science podcast #159

The Science of Predicting Earthquakes, My Favorite 2012 Stories

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This Week: In this episode, the last episode for 2012 we will hear both old and new stories. A conversation with British seismologist Roger Musson about his new book, ‘The Million Death Quake: The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disaster.’ And a collection of my favorite stories from 2012: the science of earworms, accents in goats and changes in a historic hospital in Africa. Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful 2013!

‘The Million Death Quake’: Earthquakes have been in the news a lot lately. The 2010 Haiti quake, the temblor in Chile the same year, and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan are among those that come to mind. Some of these quakes have caused enormous destruction and loss of life. Others haven’t. So what besides the strength of a quake determines how much damage an earthquake can cause? And are scientists getting closer to predicting where and when the next one will strike? Those are some of the questions addressed in the new book, The Million Death Quake: The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disasters. I speak with the author of the book, British seismologist Roger Musson.

My Favorite Stories in 2012

  • Tunes That Get Stuck in Your Head: How often does a tune intrude on your thoughts and plays and replays in never-ending loops? Scientists call these intrusive musical thoughts “ear worms.” I looked into the science behind the phenomenon back in February, 2012 and it is so far one of my favorite stories of the year.
    Read my blog post about earworms. It has more science than I got to include in my story.
    Want to know about earworms that plague our listeners? Click here and scroll to the bottom.
  • It’s True, Goats Have Accents Too: A 2012 study by British scientists shows that baby goats develop different “accents” depending on the groups they associate with.
  • Historic Albert Schweitzer Hospital Adapts to New Africa: One of the world’s most storied charitable institutions confronts a difficult question: How do you achieve lasting good in Africa? After a century spent healing the sick, it has spent the past year healing itself.


One Response to “The Science of Predicting Earthquakes, My Favorite 2012 Stories”

  1. Hi, interesting article about predicting earthquakes. Hope they get that science nailed down. I live on the west coast of Canada and we have had 3 minor quakes in about 3 weeks. It is predicted that we will be having a big one soon. Yikes!

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