How Fake News Spreads & Why People Believe It

How false stories during the presidential campaign were spread on Facebook and monetized by Google Ad Sense by a bunch of youngsters in the Macedonian town of Veles. They almost all published aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US. Several teens and young men who run these sites told Buzzfeed News’ media editor, Craig Silverman, that they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives.

These sites open a window into the economic incentives behind producing misinformation specifically for the wealthiest advertising markets and specifically for Facebook.

Fresh Air | 14th December 2016

The Revenge of Analog

A small but influential part of the populace has returned to vinyl records, film cameras and other tangible things once thought useless in our digital world. The enduring appeal of tangibility is the theme of this podcast. David Sax, author of “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter” points to the value and irreplaceability of a rich tangible experience.

KERA’s Think | 14th December 2016

Joseph Henrich on Cultural Evolution, Weird Societies, and Life among Two Strange Tribes

To anthropologist Joseph Henrich, intelligence is overrated. Social learning, and its ability to influence biological evolution over time, is what really sets our species apart. He joined Tyler for a conversation on his work on cultural evolution, as well as his life among different tribes (academic and otherwise), Star Trek, big gods, small gods, China’s missing industrial revolution, the merits of coconut milk, the Flynn effect, American exceptionalism, and why he wants to travel in time to 6th-century Kent.

Conversations with Tyler | 14th December 2016

Are Animals Really That Smart?

You own a cat, or is it vice versa? Family friendly felines have trained their owners to do their bidding. Thanks to a successful evolutionary adaptation, they rule your house.

Find out how your cat has you wrapped around its paw. And it’s not the only animal to outwit us. Primatologist Frans de Waal shares the surprising intellectual capabilities of chimps, elephants, and bats. In fact, could it be that we’re simply not smart enough to see how smart animals are?

Plus, the discovery of a fossilized dinosaur brain. Were those lumbering lizards more clever than we thought?

Guests:
Alex Liu – Paleontologist, University of Cambridge, U.K.
Abigail Tucker – Author of The Lion in the Living Room: How Housecats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
Frans de Waal – Primatologist, psychologist, Emory University, and author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Big Picture Science | 12th December 2016

What happened to Evidence-based medicine?

The Evidence-Based Medicine movement has pushed doctors to rely less on intuition in choosing treatments, and more on evidence from studies. Sounds great – but has EBM become a victim of its own success? This episode features John Ioannidis, Stanford professor of medicine, health and policy, and statistics, and author of the famous paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.” John and Julia discuss how EBM has been “hijacked,” by whom, and what do do about it.

Rationally Speaking | 11th December 2016

Come, Come, Mr Bond

Life is a gamble—from the casino to the surgery. Yet few fully comprehend the concept of probability. It might seem overly mathematical, but lurking underneath are some far-reaching questions about cause and effect; freedom and determinism; and whether a roulette wheel will necessarily spin red after rolling black thirty times. Darrell Rowbottom knows that in life—as in the casino—the stakes can be high.

The Philosopher’s Zone | 11th December 2016

Helen Czerski’s Storm in a Teacup

Helen Czerski discusses the curious physical phenomena we encounter daily without paying much attention. As a physicist in the Mechanical Engineering Department at University College London she studies the bubbles underneath breaking waves in the open ocean to understand their effects on weather and climate. Helen’s first book “Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life” releases magic from the mundane.

Little Atoms | 6th December 2016

The Distracted Mind

the-distracted-mind-2The ability to multitask is a virtue in our plugged-in society. That’s not how our brains are built to function, though.

Adam Gazzaley, director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UC-San Francisco, talks about strategies for working on one task at a time – and about how we can block out the interference that keeps us from getting things done. He has written about the topic in “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World”.

KERA’s Think | 5th December 2016