show episodes
 
Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
 
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show series
 
Economic Sociology (MONEY/FREAKONOMICS) with Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman and Steven Levitt Choices! Trade-offs! Money! And how much should stimulus checks be? Don’t be scared by the term “economics,” especially since it doesn’t end in -ology. This 2-part Economic Sociology bonanza addresses the behavior that motivates the fiscal systems of the world, …
 
A LOST EPISODE! Three years in the making, this interview features vials of vile creatures, worm drama, febrile hallucinations, spooning, and unfortunate snacks. It has waited a long time to meet you, so let’s get weird, take a trip back to summer of 2017 -- before Ologies existed -- and unearth one of the very first, never-before-heard interviews.…
 
RATS: They love pizza. They invade taquerias at midnight. They scurry. They cuddle. They outsmart. They inspire movies that inspire musicals. Proving that not just woodsy megafauna can be charismatic, rats have lives we would never suspect. Globally-lauded Urban Rodentologist Dr. Robert Corrigan, or Bobby if you like, has been studying these animal…
 
The Coronasode we’ve been waiting for! Vaccines. Finally. But what does this mean? As a Vaccine Infodemiologist and science communication lead for The COVID Tracking Project, Jessica Malaty Rivera specializes in infectious disease epidemics and the surge of misinformation that accompanies them. The very first human trials of the COVID-19 vaccine oc…
 
Part 2 of a very special duo! The fresh catch-up interview to learn what the world’s most charming and enthusiastic tree expert, Casey Clapp, has been up to since his 2018 episode aired. He’s been busy. Listen to hear if he’s gotten more pine cone tattoos, what other trees he hates, which ones he gives 10/10, musical blunders, winter pagan traditio…
 
Part 1 of a very special duo: Do trees have feelings? How do they talk? How old can they get? Are there any tree stories that will make me cry? Spoiler: YES. This episode aired in May 2018 and is worth a revisit, especially since Part 2 is a brand new 2020 interview with possibly the world's most enthusiastic tree expert, J. Casey Clapp. Learn abou…
 
This specific episode was cited in The New Yorker this week, so we’re giving it an encore refresh with bonus material and a 2020 update from Dr. Esposito herself! Scorpions: the victims of undue shade. If you've ever wanted to impress a date with weird facts THIS IS THE EPISODE FOR YOU. A handful of people on planet Earth have a PhD in scorpions an…
 
A long snout. Hundreds of teeth. Scales that could slice you. What is a gar and should we fear it? Should we hug it? One of the world’s most passionate and knowledgeable experts on this ancient, mysterious fish joins to make you fall in love with these slimy longbois. Dr. Solomon David is affable, charming, enthusiastic and absolutely shameless whe…
 
Gaze into the cosmos and wonder at broken satellites, retired rockets and shattered contraptions. Archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman is a leading expert on orbital debris and chats about what’s up there, how it got there, and how to get it down. Strap in to hear about everything from Sputnik to sports cars, flaming garbage bonking us, alien clutter, co…
 
Alligators, crocodiles and … a shut-down nuclear weapons plant? The excitement never ends when you’re Laura Kojima, an Alligator Ecotoxicologist. A longtime reptile cheerleader, Laura has passion to match some truly bananas stories about field work, tail smacks, gator jaws, mercury levels, swamp boats, and crocodilian evolution, overbites, and loco…
 
Gratitude: what’s the deal? Does it really make us happier? Even when the world seems terrible? Or is being appreciative a bunch of hokey flim-flam? Author Neil Pasricha started a blog of 1000 Awesome Things in 2008 and it led him down rabbit holes looking into the science of gratitude and how to better survive some really tough times. Learn about …
 
Sexy apes: you’re one of them. And Biological Anthropologist Dr. Lara Durgavich joins to chat about everything from monogamy to PMS, male birth control pills, freezers of orangutan urine, imposter syndrome and testosterone, how the Pope makes you buy more tampons, which species has better sex, pancakes vs. boners, and boobs as a life preserver. It’…
 
Fashion! Trends! Not really! This lively chat with Riley Kucheran, an Assistant Professor of Design Leadership at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion, covers everything from the history of industrialized clothing manufacture to current Indigenous designers he loves, political statements through beadwork, Indigenous art markets, and a dissection …
 
BILL NYE. That’s right. Bill Freakin’ Nye sits down to get grilled by your Dadward (that’s me, Alie) all about Pedagogology, the art and science of science communication. How did the modern day hype man of facts and wonder get his start? What does he love about his job? What are the most important elements of spreading knowledge? WHICH TIE IS HIS F…
 
HERE IS SOME SAFE, COZY COMFORT: a platter of pumpkins. We have a new episode up this week: Desairology (MORTUARY MAKE-UP) but if that's toooo spooky: This 2019 Cucurbitology episode is an Ologies all-time favorite. Also? It helped launch sweet, sweet Anne Copeland’s book to the top of the seasonal cookbook charts last year. “Pumpkin, Pumpkin!” is …
 
What happens when you die? Cosmically, no one knows. But cosmetically, Desairologist Monica Torress knows everything. This friendly Phoenix funeral director shares her secrets for giving the dearly departed the greatest glam on their “special day.” She chats practical preservation techniques, spooky questions, her influences, the newest make-up lin…
 
Anthropodermic bibliopegy is a long, fancy way of saying “HUMAN SKIN BOOKS” and the study of confirming or debunking them is … Anthropodermic Biocodicology. For this skin-crawling, history-trawling Spooktober episode, we chat with the absolutely wonderful and charming medical librarian and expert of books bound in human skin, Megan Rosenbloom. Also…
 
Spooktober continues with … CrEePy cRawLies. And dark woods and solo hiking and Forest Entomologist Dr. Kristen Wickert a.k.a. KayDubs the Hiking Scientist. We chat about everything from Moth Man to chubby caterpillars to spiderwebs to fungus. She tells us how to look for big beautiful moths, what footwear is best for hitting the trail, which bugs …
 
To kick off SpooOoktober, we’re looking at huge birds that DEVOUR DEATH: the giant, majestic and critically endangered California condor. Condorologist Dr. Jonathan C. Hall’s work helps monitor populations, tracks flight data, and keeps tabs on how well this small population is rebounding after going extinct in the wild in 1987. We chat carcasses, …
 
If you need fuel to get excited about voting: here it is. How low is U.S. voter turnout? And why? Are mail-in ballots safe? Should you vote early? How has voter suppression worked in the past -- and the present -- to skew elections? Oooh, buckle up as the wonderful Dr. Mindy Romero, a Political Sociologist and founding director of USC’s Center for …
 
Thunder and lightning: very, very frighteningly interesting! Wildfire researcher and lightning scientist Chris Giesige answers questions about thunderclaps and lightning flashes in a laid back way that will put him at the top of your Fulminologist list. He explains everything from clouds to positive and negative charges, volcanic lightning, fire to…
 
Mammals: you’re one. Your dog is one. So are giant rats. What do we have in common? Nipples. The incredible Southern Illinois University professor, researcher, science communicator and mammalogist Dr. Danielle N. Lee joins to chat about everything from nature’s parenting styles to hairy bellies, milk glands, nip counts, how a meteor paved the way f…
 
The spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists named Rhiannon continues in the thrilling conclusion with Part 2. Buckle up for listener questions addressing everything from social structure to hunting to Chronic Wasting Disease to how *not* to hit a deer with your car. Also the weirdest animal fact Alie has ever learned in the history o…
 
What IS a deer? And an elk? And a moose? And a Rhiannon? One thing they all have in common: cervidology. Buckle up for some spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists. They dish all about Welsh mythology and their field trips into the remote, gorgeous wilderness. They’ll explain what to do if you find a fawn, if you should feed backyard…
 
Tasmanian devils! Quolls! Carnivores! Wait … what is a quoll? In what will become an instant-favorite new episode, Dasyurologist and Australian critter scientist Em Dale joins from Down-Down Under to discuss their work at Oxford University studying the ecology of misunderstood boofy bush babes. Alie learns about everything from the Tasmanian landsc…
 
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