain | 20th December 2016

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