Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Science Weekly podcast will now explore some of the crucial scientific questions about Covid-19. Led by its usual hosts Ian Sample, Hannah Devlin and Nicola Davis, as well as the Guardian's health editor Sarah Boseley, we’ll be taking questions – some sent by you – to experts on the frontline of the global outbreak. Send us your questions here: theguardian.com/covid19questions
Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the African elephant as two separate species – the forest elephant and savannah elephant. The move has increased these animals’ ‘ red list’ categorisation to endangered for savannah elephants and critically endangered for forest elephants...
In part two of The Age of Extinction takeover of Science Weekly, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore a relatively new and controversial technology called DNA barcoding that is helping scientists to differentiate between species – including fungi, which we heard about in part one. As the catastrophic loss of biodiversity around the world continues, could DNA barcoding at least allow us to accurately record the species that are perishing?
Our colleagues from The age of extinction, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes. We often talk as if we know what species exist in the world – but we don’t. Could misclassifying the notoriously cryptic fungi have broader implications for what we know about the environment, and how we care for it?
In 2019, Ian Sample delved into the mind of a bullshitter, talking to psychologists about what prompts people to spout nonsense and gibberish. Recently, one of the researchers he spoke to, Shane Littrell, published a study asking – can you bullshit a bullshitter? Not being able to resist diving into the dark arts of BS once more, Ian Sample invited Shane back on the podcast to hear the answer and find out what it might tell us about the spread of misinformation
On 23 March 2020, the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced the first lockdown in response to the growing number of cases of Covid-19. At the same time, countries around the world began to close their schools, restaurants, and offices and ask citizens to physically distance from one another. In the 12 months since, more than 2 million people have died, viral variants have emerged, and we have developed safe and effective vaccines...
From electrons behaving as both particles and waves to a cat in a box that’s both dead and alive, the consequences of quantum physics are decidedly weird. So strange, that over a century since its conception, scientists are still arguing about the best way to understand the theory. In the second of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with the physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss his ideas for explaining quantum physics, and what it means for our understanding of the world
Last week videos of what appeared to be Tom Cruise at home and playing golf appeared on TikTok. It later emerged the clips were actually AI-generated by a creator of ‘deepfake’ videos. Deepfake videos depict situations that have never happened in the real world, and are becoming increasingly convincing. Alex Hern goes behind the scenes to find out exactly how such videos were made, and how far this technology has progressed
Social distancing measures mean most of us now have very little opportunity to talk to strangers and acquaintances. These chats might seem insignificant, but they can provide lots of psychological benefits. To find out more, Linda Geddes speaks to Gillian Sandstrom about what we’re currently missing out on. And, when told Gillian finds finishing a chat particularly hard, Linda gets in touch with the author of a recent paper asking why we find it so challenging to end a conversation
What we believe is influenced by an array of factors, from our past experience to who our friends are. But a recent paper has now looked at what role how we think plays in sculpting our world-views. Natalie Grover speaks to lead author Dr Leor Zmigrod about the research evaluating the link between cognitive disposition – differences in how information is perceived and processed – and ideologies