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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.