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Pizza Lunch Podcasts


Audio: Evolution of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Robert Frederick

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but our sleep compared to other mammals stands out: We sleep for shorter periods of time, our sleep schedules are more flexible, and they include a higher proportion of REM sleep. In this podcast episode, American Scientist’s Robert Frederick spoke with Charles Nunn of Duke University about the factors that may have influenced the evolution of both our unusual sleep and our sleep disorders.



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Video: A Lone Gunman? Using Statistics in Forensics

Robert Frederick

There were five bullet fragments groups in President Kennedy’s assassination, but if those fragments came from more than two bullets, it would have been very difficult to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter.

In 1978, however, radiochemist Vincent P. Guinn testified before Congress that the composition of each of the five bullet fragments showed that they came from two—and only two—bullets. “There is no evidence for three bullets, four bullets, or anything more than two, but there is clear evidence for two,” Guinn said (8 September 1978 hearings before the Committee on Assassinations).

The problem with Guinn’s conclusion, however, is that he relied only on chemical analysis.

“Bias is a big problem in forensic science,” says Clifford Spiegelman of Texas A&M University, because forensic scientists are often tasked to look for verification of what police officers or federal investigators already suspect.

See the associated blog for more.

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Video: Cyber-Enabled Bionic Organisms

Robert Frederick

The future of search-and-rescue missions may be in the form of insect-sized robots. Researchers are creating such robots because of insects’ unmatched ability to navigate through a wide variety of environments, including the rubble of collapsed buildings. So far, though, the technology suffers from mechanical challenges. Tiny robots have a hard time carrying a sufficient power supply, for example, or bending their “legs” thousands of times without breaking the material they’re made from.

So, by merging current technologies with biological organisms, Alpert Bozkurt of North Carolina State University has found a way to control insects directly. His team successfully interfaced bionic systems with cockroaches.

See the associated blog for more.

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Audio Exclusive: An Interview with Fracking Expert Avner Vengosh

Katie L. Burke

Avner Vengosh is a geochemist at Duke University who studies water quality issues posed by hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction. “We try to provide an objective picture of what the issues are and how we can cope with them,” says Vengosh. Listen to Associate Editor Katie L. Burke’s interview with Vengosh, portions of which were published as a Q & A in our July–August issue.

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3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

2015-08WyskMMClick to Enlarge ImageResearchers in the regenerative medicine field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms.

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The Heart’s New Beat: Evolution

Katie L. Burke

2015-06DunnPodcast

Biologist Rob Dunn of North Carolina State University sat down to discuss the evolution of the heart, including why dog years are different than people years and the fascinating overlooked research of cardiologist Helen Taussig. (Image from North Carolina State University.)

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Engineering Around Extreme Events

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

AnaBarrosPodcast

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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An Inside View: Tales Told by a Doctor

Katie-Leigh Corder, Sandra J. Ackerman

TerrenceHoltBookClick to Enlarge ImageTerrence Holt, PhD , is a research associate professor in the Department of Social Medicine and a clinical assistant professor of geriatric medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Alongside his medical background, he is also an adjunct assistant professor of English and comparative literature also at UNC, where he teaches courses on medicine and society and on the writing of autobiographical narrative.

Sandra J. Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist interviewed Dr. Holt about his most recent book, Internal Medicine, and how he sees the intersection of medicine and narrative.

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The Promise and Peril of Drones

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke

CummingsDrones

The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.

Dr. Missy Cummings, an associate professor at Duke University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab, is at the forefront of drone technologies. During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she made a career change and began human–drone interaction research.


Photo from Duke University's Human and Autonomy Lab: hal.pratt.duke.edu/people

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Compounds Treat Substance Abuse and Parkinson's Disease

Katie L. Burke, Katie-Leigh Corder

CarrollPodcastF. Ivy Carroll is a distinguished fellow for medicinal chemistry at the Research Triangle Institute, where he is the director of their Center for Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. Carroll has spent more than 30 years studying potential treatments for substance abuse. Among them are two compounds, RTI-336 and JDTic, that he and colleagues studied as potential treatments for cocaine abuse, as well as a potential diagnostic agent for Parkinson’s disease, called Iodine-123 RTI-55.

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Total Records : 43


 

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