This is a big story about a little snail. Biologist Helen Scales relates an epic tale that spans the globe and involves calamity, tragedy, extinction and we hope, salvation. It stars the tiny tree-dwelling mollusc from French Polynesia, Partula, a snail that has captivated scientists for centuries. Like Charles Darwin studied finches on the Galapagos, Partula became an icon of evolution because, in the living laboratories of the Pacific islands, it had evolved into multiple species. But a calamity drove Partula to extinction, when a botched biological control, the predatory Rosy Wolf Snail, was introduced. It was supposed to eat another problem mollusc, but in a cruel twist, devoured tiny Partula instead. An international rescue mission was scrambled to save a species and from just one or two rescued individuals, populations of this snail species have been built up over thirty years in captive breeding programmes in zoos around the world. And now, in the nailbiting sequel, we track Partula’s journey home.
Tagged with “nature” (24)
Twenty years ago the FBI ended their longest-running domestic terrorism investigation with the arrest of the Unabomber, a notorious serial killer obsessed with technology. Between 1978 - 1995, Theodore Kaczynski lived in a remote cabin in rural Montana, from where he planned the downfall of industrial society. A brilliant academic, Kaczynski was motivated by a desire to punish anyone connected with technology.
How does the inner science of ourselves intersect with the outer science of the universe? A Stratford Festival Forum on the theme of discovery with Janice Gross Stein, Dr. Joe MacInnis, and Jay Ingram.
This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations from falling apart in the face of the realities of life, and love, and loss.
Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University describes how he gave up appearing on Top of the Pops to study quarks, quasars and quantum mechanics.
Although he describes himself as a simple-minded Northern bloke, he has acquired an almost God-like status on our TV screens, while the ‘Cox effect’ is thought to explain the significant boost to university admissions to read physics. He talks to Jim al-Khalili about learning to be famous, his passion for physics and how he sometimes has difficulty crossing the road.
In 2005 Brian was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship for his work on high energy particle collisions at CERN and elsewhere – an enviable academic achievement. In 2009, he was voted one of the sexiest men alive by People magazine. He has invented a new kind of celebrity – a scientist who is regularly snapped by the paparazzi.
"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.
This hour, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes—those peculiar spaces where it’s clear what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but what happens in-between is a mystery.
People hate parasites. They’re slimy and repulsive - worms emerging from blisters on the body, mites breeding in skin folds. They hold wild parties in our guts. They bring pestilence, misery…even death. But wait: parasites can also be good - really, really good! Author Rosemary Drisdelle explores these much maligned creatures and their importance in nature, and she unveils exciting new medical research into the good they can do for us.
Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century lens grinder known for his precision optical work. But it was his philosophy that made this Dutch-Jewish thinker famous, then and now. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy explores how Spinoza’s thoughts on God, the universe, ethics and politics helped ignite the flame that became the Enlightenment.
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.
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