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
 
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…
 
With some fresh updates, ocean and policy expert Dr. Ayana Johnson guests in an encore presentation of a fan favorite episode. Hear updates from her, learn about her new podcast “How to Save a Planet,” and what she’s been up to since this episode originally aired in 2018. Are plastic straws really that bad? What's the oldest message in a bottle? An…
 
Spears! Sharp rocks! Ancient blades, bows and arrows and ...atlatls? What’s an atlatl? Experimental Archaeologist and decades-long ancient tool enthusiast Angelo Robledo is as passionate as an ologist can get. You likely have never heard of an atlatl, but by the end of the episode you’ll be carving one out of old lumber. Also covered: early axes, I…
 
Jellyfish stings: what are they and why do they hurt? And who studies them? Toxinologist Anna Klompen, that’s who. Speaking from her lab in Kansas, surrounded by jellies, the self-described professional jellyfish nerd invites us into her scientific Polyp Parlor to chat about barbs, neurotoxins, quick sting fixes, panty hose, the deadliest jellies, …
 
What even *is* a jellyfish?! How do they eat? What are they made of? Can we eat them? Your new favorite Medusologist, Dr. Rebecca Helm, is a ray of human sunshine in the depths of the deep sea. Truly one of the finest biology conversations you may ever hear. Get ready for PacMan ghosts, pet jellyfish, the biggest and smallest jellies, new band name…
 
Update! This episode posted on Tuesday per usual, then somehow un-published itself! Weird. Harrumph! It’s been a rough week for ol' Dadward VonPodcast, including a technical difficulty that left her behind, so she asked listeners if they would rather have a bizzaro minisode that involved a 30-40 minute rant about raw tomatoes or an AMA, and guess w…
 
Lights! Cameras! Arachnids! And lizards and bees and beetles. Macro photography is like magic: curved glass gives an entirely new take on the world, from dust on a cricket’s brow to a curious mantid stare to the elegant symmetry of spider whiskers. Joseph Saunders is an Oklahoma-based wildlife photographer whose larger-than-life photos of bugs and …
 
Yes, there is an -ology for that. Dr. Robert Proctor is a Stanford professor of the History of Science and co-edited the book “Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance,” having coined the word 30 years ago. We chat about everything from the true evils of tobacco marketing, to the sugar lobby, to racial injustice, horse vision, the psychology …
 
An instant classic. You’ll listen on repeat as world-renowned author, botanist, Indigenous ecology professor and bryologist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about her passion for moss. Cozy up for the most beautifully doled-out information about hidden worlds, overlooked mysteries, botanical drama, forests in miniature, Native peoples’ uses for moss a…
 
The wonderful neuroscientist and endocrinology researcher Dr. Daniel Pfau is back for Part 2 to answer listener mail about how hormones affect our moods, the variation of gender expression, queer lizards, how a strict gender binary is harmful to entire populations, hormone replacement therapy, hormones in sports, gender dysphoria, additional info o…
 
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