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Tagged with “bbc” (351)

  1. Marcus du Sautoy and James Bridle – books podcast

    On this week’s show, we’re exploring infinity and beyond with artist and writer James Bridle and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

    Through his visual art and writings on technology and culture, James Bridle has been at the forefront of our understanding of tech for the last decade – and from his perspective, the view of our future is both exciting and gloomy. He sat down with the Guardian’s technology reporter Alex Hern to talk about his book, New Dark Age.

    Limits are grist to the mill for Marcus du Sautoy, professor of public understanding of science at Oxford University. His mission is to explore – and if possible, explain – the unknown, so following hot on the heels of his bestselling book What We Cannot Know, is How to Count to Infinity. Meeting with Richard Lea at the Hay festival, Du Sautoy explained how a German mathematician first proved the existence of infinity in 1874, and what the concept means for our understanding of the universe.

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  2. Rosalind Franklin

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the pioneering scientist Rosalind Franklin (1920 - 1958). During her distinguished career, Franklin carried out ground-breaking research into coal and viruses but she is perhaps best remembered for her investigations in the field of DNA. In 1952 her research generated a famous image that became known as Photograph 51. When the Cambridge scientists Francis Crick and James Watson saw this image, it enabled them the following year to work out that DNA has a double-helix structure, one of the most important discoveries of modern science. Watson, Crick and Franklin’s colleague Maurice Wilkins received a Nobel Prize in 1962 for this achievement but Franklin did not and today many people believe that Franklin has not received enough recognition for her work.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09rzm9y

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  3. Assistive technology: Where are we going?

    Peter heads to a Microsoft research centre to look at the latest in assistive technology.

    The lives of blind and visually-impaired people are being transformed by technology. But where are the changes heading? Peter White is joined by YouTuber Lucy Edwards as they head to a Microsoft research centre, to get her take on life as a digital native. As a blind person, what does she want from the technology that’s around the corner?

    Microsoft’s "Senior Technology Evangelist" Hector Minto explains his job title - and takes Peter and Lucy through some of the tools of their "Seeing AI" app. He addresses their questions about the current state of technology which is for, and increasingly designed by, the blind and visually impaired.

    We also hear from Saqib Shaikh, who was a driving force behind Microsoft’s approach to technology for the blind and VI and from Dave Williams, who trains people to use assistive technology.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b85m67

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  4. Submarine for a Stuart King

    The magical world of Conelis Drebbel, inventor of the first submarine in 1621.

    How did the crew of this remarkable vessel manage to breathe underwater, completely cut off from the surface, 150 years before oxygen was officially discovered?

    King James I of England and thousands of his subjects lined the banks of the River Thames in London to watch the first demonstration. The strangest boat they had ever seen sank beneath the waves and stayed there for three hours.

    Did Drebbel know how to make oxygen? Historian Andrew Szydlow reveals that Drebbel did have secret knowledge of how to keep the air fresh.

    In his day, Drebbel was a pioneer of exploring uninhabitable places. Today’s equivalent is to make oxygen on the Moon and as scientists grapple with this ultimate challenge, Monica Grady explains their work is being used under the waves where Drebbel began.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tvc2f

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  5. The Digital Human: Friction

    Aleks Krotoski explores the unforeseen consequences of a frictionless digital life.

    It’s the life we’re told we want, where we just shout at a device and our needs are met as quickly as the supply chain allows. Aleks Krotoski explores frictionless digital living.

    But is there value in friction? Aleks hears from someone who’s life depends on it, mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick. He has a reputation for stacking the odds against himself as much as possible; long routes, often climbed alone in the worst of conditions. Back on the ground Andy also needs friction to not get complacent, accept others views without question, to keep moving forward.

    Without friction we risk falling prey to what economist Umair Haque describes as the infantilisation economy. One where we are diminished by being able to have our every need met by Amazon’s Alexa. And the cost isn’t just to us but also to the army of digital serfs peddling about in all weathers with those trademark boxes on their backs. Its a future that was foreseen as far back as the late 19th century by the likes of Nietzsche in his descriptions of the ‘last men’ a humanity living the most vanilla of existences without challenge or ambition to change.

    Nothing sums this up better than the food replacement industry. No time to shop, cook, chew? Get everything you need nutritionally in a drink like Soylent or Huel - all in the name of efficiency. Its a world that fascinates anthropologist Jan English-Luek who for over 20 years has been observing trends in silicon valley.

    Ultimately Aleks will ask what we’re saving all this time and effort for and do we ever reap the benefits? Or does it just keep us where the digital world wants us, consuming in ever more efficient ways.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b3c76x

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  6. The Far Future

    How do we prepare for the distant future? Helen Keen meets the people who try to.

    If our tech society continues then we can leave data for future generations in huge, mundane quantities, detailing our every tweet and Facebook ‘like’. But how long could this information be stored? And if society as we know it ends, will our achievements vanish with it? How do we plan for and protect those who will be our distant descendants and yet may have hopes, fears, languages, beliefs, even religions that we simply cannot predict? What if anything can we, should we, pass on?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05sxgvj

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  7. BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Physics of Reality

    Melvyn Bragg examines the attempt to reconcile Quantum Theory and classical physics.

    Melvyn Bragg examines the physics of reality. When Quantum Mechanics was developed in the early 20th century reality changed forever. In the quantum world particles could be in two places at once, they disappeared for no reason and reappeared in unpredictable locations, they even acted differently according to whether we were watching them. It was so shocking that Erwin Schrodinger, one of the founders of Quantum Theory, said "I don’t like it and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it." He even developed an experiment with a cat to show how absurd it was. Quantum Theory was absurd, it disagreed with the classical physics of Newton and Einstein and it clashed with our experience of the everyday world. Footballs do not disappear without reason, cats do not split into two and shoes do not act differently when we are not looking at them. Or do they? Eighty years later we are still debating whether the absurd might actually be true. But why are features of quantum physics not seen in our experience of everyday reality? Can the classical and quantum worlds be reconciled, and why should reality make sense to us? With Roger Penrose, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University; Fay Dowker, Lecturer in Theoretical Physics, Queen Mary, University of London; Tony Sudbery, Professor of Mathematics, University of York.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00548dl

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  8. BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Stephanie Shirley on computer coding

    As a young woman, Stephanie Shirley worked at the Dollis Hill Research Station building computers from scratch: but she told young admirers that she worked for the Post Office, hoping they would think she sold stamps. In the early 60s she changed her name to Steve and started selling computer programmes to companies who had no idea what they were or what they could do, employing only mothers who worked from home writing code by hand with pen and pencil and then posted it to her. By the mid-80s her software company employed eight thousand people, still mainly women with children. She made an absolute fortune but these days Stephanie thinks less about making money and much more about how best to give it away.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pmvl8

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  9. In the Wake of Wakefield

    Twenty years ago, in February 1998, one of the most serious public health scandals of the 20th century was born, when researcher, Andrew Wakefield and his co-authors published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. As we know, in the years that followed, Wakefield’s paper was completely discredited as "an elaborate fraud" and retracted. Attempts by many other researchers to replicate his "findings" have all failed and investigations unearthed commercial links and conflicts of interests underpinning his original work. Wakefield himself was struck off the medical register.

    And yet, the ripples of that episode are still being felt today all over the world as a resurgent anti-vaccine movement continues to drive down inoculation rates, particularly in developed Western societies, where measles rates have rocketed particularly in Europe and the United States.

    But the Wakefield scandal hasn’t just fostered the current ant-vax movement but has played a key role in helping to undermine trust in a host of scientific disciplines from public health research to climate science and GM technology.

    Through the archive, science journalist Adam Rutherford explores the continuing legacy of the anti-vaccine movement on the anniversary of one of its most notorious episodes, and explore its impact on health, on research and on culture both at home and abroad.

    Adam Rutherford explores the 20-year legacy of a paper linking the MMR vaccine and autism.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05zfl70

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  10. Boring Talks #01 - The End Of The World

    What is the specific date of Armageddon according to Douglas Adams? Steve Cross finds out

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05w5bkx

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