Monday, March 31, 2008

Can Bluefin tuna become extinct and other podcasts

Bluefin tuna extinction threat
A tuna weighs 300kg. Barbara Block describes how a tuna is caught, tagged and released. One tuna tagged off the United States swam for four years after being tagged. The tags were developed in Tasmania. Of the three species of bluefin tuna, the southern bluefin tuna, managed by Australia is in the worst condition. They are most severely affected by over-fishing. California has the only facility in the world where there are bluefin tuna in captivity. Feeding and providing space for such large fish presents some major challenges. Almost all the globe's bluefin tuna catch goes to Japan. It is suggested Japan's whaling activity is a way of diverting attention from the country's tuna catch.

Humans - built for long-distance running?
Daniel Lieberman is interested in what makes the human body look the way it does. His passion is running. There are features over our whole body which help us to run well. One is the toes. Short toes help running. Tendons in the leg act as springs. These evolved around 2 million year ago. The bum tenses with every stride, preventing the trunk from pitching forward. There are features in the spine, neck and head. These all make us good long-distance runners but have no use in walking. Daniel Lieberman suggests we were good hunters on the savannas of Africa.

Steven Munro challenges the endurance running model of man. He says water played a more important part in human evolution. Early humans foraged on land, in trees and in shallow water. They lived in many coastal settings and colonised inland lake basins and rivers.

Richard Lewontin: science as politics
Should scientists speak freely on issues beyond their academic competence -- or keep quiet? Richard Lewontin is a professor of genetics at Harvard and a critic of those who conjure world systems out of faint biological trends. The acquisitive habits of bower birds don't necessarily give insights into American capitalism. The same-sex behaviour of sheep doesn't tell you much about Gay Pride. But Lewontin's late friend Steven Jay Gould, also of Harvard, was often willing to tackle big issues, from religion to race. Did he go too far?

Cooking with hominids

Public policy: It's so obvious

Dr Adam Graycar is Dean and Professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. Before that he was a senior bureaucrat, as Head of the Cabinet Office in South Australia. In this talk he suggests that sometimes obvious problems could be solved if government departments would work together, instead of working in their own jurisdiction without sufficient communications with other sections.

Your irrational mind
Like it or not, you're not the beast of reason you think you are. Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist at MIT, argues that we're surprisingly and predictably irrational. Sex, freebies, expectations, placebos, price -- they all cloud our better judgment in rather sobering ways. Dan's unique research was partly inspired by a catastrophic accident which caused third degree burns to 70% of his body.

Buffy the Concept Slayer

Islam and philosophy - Tariq Ramadan

The three trillion dollar war

When he was an old man, Michael Sherbrook remembered in writing the momentous events of his youth: “All things of price were either spoiled, plucked away or defaced to the uttermost…it seemed that every person bent himself to filch and spoil what he could. Nothing was spared but the ox-houses and swincotes…”

He was talking about the destruction of Roche Abbey, but it could have been Lewes or Fountains, Glastonbury, Tintern or Walsingham, names that haunt the religious past as their ruins haunt the landscape.

These were the monasteries, suddenly and for many shockingly, destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII. But was the destruction of monastic culture in this country an overdue religious reform or the grandest of larcenies?

Muller Says European Capitalism Is `Struggling to Adapt'
Jerry Muller, a history professor at Catholic University of America, talks with Bloomberg's Tom Keene from Washington about his essay "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism," concepts of nationalism and European capitalism

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