Contingency Episode 2 (re-title if ever used)

Due to technical problems with my recording system, I can not provide a new episode of Critical Wit this week.  However, I have stitched together two excerpts of earlier episodes that either you may have not heard, or would appreciate a recap of some of the more interesting parts of the interviews.  The first excerpt is from episode 3 and is a discussion of author Matt Bell’s book How They Were Found, and the second excerpt is from episode 14 and is an interview with author Steve Hamilton and his book The Lock Artist. You can find reference links that are discussed in this episode, in the show notes of the original episodes.

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Critical Wit #64 – Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology (Marc Zimmer)

Marc Zimmer is a professor of physical sciences with a specialization in computational chemistry at Connecticut College.  He is also the author of “Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology.”  In this episode we discuss why the search for glowing jellyfish resulted in a biotechnological innovation that would be almost as important as the invention of the microscope.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #63 – The Science of Beekeeping and Concerns with Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Richard Mendel is a beekeeper, Vice President of the Southeast Michigan Beekeepers Association, and contributor to the Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers.  In this episode, we discuss the science of beekeeping, the concerns over the issue of bee colony collapse disorder, and at the end we talk about killer bees (otherwise known as Africanized honeybees).

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #62 – Review: Penguin Evolution and Bat Conservation

Due to technical problems with my recording system, there won’t be a new episode of Critical Wit for a couple of weeks.  However, I have stitched together two excerpts of earlier, popular episodes that either you may have not heard, or would appreciate a recap of some of the more interesting parts of the interviews.  The first excerpt is from episode 11 and is about the evolutionary history of penguins, and the second excerpt is from episode 13 and is about the conservation of bats. You can find reference links that are discussed in this episode, in the show notes of the original episodes.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #61 – Science Fiction Literary Reviews with Amy Sisson

Amy Sisson is a librarian, book reviewer, writer, and science fiction fan. She is also a personal friend of guest host Julia Jenkins. In this episode, Amy and Julia talk about several sci fi and fantasy books of which Amy recommends, especially to mainstream (or non-sci-fi) readers.  Learn more about Amy, her book reviews, and her own writings at amysreviews.blogspot.com.

Julia Jenkins is a librarian and book blogger at pagesofjulia.com, where she reviews a diverse collection of fiction and nonfiction, including audiobooks and occasional other miscellany.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #60 – Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (Richard White)

Dr. Richard White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Standford University and author of “Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America.” In this episode we discuss how the grand achievement of building railways in the West was based on corruption, fraud, and poor business acumen.  The end of this period consisted of bankrupt railroad corporations, multiple economic downturns, and widespread, political corruption.  You can find this book at your local bookstore or online.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #59 – The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller)

Madeline Miller is the author of “The Songs of Achilles“, released in March of 2012, which retells the events leading up, to and throughout the Trojan War through the eyes of Patroclus, a minor character in Homer’s Iliad.  We follow Patroclus from childhood as he develops a close friendship with the Greek hero Achilles and they eventually become lovers. This is Madeline’s first novel and has had a great reader response. In this episode, guest host Julia Jenkins talks with Miller about her new book and the ancient Greek myths that inspired it.  Also listen for a hint as to her next work! Learn more about Madeline and her work at www.madelinemiller.com. (update: Miller has just won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction with “The Song of Achilles)

Julia Jenkins is a librarian and book blogger at pagesofjulia.com, where she reviews a diverse collection of fiction and nonfiction, including audiobooks and occasional other miscellany.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #58 – The Science Fund Challenge: How the Public Can Finance Science

Zen Faulkes is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Texas-Pan American and science communicator at the blog, Neurodojo.  In this episode, guest host Sophie Bushwick talks with Zen about another project that he’s working on – the SciFund Challenge.  The SciFund Challenge is an organization of scientists who pitch their ideas for science research to the public in the hopes of raising money through small donations.  You can visit http://scifundchallenge.org to find out what projects are listed, of which you can donate to seeing it come to fruition.  In fact, Zen has a project listed with a modest goal of $750. It’s called “Beach of the Goliath Crabs.”  Donate soon, as the challenge ends on May 31st!  Zen’s blog can be found at http://neurodojo.blogspot.com. And you can follow him on twitter @DoctorZen.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #57 – Ballparking: Practical Math for Impractical Sports Questions (Aaron Santos)

Aaron Santos is a physicist and author of “Ballparking: Practical Math for Impractical Sports Questions.”  In this episode, Aaron talks about some of the hypothetical estimations involving sports that he covers in his book, such as how obese would a hockey player have to be to cover up the goal, how much could a person lift if he or she was the size of an ant, and is Hall of Famer, Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak really that impressive of a record?  You can find out more about Aaron Santos by visiting his website www.aaronsantos.com.  If you enjoy these kinds of puzzles, check out his first book, “How Many Licks?: Or, How to Estimate Damn Near Anything“, his blog “A Diary of Numbers“, or follow him on Twitter @AaronTSantos.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

 

Critical Wit #56 – The Price of Gold: The Toll and Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream (Ian Dille)

Ian Dille is a freelance journalist and co-author of “The Price of Gold: The Toll and Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream.”  In this episode, guest host Julia Jenkins  chats with Dille about the subject of this book, many-time track cycler champion Marty Nothstein.  Nothstein is an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist in Match Sprint bicycle racing, a sport where contestants compete on a banked oval track called a velodrome.  You can find out more about Ian Dille by visiting his website www.iandille.com.

Julia Jenkins is a librarian and blogger at the website, “pagesofjulia, which reviews books, audiobooks, and other pop culture literary works. You can subscribe to her website at http://pagesofjulia.com/.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

 

Critical Wit #55 – The Heroine’s Bookshelf (Erin Blakemore)

Erin Blakemore is the author of “The Heroine’s Bookshelf“, a non-fiction story about twelve classic, literary heroines and the authors who created them.  In this episode, guest host Julia Jenkins talks with Blakemore about the book which explores how contemporary audiences can relate to the classic writers, and what life lessons can be appreciated even now by the actions of these fantastic women characters.  And there’s even an interesting discussion near the end of the conversation about literary fans who debate about which book is superior; ”Jane Eyre” vs. “Wuthering Heights.” You can find out more about Erin and her book by visiting theheroinesbookshelf.com.

Julia Jenkins is a librarian and blogger at the website “pagesofjulia”, which reviews books, audiobooks, and other pop culture literary works. You can subscribe to her website at http://pagesofjulia.com/.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #54 – The Revisionaries (Scott Thurman)

In this episode, I talk with documentary film-maker, Scott Thurman.  We discuss his current documentary film, “The Revisionaries.”  It centers on the story from 2011 about the Texas State Board of Education’s push to update the school curriculum’s science standards as it relates to the teaching of evolution. This conversation originally took place in early February, but near the end of the episode, I have a second, brief conversation from April 15, where Scott provides an update on the movie’s progress.  You can find out more about this movie and when it may be played in your area by visiting www.therevisionariesmovie.com or the movie’s Facebook page.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

*Edit – In the introduction and conclusion of the interview, I incorrectly stated the movie’s website. It should be www.therevisionariesmovie.com.

Critical Wit #53 – Cataclysm Baby (Matt Bell)

Author Matt Bell, returns to discuss his new book “Cataclysm Baby” – a novella consisting of distinct stories set in a world devastated by an environmental disaster that cause children to be born with mutations that make them animal-like, and these childrens’ fathers’ struggling with how to raise them.

“Cataclysm Baby” is published by Mud Luscious Press, and it comes out this Sunday, on April 15th.  You can find out more about Matt and his stories by visiting his website at http://www.mdbell.com/

Critical Wit #52 – Graphene: Its Role In Future Technology Innovation

Sophie Bushwick is a freelance science writer who contributes to Scientific American’s Sixty Seconds Podcast, and is a writer for the io9 blogging network.  In this episode, we discuss the topic of graphene, a substance that has promising features and qualities for future technological innovations, such as more efficient solar cells, improved semiconductors, and more.  You can subscribe to Sophie’s blog, “Life is just a theory,” at www.sophiebushwick.com and follow her on Twitter @SophieBushwick.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #51 – Lab Lit: Literature About Science and Scientists in the Laboratory

Dr. Jennifer Rohn is a cell biologist, novelist, and founder of LabLit.com.  In this episode, Jennifer and I talk about why there are not many stories that involve scientists as main characters.  And so, LabLit.com was created to be a resource for storytelling and art that involve science, whether it’s characters or laboratory settings.  Jennifer is also the writer of two novels, Experimental Heart, and The Honest Look…both of which are available online or can be obtained through your local bookstore.  You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @JennyRohn.  And you can also follow LabLit on Twitter @LabLit.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #50 – In Studio With Sheridan Tongue

Sheridan Tongue is a film music and television programmer in England.  In this episode, we discuss the process of writing compositions for film and television, his work on the popular science series ‘Wonders of the Universe with Brian Cox’ and ‘Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.’  You can find out more about Sheridan’s work by visiting his website http://www.sheridantongue.com/ and you can follow him on twitter @SheridanTongue.  You can also purchase the ‘Wonders’ soundtrack, as well as other songs, of Sheridan’s at your local music stores, online, and in iTunes.

I want to give thanks to Patrick McComb for assistance provided in preparation for the interview.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #49 – From The Cutting Room Floor 5

In this episode, I give you more interview excerpts from off of the cutting room floor, such as Zachary Moore gives his favorite evidence of evolution that’s not relevant to molecular genetics (episode 43), why Rosie Redfield thinks it’s important for scientists to blog (epsd 42), what Sean B Carroll thinks are some of the under-appreciated qualities of Charles Darwin (epsd 46), and what Barbara Oakley thinks is the hardest part of writing about technical science for the general public (episode 40).  And of course, we include a few funny clips, both of which occur in episode 44 & 45, when Peggy Nelson seems to ironically preface a drop-out in the conversation…listen carefully.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #48 – Meet Beatrice the Biologist!

Katie McKissick is a “former high school biology teacher who simply loves to talk, write, and read about science.”  She’s also the author and illustrator of “Beatrice the Biologist,” a fun, informative website about science.  In this episode, guest host Sophie Bushwick chats with Katie about her unique way of describing science through blogging and illustrating.  And they discuss one of the more popularly read Beatrice the Biologist articles, “Biology Doesn’t Support Gay Marriage Bans” and how it spun off into a conversation about olives.  You can subscribe to Katie’s website at www.beatricebiologist.com, and like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter @beatricebiology.

Special thanks to Ira Moore for providing some technical counsel in this episode.  If you’re interested in checking out Ira Moore’s music for your multimedia project, you can visit his website at http://iraemoore.weebly.com.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #47 – Once Upon A River (Bonnie Jo Campbell)

Bonnie Jo Campbell is the author of critically-acclaimed books, such as her short story collections “Women And Other Animals,” and the 2009 National Book Award finalist, “American Salvage.”  In this episode, we talk about her recent novel, “Once Upon A River.”  A story about a young girl’s journey up the river in search of her mother.  You can find out more about Bonnie Jo by visiting her website: bonniejocampbell.com.  And you can follow her on twitter @bonniejocampbel

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #46 – On Charles Darwin: A Conversation with Sean B Carroll

Dr. Sean B Carroll is an award-winning scientist, author, and educator. He is currently Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin.  With Darwin Day coming up, we talk about Charles Darwin.  We discuss some of the interesting aspects to the famous naturalist, in particular those that Darwin fans may otherwise not fully appreciate or understand.  Sean also talks about an important resource of which educators can get free materials on evolution: Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Visit http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/ for more information.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #45 – Using New Media to Create Art

In the second of this two-episode interview, Sophie Bushwick talks with Peggy Nelson, a new media artist who’s currently using Twitter to tell the amazing survival story of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. In the previous episode, Nelson provided a detailed overview of Shackleton’s perilous 1914 expedition.  In this episode, Nelson describes how Twitter can be used as a narrative medium, as well as other new media that Nelson utilizes to create art.  You can find out more about Peggy Nelson by visiting her website http://www.peggynelson.com/, as well as her author page at hilobrow.com.  And don’t forget, you can follow Ernest Shackleton on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/#!/EShackleton and be a witness to his struggle for survival.

 

 

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

 

Critical Wit #44 – Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure…Told On Twitter

Peggy Nelson is a new media artist who’s currently using Twitter to tell the incredible survival story of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.  In the first of this two-episode interview, Sophie Bushwick talks with Nelson, who recounts Ernest Shackleton’s incredible 1914 expedition and why she ultimately decided to tell his tale on Twitter.  You can find out more about Peggy Nelson by visiting her website at www.peggynelson.com, and you can follow Ernest Shackleton in the midst of his adventure, describing his experiences at http://twitter.com/EShackleton.

 

 

 

 

Sophie Bushwick is a freelance science writer who contributes to Scientific American’s Sixty Seconds Podcast, and the io9 blogging network.  You can subscribe to her blog called “Life is just a theory” at www.sophiebushwick.com and follow her on Twitter @SophieBushwick.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #43 – Molecular Biological Evidence For Evolution

Zachary Moore is a molecular biologist and host of the Evolution 101 podcast.  The 38-episode podcast consists of short episodes that are designed to provide a simple explanation of the independent lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.  In this episode, we talk about some of the molecular evidence that supports the conclusion that species evolved from common ancestors.  You can find the podcast in various podcast directories, as well as transcripts at http://evolution-101.blogspot.com.  And you can follow Zachary Moore on Twitter @drzach.

Critical Wit #42 – Rosie Redfield on ‘Arsenic Bacteria’: One Year Later

Dr. Rosie Redfield is a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia and science writer for the Field of Science blog network.  In this episode, guest host Sophie Bushwick talks with Dr. Redfield about her work on whether bacteria have sex, the possibility of arsenic-based life forms, and the importance of blogging and open science.  Dr. Redfield has recently been named one of Nature magazine’s ‘ten people who mattered in 2011.’ You can follow Rosie Redfield on Twitter @RosieRedfield and subscribe to her blog at http://rrresearch.fieldofscience.com.

Sophie Bushwick is a freelance science writer who contributes to Scientific American’s Sixty Seconds Podcast, and the io9 blogging network.  You can subscribe to her blog called “Life is just a theory” at www.sophiebushwick.com and follow her on Twitter @SophieBushwick.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #41 – From The Cutting Room Floor 4

In this episode, I give you more interview excerpts from off of the cutting room floor, such as when I asked Mark Stevenson about nanotechnology, as well as how it felt interviewing the great minds in science (epsd 32), why the articles about imagination and creativity are amongst Maria Konnikova’s favorites in her Lessons From Sherlock Holmes series (epsd 38), and comedian Jill Twiss about differences between theater and stand-up (epsd 33), and of course, some bloopers and a tangential aside about cake-baking.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #40 – Evil Genes: What Science Can Tell Us About Pernicious Behavior

Dr. Barbara Oakley is an associate professor of Engineering at Oakland University.  She’s the author of “Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend.”  In this episode, we discuss this book, and find out what scientific research has to say regarding the extent at which human behavior, in particular that which is referred to as “evil,” is linked to human physiology.  You can find out more about Dr. Oakley by visiting her website www.barbaraoakley.com, and check out her new book, “Cold Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a codependent killer, or just give me a shot at loving you, Dear and other reflections on helping that hurts.” 

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #39 – Exploring Aaron’s World

Aaron is the young host of Aaron’s World, a popular podcast about ancient animals from an ancient time.  Aaron plays himself as a time-traveling explorer who visits eras in which dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and other extinct animals roamed the world.  And he shares with the listeners interesting information about them, all the while getting himself into precarious situations.  You can subscribe to the Aaron’s World podcast by visiting http://aaronstotle.blogspot.com or in iTunes.  Aaron’s World is also on Facebook and Google Plus.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #38 – What Can Sherlock Holmes Teach Us About Thinking?

Maria Konnikova is a writer, doctoral candidate, and blogger at Scientific American.  She has recently finished a series called “Lessons of Sherlock Holmes” – a chronicle that explores how examples from the fictional detective stories can help provide insight into not only how humans think, but also, how we should think.  You can subscribe to Maria’s SciAm blog, called ‘Literally Psyched’, and bookmark her website: mariakonnikova.com.  And you can follow her on Twitter @mkonnikova.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #37 – Rambunctious (not Ragamuffin) Gardens: Ecosystem Innovations

Emma Marris is a freelance science writer and author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.  In this episode, Emma talks about her book, describing how the perspective in which humans have had about the importance of wilderness to be pure and pristine is an outdated notion.  It disregards the impact in which ecosystems throughout the world have been already affected by human influence.  Therefore, it is time to look at different ways in which ecosystems can be created or modified in order to endure the changing the climate and world.  You can find out more about Emma by visiting her website www.emmamarris.com and you can follow her on twitter @Emma_Marris.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #36 – How Did Earth Get Its Water?

Dr. Edwin (Ted) Bergin is professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan, who researches the “molecular trail of our origins.” In this episode we talk about what science has theorized regarding the way in which Earth obtained its water.

Critical Wit #35 – Literature Reviews with MittenLit (Bill Castanier) II

Bill Castanier from MittenLit.com returns to Critical Wit to give us some suggestions on books to pick up as either gift ideas or to read during the holidays.  We start with three books about Ernest Hemingway; “The Paris Wife” by Paula McClain; “Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved In Life & Lost 1934-1961” by Paul Hendrickson; and “The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907-1922” edited by Sandra Spanier and  Robert W. Trogdon.  We then move on to some works of fiction; such as “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach; “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenidas; and “Laughing Whitefish” by Robert Traver – a book that was out of print for 50 years before being re-issued.  And we briefly touch upon three books that are worth checking out; “Salvage The Bones” by Jesmyn Ward, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, and “Malcolm X: The Life of Reinvention” by Manning Marable.

You can read and subscribe to MittenLit.com to keep track of literature news regarding Michigan authors. And you can also get news by following Bill on Twitter @MittenLit1.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes. You can also follow Critical Wit on Twitter @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #34 – Science News with Jill Adams II

Jill Adams returns to Critical Wit to talk about her experience attending the National Science Writers Convention, and it’s complementary sessions with the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.  She also describes her IGNITE speech on how cell biology helped her to become a better science writer.  And then we discuss a couple of Jill’s recent articles; is there a link between pollution and breast cancer, and how the FDA is dealing with drug shortages.  You can follow Jill on Twitter (@juadams) to get interesting links to interesting science news articles and issues, such as the overuse of antibiotics in livestock that may be leading to increasing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #33 – On Stage with Jill Twiss

Jill Twiss is a theater actress and stand-up comedian who according to her website is “creating world peace through stand-up comedy.”  In this episode we talk a bit about her work as both a performer in theater and comedy.  You can find her website at jilltwiss.blogspot.com, where there are videos of some of her performances.  And if you’re on twitter, I encourage you to follow her at @jilltwiss.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #32 – An Optimistic Outlook of the Future

Mark Stevenson is the author of An Optimist’s Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer “What’s Next?”, a funny, informative story about the technologies and innovations that’s driving humanity.  Mark interviews the brightest minds researching things, such as transhumanism, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, carbon capture, and more.  This book is ideal for science enthusiasts who want to be pragmatically optimistic about the future.  You can find out more about Mark Stevenson by visiting his website, http://anoptimiststourofthefuture.com.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

 

Critical Wit #31 – Bears And People: A History Of Conflict

Emily Willingham is a biologist, science writer, and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to College Biology.  She is also the blogger at ‘The Biology Files.’  In this episode we talk about a short book that Emily wrote called When Worlds Collide: The Troubled History of Bears and People in Texas, which is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.  Emily also has a personal blog called ‘A Life Less Ordinary‘ which focuses on parenting, special needs children, and autism.  You can follow Emily on Twitter @ejwillingham.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #30 – From The Cutting Room Floor 3

In the second of this special two-part episode, I provide some more audio clips of interviews from the previous ten episodes.  Clips like whether “transgenic” is the same as “genetically engineered”, the similarities between Alfred Wegner and Charles Darwin, and comparing the United States to the rest of the world as it relates to capital punishment.  And also, for fun, I include a few bloopers, like when I ironically mess up an episode intro, and when - during my note-taking - I forget I’m in the middle of an interview.

If you’re interested in checking out Ira Moore’s music for your multimedia project, you can visit his website at http://iraemoore.weebly.com

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #29 – From The Cutting Room Floor 2

In this special two-part episode, I provide some audio clips from interviews that were not included in their respective episodes due to time constraints.  But I saved them because I thought they were informative and interesting.  Clips like “rules of thumb” when buying a car, is Alfred Wegner a good example of a “one man with an idea who was ridiculed by mainstream science, but was proven right”, and why are death row inmates so much more expensive to taxpayers?

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #28 – The Science Of Sustainable Fisheries

Holly Moeller is a graduate student of Ecology and Evolution at Stanford University and author of the Seeing Green blog.  In this episode, we talk about sustainable fisheries.  And we also talk about an aquatic organism that Holly has studied, which has a very interesting adaptation.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook, following Critical Wit on Twitter (@TheCriticalWit) and/or giving the show a rating in iTunes.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #27 – The Middle Class Themes & Middletown Dreams Of Rush

Chris McDonald is a professor of music studies, with a phD in ethnomusicology.  He is also the author of Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class: Dreaming in Middletown, a book that explores the music and lyric themes in the music of Rush, the progressive rock band from Canada.  We talk about these things, as well as the influence that Rush has had on both fans and critics. 

Critical Wit #26 – The Science of Synesthesia with Try Nerdy

Kristin Rose is a graduate student at Harvard, and blogger at Try Nerdy, a website that discusses interesting and cool science, and unabashedly promotes nerdiness.  In this episode we talk about synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes one sensory experience to create another sensory experience, such as seeing colors when hearing a specific sounds.  I very much recommend bookmarking her website.  And if you’re on Facebook, you can like her Try Nerdy page, and if you’re on Twitter, follow her @TryNerdy.

And if you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter, @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #25 – The Voices Of The Death Penalty Debate

Russell Murphy is a Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts, and author of Voices Of The Death Penalty Debate: A Citizen’s Guide To Capital Punishment.

Voices” is a book that presents arguments on both sides of the death penalty debate, but in a unique way - through the testimony of experts, organizations, religious figures, victims, and ordinary citizens.  This book is an all-encompassing perspective of the controversial issue, and in a way that is both accessible and gratifying to a rational-minded reader.

Critical Wit #24 – The Revolution and Tragedy of Alfred Wegener

Roger McCoy is author of Ending In Ice: The Revolutionary Idea and Tragic Expedition of Alfred Wegener.  In this episode we talk about the scientific triumph of Wegener’s bold, controversial theory of continental drift as well as his courageous arctic expeditions in the name of science.

Critical Wit #23 – The Science of Water Desalination

Joseph Cotruvo is the president of Joseph Cotruvo & Associates and a co-editor of the book, Desalination Technology: Health and Environmental Impacts.  In this episode, we talk about the science and technology of water desalination.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give the show a rating in iTunes.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #22 – The Science of Genetic Engineering

Pamela Ronald is a plant geneticist at the University of California – Davis, and co-author of the book, Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food.  The book is about how genetic engineering and organic farming can be tools in the production of food now, and in the future.  In this episode, we talk about the science behind genetic engineering.  Pam blogs on the scienceblogs network at Tomorrow’s Table, and you can follow her on twitter, @pcronald

 

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #21 – (New) Advice to Car Buying

Phil Reed is a Senior Consumer Advice Editor for Edmunds.com, an organization that offers information on automobiles.  Phil has written extensively on buying and selling cars, and so we discuss some strategies on how to make the car buying experience more simpler and pleasant.  You can find an archive of Phil’s articles on Edmunds.com.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #20 – Falsifiability in Science

Steve Matheson is an evolutionary cell biologist and blogger at Quintessence of Dust.  We discuss what it’s meant by something to be falsifiable in science.  We use the example of evolution by natural selection versus intelligent design.  You can follow Steve on Twitter @sfmatheson.

 

Critical Wit #19 – From The Cutting Room Floor

In this special episode, I provide some audio clips from interviews that were not included in their respective episodes due to time constraints.  But I saved them because I thought they were informative and interesting.  I hope you find them to be, as well.  And because a clip show wouldn’t be one without funny moments, there are a few of them as well.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter; @TheCriticalWit.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #18 – Clarifying The Consensus On Global Warming

Dan Moutal is a blogger and podcaster for the website, Irregular Climate.  In this episode, I ask Dan to clarify what the scientific consensus is on global warming, as well as what are the concerns that scientists have with regard to a climate that is changing due to global warming.  Besides subscribing to his blog and podcast (which is in iTunes and Zune), you can also follow him on Twitter @IrregularClimate.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #17 – Literature Reviews with MittenLit (Bill Castanier)

Bill Castanier is a literary journalist for the Lansing City Pulse, and blogger at MittenLit.com.  In this episode, Bill reviews  four excellent novels written by Michigan authors.  The first is a mystery called “Very Bad Men written by Harry Dolan.  The second is “Things We Didn’t Say” by Kristina Riggle.  The third is “Once Upon A River” by Bonnie Jo Campbell.  And the last book is “The Raising” written by Laura Kasischke.  Bill also talks about the Kerrytown BookFest occuring in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 11.  You can read and subscribe to MittenLit.com to keep track of literature news regarding Michigan authors.  And you can also get news by following MittenLit on Twitter @MittenLit1.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook and/or give it a rating in iTunes.  Thanks!

Critical Wit #16 – The Benefits Of Activity

Travis Saunders is a PhD student researching the relationship between sedentary time and chronic disease risk in children and youth. He is also a Certified Exercise Physiologist.  In this episode, Travis talks about how sedentary behavior is different than inactivity, and why it has more serious health risks.  And we also talk about how just getting as much activity in a day can have significantly improved health benefits.  Travis is a contributing blogger at Obesity Panacea, is co-host of the Obesity Panacea podcast, and he tweets on Twitter (you can follow him @TravisSaunders).

Critical Wit #15 – The Public Trust in Science

Zen Faulkes is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Texas-Pan American.  In this episode, Zen talks about Senator Tom Coburn’s report that criticized the National Science Foundation’s funding of certain science research. Zen also talks aboutwhy it’s important for scientists to do replication work on other scientists’ research, as well as getting replication research published in science journals.  Zen blogs at NeuroDojo and you can follow him on twitter @DoctorZen.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit page on Facebook or give it a rating in iTunes. Thank you!

Critical Wit #14 – The Lock Artist (Steve Hamilton)

Steve Hamilton is a two-time Edgar Award winning author.  Steve discusses his second stand-alone novel, The Lock Artist, which won both an Edgar Award for best mystery, and also the Alex Award for best young-adult novel (which as you hear in the interview came as a total surprise to him).  The Lock Artist is now available in paperback, and his newest book, Misery Bay is the eighth installment of his popular Alex McKnight books.  You can find out more about Steve Hamilton and his books by visiting his website at authorstevehamilton.com.  And you can follow him on Twitter @authorsteve.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider giving it a rating on iTunes or “liking” the Critical Wit page on Facebook.

Critical Wit #13 – The Importance Of Bats

Rob Mies is a scientist and conservationist, and co-founder of the Organization of Bat Conservation.  He educates and entertains for public and has appeared on national television shows in order to promote the importance of bats in our ecosystems.  And Rob talks about how people can help with bat conservation in modest ways.

You can find out more about bats by visiting www.batconservation.org, including information on building bat houses, setting up bat gardens, as well as fun events like the Great Lakes Bat Festival which occurs on July 9th.  You can find this event on Facebook, and you can follow the OBC on Twitter @BatConservation

If you enjoy the Critical Wit podcast and are on Facebook, please consider ”liking” the Critical Wit page.  And if you subscribe to this podcast via iTunes, please consider rating it and/or leave a review.

Critical Wit #12– Contrail Science/Chemtrail Pseudoscience

Mick West is a pilot and creator of the website, ContrailScience.comWe talk about the history and science of contrails; how they are formed, how they take on a variety of shapes, and why they can last for short or long durations.  And we’ll also discuss Mick’s criticsm of the chemtrail conspiracy.  We also discuss another website he’s developed recently on ‘how to debunk’ called Metabunk.org. You can follow Mick on Twitter at @MickWest.

If you enjoy the Critical Wit podcast and are on Facebook, please consider ”liking” the Critical Wit page.

Critical Wit #11 – The Science of Penguin Evolution

Dr. Daniel Ksepka is a vertebrate paleontologist that works at North Carolina State University. Dan has done a lot of research in studying penguin fossils, and we discuss the evolutionary history of penguins as determined from the fossil record.   Dan also has a fantastic blog called March of the Fossil Penguins and you can follow him on Twitter @ksepkalab.

There is also a great 50-minute lecture online in which Dan provides a comprehensive overview on penguin evolution.  It’s really, really good.

If you enjoy Critical Wit, please consider ‘liking’ the podcast’s Facebook page.

Critical Wit #10 – The Art & Science Of Critical Thinking

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Kevin deLaplante, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Iowa State University. We’ll discuss his work online at The Critical Thinker Academy, an educational resource that teaches critical thinking.  And Kevin breaks down five elements of critical thinking; logic, argumentation, rhetoric, background knowledge, and a cultivation of a set of attitudes and values.  Kevin also has a distinct video and audio podcast which is available to download from his website and iTunes.

If you enjoy this podcast, please consider ‘liking’ the Critical Wit podcast’s Facebook page.

Critical Wit #9 Supplemental – How Beer Is Made

In this supplemental episode, Dr. Charles Bamforth, provides an overview on the complex process of making beer.  This episode is intended to be listened to after Episode 9 “The Science of Brewing.” (episode 9 supplemental)

Critical Wit #9 – The Science of Brewing

Dr. Charles Bamforth is an enzymologist and an Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science at the University of California – Davis.  He is also the author of many books including, Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing and Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing.  In this episode we talk about the science, history, and overall appreciation of beer. A supplemental episode is provided for beer aficionados and brewers about the process in which beer is made. (episode 9)

Critical Wit #8 – Science News with Jill Adams

Science writer, Jill Adams, discusses three of her recent stories from the LA Times.  The first story is about antibiotic-resistant bacteria that was found in food. The second story concerns debate over whether food dyes promote hyperactivity in children. And the third story deals with a study on restricted diets as a treatment for ADHD. You can follow Jill on Twitter (@juadams) to get links to her stories.  ( episode 8 )

Critical Wit #7 – Searching for the Higgs Boson

Brian Wecht, particle physicist at the University of Michigan talks about the theoretical particle of the Standard Model of Physics called the Higgs Boson, and why he’s certain the LHC will eventually find it.  We also talk about his other project, The Story Collider – which is an event and podcast of people talking about personal stories that are often funny and sometimes poignant, but relate to science. (episode 7)

Critical Wit #6 – Benjamin Franklin: Unmasked

Dr. Jerry Weinberger from Michigan State University talks about his book, Benjamin Franklin: Unmasked – On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, and Political Thought. We talk about how the various masks of Franklin that reveal a remarkable, sophisticated thinker and philosopher-skeptic. (episode 6)

Critical Wit #5 – Political Pursuit of Renewable Energy

Hugh McDiarmid Jr., communications director from the Michigan Environmental Council, discusses how states, like Michigan, entice green energy manufacturing and generation; and to what degree its citizens can understand the political, economical, and logistical factors involved. Although we use Michigan as an example, if you’re listening to this from somewhere else, you may find what we discuss applicable to where you live.  Hugh also a personal blog at www.mittenstateblog.blogspot.com. (episode 5)

Critical Wit #4 – Paranormal Investigations

Chris Bailey from Grimstone Incorporated discusses paranormal investigations.  He delineates between paranormal ghost investigation and ghost-hunting.  And we try to find a middle ground between my skepticism towards and his acceptance of the possibility that paranormal phenomena is real. You can find out more about his group at www.grimstone-inc.com. (episode 4)

Critical Wit #3 – How They Were Found

Author Matt Bell discusses his book, How They Were Found, a collection of short stories published by Keyhole Press.  We talk about the writing process, as well as the ideas and inspirations behind a few of his stories, in particular the compelling and surreal “The Receiving Tower” and “His Last Great Gift.”  You can find out more about Matt by visiting his website, www.mdbell.com (episode 3)

Critical Wit #2 – Invisibility Cloaks

Dr. Greg Gbur discusses the physics behind invisibility cloaks. Gbur is a professor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He has an amazing blog called Skulls in the Stars which features bizarre science facts, as well as insight into how science has inspired science fiction and horror literature, and vice versa. (episode 2)

Critical Wit #1 – Direct To Consumer Genetic Kits

 

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Dr. Steven Salzberg discusses direct-to-consumer genetic kits. Salzberg is a professor at the University of Maryland. He has a fantastic blog called ‘Genomics, Evolution, and Pseudoscience’ at http://genome.fieldofscience.com/ (episode 1).

Episode 0 – Brief Introduction

 

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This is Critical Wit, a podcast about science, literature, and the arts.  I’m Chris Lindsay.  And each week, I’ll talk with someone about a particular subject that hopefully will be interesting and entertaining to you.  The show will be released every Thursday, and the average episode will be about 20 minutes.

Critical Wit is licensed by the Creative Commons.  You may re-broadcast all or any part of the show “as is” with attribution.