From tiny cowries to giant clams, seashells have gripped human imaginations since time immemorial. In her magnificent new book, The Sound of the Sea, journalist Cynthia Barnett tells the epic history of humanity’s interactions with shells and the soft-bodied animals who make them. These stories of how we have treasured, traded, plundered, and coveted shells reveal much about who we are and who we’ve been, both good and bad. Barnett’s deep research ranges from the awe-inspiring “great cities of shell” of the Calusa people in Florida, to the use of cowrie shells as currency in the Atlantic slave trade, to the decimation of mollusk populations due to climate change and over-harvesting. In this episode, we speak with Barnett about what she describes as our “world of shell,” what shells can tell us about our past, how they have shaped our present, and how the future of shells and their animal makers is tied to our own.
In “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction,” science journalist Michelle Nijhuis chronicles the history of the wildlife conservation movement through the stories of the extraordinary people — both legendary experts and passionate amateurs — who shaped its evolution and expanding ambitions. Nijhuis introduces us to the Swedish scientists who devised the system of naming and grouping species that endures today, the rebel taxidermist who led the fight to save the American bison from extinction, the New York City socialite who demanded that the Audubon Society stop ignoring the gunning down of game birds by sportsmen, and more. These inspiring, dogged, and often flawed characters transformed both the ecological communities and ideas that we inherited. In this episode, we speak with Nijhuis about what we can learn from the stories of conservationists and their efforts to protect the wild animals that they loved, and the possibilities within a more equitable, inclusive fight to defend life.
Are plants intelligent? Can they think? Can they hear, see, feel, smell and taste? Throughout history, most Western philosophers and scientists answered those questions with a resounding “no.” Plants have long been treated as passive, inanimate objects that form the backdrop to our active lives, rather than highly sensitive organisms with intelligence and agency of their own. But on the cutting edge of modern science, this orthodoxy is being questioned by a group of daring and imaginative scientists — including our guest, Monica Gagliano — who think that plants are radically more sophisticated and sensitive than we’ve been giving them credit for. Gagliano pioneered the field of “plant bioacoustics,” the study of sounds produced by and affecting plants. The results of her groundbreaking experiments suggest that plants may perceive, solve problems, remember, and learn via mechanisms that differ from our own. In this episode, we speak with Gagliano about the profound implications of her discoveries and how listening to plants changed her understanding of the world.
Nonhuman beings, and the passionate people who study them, animate Ed Yong’s vast, award-winning and kaleidoscopically varied body of journalism. His vivid stories explore the lives of scientists, the origins of life, social policy, whale hearts, the sixth extinction, the individuals we lose when a species vanishes or populations shrink, and the communities of tiny microbial beings that make us ourselves. To be at all, Yong demonstrates, is to be in partnership with other animals. In this episode, we speak with Yong about the wonders and burdens of telling stories about the animal world.
Ever wonder what it takes to produce an award-winning food podcast? At a live event with us, Gastropod co-hosts Cynthia Graber & Nicola Twilley share about their fascinating journey using science and history to tell stories about food. In the conversation, the two cover everything from the twists and turns of some of their episodes, to the place of their podcast in food media (spoiler: what does Gastropod have in common with a frozen pizza documentary?). Plus, notes on communicating science well, and an audience Q&A with tips for aspiring food writers.
To keep up with Cynthia & Nicola’s work, subscribe to Gastropod on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow @gastropodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Their latest episode on the ghost foods of generations past will leave you hungry for more!
Chewing the Fat is a podcast from the Yale Sustainable Food Program. We cover people making change in the complex world of food and agriculture. We’re home to brilliant minds: activists, academics, chefs, entrepreneurs, farmers, journalists, policymakers, and scientists (to name a few!). Taken together, their work represents a reimagining of mainstream food movements, challenging myths and tropes as well as inspiring new ways of collaborating.
The podcast is an aural accompaniment to our on-campus Chewing the Fat speaker series, aiming to broaden our content beyond New Haven. Episodes are released every two weeks, featuring interviews, storytelling and more.
On the farm, in the classroom, and around the world, the Yale Sustainable Food Program (YSFP) grows food-literate leaders. We create opportunities for students to experience food, agriculture, and sustainability as integral parts of their education and everyday lives. For more information, please visit sustainablefood.yale.edu.
Yale Professor Mary Evelyn Tucker addresses the urgent threat of climate change, how the fields of religion and science can unite to save the planet, and the importance of the US staying in the Paris Agreement.
In this trailer, Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale, introduces the Yale Environmental Dialogue, a new podcast from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies that will explore solutions to a sustainable future. In each episode, leading environmental thinkers from a range of disciplines, sectors, and political perspectives will share their ideas for addressing critical environmental challenges, and lead a discussion on these issues with colleagues and other experts on the likelihood of these ideas and innovations achieving meaningful change.
YJBM and the Yale Science Diplomats (YSD) present a podcast version of our recent Science @ Brewery live event. For
more information on YJBM and our podcast, please visit medicine.yale.edu/yjbm. For
more information on YSD, please visit their website, https://sciencediplomats.sites.yale.edu/,
or check them out on Facebook.
-Investigation of fungi circadian rhythms in space: Sulzman FM, et al. Neurospora circadian rhythms in space: a reexamination of the endogenous-exogenous question. Science. 1984 Jul 13;225:232-4
-A 2008 interview with Michel Siffre: http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/30/foer.php
– Hadza chronotype study: Samson DR, et al. Chronotype variation drives night-time sentinel-like behaviour in hunter-gatherers. Proc Biol Sci. 2017;284(1858):20170967. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0967
– Chronotype GWAS: Jones, S. E., et al. (2019). “Genome-wide association analyses of chronotype in 697,828 individuals provides insights into circadian rhythms.” Nat Commun 10(1): 343.
– General thoughts on why we sleep and the 4 hypotheses from: Siegel, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2009; Russel Foster, TED Global. 2013; Matthew Walker. Why We Sleep. 2017.
– Definition of sleep from: Rasch and Born, Physiol Rev. 2013
– Jellyfish study: Nath et al., 2017, Current Biology 27, 2984–2990
– Human asymmetrical sleep study: Tamaki et. al, Current Biology, 2016.
– NPR “The Haunting Effects of Going Days Without Sleep”
– Coren S. “Sleep Deprivation, Psychosis, and Mental Efficiency.” (1998) Psychiatric Times, 15:3
– Everson CA, Bergmann BM, & Rechtschaffen A. “Sleep Deprivation in the Rat: II. Methodology.” (1989) Sleep. 12(1):5-12.
– Everson CA, Bergmann BM, & Rechtschaffen A. “Sleep Deprivation in the Rat: III. Total Sleep Deprivation.” (1989) Sleep. 12(1):13-21
– Fitzgerald, CT et al. “Teen sleep and suicidality: results from the youth risk behavior surveys of 2007 and 2009.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine vol. 7,4 (2011): 351-6. doi:10.5664/JCSM.1188
– Beccuti, G, & Pannain, S. (2011). Sleep and obesity. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(4), 402–412. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
– Bryant et al. (2004). “Sick and tired: Does sleep have a vital role in the immune system?” Nat Rev Immunol. 4(6):457-67. doi:10.1038/nri1369
– Perils et al. (2016) “Suicide and sleep: Is it a bad thing to be awake when reason sleeps?” Sleep Med Rev. 29:101-7. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2015.10.003
– Llorens, et al. (2017) “Fatal Familial Insomnia: Clinical Aspects and Molecular Alterations.” Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 17(4):30. doi:10.1007/s11910-017-0743-0
– The Better Sleep Council
Philosopher and musician David Rothenberg has spent decades collecting and studying the calls of birds and whales. In the early 2000s, he began playing along with them, taking his clarinet and saxophone to some of the furthest corners of the planet. The result is a new form of music that invites us to question where art ends and science begins. We speak with David about his unorthodox project, Darwin’s theory of sexual selection, and what it’s like to accompany the sounds and songs of beings who may vanish from the earth.
YJBM editors Kartiga and Huaqi interview Dr. Robert Hahn, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about self-motivated education. For more information about YJBM or to read our latest issues, visit medicine.yale.edu/yjbm