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Portrait of a Slender Loris

Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 16: The Urban Slender Loris Project
Airdate: 28 June 2016
Host: Vic Bedoian
Guest: Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta, The Urban Slender Loris Project.

Summary: This month, we had co-producer Vic Bedoian in the host seat. He interviewed Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta about her remarkable effort to bring together ordinary citizens, naturalists, and scientists to study and help conserve the Slender Loris, a tiny nocturnal primate (pictured above), within the megacity of Bangalore, India. Learn more about the Urban Slender Loris Project on the website, like it on Facebook, and/or follow @urbanloris on Twitter.

Image: Portrait of a Slender Loris, © Kalyan Varma.

 
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Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 16: Planets, Moons, Magnets
Airdate: 26 April 2016
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guest: Dr. Alain Plattner, Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences, CSU, Fresno.

Summary: This month, we look at planets and moons from a different perspective – a magnetic view, if you will. Dr. Alain Plattner, a magnetic geographer of sorts, who uses measurements made by satellites orbiting planetary bodies to map the magnetic fields generated by the planet or moon, shares insights from his research with host Madhusudan Katti. He also gamely subjects himself to a new segment of semi-rapid-fire questions at the end, including some queries from a high school student. This may become a recurring segment!

 

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Onychorhynchus_coronatus_coronatus_from_above_1841

Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 15: Evolution and Ecology of Bird Diversity
Airdate: 22 March 2016
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guest: Dr. Christopher Trisos, Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

 

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Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 14: Postmodern Winemaking
Airdate: 23 February 2016
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guest: Matt Brain, Fresno State’s Winemaker

Topic: In this episode we celebrate the first anniversary of this podcast, with a look back at the wide range of topics covered since our first episode aired in February 2016. With Fresno State’s winemaker Matt Brain in the studio, we raise a glass of some wine he created, and learn a bit about the science and art of winemaking in the postmodern era. And we toast our host station, KFCF 88.1FM, and especially, the station’s Executive Director Rych Withers and our producer Vic Bedoian for taking a chance by putting a scientist on the Central Valley airwaves to talk about science every month!

 

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Science: A Candle In The Dark

Episode 13: Sexual Harassment in Science – a roundable
Airdate: 12 February 2016
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta, Dr. Kathryn Forbes, Dr. Amanda Mortimer, Dr. Janet Stemwedel, Dr. Katie Hinde, and Dr. Karen James.

Topic: This special hour-long episode of the show features an interview with Congresswoman Jackie Speier who is shining a bright light on the longstanding issue of sexual harassment in science and academia, and leading the effort to bring about legislation to lead us towards better ethical conduct with respect to harassment in science. This is followed by a discussion by a multidisciplinary panel of women scientists on the extent of the problem in academic culture, and ways to start changing that culture.

Graphic from the report in Science by Michael Balter. V. ALTOUNIAN
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12. Charles Darwin in 2016

HappyBirthday-Darwin

Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 12: Why do we need Charles Darwin in 2016?
Airdate: 26 January 2016
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Dr. Dawn M. Digrius

Topic: With Darwin Day 2016 coming up, science historian Dr. Dawn Digrius talks to Dr. Madhusudan Katti to share stories about Charles Darwin, and how his work remains relevant to our concerns in 2016.

Birthday card courtesy of the artist Carl Buell.

 

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11. Birds in the City

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Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 11: Birds in the City: social and ecological drivers of urban biodiversity
Airdate: 
22 December
 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Pedro Garcia

Topic:  Cities have become the primary habitat for most of humanity. They are also habitat for many other species even as we continue to fragment and destroy and disrupt natural ecosystems across the planet. How well other species manage to survive or not in our cities depends on how we manage the urban landscape, whether mindful of its impacts on wildlife or caring only for human development. Pedro Garcia, currently working with the California Conservation Corps, recently completed a masters thesis project studying the effects of human activities on bird species diversity and distribution in the Fresno-Clovis Metropolitan Area in California’s Central Valley. Here he speaks about how he found a connection with nature while growing up as an immigrant child in a California town, what he has learned about urban reconciliation ecology, and how it relates to his Native American heritage and his current work in conservation.

 

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10. Joshua Trees

JoshuaTreesAtDusk

Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 9: Joshua Trees: the science of listing a threatened species.
Airdate: 
27 
October 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Chris Clarke.

Topic: You may recognize this iconic tree of California and Arizona deserts the Joshua Tree. Perhaps because you’ve seen images, perhaps because you’re familiar with that rock album, or perhaps you’ve even seen these strange beautiful trees in person. But how well do you know Joshua Trees? Not as well as our guest Chris Clarke, a prolific writer and environment editor at KCET TV, who is also at work on a book about Joshua Trees.

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cong2HR

Science: A Candle In The Dark
Episode 9: A Biologist and a Sociologist talk about CRISPR!
Airdate: 
27 
October 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Dr. Tricia Van Laar and Dr. Andrew Rhys Jones

Topic: The new DNA editing technique called CRISPR has been much in the science news feeds lately because of its exciting and perhaps frightening potential to enable the editing of genomes at levels of precision that may very well exceed the imaginations of some science fiction writers of yore who wrote about brave new worlds. In this edition of the podcast, you’re in for a treat with, with two very engaging speakers getting into it on the topic of DNA editing and what it means for biology and humanity. The conversation ended too soon for me, as the 30 minutes flew by and both Tricia Van Laar and Andrew Rhys Jones left my head is still aswirl with questions I meant to ask them. For the first time I wished the show was an hour long instead!

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Science: A Candle In The Dark

Episode 8: Updates from the Autism Spectrum
Airdate: 
22 
September 2015
Host: Dr. Madhusudan Katti
Guests: Dr. Amanda Mortimer

Topic: During last week’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate, medical science made a rare appearance in the nation’s political media discourse, when Jake Tapper raised the question about appropriate schedules for childhood vaccinations. This was triggered by candidate Donald Trump’s reassertion of a new long-discredited link between vaccines and autism. The two actual medical doctors on the panel, Ben Carson and Rand Paul did dismiss the suggestion of such a link. But Trump went on to claim that we are actually facing an epidemic of autism in this country! What do we make of this claim? Is there any semblance of truth to this?

At the next Café Scientifique meeting, on Oct 5th, we will get some Updates from the Autism Spectrum, from my friend and our guest in this episode, Dr. Amanda Mortimer. Dr. Mortimer has a dual PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Indiana University. Interface between neuroscience and clinical psychology. She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is now an Associate Professor of Psychology at Fresno State. She is here with some Updates from the Autism Spectrum.

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