Even at low-level exposure, arsenic is not just known to promote the formation of cancer, but it may also cause harm to our immune function and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Today we discuss the effects of too much arsenic in the diet.
Pussy Riot gained worldwide recognition in 2012 when three of their members, including Maria Alyokhina, were arrested in Moscow for performing a protest song at a cathedral near the Kremlin. Maria, and one other member, were sentenced to live nearly two years in a penal colony in Siberia for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” charges. Today, Maria tells us about her experience in prison, the protests and how she took her prison guards to court and won.
The Guess Who and frontman Burton Cummings were the first huge Canadian rock ’n roll act, paving the way for border-crossing superstars from Arcade Fire to Justin Bieber. Burton Cumming’s main songwriting collaborator in the early years of The Guess Who was Randy Bachman, the band’s guitarist. Their collaboration changed the sound of the late 60s, but their difference in temperament ended up driving Bachman out of the band. Cummings tells about how life has just gotten better since The Guess Who broke up.
Sixty years ago, when hacking meant nosing around the telephone network, it seemed innocent enough. And not all modern hacking has criminal intent. Today, there are biohackers who experiment with implanted electronic devices to improve themselves, and geoengineers who propose to hack the climate. But in our efforts to cool an overheated planet, might we be going down a dangerous path?
Your brain consists of two distinct hemispheres and they collaborate with each other to provide you with different experiences of the world. But has the balance between the two halves of your brain got out of whack – and what’s the impact?
In just a few days, Germans will go to the polls to vote for a new government. For decades, Germany’s elections have been subdued and predictable, but this campaign cycle has seen a rise of fake news, hate groups and right-wing politicians with a nationalist agenda. There also are allegations of Russian meddling. In this episode we look at the rise of right-wing populism in Germany’s election.
Some of the southern US states have experienced severe flooding over the last few weeks. In the wake of these recent disasters we take a closer look at what happens when water falls from the sky, how it moves once it is on the ground, and what happens when people and water get in each other’s way. We also discuss the challenges of redirecting water through, under, and around our cities and communities.
‘New Yorker’ writer Evan Osnos visited North Korea in August to understand what they really mean when they talk about nuclear war. Senior officials explained to him why nuclear weapons are an essential part of their society. “They will tell you that the reason they will never give up nuclear weapons is that they remember what happened to Saddam Husein and Muammar Gaddafi both of whom where developing nuclear weapons at one point, gave them up, and as a result ended up loosing their regime, and both of them ended executed. They talk about it quite openly, that the lesson of Libya – the lesson of Gaddafi’s fall – was that, if you go down that path, you leave yourself vulnerable to the changing whims of the United States, and you can ultimately be cast aside. And so Kim Jong-un and his government are adamant that they will not make the same mistake.”
There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. Today we discuss if this is an acceptable number of languages for 7-plus billion people or perhaps we would be better off with just one universal language? As it turns out, the answer to the central question of how much linguistic diversity is the “right” amount could be stated as: enough for anyone to feel connected to the community of their choice, but not so much as to hamper trade or start a war.
Today we discuss what goes on in our brains when we use our digital devices, why they distract us, and what we can do about it. Our guest walks us through the cognitive functions we use to focus our attention and to avoid distraction. He then explains why these evolved cognitive functions are mismatched to today’s constantly buzzing digital devices, using a theory of optimal food foraging borrowed from biology. We then discuss action steps grounded in science on how you can beat distraction and stay more focused throughout the day. We end our conversation talking about “prescription” video games that can be used to help elderly patients and individuals with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.