It’s the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. It took 34 years to complete and cost over 27,000 lives. To this day, this passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is a key short cut for international trade. Find out how the right people, the right machines and the right methods all came together to build an engineering project of unprecedented scope and challenges.
The best knock-offs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knock-offs go way beyond fashion. There are knock-off Apple stores that look so much like the real thing, some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knock-off cities.
Gaia Vince is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in science and the environment. She has been the front editor of the journal Nature Climate Change, the news editor of Nature and online editor of New Scientist. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, The Times, Science, Scientific American, Australian Geographic and the Australian. She has a regular column, Smart Planet, on BBC Online, and devises and presents programmes about the Anthropocene for BBC radio. Her first book is Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made.
With hundreds of Earth-like planets discovered over the past few years, it’s fair to say we’re on the verge of finding alien life. Two new programs at NASA hope to find and analyze thousands more of these exoplanets, as they’re called. Scientists working on the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope say there’s a very real chance of finding extraterrestrial life within the next two decades. So, if we’re about to meet our extraterrestrial neighbors, let’s get to work on some opening lines. What if we’re really not alone?
- David Latham, Astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,
- Dimitar Sasselov, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative,
- Jason Wright, Professor of Astronomy at Penn State, expert in the search for advanced extraterrestrial civilizations,
- Sarah Rugheimer, PhD student at Harvard University studying the atmospheres of exoplanets.
How was the Sun formed, and what do we know about its structure and the processes going on inside our nearest star? With Carolin Crawford, Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Yvonne Elsworth, Professor of Helioseismology at the University of Birmingham; and Louise Harra, Professor of Solar Physics at UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
A song is a product of design. It’s difficult to create an original melody, but that’s only the blueprint. Every element of a piece of music could be produced any number of ways, depending on which instrument plays at what time, for how long, and with what what kind of effect.
The architecture behind a piece of music can be much more involved than meets the ear, and this is what inspired Hrishikesh Hirway to start a podcast called Song Exploder, where musicians “take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.”
During the 1961 Berlin Crisis—one of the various moments in the cold war in which we came frighteningly close to engaging in actual war with the Soviets—President John F. Kennedy vowed to identify spaces in “existing structures both public and private that could be used for fallout shelters in case of attack.”
Andy is a futurist. He’s been a digital native since 1994, when he wrote a documentary called “Secrets of the Internet.” Along with his love of digital, scientists inspire him: brilliant people who make surreal discoveries and work to transform reality. Now, as one of the early pioneers of the service design industry, he helps transform the world’s biggest brands through innovative design.
Andy runs the Madrid studio of Fjord, a leading Service Design agency. He also authored chapters in O’Reilly’s book, Designing for Emerging Technologies. A compilation of works by industry experts in areas of user experience design related to genomics, robotics and the Internet of Things.
HBO’s hit series "True Detective" is an uncanny blend of police procedural and metaphysical inquiry, set in the Louisiani bayous. In this exclusive interview, creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto tells Steve Paulson the backstory to the show, and provides a glimpse at what’s in store for season 2 (hint: it won’t take place in Louisiana).
"Below 40 south there is no law; below 50 there is no God." The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is the most dangerous and least understood of our great oceans. A few solo sailors and a historian join Philip Coulter on a radio expedition to find out about those giant waves and fearsome storms, and what happens to people who go to the loneliest place on the planet.
The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is the most remote place on earth, and if you go there and get into trouble — which you almost certainly will — there may be no way to save you. In the Southern Ocean you are further from human habitation than an astronaut on the International Space Station. There are winds of 50 kilometers an hour, waves higher than a house, sometimes for weeks on end; it can destroy the soul and the body. Sailing the Southern Ocean is the ultimate test of endurance, and some sailors do it single-handed.
Participants in the program:
Derek Hatfield is the first Canadian to race solo around the world twice.
Dee Caffari is the first woman to race around the world solo in both directions.
Glenn Wakefield has attempted two solo circumnavigations.
Derek Lundy is the author of many books, including The Godforsaken Sea.
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