NHMLA Talks | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

A monthly Science, Medicine and Society podcast
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If you could ask curators about their strangest or most valued artifacts, what would they divulge? Join science correspondent and host of Ologies podcast, Alie Ward as she asks Museum research specialists about their collections and discovers details hidden in plain sight. Each month features a different expert to uncover the big mysteries, strange oddities, and untold stories from NHM.
The MDs still have the remedies, but self-monitoring through medical apps is putting each of us in sync with our own bodies. And our own bodies can now guide doctors to curing what ails us, thanks to diagnostic genetic profiling, and to fixing us before we can get sick, with tools like CRISPR. Our panel discusses redefining health, medicine, and longevity, treatment vs. prevention, how we use our genetic profiles for future healthcare and treatments, and what the science of vaccine and disease prevention may look like in the future.
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) celebrates the launch of Corinne Heyning Laverty’s new book, North America's Galapagos: The Historic Channel Islands Biological Survey. This recording is an introduction by author Corinne Heyning Laverty of her book, followed by a conversation with NHMLAC President, Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga.
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) celebrates the launch of Corinne Heyning Laverty’s new book, North America's Galapagos: The Historic Channel Islands Biological Survey. This recording is an introduction by author Corinne Heyning Laverty of her book, followed by a conversation with NHMLAC President, Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga.
About 15 million years ago, Los Angeles was at the bottom of the ocean. Climate change means land that’s been high and dry for millennia is getting inundated by water again. What do terms like “500-year flood” mean when we have one every ten years? And what can engineering do to make Southern California’s new floodplains survivable?
About 15 million years ago, Los Angeles was at the bottom of the ocean. Climate change means land that’s been high and dry for millennia is getting inundated by water again. What do terms like “500-year flood” mean when we have one every ten years? And what can engineering do to make Southern California’s new floodplains survivable?
The amount of water on Earth hasn’t changed appreciably since Caesar and Cleopatra took a little cruise on the Nile. But the hydrologic cycle has changed where that water goes – and we are heading up a very dry creek. California has always teetered on the edge of drought, but hereafter, how we eat, drink, and even survive depends more than ever on the ingenuity of science and human willingness to suck it up by not sucking down so much water.
In Los Angeles, women muralists create work that reflects their lives, lived experiences, and the diversity of their audiences. This discussion explores how women artists shape the cultural production of the city while paving the way for more unique stories, perspectives, and discussions. Join muralists Barbara Carrasco, Noni Olabisi, and Kristy Sandoval for a conversation with historian Denise Sandoval as they talk candidly about their work in L.A.
In the past, fires often renewed and even enriched California, like a mythical phoenix. But California feels only menaced and exhausted by them now. How have humans changed fire patterns? How will fire change our everyday lives, and what does standing up to fire’s “new abnormal” mean? Can science tell us where and how we fight, and when we just get out of fire’s way?
Join us for a discussion around the special exhibition “That was then. This is now. History of PostNatural Selection”. Reflect on the profound questions raised by the interplay between culture, nature, biotechnology, art, and science in a dynamic discussion with Richard Pell, Director of the Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh; Matt Dean, Associate Professor of Molecular and Computational Biology at USC; and Amy Gusick, Associate Curator for Archaeology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Karen Liebowitz (USC Roski School of Art and Design) with contributions from Matt Dean (Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife), in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Center for PostNatural History. Co-sponsored by the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study and USC's The Bridge Art + Science Alliance (BASA).
L.A.’s first car hit the street 120 years ago, and through the smog and spaghetti-bowl freeways, L.A. is renowned for its car culture (and traffic). But we're starting to shift gears around here. We flirt with electric cars, pile into ride shares, trick out our bicycles, and hop aboard the Expo Line. In a city built for internal combustion, are we changing the rules of the road?
It's the City of Angels, but what kind of city is it? It's a place that, in just a handful of generations, grew from adobes and dirt roads to an architectural crazy-quilt built not on a human scale but on the scale of the Model T and the Humvee. In its third century, L.A. tries to reverse-engineer itself to become livable, walkable, and accessible. Can it be done? What would that L.A. be like, to work in and live in?
Author Kirk Wallace Johnson in conversation with NHMLA President Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga about The Feather Thief – A rollicking true-crime adventure about a young American that stole hundreds of rare bird specimens from the British Natural History Museum in Tring. His book is a thought-provoking exploration on the debt we owe institutions that house precious collections and the human drive to possess natural beauty.
To say that oil was "discovered" in Los Angeles in 1892, or even by the Spaniards in 1769, is absolutely absurd. That ignores the fact that the Gabrieleno/Tongva knew about the stuff for centuries. It was smelly, and if you wandered into the gleaming tarry depths at night, you could be a goner. But it did a dandy job of waterproofing reed baskets. Only in the 20th century did Yankees go drilling for it, and they found it in such quantities that backyard oil pumps were about as common as backyard orange groves. Oil paid the bills for so much of what L.A. became—including the car capital of the world. What geology put it here, what history did it make, and how do we now live with its consequences?
The same year L.A. outlawed bullfighting, in 1860, it played its first baseball game. Now we’re one of the only three-peat Olympic host cities, and from too few pro teams, we’ve gone to two of each for football, basketball, and baseball. Yet we’ve put our own stamp on sports, popularizing camel races at Exposition Park, chariot races in Pasadena, and beach volleyball in Santa Monica. And we’re the home of the Zamboni. What will the Olympics, and Los Angeles in general, look like in 2028 Sportsville USA?
On the 20th anniversary of Beverly Daniel Tatum’s 1997 book on the complexity of race relations—Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?—this landmark publication remains poignant and relevant in our current social climate.
The nation’s first air show went up, up and away in LA before World War I, and here, the space shuttle made its last trip—on the ground. LA broke the sound barrier, sent men to the moon and a spacecraft to Saturn. This is Space City, from the rudimentary missiles in the arroyos of JPL to the aircraft factories and technology that whacked the Nazis. Now the past is prologue, as the same SoCal ingenuity launches Space X satellites, and missions to Mars. It’s out of this world!
Join world traveler and anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak, The Tattoo Hunter, as he shares his ongoing journey to understand how tattoos "make" the people who wear them. Lars Krutak's lecture explores these ancient traditions, revealing how tattooing exposed individual desires and fears as well as cultural values and ancestral ties that were written on the body in ink. As a visual language of the skin, Krutak demonstrates that tattoos have much to say about being human.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Natural History Museum
Podcast Status
Idle
Started
Jan 10th, 2009
Latest Episode
Mar 7th, 2020
Release Period
Monthly
Episodes
79
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No
Language
English

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