Wednesday, January 27, 2010

10 Mysteries of You

Is there an evolutionary explanation for why we pick our noses? How about why we laugh... or enjoy art? On the January 20th show, I shared New Scientist's 10 Things We Don't Understand About Humans, an article that suggests some hypotheses for why humans blush, are superstitious, have such an extended adolescent period, and more! A common theme among many of these explanations is the idea that these behaviors and characteristics are adaptive in some way. Although I think some of the hypotheses will likely gain support through empirical testing, it is important to point out that not all explanations in nature must come from an adaptationist's perspective. Sometimes we see characters that are maladaptive or neutral in a population, which means that they do not necessarily provide a selective advantage for the individual that possesses them. There are few cases in nature in which a singular process explains the patterns we see. It is often the job of scientists not to determine which explanation overrules the others, but to determine the relative importance of each explanation.

We ran out of time for the news in nature and sound quiz, but we heard form some great artists such as The Books, Tori Amos, Travis, Sam Cooke, Headlights, Misfits, Basement Jaxx, Grand National, Blockhead, and others.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Holy biodiversity, Batman!

For the January 13th show, we wrapped up 2009 by talking about TIME's top ten new species discovered during the year. One of my favorites included Ratzilla (pictured left), a 3-foot long rat found on New Guinea. Other awesome finds were glow-in-the-dark mushrooms and the bones of the world's largest (and sadly extinct) snake, Titanoboa cerrejonensis.

As for the news, we heard about:

For the sound quiz, we listened to some creatures of the Buffalo River that might be affected by the sewage leak: Louisiana Waterthrush, Belted Kingfisher (one of my all time favortie birds!), Southern Leopard Frog, River Otter, and the Raccoon.

Artists featured included: Daft Punk, Ratatat, Can, Feist, The Microphones, TV on the Radio, The Flaming lips, Dinosaur Jr., Minuit, Robert Johnson, and a Hawk and a Hacksaw.