science podcast #117

Climate Change in the Himalayas, Right-handed Neanderthals

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This week: Indigenous people in the Himalayas are already feeling the impacts of climate change. Neanderthals were right-handed like us, says a new study. We learn about the range of scientific tools used to identify the body of Osama Bin Laden. Also, geographer Thomas Gillespie talks about his 2009 attempt to predict Bin Laden’s whereabouts using ecological tools. Gillespie is also taking your questions in our latest Science Forum discussion.


Bin Laden’s DNA Analysis: Anchor Lisa Mullins talks to Scientific American editor Christine Gorman about the range of biometric tools used to identify the body of Osama Bin Laden.
How Biometrics Helped Identify the Master Terrorist.
Osama Bin Laden: The Science of his End.

Predicting Bin Laden’s Whereabouts: Two years ago, UCLA geographer Thomas Gillespie led a study that used scientific methods that tried to predict the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. Turns out he wasn’t that far off. Gillespie employed theories normally used by scientists to predict the distribution of endangered species. Can these theories be applied to tracking other terrorists? Ask Gillespie. He’s the guest in our latest Science Forum discussion. Add your thoughts and questions to the conversation.
More about Gillespie’s 2009 study in The World Science Podcast no. 2.

Elsa’s Favorite Science Stories:

  • Climate Change in Himalayan Villages: Indigenous perceptions of climate change–including warming temperatures, drying water supplies and diminishing snow–are consistent with scientific measurements in the Himalayas and elsewhere. Local knowledge may help scientists understand how climate change affects specific geographic regions, even where formal data are scarce.
    The study.
    BBC coverage.
    Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Neanderthals Were Right-Handed: Ancient humans were just as predominantly right handed as we are, suggests a study of fossil teeth. (Yes, teeth!) Researchers wonder if handedness was linked to language ability among Neanderthals, as it is in modern humans.
    The study.
    LiveScience coverage.
    More on handedness and language.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2011 at 5:06 PM and is filed under Science Podcast. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.



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