Miles To Go

A weekly Science, Medicine and Technology podcast
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Episodes of Miles To Go

Marvin Minsky is often regarded as the father of modern AI, but when Miles visited him in 2010, Minsky wasn’t a proud father. In fact, Minsky was disappointed with the lack of progress in the field and had reservations about its future. Unfortu
How did our early solar system form? What are the origins of life? How likely are we to get hit by a dangerous asteroid? A daring NASA mission called OSIRIS-REx hopes to find the answers to these big questions at an asteroid named Bennu. This w
Jupiter has many moons, but none are quite like Europa: it has a thick crust of ice and a huge amount of liquid saltwater underneath its surface. In fact, many believe it’s the best place in the Solar System that we could find other lifeforms.
Hurricane Florence was a perfect example of how climate change supercharges extreme weather events. But climate change also affects us in other more subtle, interconnected, and difficult to manage ways. Thankfully, people like June Blotnick, Ex
Steve Squyres is the principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover Program, which gave us the plucky and productive rovers Spirit and Opportunity. With the latter on life support and the former no longer with us, I spoke with him about
There are calls in the EPA and in Congress for the use of more transparent science. But what does that mean? Why do scientists seem united against these regulations? And what would it mean if they went into effect? In this special Hash it Out e
For more than three decades, behavioral biologist Denise Herzing has tracked and observed a pod of wild spotted dolphins that live in the warm clear waters of the Bahamas. She’s learned an awful lot about their behaviors and their communication
Methane is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of gas: on one hand, it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. On the other, if it leaks, methane itself is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In this special Hash It Out episode, Bria
For several years, environmental advocacy groups have been fighting to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos from agricultural use. A turnover in leadership at the EPA has led to a moment of indecision on what to do about the chemical. Robert Sapolsky
After years of exhaustive research linking the pesticide chlorpyrifos to a host of developmental and cognitive deficiencies in children, the EPA was poised to ban the chemical in November 2016. But something else happened that same month; the e
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not off in the distant future... in some ways it is already here. How is AI already changing our lives? Does it work independently of us or does it also have our all-too-human biases? After hashing out machine le
Communicating the science of climate change, with its overwhelming expert consensus, seems like it should be easy. However, a science-averse media and strong fossil fuel lobby make it exceedingly difficult. Climatologist Michael Mann and cartoo
What is machine learning? How does it work? What are these artificially intelligent algorithms useful for? Considering they are used by Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook and many other companies we interact with on a daily basis, what are the b
Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. It is more short-lived than CO2 (about a decade as opposed a century), but it is 85 times more effective at warming. Robert Green is a world-renowned expert in spectroscopy, whic
In the final episode in our series on Junk News, some wisdom from one of the leading experts in the murky world of online misinformation. He also happens to be the producer of the series that we aired on the PBS NewsHour. Now he’s taking the so
Facebook was created for people to share family photos and memories. But as ads entered the mix, the platform was refined to hold our attention for as long as possible. Quality was not a consideration - until recently. But how to fix the junk n
The Internet was supposed to provide a utopian virtual world where all of us could come together in peace, love and harmony to better understand each other and our differing viewpoints… But we got derailed on the road to utopia, didn’t we? Eli
As Hawaii trembles with earthquakes and the Kilauea volcano continues to spew forth lava and gas, residents and the wider world watch and wonder: how long will this renewed activity continue? To find out, we turn to Mike Garcia, professor of ge
Russian actors may have run an online disinformation campaign during the 2016 US presidential elections, but they likely learned their tactics from Americans. As part of our investigation, PBS NewsHour series producer Cameron Hickey tracked dow
Russian actors may have run an online disinformation campaign during the 2016 US presidential elections, but they likely learned their tactics from Americans. As part of our investigation, PBS NewsHour series producer Cameron Hickey tracked dow
Top US intelligence agencies agree that Russia meddled in the 2016 US Presidential election using an organized campaign of online trolling and misinformation. The details of exactly how are harder to uncover. Jonathan Albright, data journalist
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has placed Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook at the center of the data privacy debate. But is Facebook’s ad-driven business model fundamentally incompatible with protecting users’ personal data? And, if so, what can b
The uncontained engine failure of Southwest flight 1380 reminds us once again that commercial aviation is a business that does not always put safety first - and regulators seem reluctant to change that. Jennifer Riordan’s death could have been
Long before Facebook, Twitter or even Google existed, the fact checking website was running down the half-truths, misinformation and outright lies that ricochet across the Internet. Today it remains a widely respected clearinghouse o
How did the internet become a tangled web of misinformation? Miles speaks to danah boyd, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, founder of Data & Society, and Visiting Professor at New York University. boyd offers insight into the history
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