Weird Science

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Beth Shapiro on Zimov's Pleistocene Park in Siberia

Ancient DNA researcher Beth Shapiro discusses Sergey Zimov's Pleistocene Park in Siberia. Pleistocene Park is an experiment to reproduce the ecosystem of the last ice age and prove that humans not climate change made the Mammoth extinct. Zimov is preparing a habitat in anticipation of a succesful mammoth clone.

Philip Zimbardo Explains the Psychology of Time

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo describes how different time orientations affect psychological behavior.

Drawing from an analysis of "present hedonism," he explains the psychology of DARE, casinos, and drug addiction.

SETI's Seth Shostak: Broadcast Google Into Deep Space

Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, recalls his idea to broadcast Google's servers into outer space as a means of making contact with extraterrestrials. "If you have a lot of material, it becomes easier to figure out the code," says Shostak.

Sexual Aggression & Risk Taking: Male Humans Like Monkeys

Professor Malcolm Potts, coauthor of Sex & War, compares the biological differences exhibited in the risk taking behavior of male chimpanzees and humans.

Mary Roach: Are Orgasms the Solution to Infertility?

Author Mary Roach discusses a few unsolved mysteries in the field of sex research, including the location of the clitoris in relation to a woman's ability to orgasm and the role orgasm may play in fertility.

As an example, she talks about evidence involving sexually aroused sows and artificial insemination.

Jonah Lehrer: A Look at Your Brain When Epiphany Strikes

Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Choose, argues one of the keys to good decision-making is metacognition.

"We're naturally metacoginitive. We naturally think about thinking," he says.

Darwin Discovers Giant Armadillos and Ground Sloths

California Academy of Sciences curator Gary Williams reports on Darwin's discovery of the giant ground sloth (Mylodon Darwinii) giant armadillos (Glyptodont), and the profound influence of South America on Darwin's theories.

The Lesser of Two Evils: Parasites Have Medical Potential

Jim McKerrow, Director of the Sandler Center for Basic Research in Parasitic Diseases, discusses research on the potential medical benefits of parasites.

He explains how studying the effects of parasitic infections could cure ailments like asthma and Crohn's disease.

Steven Johnson: Coffee Fueled the Age of Enlightenment

Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air, links the rise of coffee house culture to the Age of Enlightenment because, before coffee replaced beer as the daytime drink of choice, "the entire culture basically was drunk all day long."

As a result, he says "the coffee house was a great hub of Enlightenment-era culture."

series Date


October 1, 2012 11:38 AM -
October 1, 2012 11:38 AM

About this series


In exploring the limits of man's animal nature, scientists sometimes stumble upon the unbelievably bizarre. From the psychology of time to the physiology of an orgasm, this series features scientists who test the boundaries of our beliefs and the basis for our being.

Did coffee fuel the enlightenment? Can parasites heal? Will infertility be solved through orgasms? Watch to find out.