Futures is Nature’s weekly science fiction slot. Adam Rutherford reads you his favourite from this month, Survivors and Saviours, by Philip T. Starks.
Tagged with “nature” (11)
Once long past, listening gave clues for survival. Now we listen unconsciously, blocking noise and tuning in to what we want to hear. Yet the unwanted sounds we filter out tell us a lot about our environment and our lives. Broadcaster Teresa Goff listens for the messages in our walls of sound.
As civilization has become more mechanized, more urbanized and more digitized, the amount of noise has increased in tandem. This noise, according to Garrett Keizer, author of The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise , "is a window for understanding some of the paradoxes and contradictions of being human." If you take the sum total of all sounds within any area, what you have is an intimate reflection of the social, technological, and natural conditions of that place.
Hildegard Westerkamp, a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, says that "Environmental sound is like a spoken word with each sound or soundscape having its own meanings and expressions." So when you listen to the noise, what does it have to tell you? "Noise is a pit of interpretation," says noise musician Brian Chippendale. Broadcaster Teresa Goff goes into the pit with her documentary, The Signal of Noise.
A radical re-assessment of human progress from one of the world’s most exciting public thinkers.
In his latest work, Steven Pinker explores the ways in which modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people.
In ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’, Pinker traces a history of progress that reveals the historical circumstances and “civilising forces”, from commerce to cosmopolitanism, that have brought us to the most peaceful era humankind has yet experienced. Join Steven Pinker at the RSA for a fascinating insight into the conditions, norms and policies that combine to engage the "better angels" of human nature - our capacity for co-operation, empathy and altruism.
Speaker: Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and author of ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes’ (Allen Lane, 2011).
Alan Turing is sometimes called ‘the founder of computer science’. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, Charlotte Stoddart went to Oxford to meet his biographer, physicist Andrew Hodges. In this podcast, they talk about Turing’s famous 1936 paper on computable numbers, his contribution to cracking the German Enigma ciphers, and his thoughts on machine intelligence. http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/index-turing-2012-02-23.html
Steven Pinker has written a game-changer on the little matter of how quickly humanity is headed for hell or redemption. The short form of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is that we’re on the verge of Liebniz‘s (and Candide‘s) “best of all possible worlds.” Much more than that, Better Angels is a tour de force in 700 pages of dense, witty prose, distilling and explaining the ever-steeper downward trends in battle-deaths, state executions, murder, rape, wife-beating and child-spanking, among others things. “Interesting if true” was my instinctive newspaper-guy response. After a month’s immersion, and this conversation, I’m staggered and stunned, avid for the new Enlightenment.
A series of new studies has revealed that jellyfish are far more than mindless blobs that can spoil your day at the beach. On today’s Please Explain, Steve Bailey, Curator of Fishes at the New England Aquarium, and Marine Biologist and Chief Aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Michael Howard discuss why jellyfish are much more complex and interesting than scientists once thought.
Harvard entomologist E.O. Wilson joins us to discuss his new book, "The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies." Wilson is faculty emeritus in the department of entomology at Harvard University and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction.
With cities contributing upwards of 75 per cent of global carbon emissions, urban design is increasingly important when planning for climate change. This discussion examines the creative urban design solutions coming out of the world’s cities. Saskia Sassen is Robert S Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Richard Sennett is professor of sociology at LSE and NYU. Jonathon Porritti s the chair of the sustainable development commission and founder and director of Forum for the Future.
In the 1960s, Stewart Brand became one of the country’s first and most famous champions of a new ecological awareness. His Whole Earth Catalog spoke to a generation of hippies and back-to-nature commune dwellers.
Now, at 70, Stewart Brand is calling on environmentalists to reframe their understanding of the problem — and solutions. It’s too late for back-to-nature, he says. Global warming is beyond that.
To survive now, Brand says, we need nuclear power, genetic engineering, giant cities. We must manage nature or lose civilization.
This hour, On Point: In the face of global warming, Stewart Brand redefines green.
Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years - surely long enough to have become fully evolved?
It was thought that the dramatic extension of life spans during the 20th century eliminated natural selection, but new evidence shows that to be false.
Will selection always be natural, or could postmodern also mean posthuman?
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