Science and Technology

(Left to Right) Steve talks with Jenny Kehl and Dan Egan.

Journalist Dan Egan and political economist Jenny Kehl talk Steve Paulson through the finer points of the politics of water - from debates over water diversion to the struggle to keep the Great Lakes uncontaminated.More

The forest organism

Suzanne Simard is a forest ecologist who's revolutionizing our understanding of trees. She has discovered that trees use underground networks to communicate and cooperate with each other. It turns out that whole forests can exist as a superorganism.More

That Tree in April 2017

Mark Hirsch took 365 photos — one a day for a year — of a single Bur oak tree. The project changed his life.More

It's one thing to imagine the intelligence of a forest, but could you experience it? The Japanese concept of "forest bathing" might help. Forest guide Amos Clifford is a former Zen teacher who's one of the world's experts on forest bathing.More

General Sherman, AKA Karl Marx

There's a famous sequoia named General Sherman that's the biggest tree on the planet. It has its own distinctive history linked to the Civil War general and a radical anarchist group. Cultural historian Daegan Miller tells this fascinating story.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental.” And though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

Getting a good night's sleep is hard for a lot of people, but imagine trying to drift off when you have terrifying hallucinations.More

Kerepunu women at the marketplace of Kalo, British New Guinea, 1885

A conversation with renowned biologist Jared Diamond, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Guns, Germs and Steel.” His new book is “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?”More

You'd never think a book about chopping and burning wood would turn into a runaway bestseller, but Lars Mytting's "Norwegian Wood" is a publishing sensation in Scandinavia. Lars gathers the collected wisdom on everything from how to build a smokeless fire to the art of choosing a husband based on his wood pile.More

Botanist Robin Kimmerer describes her field experiments as like interviewing a plant. She believes nature is full of living beings - rocks and water as well as plants and animals. As both a Ph.D biologist and a member of the Potawatomi Naiton, she's trying to reconcile modern science with the wisdom of her Native elders.More

Wade Davis has been called the Indiana Jones of anthropology. He's traveled deep into the Amazon rain forest to meet shamans; he's investigated Haitian zombies; he's climbed high into the Tibetan mountains to photograph snow leopards. He says indigenous people have a fundamentally different way of seeing the world than we do in modern society.More

Africa needs to reclaim its history and its technology, says Clapperton Mavhunga, a native of Zimbabwe who's a professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. He says the traditional hunt is a great example of how Africans have passed on generations of knowledge.More

Octopus

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith says the octopus is "probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” It has no bones and most of its neurons are in its arms — not its brain. Can we ever fathom octopus consciousness?More

Gorilla

Elena Passarello created “Koko” from the one-thousand word vocabulary of a gorilla who uses sign language. Her book is "Animals Strike Curious Poses."More

Starling

Elena Passarello’s latest book, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” is a journey through stories of the wild ones: the mammoths, spiders, birds and primates that have left their marks on our society. To the Best of Our Knowledge host Anne Strainchamps talked with Passarello about the “animal gaze” and the legacy of Mozart’s starling, among other animal tales.More

Gorilla

What separates your mind from an animal's? It's a question we've all asked, but renowned primatologist Frans de Waal says there's no point trying to rank who's smarter or dumber in the animal world. In fact, he believes there's no clear dividing line between humans and the rest of the animal world.More

Saola

Finding the horns of a saola — a large ox-like mammal on the Laos-Vietnam border — was one of the great biological discoveries of the...More

Badger

What's it like to be a badger? British naturalist Charles Foster wanted to know, so he dug a burrow and lived in the darkness, eating worms. Yup, it was kind of disgusting, but he says the experience brought him closer to the wildness within himself.More

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