The Unnatural World (start time: 6:58): It’s an audacious topic for a book: the planet, and audacious individuals who are working to save — actually, to remake — human civilization and our home on Earth. David Biello is the science curator at TED and a contributing editor at Scientific American. His debut book, The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age (Scribner), will be out in paperback next month. It explores how we have altered “nature” in so many ways, from burning fossil fuels and warming the oceans and atmosphere, to tearing down tropical rain forests, to killing off so many species. In this newest epoch, dubbed by many the Anthropocene, humans are not just messing things up; they are also inventing solutions, as Biello notes. Daring optimists in his book include Elon Musk and his Tesla electric cars and trucks.
Hosts: Chip Grantis, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Chip Grantis Executive Producer: Beth Bennett Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
The Universe Within (starts at 4:40) Within each and every one of us is the history of life on this planet, the planet itself and the entire universe. This is the theme of a new book “The Universe Within.” The author, Neil Shubin, is a professor of Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. Starting with what physically constitutes a human being and what makes a human life possible, Shubin surveys many domains of science to find out what we can learn about what’s out there from what’s inside of us. It’s a fantastically broad scope, bringing together the common history of Rocks, Planets and People. As professor Shubin explains to How On Earth’s Chip Grandits, it is the very concept of this common history that binds all of these topics, which are normally found scattered throughout disparate domains of science and academia.
De-Extinction (starts at 14:15) You may think that when a species dies, it’s gone forever. But with enough motivation, scientists might be able to return some species to life. Popular science writer Carl Zimmer has written about “de-extinction” in the cover story of April’s issue of National Geographic magazine. So, is the movie Jurassic Park a good primer on de-extinction?
Hosts: Susan Moran, Jim Pullen Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender