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Doggie Data Care

What can artificial intelligence learn from dogs? Quite a lot, say researchers from the University of Washington and Allen Institute for AI. They recently trained neural networks to interpret and predict the behavior of canines. Their results, they say, show that animals could provide a new source of training data for AI systems — including those used to control robots. Jeff and Anthony learn that you can teach a new bot an old dog’s tricks.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Sight off the Bat

While hunting for dinner, the big brown bat must hone in on flitting insects and keep track of its surroundings to avoid crashing into them. Now, scientists have taken a peek at what’s going on in these bats’ brains while they swoop and dive. They identified a brain region that helps the animals map where objects are in relation to their own bodies, and saw that individual brain cells changed their behavior while the bats focused their attention on a particular object. The findings could help us understand certain aspects of attention issues in people as well as how bats and animals navigate while on the move.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Apparent Teacher Conflicts

John Corcoran grew up in New Mexico in the US during the 1940s and 50s. He graduated from high school, went on to university, and became a teacher in the 1960s – a job he held for 17 years. But, he hid an extraordinary secret. He had never learned to read. In this episode we learn that Jeff and Anthony thought illiterate meant a dog couldn’t have puppies.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Crash Ear

Crash safety technology has come a long way in the past decade or so, with cars that now sense an impending crash and can prepare the driver for impact or even attempt to avoid a collision entirely. Current Mercedes cars even go so far as to provide your ears with an extra layer of audio protection. It’s called “pink noise” and it’s designed to keep your hearing intact after being bombarded by the extremely loud sounds typically associated with a vehicle crash. Jeff and Anthony wonder what this show is doing to their listeners’ hearing.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Magnet Eyes

Birds can sense Earth’s magnetic field, and this uncanny ability may help them fly home from unfamiliar places or navigate migrations that span tens of thousands of kilometers. Scientists have now pinpointed a possible protein behind this “sixth sense.” Jeff and Anthony consider the bird prankz possibilities.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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The Little Engine That Turd (w/Ify and Dani)

Right now, dozens of train cars carrying 10 million pounds of poop are stranded in a rural Alabama rail yard. The load has been there for almost two months, and it’s making the whole place smell like a rotting animal carcass. Technically it’s biowaste, but to the 982 residents in the small town of Parrish, that’s just semantics. They want it gone.

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Sun Blot (Live From PAX East 2018)

Scientists in developing nations plan to step up research into dimming sunshine to curb climate change, hoping to judge if a man-made chemical sunshade would be less risky than a harmful rise in global temperatures. Twelve scholars, from countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Jamaica and Thailand, wrote in the journal Nature on Wednesday that the poor were most vulnerable to global warming and should be more involved. These countries are starting to research “solar geo-engineering”, which would mimic big volcanic eruptions that can cool the Earth by masking the sun with a veil of ash. Jeff and Anthony fondly remember this golden era Simpsons episode.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Polyphasic Spree (Live From PAX East 2018)

Around a third of the population have trouble maintaining sleep throughout the night. While nighttime awakenings are distressing for most sufferers, there is some evidence from our recent past that suggests this period of wakefulness occurring between two separate sleep periods was the norm. Throughout history, there have been numerous accounts of segmented sleep, with a common reference to “first” and “second” sleep. Jeff and Anthony hope you can make it all the way through this episode. Recorded live in Boston at PAX East 2018.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Photographic Memory

Though they may appear crystal clear in our minds, our memories are not a carbon copy of the events we witnessed. Every time we recall a memory, we may accidentally alter it or diminish its accuracy. Even trivial memories are easily corrupted with mere suggestions. Jeff and Anthony struggle to recall if they’ve done this story before.  More Details/Download MP3 →