In this episode of These Vibes, Stevie spoke with Dave Seal, a mission planner on the Cassini space probe which spent many years orbiting Saturn. Cassini operated its final maneuver, called the “Grand Finale,” and ended its observing by plunging in to Saturn just last Friday morning at 8am EST. It took a final image and took it’s last bits of data on Saturn’s atmosphere before being destroyed. Listen in to learn about the mission, its development, goals, and discoveries, and learn more about what it’s like to be a mission planner on a NASA space probe.
All that plus great music, and science news from microplastics in our seasalt to the new research on cancer cells.
Featured image: The Luzon Strait serving as a breeding ground for internal waves. Alternating streaks of rough and smooth water are visible traversing the sea floor. (courtesy MIT)
This week, we host Robert Nazarian, graduate student in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, to talk through his research on ocean dynamics and internal waves. How complicated is the motion of the sea, and how can this massive system be modeled? Rob’s research focuses on energy flows through the sea, where waves carry heat from one place to another. How do ocean flows, large-scale motion and small-scale turbulence alike, affect the environment in and out of the water? Further, Rob will talk about his outreach, and how he has used innovative teaching techniques to engage students in learning about oceanography.
In this edition of These Vibes, Professor Edward Felten joined us back in the studio to discuss electronic voting — what that means, what are the alternatives, the pros and cons, and the current state of voting technology in the US. Edward Felten is professor of computer science and public affairs here at Princeton University, and founding director of the Princeton Center for Information Policy. Additionally, he was Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission from 2011-2015 and joined the Obama administration as Deputy US Chief Technology Officer in 2015.
Our discussion gives particular attention to usability issues with the current voting computers used in US elections and their vulnerability to attacks. Professor Felten discusses the role of hacking in the 2016 election, and, to wrap-up, what the ideal voting system would be, using our current technology.
In this episode of These Vibes, Stevie speaks with neuroscientist Christa Baker about fruit fly mating songs and electric fish — and for each, how she is tracking their neural pathways to learn how their brains undergo the complicated process communication.
Additionally, animal behaviorist Matt Grobis comes on the air to talk about the nitty gritty “devil’s chess match” of doing research — the good and the bad.
In a new medical development, we may be able to replicate human cancers in zebrafish and use these “avatars” to test our cancer drugs. Each fish would have a specific person’s cancer—radical, sadistic, but probably helpful for cancer patients.
A team at Purdue University has invented a medical exam that fits on a piece of cardstock, including microfluid channels, a power supply (activated by the pressure of your fingers), and tests for anemia and liver function.=
The full playlist can be found at WPRB.com or below.
In this episode of These Vibes, Stevie discusses measuring neutrino that were produced just one second after the Big Bang singularity in our early universe with Princeton University professor and high energy physicist, Chris Tully. In the interview, Professor Tully explains what a neutrino is, why they’re so difficult to measure, and why we should have a bath of neutrinos sitting at just a couple of degrees above absolute zero all around us today. Then, he tells us about the early universe when that bath of neutrinos, called the Cosmic Neutrino Background, were produced, and how he plans to measure them with his instrument PTOLEMY (Princeton Tritium Observatory for Light, Early-universe, Massive-neutrino Yield – currently in the prototype stage).
“First Human Embryos Edited in the US.” A piece in MIT Technology Review describes the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States. It has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University. The procedure involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR.
This episode of These Vibes was all about language.
In the first part, Stevie spoke with Dr. Kate Riestenberg, linguist and postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and visiting scholar at Truman State University in Missouri, about the varied and far-reaching work of linguists. Then, they took a deep dive in to the topic of endangered languages — how they’re defined, how a language becomes endangered, and why we should care.
In the second portion, Kristin Guest, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), discussed her work in SLP and working with kids in (primarily New York City) public schools. She described the differences between learning, language, and speech disabilities, as well as how you determine if a student has a disability in one of these three categories. Next Kristin gets in to the linguistically and culturally biased assessment practices in schools, and how they should change.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, National Ethnobotanical Herbarium Online that Dr. Riestenberg mentioned in her interview can be found at neho.si.edu
Juno has delivered us images of the Great Red Spot from only 9,000 km away–unimaginably close in Jupiter terms. Check out these images from NASA!
If anyone in the New York / New Jersey / Philadelphia area knows about a bus or group venture down to the eclipse on August 21st, please let us know! Going alone may be difficult on short notice, so maybe grouping together would make the logistics easier.