climate change

133 Ben Beard - How Global Warming Is Making Some Diseases Even Scarier

Americans should expect a surge in deaths from heat waves, flooding, and respiratory disease as the climate warms, according to a wide-ranging White House report released last month. And what spells disaster for humans could also be a boon to infectious microbes and the animals that transmit them.

The guest on this week’s episode is Ben Beard, associate director for climate change at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He’s one of more than 100 researchers who contributed to the report, and his specialty is vector-borne diseases. These illnesses—which include Lyme disease, dengue fever, and Zika virus—are transmitted by other animals, especially insects such as mosquitos and ticks. Beard talks to Indre about how global warming is poised to alter their spread and whether the changes we’re already seeing can be attributed to climate change. 

You can find the table of vector-borne diseases here:

Here’s more info about Lyme disease:


132 Hope Jahren - The Joy and Otherness of Trees

In our third episode on climate change, we reached out to Hope Jahren, whose recent debut non-fiction book has been killing it. She studies ancient forests, among other things, now long covered by tundra and snow above the arctic circle, that once thrived in the very far north. So we wondered whether we should look to this comparatively warmer time on our planet to see what might be in store for us in the future.

But Hope’s work is about more than just fossilized plants, though certainly that would be enough: she’s also spoken out against the mistreatment of women in scientific fieldwork. And hijacked Seventeen magazine’s #manicureMonday, by posting images of her own hands digging into science. But mostly we wanted to talk to her because she’s a funny, touching and brutally honest writer. Her book is a page-turner to say the least.

131 Josh Willis - Greenland Is Melting!

When ice melts, ocean levels rise. Easy as that right? Well maybe not….

Most of the conversation on sea level rise has focused on Antarctica with good reason, there is the potential  of the ice shelf collapsing. But Greenland has become the hot topic in ice melting – reports have emerged that we’re seeing an acceleration of melting – upwards of 12% quicker than 2015. OMG – amirite?

 And this melting will have dire consequnces both some sea level rise and on ocean currents in the Atlantic. But many questions remain about Greenland.

So this week, we talk with Josh Willis. Josh is the lead scientist on NASA JPL’s OMG, that’s Oceans Melting Greenland project, which is studying melting over the next 5 years using a combination of novel sensors and satellite imagery. We had a ranging discussion on the impact of the melting and the weird dynamics that are involved with fresh water and salt water coming together. Plus we’re joined by a special guest at the end of the episode.


Adventures of Dick Dangerfield

130 Bill Nye - Fighting Climate Denial!

Happy Earth Day 2016! We’re making this Earth month by kicking off a series of interviews around climate change, exploring the sea level rise, effect marine life, and human health. Given the lack of discussion of climate change in the current US Presidential election, it seemed fitting to start with a climate communicator. So why climate communicator in Chief – Bill Nye. We love Bill and what he has done for science education, evolution, planetary science – and so much more. Lately Bill has put his money where his mouth is on climate change – particularly confronting climate change deniers. He made a bet this week with  meteorologist Joe Bastardi  who challenged Bill on the temperature data indicating the earth is warming. Bill put up $10,000 that 2016 would be the Top 10 hottest on record – and at least as of this taping, Joe has yet to take up the bet. It’s a bold play – something we don’t see often in science. Directly calling out the deniers publicly and shaming them. We chat about his strategy around climate communication, climate in context of the election, and spoiler alert – he’s pretty mad about it. As Bill said “Quit Your Bitchin’, Let’s get to work.”

Bill Nye’s Forecast Challenge to Joe Bastardi

Joe Bastardi’s article in Patriot Post


Cuyahoga River Fire

Science in the News

Bees are conscious?

118 Kim Cobb - The Evolution of El Niño

Thanks to guest host Rebecca Watson for joining us this week.

El Nino is dominating the climate discussion this winter. Here in California we’re experience a healthy and welcome heavy dose of rain. Elsewhere we’re seeing increased drought and tremendous impacts on marine life. All due to the temperatures changes in equatorial waters in the east Pacific - which has tremendously complex impacts on climate. But can tracing El Nino hold the key to understanding our climate record and possibly understanding the future? That’s what this week’s guest Kim Cobb sets out to answer. She’s a professor at Georgia Tech who studies the paleoclimate record, particularly studing coral fossils in the Pacific to construct a nearly millennia long model of El Nino. She’s self described 40% Climate Scientist, 40% Mom, and 20% Indiana Jones. Her current research focuses on the coral reef outside Christmas Island. 

109 Dava Newman - The Future of Space Exploration

Dava Newman is the Deputy Administrator of NASA. On the show this week we talked to her about the future of space exploration.