6/27/17 Show feat. Alex Todorov on the psychology of first impressions + Ingrid Ockert on “Programmed Inequality” in Britain

In this installment of These Vibes, Stevie spoke with Alexander Todorov, psychology face_value_bookprofessor at Princeton and author of the new book “Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions,” which just came out in hardcover earlier this month. The book dives in to his research on first impressions — the very human way we make character judgments after only a glance at another person’s face. These impressions are often incorrect, but can affect important decisions we make, like elections and criminality. In this interview we take a deep dive in to the history of the pseudoscience of physiognomy, as well as current research in psychology and the effect of first impressions on elections, criminal justice, and more.

Additionally, science historian Ingrid Ockert joins us to discuss the text “Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing.”

Science News:


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6/20/17 Show feat. Tamas Prileszky on Engineering Fluids and Food Science

Featured image: The late Professor Mainstone with his famous tar drip experiment, which has produced about a drop a decade since 1930. The idea: everything flows.

In this episode, we’re investigating the intersecting worlds of colloids, fluid properties, and food science with Tamás Prileszky, a University of Delaware graduate student in chemical engineering. What governs the diverse behavior of liquids as different as oil and mayonnaise? How can engineers tweak the concoctions they develop? Tamás will share his expertise in droplets, which float around in liquids and drastically affect their properties, and explain what tools and methods scientists use to develop new chemical technologies. Finally, we’ll connect all this with our diets: how do we engineer food, and why is it that we put so many additives in grocery store products?

In other news:

  • CRISPR, the gene editing technology that’s taking biology by storm, recently made big gains against Huntingdon’s disease in mice.
  • Eclipses (discussed on TVR2C recently) are still a huge opportunity for solar research, as shown by this group from Hawaii studying the temperature of coronal mass ejections.
  • A widely-publicized Tesla crash can be blamed on the driver, not the self-driving car, say new findings by the company.
  • Wild felines became cats and spread all around the ancient world, mostly through two big human-induced migrations. Or at least that’s what scientists can tell from new analyses of ancient cat DNA.
  • Airborne germs survive for a long time after a sneeze or a cough, according to Australian scientists. So long, dreams of cleanliness.

The full playlist of the show is available on WPRB’s website or below.

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6/13/17 Show feat. Dorit Aviv on Building and Optimizing Buildings + the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty

Featured image: Adlinger Center at Princeton University.

In this installment of These Vibes, graduate researcher in the Computation and Energy track in Princeton University’s School of Architecture, Dorit Aviv, joined us on the mic to discuss her work designing and optimizing buildings. In the image next to the stream you can see Dorit Aviv with her Cool Oculus, discussed in the show.

At the start of the show, Tamara Patton and Sébastien Philippe*, doctoral researchers in mechanical engineering and Science & Global Security, explained the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, currently in negotiations at the UN as well as the upcoming Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.

*Tamara Patton and Sébastien Philippe were both past guests on this show. Learn more about Tamara’s research on emergent technologies being used for nuclear disarmament and Sébastien on nuclear arms verification in their interview.


Playlist:

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6/6/17 Show feat. Doug Massey on Undocumented Immigration and Border Militarization

Featured image: Workers in the bracero program in the 1950s. Seasonal migrants like these men circulated from Mexico to the US and back yearly until the border became too dangerous to do so. (courtesy Emory University)

This episode, listen to hear Professor of Sociology Doug Massey in an intensely topical conversation: what happens when borders are militarized? What are the impacts of US immigration policy, and how might a border wall affect our country’s population of immigrants? In this interview, we dig into the xenophobia of our politics and media, and see how sociologists view macroscopic trends in migration in the light of baseless misinformation propagated by our news and in our culture.

In other news:

The full playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

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5/30/17 Show feat. Edward Felten on Policy and Technology

In this installment of These Vibes, Professor Edward Felten, director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) and blogger at Freedom to Tinker. Throughout the show we discussed various interactions between policy and technology. Specifically, we dove in to the current state of the technology behind self-driving cars and their prospective impact on several aspects of our society, but specifically jobs. Next, Professor Felten described the use of a form of AI, predictive analytics, in the criminal justice system. Judges in some states use predictive analytics to determine, for example, bail. There is a potential Supreme Court case (it is being considered) on this topic coming up in the next term. And in the last part, Professor Felton gave us a primer on net neutrality and updated us as to the current state of the debate on the topic.

Science news:

Continue reading “5/30/17 Show feat. Edward Felten on Policy and Technology”

5/23/17 Show feat. David Baron on his book American Eclipse

Featured image: The corona around the sun, only possible to see from the ground during the several minutes of a solar eclipse. (Courtesy National Optical Astronomy Observatories)

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The 1878 eclipse watchers in Rawlins, WY included James Craig Watson and Thomas Edison (second from the right).

For this show, we brought in former NPR correspondent David Baron to talk about his new book, American Eclipse. You may be looking forward to this year’s total solar eclipse on August 21, but David focuses on a similar event that propelled American science to its furthest frontiers back in 1878. Listen to the show to hear how hoards of Gilded Age astronomers headed to the Wild West of Colorado and Wyoming, spending months preparing for three minutes of scientific opportunity. The epic tale touches on the beginnings of meteorology, the mythic Thomas Edison, gender equality, and several heinous examples of scientific pomposity. Listen to hear how it all fits together!

If you’re in Princeton, NJ, David Baron will be visiting the Princeton Public Library on June 12th at 7pm. Mark your calendars!

In other news:

  • Evolution is a game of trade-offs, as shown in a new study on E. Coli bacteria. Researchers tried to make two new traits stick, but they found that the bacteria only improved in one area at a time.
  • Tabby’s star (mentioned on this show before!), a sporadically dimming star about 1,300 light years away, just started getting darker for the first time since 2013. Only this time the world of astronomy is prepared to watch.
  • Fluorescent proteins can now create artwork, as scientists learn how to re-create the whole color spectrum by tagging bacteria. This is just fun and games for now, but biology can attack many problems by using these well-developed techniques.

The playlist can be found at WPRB.com or below.

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5/16/17 Show feat. Krupa Jani on the AHCA + Epigenetics and Cancer

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Krupa Jani

In this installment of TheseVibes, Krupa Jani, MD/PhD researcher in biochemistry, joined us in the studio to share her research in the lab and in the health policy arena. In the first part of the interview, Krupa summed up the American Health Care Act that was recently passed through the House and is currently being considered in the Senate. In parts 2 and 3 we discuss her research in epigenetics and how this is related to cancer.

Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Every cell in your body contains the same DNA sequence, however which genes are turned on (and thus transcribed in to proteins — or “expressed”) and which are turned off will be different between different types of cells. e.g. your blood cells expresses different genes than your skin cells. In this interview Krupa dives in to what’s happening at the molecular level in this process of gene expression, and how this can go haywire to produce runaway cell replication, which would lead to cancer.

In a past show, Stevie interviewed Professor Bridgett vonHoldt on epigenetics and canine evolution. See the show link for the streaming link and more information.

Science news:


Playlist:

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5/9/17 Show feat. Sabine Kastner on the Developing Brain

Featured image: Neuroscience is enabling better education and more access for everyone to the world around us, as depicted here in a brain-machine interfaces article in Frontiers for Young Minds.

Today, we are incredibly fortunate to re-feature Sabine Kastner of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Sabine helped us understand memory and learning in our live performance back in February, but she visits now to focus on her newest project: how can we better understand the development of young brains? Sabine brings children into the research lab for MRI scans and psychological tests, searching for the differences between normally functioning brains and those with developmental disorders. How can neuroscientists apply these results to our educational system, which often struggles to build effective special education programs? Further, Sabine speaks about her ground-breaking work including children in the scientific process with Frontiers for Young Minds.

Before that, regular guest Ingrid Ockert comes on on to talk about the celebrity of science popularizers like Bill Nye. How can champions for science be most compelling?

Extras:

  • Sabine has personal experience fighting the bureaucratic nightmare that an inflexible school can be, even concerning relatively common disorders. See this eloquently frustrating article by her husband Michael Graziano.
  • Ingrid brought up Declan Fahy’s 2015 book, The New Celebrity Scientists, as an example of a search for the perfect figurehead for science advocacy.
  • For an accessible insight into Princeton’s research community, check out Princeton Research Day, which happens once a year including this Thursday at Frist Campus Center!

The playlist for the show is on WPRB.com or below.

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4/25/17 Show feat. Julianne Whittaker and Ben Reimold on the Princeton Refugee Project

Featured image: A mural on a wall of a refugee camp in Jordan. Once they enter the camp, migrants usually can’t leave without special paperwork, magnifying the stress of acclimating to a new country. (Courtesy Amal Foundation)

Today’s show brings you two leaders of the Princeton Refugee Project, Julianne

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Ben Reimold and a welcoming party, from Turkey, 2015.

Whittaker and Ben Reimold. As a student of policy at the Woodrow Wilson School, Julianne co-founded the Amal Foundation for investing in the education of Syrian students. Through this effort and others, Julianne and Ben have learned to funnel Princeton student efforts into aiding those stuck in refugee camps. What geopolitical movements have led to the current refugee crisis? How do the displaced function in their new communities? Hear how Ben and Julianne encountered the refugee crisis in the Middle East, and what they are doing now to connect uprooted students with new education opportunities. If you’re curious how students here are fighting for refugee rights both domestically and abroad, then listen in to this interview!

This show’s short playlist is available either on WPRB.com or below.

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4/18/17 Show: City Logic, Jupiter’s Aurora and Ancient Dentists

 

Featured Image: A busy street in Hong Kong, safely watched by hoards of pedestrians at all hours of the day. A richness of primary uses helps the crossroads thrive. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Today, we bring you a scattershot of new science stories. Did you know Jupiter has a second spot, swirling near its north pole under aurora lights? Curious how prehistoric peoples approached dentistry? Have you pondered the logic of cities, and debated strategies for transforming them from inefficient slums to manufacturers of diversity and economy? All this and plenty of new music, right here in this radio recording!

Some extras:

  • The last twenty minutes of the show is my own glorification of a field-defining book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It’s a pleasure and an obligation to read if you’re curious about the structure of cities, architected from the ground up.
  • The moons of Jupiter are a solar system in miniature, rocked with energy from Jupiter’s own enormous mass. All 67 objects in orbit (that we know of!) have unique features: some are volcanic, some frozen over, and some could support life given some terraforming.

As usual, the playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

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