Quirks and Quarks is the CBC’s science show, a hackneyed beast with a tendency towards covering dinosaurs, animal sex, and the occasional environmental hot potato. It’s popular science journalism but not science news – it can take weeks before a science story appears in their line-up, although they were among the first to talk about the weirdness of ducks’ reproductive organs.
Whatever complaints I might have about their programming, they get it right when it comes to putting their shows online. Live broadcast, archived shows, podcast, it’s all there for download – in mp3 and ogg format, no less – and provides off-site links to researchers’ websites and publications.
Other shows on Canada’s public broadcaster should have open access programming like this, and not just because it lets me link to the following show, broadcast today but already archived on their website:
Neuroscience and the Law has interviews with Marc Hauser on moral decisions and Frank Tong on ‘mind reading’ applications which might detect lies and object recognition. These are bracketed by comments from law and biology professor Owen Jones and Canadian neuroscientist Lesley Fellows.
Despite the corny ‘you are the jury’ presentation, this series of interviews has an advantage over the New York Times’ article, Brain on the Stand: the researchers have more time to talk about their work and its implications. It also helps that the host, Bob McDonald, is an excellent interviewer and can walk a general audience through complicated science.
It’s worth a listen, even if you’ve never wondered about the pronunciation of ventromedial prefrontal portex, so click through to the audio archive…