1. Arthur Allen's book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, tells the story of two scientists—one Christian and one Jewish—who battled typhus and sabotaged the Nazis during WWII. 
Transmitted by body lice, typhus killed untold numbers of soldiers and civilians during the war. Today’s interview explores the labor-intensive process of making the vaccine and the way the lab sabotaged the Nazis by weakening their vaccines and sneaking doses into Jewish ghettos. 
Allen explains how the Nazis used lice imagery after they invaded Poland: 

"The Nazis … always described the Jews as "vermin" and sometimes used the word "lice." …And this was an ideology that was belittling and obviously also associating Jews with sort of filth and contamination, parasitism — all of these things that you metaphorically can link lice to.
[The Nazis] made it very concrete after they took over the first Polish cities, that there were signs that went up all over Warsaw, for example … that would have a picture of a bearded Jew with a louse that said, “Lice, Jews, typhus,” to make that association in the minds [of] Poles — the idea of keeping them from protecting Jews, [of] seeing Jews as part of this invasive, parasitic, dangerous force that they had to avoid and exterminate.”


German anti-Jewish propaganda: “Jews, lice, typhus.” Poster printed in Warsaw in 1941 and distributed throughout the GG. Courtesy of ŻIH. View in High-Res

    Arthur Allen's book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, tells the story of two scientists—one Christian and one Jewish—who battled typhus and sabotaged the Nazis during WWII. 

    Transmitted by body lice, typhus killed untold numbers of soldiers and civilians during the war. Today’s interview explores the labor-intensive process of making the vaccine and the way the lab sabotaged the Nazis by weakening their vaccines and sneaking doses into Jewish ghettos. 

    Allen explains how the Nazis used lice imagery after they invaded Poland: 

    "The Nazis … always described the Jews as "vermin" and sometimes used the word "lice." …And this was an ideology that was belittling and obviously also associating Jews with sort of filth and contamination, parasitism — all of these things that you metaphorically can link lice to.

    [The Nazis] made it very concrete after they took over the first Polish cities, that there were signs that went up all over Warsaw, for example … that would have a picture of a bearded Jew with a louse that said, “Lice, Jews, typhus,” to make that association in the minds [of] Poles — the idea of keeping them from protecting Jews, [of] seeing Jews as part of this invasive, parasitic, dangerous force that they had to avoid and exterminate.”

    German anti-Jewish propaganda: “Jews, lice, typhus.” Poster printed in Warsaw in 1941 and distributed throughout the GG. Courtesy of ŻIH.

  2. typhus

    jewish history

    WWII

    science

    history

    holocaust

    aruthur allen

    fresh air

    terry gross

  1. Laurence Packer loves bees. "Passion is a bit of an understatement, maybe I’m obsessed," he tells us.  His book, Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Themexplores what exactly bees do and why its so important that we protect them. In today’s interview he explains how pollination can affect fruit and vegetable crops: 

    "A nice, economically valuable watermelon that’s large and quite round and not malformed requires a couple of thousand pollen grains to be deposited. And that might require seven or so different visits of a bee to the flower.

    In California, where these studies have been done in the most detail, there are 40 different species of bees that will perform that service. If not enough pollen gets onto the watermelon you get a [misshapen] one. And if you don’t get any pollen, you don’t get any watermelon at all.

    Some crops are entirely dependent upon pollination. Others don’t require pollinators at all, such as cereal grains. Others are pollinated by the wind, such as grapes. But most of the tastiest products from plants — such as most fruits and vegetables — these require pollination for the development for the fruit or the vegetable, or at least for the propagation of the vegetable plants through seeds.”

    Photos: Sam Droege/Flickr and Wayne Boo/Flickr

  2. bees

    honey

    pollen

    vegetables

    science

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, had an unprecedented rollout in 180 countries, making it the most-watched National Geographic series ever. Variety reports:

A whopping 135 million people — including 45 million in the U.S. — watched at least some of the 13-part science series, National Geographic Channel announced today. Overall, it aired on all 90 National Geographic Channels as well as 120 Fox-branded channels in 125 countries, making this the largest global launch ever for a television series.


If you haven’t heard our interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, listen to it here.  View in High-Res

    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, had an unprecedented rollout in 180 countries, making it the most-watched National Geographic series ever. Variety reports:

    A whopping 135 million people — including 45 million in the U.S. — watched at least some of the 13-part science series, National Geographic Channel announced today. Overall, it aired on all 90 National Geographic Channels as well as 120 Fox-branded channels in 125 countries, making this the largest global launch ever for a television series.

    If you haven’t heard our interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, listen to it here. 

  2. cosmos

    neil degrasse tyson

    space

    science

    interview

    fresh air

  1. We’ve all seen optical illusions, but have you ever heard an audio illusion? Our friends at WHYY’s The Pulse found something that might blow your mind.

  2. science

    innovation

    the pulse

    WHYY

  1. Dr. Martin Blaser is an expert on the human microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, about 70 to 90 percent of all the cells in the human body aren’t human at all — they’re micro-organisms. 
Blaser is the author of Missing Microbes, and speculates that overuse of antibiotics causes food allergies, asthma, and intestinal disorders.
If antibiotics are wiping out these micro-organisms, then probiotics are putting some of them back in. 
Here’s what Dr. Blaser says about the use of probiotics: 

"There are many different probiotics. If you go to the grocery store, the health food store, the drugstore, there are shelves and shelves full of probiotics [with] different names, different compositions. I think I can say three things: The first is that they’re almost completely unregulated; second is that they seem to be generally safe; and third is that they’re mostly untested about the important reasons that people even want to take probiotics because they don’t feel well or they have particular symptoms …
Right now, it’s the Wild West. I’m actually a big believer in probiotics; I think that’s going to be part of the future of medicine, that we’re going to understand the science of the microbiome well enough so that we can look at a sample from a child and say this child is lacking such-and-such an organism and now we’re going to take it off the shelf and we’re going to give it back to that child … Just as today the kids are lining up for the vaccines, in the future, maybe the kids are going to be drinking certain organisms so that we can replace the ones that they’ve lost.”
View in High-Res

    Dr. Martin Blaser is an expert on the human microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, about 70 to 90 percent of all the cells in the human body aren’t human at all — they’re micro-organisms. 

    Blaser is the author of Missing Microbes, and speculates that overuse of antibiotics causes food allergies, asthma, and intestinal disorders.

    If antibiotics are wiping out these micro-organisms, then probiotics are putting some of them back in. 

    Here’s what Dr. Blaser says about the use of probiotics: 

    "There are many different probiotics. If you go to the grocery store, the health food store, the drugstore, there are shelves and shelves full of probiotics [with] different names, different compositions. I think I can say three things: The first is that they’re almost completely unregulated; second is that they seem to be generally safe; and third is that they’re mostly untested about the important reasons that people even want to take probiotics because they don’t feel well or they have particular symptoms …

    Right now, it’s the Wild West. I’m actually a big believer in probiotics; I think that’s going to be part of the future of medicine, that we’re going to understand the science of the microbiome well enough so that we can look at a sample from a child and say this child is lacking such-and-such an organism and now we’re going to take it off the shelf and we’re going to give it back to that child … Just as today the kids are lining up for the vaccines, in the future, maybe the kids are going to be drinking certain organisms so that we can replace the ones that they’ve lost.”

  2. medicine

    science

    research

    probiotics

    microbiome

    dr. martin blaser

    microbes

    allergies

    interview

    fresh air

  1. Criminologist Adrian Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers, violent criminals and psychopaths. His research convinced him that while there is a social and environmental connection to violent behavior, there is also a biological component. Raine says this re-visioning of violent criminals could potentially help direct how we approach crime prevention and rehabilitation.
He tells us about working with psychopaths:

"The most striking thing I found working one-to-one with psychopaths is … how I really liked being with them, which is shocking and at the time surprising to me but, gosh, I loved dealing with the psychopaths because they were great storytellers. They were always fun. They were always interesting, and I was fascinated most of all with how they could con and manipulate me."


photo via aei View in High-Res

    Criminologist Adrian Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers, violent criminals and psychopaths. His research convinced him that while there is a social and environmental connection to violent behavior, there is also a biological component. Raine says this re-visioning of violent criminals could potentially help direct how we approach crime prevention and rehabilitation.

    He tells us about working with psychopaths:

    "The most striking thing I found working one-to-one with psychopaths is … how I really liked being with them, which is shocking and at the time surprising to me but, gosh, I loved dealing with the psychopaths because they were great storytellers. They were always fun. They were always interesting, and I was fascinated most of all with how they could con and manipulate me."

    photo via aei

  2. criminology

    science

    adrian raine

    brain

    crime

  1. Audio Highlight:

    Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson briefly considered exotic dancing

  2. neil degrasse tyson

    dancing

    science

    math

  1. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shares some of the big questions  astronomers are working to answer:


We can measure the influence of this thing we call dark energy which is forcing an acceleration of the expanding universe. We don’t know what that is, we don’t know anything about it, other than what it’s doing to the universe.
Then 85 percent of the gravity of the universe has a point of origin about which we know nothing. We account for all the matter and energy that we’re familiar with, measure up how much gravity it should have, it’s about one-sixth of the gravity that’s actually operating on the universe. We call that dark matter, but what we should call it is “dark gravity.” We don’t know what that is either.
We don’t know how [Earth] went from inanimate organic molecules to self-replicating life. We got top people working on that as well.
We don’t know what was around before the universe. We don’t know what is at the center of a black hole. We don’t know whether or not the universe is actually one of many in a multiverse. We want to know if there’s life thriving in under ice oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
… But my favorite question is one that we don’t even know to ask yet because it’s a question that would arise upon answering these questions I just delivered to you. … If you’re a scientist and you have to have an answer, even in the absence of data, you’re not going to be a good scientist.


photo via NASA View in High-Res

    Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shares some of the big questions  astronomers are working to answer:

    We can measure the influence of this thing we call dark energy which is forcing an acceleration of the expanding universe. We don’t know what that is, we don’t know anything about it, other than what it’s doing to the universe.

    Then 85 percent of the gravity of the universe has a point of origin about which we know nothing. We account for all the matter and energy that we’re familiar with, measure up how much gravity it should have, it’s about one-sixth of the gravity that’s actually operating on the universe. We call that dark matter, but what we should call it is “dark gravity.” We don’t know what that is either.

    We don’t know how [Earth] went from inanimate organic molecules to self-replicating life. We got top people working on that as well.

    We don’t know what was around before the universe. We don’t know what is at the center of a black hole. We don’t know whether or not the universe is actually one of many in a multiverse. We want to know if there’s life thriving in under ice oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

    … But my favorite question is one that we don’t even know to ask yet because it’s a question that would arise upon answering these questions I just delivered to you. … If you’re a scientist and you have to have an answer, even in the absence of data, you’re not going to be a good scientist.

    photo via NASA

  2. neil degrasse tyson

    science

    space

    astronomy

    universe

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Posted on 26 February, 2014

    13,725 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from josiefeeniee

    OK, but this tho. 

(Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson) View in High-Res

    OK, but this tho.

    (Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson)

  2. bill nye the science guy

    neil degrasse tyson

    science

    astronomy

  1. In today’s interview we listen to sounds we wouldn’t normally hear—such as tadpoles ‘munching’ on a hydrophone or sand moving like an avalanche on a dune. Acoustic engineer Trevor Cox's new book is called The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World. Here Cox explains thunder:

What’s amazing about thunder is when you hear it, it’s actually got that crack and then it’s got the rumble afterwards. As a kid, when you drew thunderstorms you would’ve drawn the lightning with that jagged line. If you didn’t have that jagged line, you wouldn’t have the rumble of the thunder.
… The visual look of lightning is really crucial to how the thunder sounds. … Each little kink is actually generating the sound, and … the sound takes different time to come from different kinks because they’re all slightly different distances from you. That’s the reason you get that very distinct rumble sound.


We’ve got some sounds from the interview here 


Photograph by A. Rodriguez , My Shot via NatGeo
Chicago’s Sears Tower backlit by multiple bolts of lightning. The picture was taken August 4, 2008, during the severe thunderstorm that spawned several tornadoes in the Chicago area. View in High-Res

    In today’s interview we listen to sounds we wouldn’t normally hear—such as tadpoles ‘munching’ on a hydrophone or sand moving like an avalanche on a dune. Acoustic engineer Trevor Cox's new book is called The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World. Here Cox explains thunder:

    What’s amazing about thunder is when you hear it, it’s actually got that crack and then it’s got the rumble afterwards. As a kid, when you drew thunderstorms you would’ve drawn the lightning with that jagged line. If you didn’t have that jagged line, you wouldn’t have the rumble of the thunder.

    … The visual look of lightning is really crucial to how the thunder sounds. … Each little kink is actually generating the sound, and … the sound takes different time to come from different kinks because they’re all slightly different distances from you. That’s the reason you get that very distinct rumble sound.

    We’ve got some sounds from the interview here

    Photograph by A. Rodriguez , My Shot via NatGeo

    Chicago’s Sears Tower backlit by multiple bolts of lightning. The picture was taken August 4, 2008, during the severe thunderstorm that spawned several tornadoes in the Chicago area.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    trevor cox

    thunder

    lightning

    sound

    acoustics

    science

  1. Penelope Lewis, author of “The Secret World of Sleep" joins us today to discuss how our memories are strengthened while we sleep. She also has the inside scoop on how to trick your body into falling asleep, snacks before bed, and why anti-depressants inhibit dreaming.

    Penelope Lewis, author of “The Secret World of Sleep" joins us today to discuss how our memories are strengthened while we sleep. She also has the inside scoop on how to trick your body into falling asleep, snacks before bed, and why anti-depressants inhibit dreaming.

  2. penelope lewis

    fresh air

    the secret world of sleep

    science

  1. Memory is a fickle and funny thing, isn’t it?
The New York Times published an article today on a study at M.I.T on false, or mistaken memories and where they come from.
Essentially, they shocked mice in one location and caused them to falsely remember the event occurring in a different location. The scientists could actually see the cells in their brains indicating a memory being formed in the location where they had not been shocked. When the mice were re-introduced to that first location (where they had not been shocked), they exhibited fear. 
From the article:

'Because the mechanisms of memory formation are almost certainly similar in mice and humans, part of the importance of the research is “to make people realize even more than before how unreliable human memory is.”' 

It also poses the question of why our brains would allow us to create false memories.

Here is a Fresh Air interview with scientist Suzanne Corkin on her work in short term memory and her book, Permanent Present Tense. Corkin worked with a patient (H.M.) who was unable to form new memories.

image via PBS

    Memory is a fickle and funny thing, isn’t it?

    The New York Times published an article today on a study at M.I.T on false, or mistaken memories and where they come from.

    Essentially, they shocked mice in one location and caused them to falsely remember the event occurring in a different location. The scientists could actually see the cells in their brains indicating a memory being formed in the location where they had not been shocked. When the mice were re-introduced to that first location (where they had not been shocked), they exhibited fear. 

    From the article:

    'Because the mechanisms of memory formation are almost certainly similar in mice and humans, part of the importance of the research is “to make people realize even more than before how unreliable human memory is.”' 


    It also poses the question of why our brains would allow us to create false memories.

    Here is a Fresh Air interview with scientist Suzanne Corkin on her work in short term memory and her book, Permanent Present Tense. Corkin worked with a patient (H.M.) who was unable to form new memories.

    image via PBS

  2. fresh air

    interview

    suzanne corkin

    permanent present tense

    new york times

    memory loss

    false memory

    science

    pbs

  1. Judith Shulevitz on how she reconciles her faith in science with her religious faith:



What we’re discovering is that we’re enormously malleable. We’re really responsive to our environment in a physical sense, but also in a psychological sense, in the sense that stress is one of the really big forces in epigenetic changes. So the malleability of the human body seems to me an argument for creating a better community, a better society, and that’s what I love about religion: is that it’s a place where you can turn for ideas about the good society. I recognize — as many people go around arguing — that religion can be used as a force for bad — but it can also be used as a source of ideas that drive us to the greater good. So I turn to science to tell us how to live and I turn to religion to tell us how to live and I follow neither of them slavishly.




Image by Electric Arc via Flickr Commons

    Judith Shulevitz on how she reconciles her faith in science with her religious faith:

    What we’re discovering is that we’re enormously malleable. We’re really responsive to our environment in a physical sense, but also in a psychological sense, in the sense that stress is one of the really big forces in epigenetic changes. So the malleability of the human body seems to me an argument for creating a better community, a better society, and that’s what I love about religion: is that it’s a place where you can turn for ideas about the good society. I recognize — as many people go around arguing — that religion can be used as a force for bad — but it can also be used as a source of ideas that drive us to the greater good. So I turn to science to tell us how to live and I turn to religion to tell us how to live and I follow neither of them slavishly.

    Image by Electric Arc via Flickr Commons

  2. Judith Shulevitz

    Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Fertility

    Faith

    Science

  1. Posted on 17 December, 2012

    311 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from steroge

    steroge:





2012: The Year in Volcanic Activity






These pictures will put the fear of volcanoes in you because — end of the world or not — the earth sure does seem like it wants to explode sometimes. - Nell

    steroge:

    These pictures will put the fear of volcanoes in you because — end of the world or not — the earth sure does seem like it wants to explode sometimes. - Nell

  2. Volcanos

    science

    The Atlantic

  1. Posted on 4 October, 2012

    569 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from latimes

    latimes:

This cute animal photo just made you a better worker: Study says looking at adorable little ones can make you more concentrated and productive.

Tests showed that an image of fluffy little critters “not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness.” They could be used “to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work,” according to the report.
Justification to sneak an occasional peek at the CorgiCam or I Can Has Cheezburger? We think yes.

What’s your experience?

YES. YES. YES. Good news for all of us.

    latimes:

    This cute animal photo just made you a better worker: Study says looking at adorable little ones can make you more concentrated and productive.

    Tests showed that an image of fluffy little critters “not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness.” They could be used “to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work,” according to the report.

    Justification to sneak an occasional peek at the CorgiCam or I Can Has Cheezburger? We think yes.

    What’s your experience?

    YES. YES. YES. Good news for all of us.

  2. cute animals

    science

    productivity