Friday, October 29, 2010


Halloween! What a fantastic time of the year! We get our creative juices flowing and revert to a childlike state while carving pumpkins, stuffing our faces with candy, and dressing up as kooky characters. A popular trend these days is for groups to do a "zombie walk", in which people gather, dressed in gore, to shuffle around public places - mimicking scenes from some of our favorite zombie flicks. Thank goodness it's all a fun Halloween trick... but could it ever be a reality? In the October 25th show (click here for podcast), we talk about some documented cases of zombies and potential biological causes of zombie-like behavior (as featured by

In the news...
Great Potoo

To ramp up the spook-factor, we listened to some creepy vocalizations from otherwise sweet-looking birds! Thanks to Abby for some of the suggestions of the Great Potoo and the Spectacled Owl.

Music featured included The Misfits, The Zombies, Tune-Yards, Zombie Nation, The Dead Weather, Puerto Muerto, and more.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ya filthy animal

Do you give your dog kisses? Do you sometimes wake up to your kitty's booty in your face? Just how clean are your pets? How do animals in the wild keep themselves clean? There are many approaches. Some animals self-groom; others engage in allogrooming with members of their social group. Some critters even bridge the species barrier by cleaning members of another species (e.g. the oxpecker is a bird that picks parasites off of large mammals in Africa). You'll find these topics and more in the October 18th show (click here for podcast).

In the news...

At the end of the show, we heard part of a 1978 recording called Sounds of Florida's Birds compiled and narrated by Dr. John William Hardy. Listen for songs from birds like the osprey and bobwhite.

Artists featured included The Clean, LCD Soundsystem, Dr. Dog, The Juan Maclean, Echo and the Bunnymen, and more!

Friday, October 22, 2010

More from the microscopic world!

I found this link for rare images beyond the naked eye and thought I would post it as a follow up to the show "The life microscopic" (Sep 27th, 2010). It features some of the best photos from the 2010 Small World Photomicrography Competition. Check it out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monogamy... a myth?

Great Hornbill pair
Seeing as how I just got hitched... I have the idea of  life-long commitment in mind. So for the October 11th show (click here for podcast) we covered the subject of monogamy in the animal world. Back in the day, animal behaviorists assumed that certain animals, particularly birds, were monogamous because they often witness pairs tending the nest. Little did they know that it was common for both males and females to sneak out for a rendezvous with another bird when their mate was not looking. These "cheating" events are termed "extra-pair copulations", or EPCs, and genetic techniques have revealed just how prevalent they can be! Perhaps one exception is the Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis). The  impregnated females of this species enclose themselves into a tree cavity by plugging up the hole with mud and droppings. Her mate then delivers food to her and nestlings as the breeding season unfolds over 4 months! For a video depicting this process, click here.

 As for the news...

For the sound quiz, we heard from some critters that are known for their strong pair bonds, or lack thereof. They included the Great Hornbill, Golden-mantled Tamarin, Meadow Vole (in lieu of the Prairie Vole), and the Red-winged Blackbird (pictured).

Music artists featured included The Velvet Underground, Amandine, The Accidental Clearinghouse Story, The High Fidelity, Silver Jews, The Fidelity Wars, and more!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The life microscopic

What a wonderful world it is under a microscope. For the September 27th show (click here for podcast) we explored the invention of the light microscope and all the wonderful things we can see underneath it. For a taste of the worlds that it reveals, visit this blog. For more information on how it all functions, visit How Stuff Works.

As for the news...

Musical artists featured were TV on the Radio, Interpol, Yo La Tengo, The Cure, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Microscopic Septet, Architecture in Helsinki, Travis, and more!