Babbage from Economist Radio

By The Economist

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Description

Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.


Episode Date
Babbage: The next giant leap for mankind
00:22:40

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 moon mission. Is humankind about to return there? And what do the next 50 years of space exploration hold? The task of moderating a platform with over two billion active users is a daunting one. Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance, explains his plans. And the science behind the search for the reddest red yet. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jul 17, 2019
Babbage: How tech is my valley?
00:22:51

China is promoting a tech district that it hopes will be a serious contender to America’s Silicon Valley. Hal Hodson, The Economist’s technology correspondent, visits the new hub. Lord John Browne, author of “Make, Think, Imagine”, on how advancements in engineering and artificial intelligence will eventually affect civilisation. And, what do hydrogen molecules sound like? Some innovative students have developed “molecular music.” Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Music provided by Ilkley Grammar School students Sam Harris, Matthew Hodson, Joe Higgit and Edgar Langley. 

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Jul 10, 2019
Babbage: DeepMind games
00:20:57

The child chess prodigy who created a computer that outplays human grandmasters—Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, explains how games are a testing ground for algorithms and what real-world challenges he hopes to tackle with artificial intelligence. And, what can AlphaZero, the chess-playing computer, teach human players? Kenneth Cukier also speaks to the chess players Dominic Lawson, Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler about the future of machine intelligence and its interplay with human wisdom

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Jul 03, 2019
Babbage: Curing the big sea
00:19:51

Researchers hope to use disease-fighting genes found in whales to help find treatments for cancer in humans. Airliners that mix batteries and fossil fuel could dominate the skies in the future. And, are people more honest than they think they are? Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jun 27, 2019
Babbage: Facebucks
00:19:31

Facebook wants to create a global digital currency—what could possibly go wrong? Also, why billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder of Blackstone private-equity firm, is donating £150m to fund a humanities centre at Oxford University. And, what can be done to increase public trust in artificial intelligence? Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jun 19, 2019
Babbage: Space invaders
00:23:36

The business opportunities from small satellite technology are infinite: from an ‘ambulance’ which rescues malfunctioning spacecraft to devices that can measure the oil level in a tanker from space. Are we on the verge of making gene-editing technology safer? And, 50 years after man set foot on the moon, Oliver Morton, senior editor and author, predicts the future of humans’ relationship with lunar exploration. Kenn Cukier hosts

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Jun 12, 2019
Babbage: Fusing the future
00:20:03

In this week’s Babbage, Alok Jha investigates the organisations and companies trying to crack a technology that could solve all of the world’s energy problems in a stroke—nuclear fusion. From Iter, the world's largest collaborative fusion experiment, to private start-ups racing to be first, could the long-promised dream of nuclear fusion - to provide clean, limitless, carbon-free power - finally be about to come true?

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Jun 05, 2019
Babbage: Rash behaviour
00:19:25

The measles resurgence around the world has been blamed on parents refusing to vaccinate their children but is vaccinating children enough? Also, how a new glove for humans is teaching robots how to feel. And Kenneth Cukier asks Carl Benedikt Frey, economic historian, what can be learnt from the industrial revolution in today’s world of automation and robots.

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May 29, 2019
Babbage: Data to the rescue
00:24:47

Access to the right data can be as valuable in humanitarian crises as water or medical care, but it can also be dangerous. Misused or in the wrong hands, the same information can put already vulnerable people at further risk. Kenneth Cukier hosts this special edition of Babbage examining how humanitarian organisations use data and what they can learn from the profit-making tech industry. This episode was recorded live from Wilton Park, in collaboration with the United Nations OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data

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May 22, 2019
Babbage: Facing the future?
00:21:10

Legislators in San Francisco have just voted to ban the use of facial recognition—is this a victory for privacy or a setback for technology? Also, new research on how machine learning can be used to predict the likelihood of breast cancer. And Amazon's boss, Jeff Bezos, draws inspiration from science fiction in his aim to build space habitats. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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May 15, 2019
Babbage: Uber traffic
00:20:31

As Uber prepares for its public listing this week, a new study in San Francisco shows that ride-hailing companies cause major road congestion. Also, how much should smart speakers see as well as hear? And, author Douglas Rushkoff explains why he views modern technology as anti-human. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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May 08, 2019
Babbage: Net zero Britain
00:21:00

This week the Committee on Climate Change releases its anticipated recommendations for Britain to become a carbon-free economy, but will the Government take meaningful action? Also, the controversial subject of lung cancer screening. And David Spiegelhalter discusses ‘The Art of Statistics’. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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May 01, 2019
Babbage: The genetic revolution
00:21:09

Kenneth Cukier takes a look at the future of genetic engineering and what it means to be human. He speaks to leading scientists, doctors and philosophers to ask if ethics and regulations are able to keep up with the technology

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Apr 24, 2019
Babbage: Am-AI-zon
00:24:34

Amazon’s use of artificial intelligence has long outstripped Facebook and Google. Just how ingrained is AI at Amazon? Also, journalist and author David Wallace Wells explains the diminishing optimism of the climate change movement. And, how natural disasters fade from collective memory. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Apr 17, 2019
Babbage: Hypersonic Boom
00:18:09

America, China and Russia are developing long range, gliding missiles that travel at speeds greater than Mach 5. What are the threats and safeguards? Also, Dame Stephanie Shirley, the programmer who set up Britain’s first all-female software company in 1962, gives advice to women in tech today. And, how to knit a sports car with carbon fibre. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Apr 10, 2019
Babbage: Dino-more
00:20:45

A little-known paleontologist may have found the last piece of the puzzle explaining the fate of the dinosaurs: what actually happened when the giant asteroid struck the Earth. Also, Paul Davies, a renowned physicist, explains the systems of information that make up consciousness. And, why being heard in the House of Commons is not always essential to getting things done. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Apr 03, 2019
Babbage: DiagNoses
00:24:09

How scientists followed the nose of a super-smeller to identify a new test for Parkinson’s disease. Also, historian Kate Brown tells us what she uncovered from decades of researching the Chernobyl disaster. And scientists in China have found a potential solution for recharging the pacemaker. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Mar 27, 2019
Babbage: Insectageddon?
00:19:45

The insect apocalypse may not be imminent, but the decline of insect species is still a concern. And we speak to Dr Angela Gallop about her career as one of Britain’s most eminent forensic scientists. Also, when will a robot barista serve you a latte? Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Mar 20, 2019
Babbage: Pioneers of the WWW
00:20:45

Kenneth Cukier gets in the Babbage time machine and travels to 1989, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the famous memo that laid the foundations for the world wide web. Kenn speaks to some of the other key figures that influenced its invention, like Ted Nelson and Vint Cerf, and then asks what the WWW might look like in the future.

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Mar 13, 2019
Babbage: Breaking the ice
00:21:34

We have an exclusive interview with Dr Huw Griffiths on the mission to investigate a recently uncovered marine ecosystem in the Antarctic. And the author and scholar Shoshana Zuboff explains surveillance capitalism. Also, how the makers of the game Fortnite have the online platforms of Steam and Google locked in their sights. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Mar 06, 2019
Babbage: The element-hunters
00:20:00

It is 150 years since Dmitri Mendeleev discovered the periodic table, the innate order underpinning the elements. Kenneth Cukier explores how this simple grid has shaped our understanding of the universe and our place in it. In a laboratory near Moscow the search is on for element 119, but on the other side of the world in California, researchers are hesitant. Is chemistry over?

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Feb 27, 2019
Babbage: Joker AAAStronauts
00:21:00

The latest buzz from the AAAS, the largest general science meeting in the world, from The Economist’s science correspondent, Alok Jha. NASA scientists presented initial findings on how a year in space changes astronauts’ bodies. Why a good sense of humour is required for a successful mission to Mars. And can machines become scientists?

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Feb 20, 2019
Babbage: Regulating fake news
00:20:40

Tech giants face regulation on news after UK media review. Its author, Dame Frances Cairncross, tells us even the technology platforms recognise the need for change. Roger McNamee, one of Facebook’s early investors, asks if it’s now too powerful. And the award-winning inventor of GPS on how his early atomic clock just keeps getting better with age. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

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Feb 13, 2019
Babbage: A bill of data rights
00:20:36

Should individuals have rights over their data that are protected similar to human rights? We discuss the universe with Jo Dunkley of Princeton. And why the oceans are turning a different shade of blue. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Feb 06, 2019
Babbage: Ethically challenged
00:16:13

As the controversial story of the editing of the genomes of two babies in China unfolds, we ask how can science be more ethical — and how to tackle “ethics dumping”. Also, how environmental factors can influence the national security of countries affected by climate change. And we look at the phenomenon of the placebo button. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jan 30, 2019
Babbage: Droning on
00:19:20

How can new technology deal with rogue drones? And what can be learned from Dutch hospitals in the fight against superbugs. Also, the development of a simple camera that can see around corners. Tim Cross hosts

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Jan 23, 2019
Babbage: A growing conCERN
00:17:38

We discuss CERN’s latest plans for a successor to the Large Hadron Collider. Also, our healthcare editor explains how scientists hope to develop vaccines more quickly for unexpected viruses. And, how altering the genetic code of E.coli is leading to groundbreaking research on cancer drugs. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 16, 2019
Babbage: Will China dominate science?
00:16:34

In a special show, we examine China’s impressive scientific advances and question what they mean for the future of the sciences—and of China. Among the guests is the Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao, discussing China’s recent feat of landing a probe on the far side of the moon. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 09, 2019
Babbage: Success of 'disability tech'
00:13:42

In this special episode of Babbage, we discuss some of the advancements in technology that could change the lives of those living with a disability — an app that is helping those who are visually impaired. Also, how the sit-ski has benefited from research in the aerospace and automotive industries. And, can the symptoms of phantom limb syndrome be harnessed to enhance prosthetics? Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 02, 2019
Babbage: Best of 2018
00:14:21

In this festive special we look back at some of our favourite stories from 2018. Could IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction? Also, the discovery of liquid water on Mars. And, how the amphibious life of the Bajau people has led to their unique evolutionary traits. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Dec 26, 2018
Babbage: A little more conservation
00:19:43

We ask how can conservationists preserve biodiversity through new ideas. Also, what can be done to increase the number of women in the technology industry? And Hossein Derakhshan, a formerly jailed Iranian blogger, discusses whether the web is becoming more superficial. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Dec 19, 2018
Babbage: Lots in space
00:20:48

The race is on to launch satellites to connect the entire world to the internet. We talk to psychologist and geneticist Robert Plomin, about his career and his latest book. And, is the fax machine facing extinction? Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Dec 12, 2018
Babbage: Waymo to go
00:18:06

Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, launched its self-driving taxi service, but is it really a landmark for driverless vehicles? Also, a vast study seeks to understand the genetic underpinnings of ADHD. And we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Mother of all demos” computing presentation. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Dec 05, 2018
Babbage: The baby crisperer
00:19:16

A Chinese scientist has claimed to have edited the genomes of two babies using the revolutionary genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9. Also, how the production of semiconductors is becoming a new battlefield. And Kenneth Cukier asks the author, technology executive and investor Elad Gil what it takes for a startup to become a technology giant.

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Nov 28, 2018
Babbage: The dos and don'ts of data
00:18:07

In this special episode we examine the controversial gang-mapping database of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Also, a new pilot project to study how a "data trust" might increase access to information while retaining privacy. And how sharing mapping data by the big web platforms could unlock innovations for companies and society. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Nov 21, 2018
Babbage: The blame game
00:15:10

Should climate change be a matter of human rights? Also, gene drives' controversial potential to wipe out entire species of mosquitoes. And, a novel watch spring that could change the way mechanical watches are designed. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Nov 14, 2018
Babbage: Economist in space
00:23:11

Highlights from The Economist’s Space Summit in New York, including an interview with Apollo 9 astronaut Russell 'Rusty' Schweickart. Also, how to prepare for space exploration with Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at MIT. And, astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo and astronaut Leroy Chiao discuss worldwide cooperation in space. Tom Standage hosts

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Nov 07, 2018
Babbage: Turning the oceans green
00:20:26

Can greenhouse emissions be cut in maritime transport? Also, with the US midterms a week away, Courtney Kennedy from PEW Research Centre discusses the reliability of polling data. And the artificial intelligence system being tested as a way to cut down train delays. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Oct 31, 2018
Babbage: Pie in the sky
00:18:41

Could delivering goods by drone soon become a common occurrence? Also, cyber-security expert Bruce Schneier discusses his latest book. And a new innovation for the disposing of human waste from Mount Everest. Hal Hodson hosts

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Oct 24, 2018
Babbage: The quantum conundrum
00:19:08

Is the internet about to be unravelled by quantum computing? And how artificial intelligence could be used to diagnose the need for lung transplants in patients with cystic fibrosis. Also, our technology correspondent, Hal Hodson, discuss some of the latest happenings in robotics. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Oct 17, 2018
Babbage: What a difference half a degree makes
00:23:28

This week's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report recommends keeping the global increase in temperature below 1.5°C. We ask how governments and companies can reach "net zero" and whether the global economy can both grow and go green? Kenneth Cukier talks to one of the authors of the report, an advisor to Costa Rica on its pioneering decarbonisation plan and the European refineries industry body on its green efforts.

Music: Smooth as Glass by The Freeharmonic Orchestra (CC x 4.0)

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Oct 10, 2018
Babbage: The Nobel winners explained
00:16:22

Economist science correspondents break down the discoveries that won this year's Nobel prizes. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, discusses the dangerous ways that the tech industry competes for our attention. And: the story of blackest fish in the deep ocean. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Oct 03, 2018
Babbage: Lessons from Spanish flu
00:17:10

What can we learn from the Spanish flu pandemic which killed over 50 million people a hundred years ago? Carl Malamud, founder of public.resource.org, wants to make more data public. And, is food actually scarce at the bottom of the ocean? Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Sep 26, 2018
Babbage: Up in smoke
00:17:06

Are e-cigarettes the answer to giving up tobacco smoking? And SpaceX revives its plans to send tourists around the moon. Also, we speak to Zia Chishti of Afiniti about the role of artificial intelligence in business. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Sep 19, 2018
Babbage: Ma waves ali bye bye
00:15:14

How China will struggle to produce another Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, who steps down as chairman next year. And we discuss cyber-security with former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Sep 12, 2018
Babbage: Content liability
00:14:20

Should tech companies be legally responsible for all their content? Also, major European research funders have announced ‘Plan S’ to make all scientific works free to read. And how optical fibre made in orbit could be better than the terrestrial sort. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Sep 05, 2018
Babbage: Peaks and Valleys
00:16:30

Has Silicon Valley’s influence as a technology hub peaked? Also, how artificial intelligence is gaining a sense of curiosity. And how a shampoo bottle is saving lives in Bangladesh. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Aug 29, 2018
Babbage: Will Google translate?
00:14:38

If Google does reintroduce its search engine to China what will it have to omit? And how future helicopters will fly in new ways, with pilots optional. Also, the discovery of a 3,200-year-old ancient Egyptian cheese and what we can learn from it. Hal Hodson hosts

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Aug 22, 2018
Babbage: Jumping the Q
00:19:23

Is quantum technology getting ahead of itself? And we look into what is being done to find a cure for celiac disease. Also, we explore random control trials and the placebo effect of sham surgery. Tim Cross hosts 


Music by Daniel Birch "Brushed bells in the wind" (CC by 4.0)

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Aug 15, 2018
Babbage: My corona
00:19:32

We speak to project scientist for the Parker Solar Probe, Dr Nicola Fox, about the spacecraft's upcoming mission to the sun's atmosphere. We also discuss the upsides of artificial intelligence with professor Max Tegmark. And how seal whiskers are helping to create new underwater sensors. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

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Aug 08, 2018
Babbage: Drive.ai time
00:19:29

Should AI systems be more human-centric? We look at how a trial of self-driving vehicles in Texas is focusing on what the technology can do now. Rufus Pollack, the founder of Open Knowledge International, discusses how freedom of choice promotes innovation. And, a simple solution to increasing productivity in India. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

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Aug 01, 2018
Babbage: Too hot to handle
00:15:45

Are the recent heat waves around the world a sign of things to come? Geoffrey Carr, our science editor, finds out at the meeting of the International AIDS Society what more needs to be done to eradicate the disease. Also, has liquid water on Mars finally been found? Kenneth Cukier hosts. 

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Jul 25, 2018
Babbage: Paranoid android
00:16:45

What does the European Commission's record fine of Google mean for the future of its Android operating system? And how a popular gene editing tool is raising a few questions. Also, we speak to Dr David Fajgenbaum about the first ever World Castleman Disease Day. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jul 18, 2018
Babbage: The Roboburger
00:17:39

Are robots going to replace chefs in the kitchen? And how footsteps can be used for ID and health checks. Also, we focus on the very latest discoveries from the Gaia space mission. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jul 11, 2018
Babbage: Saving white rhino
00:20:05

How IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction. And Jaron Lanier tells us why we should delete our social media accounts. Also, how understanding animal behaviour could reduce errors in the operating theatre. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jul 04, 2018
Babbage: Fixing the internet
00:14:25

The internet was meant to make the world a less centralised place, but the opposite has happened. The Economist’s technology editor Ludwig Siegele explores why it matters and what can be done about it. 


Music by Fabian Measures “Open Cab” cc by 4.0

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Jun 27, 2018
Babbage: Fuel for thought
00:19:41

How a privately owned Chinese company called OneSpace is using solid fuel for launching rockets. Also, the worrying growth of bogus scientific journals. And is there an optimal strategy for the dreaded penalty shoot-out? Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Jun 20, 2018
Babbage: Polio returns
00:21:48

Why has polio made a comeback in Venezuela and how does it spread? Tien Tzuo, founder of Zuora, says there will be no need to own anything in the future — you will subscribe to everything.  And research into how marine mammals respond to predators shows there is safety in numbers. Tom Standage hosts.

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Jun 13, 2018
Babbage: AI will see you now
00:18:21

How companies are using artificial intelligence in medicine to help with diagnosis. We hear why a Dutch park that mimics nature is riling animal-rights activists. Also, what can be learnt from a new study on the calls of the bottlenose dolphin. Tim Cross hosts

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Jun 06, 2018
Babbage: Gene genius
00:17:24

Has new research into the human genome discovered the secret to human evolution? And how studying HIV in every organ helps understand how to eliminate it. Also, we review the book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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May 30, 2018
Babbage: Fake views
00:17:52

Deep-fakes – how can we trust what people appear to be saying in online videos? Also, how to contain the recent outbreak of ebola in the DRC. And, a new study of biomass that is putting human’s place in the world into perspective. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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May 23, 2018
Babbage: Show me the way to Cordillera
00:14:30

Now that the war between the Colombian government and the FARC has ended, scientists are exploring parts of the country previously held by the rebels. The aim is to make Colombia a "bio-power" by 2030. Also, how lead pollution in Greenlandic ice shows evidence of ancient European societies. And the new insect-sized drones that are causing a buzz. Tim Cross hosts

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May 16, 2018
Babbage: When an algorithm decides your fate
00:20:33

Computer algorithms are being used with increasing frequency to make decisions about humans - from whether a job applicant makes it through a selection process or if a prison inmate gets released on parole. But how are the algorithms making their decisions? And what if they make a mistake? In this special episode of Babbage, we explore the complex work of algorithmic decision-making. Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK)

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May 09, 2018
Babbage: Big data versus privacy
00:31:28

Data is becoming the world's most valuable resource. Governments use it to monitor and control their citizens. Corporations use it to persuade consumers to buy their products. But as machine learning and algorithms advance, will people still be able to harness the power of big data without losing too much individual privacy? Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK).

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May 02, 2018
Babbage: Insane in the methane
00:16:27

What is causing the rising rates of methane in the atmosphere? Also, how an amphibious life for the Bajau people has led to unique evolutionary traits. And the excitement around the Gaia space probe’s latest data release. Hal Hodson hosts

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Apr 25, 2018
Babbage: The planet hunter
00:16:32

Professor Sara Seager joins us to discuss the launch of the spacecraft TESS, and its two-year mission to discover new planets. Also, physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow explains elastic thinking. And, how robots are learning to assemble flat-pack furniture. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Apr 18, 2018
Babbage: Zuckerberg faces Capitol Hill
00:20:19

Hal Hodson, our technology correspondent, joins us from Washington to discuss Mark Zuckerberg and the future for Facebook. Also, the connection between personality and music. And, how possible is it to populate other planets? Kenneth Cukier hosts. 

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Apr 11, 2018
Babbage: The information game
00:19:41

How requesting personal data from companies leads to a bureaucratic tangle. Also, nurturing scientific talent in Africa. And, the surprising importance of paint colour for self-driving cars. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Apr 04, 2018
Babbage: Working AI to five
00:18:16

Alexandra Suich Bass, our US technology editor, discusses the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Also, the link between genetics and exam success. And, understanding the language of bees. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Mar 28, 2018
Babbage: Saving Face...book
00:15:34

Silkie Carlo from Big Brother Watch joins host Tim Cross to discuss the latest privacy issues involving Facebook. Also, ageing the rings of Saturn. And, the cost of using antibiotics on the human gut.

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Mar 22, 2018
Babbage: Remembering Stephen Hawking
00:19:54

We speak to leading scientists about the life and legacy of Professor Stephen Hawking. And, what is being done to help the ailing Coral reefs? Also, the out of control Chinese space station. Hal Hodson hosts

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Mar 14, 2018
Babbage: Exploring the ocean's hidden depths
00:14:43

In this week's programme, we dive into The Economist's Technology Quarterly issue on oceans. We discuss offshore aquaculture, how to map the sea floor and the threat of plastics. Joining us is Dr Jyotika Virmani, from the Ocean XPRIZE

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Mar 07, 2018
Babbage: Automation for the people
00:17:34

What are the social problems facing the world of vehicle automation? Also, the rise of robot laboratories. And looking for life in the Atacama desert. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Feb 28, 2018
Babbage: Bad AAAS
00:18:18

We bring you the highlights from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, including how children can inherit acquired characteristics from their fathers, asteroid mining and how to grow a human organ. Tim Cross hosts

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Feb 21, 2018
The World in 2018: Technology and us
00:25:22

In the final episode in our six-part series, we look at the scientific and technological advances that will shape the coming year - from algorithms that can make judgments about us online, to robots that are more effective than humans in the work place. Cathy O'Neil, author of "Weapons of Math Destruction" and Shane Wall, the Chief Technology Officer of HP join our hosts.

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Feb 14, 2018
Babbage: Cars to Mars?
00:16:47

Oliver Morton, our briefings editor, wonders what’s next after Elon Musk’s latest mission to Mars. We ask whether homemade drones can fight conventional armed forces - and could there be lithium under Cornwall? Tim Cross hosts.

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Feb 07, 2018
Babbage: Tech giants go to medical school
00:18:26

The world’s biggest technology firms are poised to transform health care. Will it empower patients and lead to a better diagnosis? Also, ways to prevent passengers in driverless cars from feeling queasy. And how genes play a role in the likelihood of divorce. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 31, 2018
Babbage: Out-of-body organ
00:18:08

A medical breakthrough means a human liver can now be kept alive outside the body. Will this result in more transplants? Also, a new idea for deadening an aircraft’s sonic boom. And the universal signals in music that cross cultural boundaries. Hal Hodson hosts

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Jan 24, 2018
Babbage: The ethics of AI
00:20:42

Artificial intelligence heralds the fourth industrial revolution. But what are its ethical challenges? Also, Anne McElvoy and producer Cheryl Brumley head under Manhattan to inspect New York’s newest water tunnel. And the biggest rocket in the world prepares for its maiden flight. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 17, 2018
Babbage: Submarine drones hunt for missing flight
00:16:16

A Norwegian research vessel has joined the search to find missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Can its contingent of self-navigating submarine drones find what others have missed? Also, do we really understand the laws of physics? And what’s new at the world’s biggest gadget show? Hal Hodson and Ananyo Bhattacharya host.

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Jan 10, 2018
Babbage: Trees take a bough
00:17:17

They are the longest living organisms on earth and supply a timber industry worth $600 billion. But do we value trees enough? Also, how reforesting is one of the biggest changes to land use changes. And the growing threat to tree health. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Jan 03, 2018
Babbage: Highlights special
00:12:06

In this special festive episode, we look back at some of the highlights from this year’s coverage. A better way to sail into the stars, why birds are weaving cigarette butts into their homes and what the future of electric cars might look like when charged through thin air. Jason Palmer hosts

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Dec 27, 2017
Babbage: Remaking tigerland
00:21:00

Science correspondent Hal Hodson tells the story of T3, a tiger whose bid for freedom and remarkable journey across India highlighted the underlying tensions between humans, nature and conservation

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Dec 20, 2017
Babbage: Greetings, Earthlings
00:18:07

Astronomers say a curious cigar-shaped asteroid passing by the sun is not native to our solar system. Could it be an alien spacecraft? Also, a pioneering patient who set out to find a cure for his own life-threatening disease. And the great avocado shortage. Jason Palmer hosts.

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Dec 13, 2017
Babbage: Archeology without the digging
00:16:14

Google is changing how we view ancient artefacts. Plus, governments could soon regulate video games, as a new money-making method using 'loot boxes' emerges. Some say it's too similar to gambling. And Melinda Gates discusses the importance of contraception in reducing poverty.

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Dec 06, 2017
Babbage: The electric-flight plan
00:17:18

Electric cars have become a common sight. So are battery-powered planes likely to take off soon? Also, the engineered bacterium that uses two synthetic DNA letters to make artificial proteins. And how digital technology is transforming speakers and headsets. Jason Palmer hosts.

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Nov 29, 2017
Babbage: The whizz of Oz
00:19:09

China’s rising demand for electric car batteries has produced a mineral boom in the Australian outback. But is there enough mined cobalt to go round? Also, how the European Union is working towards mitigating climate change. And why the humble fusebox could soon make your home more energy efficient. Tim Cross hosts.

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Nov 22, 2017
Babbage: Negative emissions
00:19:22

Countries around the world have agreed to cut carbon emissions but what are they doing to remove the existing CO2 from the air? And how a new generation of surgical robots is about to enter the operating theatre. Also, why do birds really have such colourful bodies? Jason Palmer hosts.

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Nov 15, 2017
Babbage: Leapfrogging forward
00:14:57

Technology in Africa is making huge advances but will it enough to close the economic gap between Africa and the West? Plus, how scientists are trying to harness the microbiome to rid us of tooth rot. And scientists have developed a 'spaghetti' probe that can map our brains much more accurately. We ask what the future of this technology is. Jason Palmer hosts.

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Nov 08, 2017
Babbage: Unidentified flying rock
00:15:37

The first interstellar visitor to the solar system arrives, turns and leaves. What can be learned from the mysterious object? Also, researchers are kitting out drones to deliver supplies to the battlefield. And if wireless charging takes off, electric vehicles could—in theory—run forever

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Nov 01, 2017
Babbage: All about that base
00:19:00

Minutes ago, Nature announced an important development in gene editing. Host Hal Hodson and Natasha Loder discuss how this technique is so precise and what this means for curing genetic diseases. Plus, why sperm whales like heavy metal music. And why are we so negative about our future?

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Oct 25, 2017
Babbage: Deus ex machina
00:22:24

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, we explore the future of artificial intelligence and whether it could teach us how the human mind works. The Economist's Oliver Morton and Jan Piotrowski debate with host Tim Cross.

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Oct 19, 2017
Babbage: Are C-sections fuelling the obesity epidemic?
00:15:40

Babies born via a Caesarean section are more likely to be obese says new research. Plus how glass is getting a makeover and we explore the question of why you’re attracted to the people you’re attracted to. The Economist's science correspondent Tim Cross presents.

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Oct 11, 2017
Babbage: Sleep, space and a striking storm-source
00:19:59

This year's Nobel science prizes have been announced and The Economist's science team explain the discoveries behind them. Plus: the link between international trade and lightning strikes, and research suggests that standing desks might be good for your productivity as well as your health.

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Oct 04, 2017
Babbage: Send in the microbots
00:17:53

The hunt is on among the world’s airlines for faster and more efficient ways to keep jet engines in tip-top condition. Could the answer be tiny robots that inspect and fix them from the inside? Also, a new study shows that birds deliberately weave cigarette butts into their nests to help keep parasites away. And is it right to relinquish control of our identities to private companies? Jason Palmer hosts.

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Sep 27, 2017
Babbage: Sailing through space
00:16:41

Electronic sails could lead to faster, cheaper space exploration by harnessing the energy from solar wind. A new paper suggests climate change predictions could have been slightly overheated. And some antivenoms might be more like snake oil than salvation 

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Sep 20, 2017
Babbage: Curing cancer
00:16:14

Miracles in a test tube won't cure cancer; using and adapting the technology we've already got will. Plus how WiFi's little brother LoRa will enable our smart cities to flourish. And why Saturn's space probe Cassini is diving to its death on Friday.

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Sep 13, 2017
Babbage: I can see you
00:15:08

Facial recognition software can identify you in a crowd. But it will soon be able to judge your mood, your age and ethnicity. We discuss the merits and pitfalls of this fast-advancing technology. Plus, could fish food be the source of antibiotic resistance? And host Jason Palmer gets stuck in a virtual swamp.

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Sep 06, 2017
Babbage: Weird weather
00:14:09

As heatwaves sear across Europe and hurricanes wreak havoc in Houston, we ask why extreme weather events are becoming more common. Plus why the anti-inflammatory injection canakinumab will not be the next miracle drug and why Norway might leave $65 billion of oil in the earth. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Aug 30, 2017
Babbage: Memorable moments in technology and science this year
00:16:20
In this special summer episode, we look back at this year's coverage. What are the ethics of human cloning? Is it possible to fuse a computer into the human brain? And could mysterious signals picked up by an observatory really be from space aliens? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 23, 2017
Babbage: Water and the Jevons Paradox
00:16:05

Technology is helping us access previously inaccessible water reserves. But the more efficient we become at extracting it, the more we use. Is the world’s water crisis set to get worse? Also, we ask the Royal Horticultural Society how we should prepare our gardens to survive while we are away on vacation. Kenneth Cukier hosts

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Aug 16, 2017
Babbage: A plug for batteries
00:17:09

Better batteries are providing the jump start that electric cars need. Plus, could nuclear power plants soon be floating at sea? And why most areas on Earth are more biodiverse now than ever before, thanks to humans

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Aug 09, 2017
Babbage: Hollow-grams?
00:18:09

Holograms have fallen short of the vivid, floating projections seen in science fiction. However, one scientist is copying an iridescent butterfly to create better effects. Also, how blow flies are helping to solve murder mysteries. And why genetic testing is threatening the insurance industry. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

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Aug 02, 2017
Babbage: A boring episode
00:20:40

Elon Musk may be the most prominent advocate of boring technology, but there are projects across the world revamping the way we dig tunnels. The co-founders of the venture firm Public discuss how technology is transforming public services. Also, military researchers are using electricity to get more from the human brain

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Jul 26, 2017
Babbage: Winter is coming
00:16:47

Scientists have pinpointed the cause of a catastrophic freeze across Europe during the Middle Ages—could a similar event be on the horizon? Author Douglas Rushkoff on why technology firms are criticised so often. And beauty in the eyes of artificial intelligence

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Jul 19, 2017
Babbage: The power of young blood
00:19:11

Scientists are investigating the apparent benefits of infusing young blood into the body of an older animal. Author and academic Tim Wu explains why our attention is such a vital commodity. And virtual reality is breathing new life into old rollercoasters

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Jul 12, 2017
Babbage: Fluid intelligence
00:16:33

Zapping the brain with a weak electric current enhances its visual cortex. Is this a way to help squeeze more value out of our grey matter? Also, how a new miniature phone camera is making us rethink every aspect of photography. And why whales have become so good at filtering food. Hal Hodson hosts.

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Jul 05, 2017
Babbage: Printing the future
00:16:07

3D printing is finally revolutionising the mass production of everything from trainer soles and teeth to metal car parts. We explore a new realm of fake news, as creating convincing video and audio of false events becomes far easier. Also, how to stop rogue icebergs from wreaking havoc.

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Jun 28, 2017
Babbage: Taxi for Travis
00:15:58
What next for Uber following the departure of the company's CEO Travis Kalanick? A pathogen that causes cystic fibrosis is being used to fight tuberculosis. Also, the head of Bloomberg's venture capital fund Roy Bahat on the complexities of AI replacing jobs For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 21, 2017
Babbage: Civilian drones take flight
00:18:34
Most drones today are either cheap toys or expensive weapons. But innovative commercial uses are emerging in the middle, says our deputy editor Tom Standage. Also, physicist Geoffrey West on his theory of scale and how it relates to cities. And do pollsters deserve their bad reputation? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 15, 2017
Babbage: Battle of the maps
00:19:14
Companies are striving to control an evolving digital infrastructure that will guide everything from self-driving cars to drones. Veteran investor Bill Janeway explains the parallels between artificial intelligence and electricity. Also, a Braille-controlled camera system offers an efficient way to guide the blind For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 07, 2017
Babbage: When AI makes music
00:16:16
Can computer-generated composition compete with human creativity? 3D printing is adopting traditional techniques to give us reinforced floors. And cricket adds yet more technology into the game: what does this mean for the sport's hallowed commentators? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 31, 2017
Babbage: Anticipating terrorism
00:15:24
In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Dr Robert Wesley explains how artificial intelligence can spot extremist behaviour early. Coloured light can now be used to control how genetically-engineered organisms behave. Also, what we must to do to preserve the oceans For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 24, 2017
Babbage: Megatech: Technology in 2050
00:31:06
This feature-length episode dives into the technology that will shape our world over the next decades. Host Kenn Cukier and The Economist's Executive Editor Daniel Franklin are joined by experts in artificial intelligence, cyber-security, healthcare and warfare to discuss how technology will transform many aspects of our lives For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 17, 2017
Babbage: Goodbye glaciers
00:17:53
Miranda Johnson explains why ice in the Arctic is melting at such an alarming rate. Philip Auerswald takes us on a 40,000-year history of human society. And an idea borrowed from lizards could make your waterproof jacket last even longer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 10, 2017
Babbage: Soundscape of the deep ocean
00:18:42
A new form of bioengineering ditches the cell and could speed up innovation. Five giant tech firms are hoarding most of the world's data. Is it time to break up the oligopoly? Also, an ambient soundscape from the deepest known part of the ocean For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 03, 2017
Babbage: When cars fly
00:18:02
Uber announces flying cars to replace taxi systems in the future. How realistic is this? Plastic-munching moths could save the world from the scourge of shopping bags. And an artificial womb could one day help premature babies to survive For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 26, 2017
Babbage: The new world of voice cloning
00:16:21
The debate over internet regulation is heating up again in America. Also on the show: genetically-engineered bacteria could be used to light up hidden landmines. And voice-cloning technology can now reproduce speech. What does this mean in an era of fake news? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 19, 2017
Babbage: What can science do for my garden?
00:24:33
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has unlocked the DNA sequence of thousands of plants. Is the ability to manipulate colour and smell good news for the worldwide floral industry? Also: Pests and pathogens thriving in a warmer climate could wipe out our woodlands. And is Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank the ultimate horticultural insurance policy for the planet? Kenneth Cukier hosts. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 12, 2017
Babbage: Defending data
00:19:29
Security crises soar as computers meld further into our lives, but who is liable when hacking happens? We explore a potential charter to exploit the commercial value of data while also protecting privacy. And how humans can teach computers to avoid racist behaviour. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 05, 2017
Babbage: Of machines and men
00:17:08
Elon Musk's new venture Neuralink wants to meld computers with the human brain. We explore how this concept could lead to artificial memory. Also, a paralysed man is able to use his own arm again after chips were implanted in his brain. And a new glove lets people detect deadly toxins with touch alone For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 29, 2017
Babbage: Uber's trail of woes
00:18:15
Why the ride-sharing company is in turmoil following the departure of its president Jeff Jones. Scientific publishing is slowing down progress; how might it be reformed? Also, dust devils in the Atacama desert solve one mystery—and spark another For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 22, 2017
Babbage: Little green men
00:17:18
Earth has received a cluster of mysterious radio signals; some scientists believe they could be propelling alien spacecraft across the universe. So what's the verdict? Also, an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil is decimating local monkey populations. And the true worth of spiders is revealed, in how much they eat For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 15, 2017
Babbage: Building from the atom up
00:17:29
A second quantum revolution is happening at the atomic level. What will it mean for the future of computers? Also: a new battery based on aluminium provides up to ten times the power. And why yellow taxis are much less likely to get into accidents. Kenn Cukier hosts. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 08, 2017
Babbage: Dragon’s blood medicine
00:17:41
Komodo dragon blood contains compounds that help combat human diseases. So can lizards help in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections? Also: switch the power off and a microprocessor forgets everything but now there’s a way to give it a permanent memory. And did life on earth really begin 3,770 million years ago? Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 01, 2017
Babbage: Oceans of pollutants
00:15:10
Even the deepest reaches of the sea have been contaminated by man-made pollution. Author Alan Schwartz reveals the extent of ADHD overdiagnosis in America. And how is the scientific community reacting to President Trump? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 22, 2017
Babbage: Cloning time
00:16:13
Twenty years ago, Dolly the sheep became the first adult mammal clone. Are we on the cusp of copying humans, too? And we explore how technology is aiding refugees and migrants with their treacherous journeys to Europe For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 15, 2017
Babbage: Game of drones
00:16:48
Robotic insects could help pollinate plants if bee numbers continue to decline. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the pitfalls of crowdsourcing knowledge in an era of disinformation. And a protein's structure is key its function but hard to decipher; we explore how citizen science is solving the problem For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 09, 2017
Babbage: Adding to reality
00:16:34
Augmented reality technology blends the virtual with the real world, so how might this alter the way humans interact with computers, and each other? Also, we explore how artificial intelligence can enhance selling techniques. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 01, 2017
Babbage: Printing parts
00:17:56
We're now pretty good at printing body parts, so what are the possibilities and limitations? Healthcare expert George Halvorson explains the importance of language development in the first few months of life. Also, the researchers trying to tune in to the particles of dark matter For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 25, 2017
Babbage: The automation game
00:23:41
How quickly will robots disrupt global industries and what will the implications be? We explore with economist Andrew McAfee at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Also, neuroscientists often compare the human brain to a computer chip, so what happened when the idea was put into practice? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 18, 2017
Babbage: Conversational computers
00:18:56
When will computers truly be able to understand what we are saying? We discuss with our guest, Amazon's Alexa. Also, long-distance electrical supergrids could flood the planet with renewable energy For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 11, 2017
Babbage: War of the words
00:19:47
We explore a clutch of new words from 2016 and how technology contributes to the evolution of language. Vishal Sikka, the CEO of a technology services company explains how artificial intelligence can enhance the labour force. Also, science correspondent Matt Kaplan on a new device to sniff out disease For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 04, 2017
Babbage: year end review and preview of 2017
00:17:52
How artificial intelligence moved from the research lab into the real world, plus the challenges facing cyber security. And we explore the development of data donorship in the year ahead. Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 23, 2016
Babbage: The man himself
00:15:09
Charles Babbage was a British polymath, mathematician and a man widely hailed as the father of modern computing. In this special episode, host Emma Duncan is joined by two renowned computer science experts to explore the life and work of the eponymous inventor For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 21, 2016
Babbage: Thinking deeply
00:15:27
Alphabet's artificial intelligence company DeepMind doesn't make a profit, so why it is arousing long-term interest? Dr Pedro Alonso from the World Health Organisation explores advances in the fight against malaria. And the amateur enthusiast who found meteorite dust in the gutter For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 14, 2016
Babbage: What Einstein got wrong
00:15:08
This week: clues to dinosaur evolution lurk in the amber mines of Myanmar. Author David Bodanis tells us about Einstein’s greatest mistake. And why solar energy is due soon to pay back its carbon debt. Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 07, 2016
Babbage: Big bomber is watching
00:15:40
This week: how optical navigation can help a bomb find its target without GPS. Researchers at MIT are investigating super-slippery surfaces. Also, why computers are replacing manpower in port security. Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 30, 2016
Babbage: Snapping planets
00:17:07
Long-distance photography could help us understand far more about exoplanets. We report on the sense of global resilience at climate talks in Marrakech and an audacious plan to tackle air pollution using old jet engines For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 23, 2016
Babbage: No news like fake news
00:20:22
Our deputy editor Tom Standage weighs in on the debate about false news in the aftermath of America's presidential election. We speak to female entrepreneurs at the Web Summit in Lisbon about gender balance in the technology industry. And a new way to measure fish stocks using DNA For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 16, 2016
Babbage: Fighting falsehoods
00:16:48
We are joined by Martin Sweeney, co-founder of Ravelin, to explain how artificial intelligence is being used to stop fraud. Our environment correspondent discusses climate-change scepticism in America. Also, a long-standing bet about the underpinnings of the universe needs to be settled For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 10, 2016
Babbage: Super new defibrillator ameliorates prognosis
00:15:00
Host Kenneth Cukier explores new research into light-based treatments for patients at high risk of fatal heartbeat irregularities. Also: a new crypto-currency promises greater privacy and how to blend wine via touch screen For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 02, 2016
Babbage: Can the American election be hacked?
00:18:05
In the second episode of Economist Radio specials running up to the presidential election, security expert Bruce Schneier examines vulnerabilities in electoral voting systems. We hear from Dr Darren Schreiber about whether our political inclinations are hardwired. Also: what impact is big data having in this year's election? Cheryl Brumley speaks to online campaigning expert Dr Matt Hindman For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 26, 2016
Babbage: Prospects for new life
00:13:33
Scientists in Japan grow artificial mouse pups from skin cells; could the same technique one day be used for humans? Planetary scientist Dr Claire Cousins explains where we might find life on Mars as the ExoMars satellite and probe arrive at the red planet. And we explore why virtual reality has taken a foothold in China For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 19, 2016
Babbage: Samsung's meltdown
00:17:22
Our technology editor examines the long-term fallout after Samsung's flagship smartphone is pulled from production. The Food and Drug Administration's approval of a new drug for muscular dystrophy proves controversial and Matt Kaplan explains why higher-class people spend less time looking at their fellow humans For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 12, 2016
Babbage: Elevated intelligence
00:14:26
Google launches a handful of hardware to deliver its artificial intelligence. We speak to Professor Chris Phillips about this year's Nobel prize for physics, and research analyst Alberto Noel discusses how machine learning is enhancing factory automation and what the global implications are in the world of work For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 05, 2016
Babbage: Interplanetary travel
00:15:45
We assess Elon Musk's ambitious intentions to make humans a multiplanetary species. As the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission ends, Dr Matt Taylor explains what information the probe will gather on its final descent and we discuss the consequences of voice-activated computers becoming integrated into our lives For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 28, 2016
Babbage: A climate of change
00:15:57
Our environment correspondent, Miranda Johnson, assesses the latest efforts to curb climate change as the UN General Assembly gets underway. Dr Brent Seales explains how we can now read an ancient, burnt scroll without unrolling it. And Ananyo Bhattacharya explains why bad science may be hereditary For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 21, 2016
Babbage: Undermining infection
00:16:53
Should disease-bearing mosquitoes be made extinct? Natasha Loder lays out the arguments for using gene drives to do so. We hear an update on the known unknowns of the Zika virus from Slavea Chankova and whether “feed a fever, starve a cold” is sound advice. Jason Palmer hosts. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 14, 2016
Babbage: The renaissance of wood
00:13:40
Paul Markillie explains why wooden skyscrapers could soon be on the horizon, we hear from an Indian scientist making electricity with fish scales and Tim Cross explores the fallout for Space X after last week's explosion at Cape Canaveral For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 07, 2016
Babbage: The Countess of Computers
00:16:58
The Economist's Emma Duncan and author Sydney Padua explore the story of 19th century data geek, Ada Lovelace, who presaged the power of computers by writing one of the first programs. And have we entered a new geological epoch? Tim Cross discusses the evidence. Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 31, 2016
Babbage: Exploring the final frontier
00:14:21
An E​arth-like planet has been discovered orbiting the nearest star to our solar system, reveals astronomer Richard Nelson. Oliver Morton discusses the new space technology closer to home, and Tom Standage describes the state of the art in — and the worries about — facial-recognition software For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 24, 2016
Babbage: The brain that stopped remembering
00:15:37
Paul Markillie buckles up for a future of 48-volt hybrid cars. Matt Kaplan examines whether self-control is really a finite resource. And Luke Dittrich, the author of a new book, explains how a lobotomy gone wrong paved the way for the science of memory. Tom Standage hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 17, 2016
Babbage: The evolution of bromance
00:14:34
Host Jason Palmer ​asks Natasha Loder if scientists are getting ever closer to the fountain of youth in pill form. Richard Wrangham explains why men are more touchy-feely than women after competitive sport. A​nd Matt Kaplan ​examines how one sea creature's means​​ of self-repair​​ ​​could help humans with damaged hearing For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 10, 2016
Babbage: Didi overtakes Uber
00:14:37
As Didi buys up Uber China, Kenneth Cukier discusses the implications with editors Tom Standage and from Shanghai, Vijay Vaitheeswaran. And Tim Cross explains the importance of IBM's new artificial neuron-on-a-chip For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 03, 2016
Babbage: When AI meets reality
00:14:04
How can artificial intelligence leave the lab and get down to business? Kenneth Cukier explores an innovative method with Tractable founder Alexandre Dalyac. Also, a new way to measure ancient oxygen is changing our understanding of evolution, and we crunch the numbers to reveal the long-term risks of air pollution. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 27, 2016
Babbage: What's the matter with the universe?
00:15:31
The asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the Universe perplexes physicists. Could the tiny particle, the neutrino, offer an explanation? Kenneth Cukier explores the issues with our Babbage producer, Louisa Field. Also, a flaw in the way brain-scan data was collected throws thousands of studies into doubt For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 20, 2016
Babbage: Fishing beyond borders
00:14:35
Bigger trawlers and better mapping allow fishermen to cast their nets where fish were once plentiful. Kenneth Cukier and environment correspondent Miranda Johnson explore the possibilities of monitoring the unregulated frontier of fishing. Also, Trevor Darrell explains how robots can "hallucinate" sensory experiences they lack, and a new approach to reduce the growth of cancerous tumours by starving them shows promise For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 13, 2016
Babbage: Autonomous cars put to the test
00:15:03
A fatal accident in a Tesla vehicle on autopilot calls the technology into question. Kenneth Cukier and innovation editor Paul Markillie discuss the use of virtual reality to test driverless safety. Also on the show: Should algorithms be transparent to the public? And a new study suggests that climate-change models need rethinking For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 06, 2016
Babbage: The origins of Jupiter
00:15:52
This week: After five years of travel, the Juno spacecraft finally nears Jupiter. Our science correspondent, Tim Cross speaks to host Jason Palmer about its vital and dangerous mission. And, Matt Kaplan discusses how the shifty eyes of gamblers can explain how our brains process numbers. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 29, 2016
Babbage: What history might tell us about AI
00:16:01
Concerns abound about the impact of artificial intelligence, but could history suggest a brighter future? A new algorithm is designed to hunt down hateful videos on the Internet. And we hear from two scientists, Mauro Costa-Mattioli and Shelly Buffington, whose new study links obesity to autism. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 22, 2016
Babbage: Gaming goes to Hollywood
00:14:25
Green screens could soon be a thing of the past as studios switch to video game technology to build special effects*; and a group of scientists in Syria and Europe find a nifty way to rid of a nasty, organic pollutant ^ See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mkm22yO-bs for The Jungle Book Official Trailer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 15, 2016
Babbage: The price of a private phone call
00:15:57
Would you spend £10,000 on a smartphone? Tom Standage and Anne McElvoy visit the world of luxurious technology. Matthew Kaplan explains how your holiday snaps can have scientific uses, and researcher Lauren Sherman reveals how teenage brains react to social media For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 08, 2016
Babbage: Escaping black holes
00:14:12
Stephen Hawking revises his theory of black holes and argues that everything may not be lost at the "event horizon" after all. And new sensors made by inkjet printers can tell when a new layer of sunscreen is needed to prevent sunburns. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 01, 2016
Babbage: The evolution of intelligence
00:12:51
New technology combines 3D printing with traditional machining, and a fresh theory on how humans became so smart For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 25, 2016
Babbage: Trending: The demise of antibiotics
00:17:20
We talk to Jim O’Neill about how the overconsumption of antibiotics has eroded their effectiveness and discuss whether Facebook is turning into a news publisher For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 19, 2016
Babbage: Yellow fever - the next pandemic?
00:14:09
Kenneth Cukier investigates the burgeoning yellow fever outbreak in Angola. Also, astrobiologist Sanjoy Som fills us in on his research into the Earth's early atmosphere, and there's some eggstatic news for the egg industry For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 11, 2016
Babbage: Will your surgeon be a robot?
00:14:04
Surgical operations become more akin to driverless cars. And users try out IBM's quantum computer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 04, 2016
Babbage: The legacy of Chernobyl
00:15:59
We discuss the political and scientific impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on its 30th anniversary, and a new way to protect cells from many different kinds of virus For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 28, 2016
Babbage: One blockchain to rule them all?
00:12:24
This week we discuss how to keep drones away from manned aircraft and talk to Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 20, 2016
Babbage: Better lives for autistic people
00:16:23
Researcher Simon Baron-Cohen joins our writers to discuss autism in the workplace. And our innovation editor on mapping technology in driverless cars. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 14, 2016
Babbage: Mark Zuckerberg's vision
00:13:27
An efficient, low-cost way to detect explosives, and our US technology editor analyses Facebook’s future after an interview with its boss, Mark Zuckerberg For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 06, 2016
Babbage: What’s in a yeast?
00:12:36
New yeasts could open up new flavours for clever chocolate and coffee producers, and sonic booms may become less loud, unleashing faster private air travel For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 30, 2016
Babbage: How to crack an iPhone
00:13:38
The FBI claims it may be able to bypass the privacy protections on a terrorist's Apple phone. But the broader dispute over balancing user privacy and national security remains. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 23, 2016
Babbage: Data heard, memories retrieved
00:11:20
Scientists find ways of analysing data sonically, not visually, and a new study suggests how memory problems in Alzheimer's disease aren't with storage, but with retrieval For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 16, 2016
Babbage: The future of computing
00:13:48
In a milestone for artificial intelligence, a program designed to play the ancient Asian game of Go has won the first of its five games against a human champion. It's an example of how smarter software, not just more powerful hardware, will drive progress in the computer industry in future For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 09, 2016
Babbage: From footies to selfies
00:13:18
Brain scans of American footballers reveal the darker side of contact sports and a new study on social media uncovers why we take selfies For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 02, 2016
Babbage: Apple and the reason for sex
00:09:23
Apple clashes with the FBI over accessing iPhone data and scientists finally prove why we keep having sex For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 24, 2016
Babbage: 5G to unite them all
00:12:08
The fifth generation of mobile network promises to take us one step closer to wireless paradise and researchers infect patients with modified viruses to fight cancer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 17, 2016
Babbage: Slimy, underwater light-eaters
00:12:25
This week we look at how selectively bred coral-dwelling algae might survive warmer waters and at how bacteria bend light to direct their tiny bodies toward the sun For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 10, 2016
Babbage: Frosty organs and doped-up horses
00:12:55
A charity in America rallies transplant-organ preservation scientists, and researchers in Hong Kong think they've found a way to detect doping in racehorses For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Feb 03, 2016
Babbage: Schizophrenic genes
00:13:21
Scientists identify the genes that are driving schizophrenia and as touchscreens become more responsive, imaginative new uses may emerge For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 27, 2016
Babbage: Viruses and Facebook friends
00:13:21
A mosquito-borne virus is linked to a worrying number of birth defects in Brazil and has social media expanded the number of friendships we can maintain? For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 20, 2016
Babbage: The pollution solution
00:12:30
How big data can help tackle air pollution and a bright idea makes for a better light bulb For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 13, 2016
Babbage: Blackholes and hoverboards
00:10:30
Scientists are learning more than ever about black holes as astronomical objects and an American firm brings a real McFly hoverboard to market For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jan 06, 2016
Babbage: The ghosts of Babbage future
00:13:51
In our second holiday special, our hosts look back from 2115. Pluto’s portraits may be humdrum by then, but AI, gene editing and quantum computing may have changed the world For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 30, 2015
Babbage: The ghost of Babbage past
00:11:43
In the first of two holiday specials, our hosts look at the stories of a century ago, from X-ray crystallography to sonar, continental drift and the first sighting of Pluto For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 23, 2015
Babbage: Climate of change
00:17:36
A look at last week’s climate talks in Paris: what was agreed on, how realistic the goals are and whether there is reason to be optimistic For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 16, 2015
Babbage: A bit of peace, round the corner
00:11:50
The end of bitcoin’s civil war and a look at new technology that can be used to see round corners For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 09, 2015
Babbage: Materials for making and cleaning
00:14:48
New materials are changing the way we make things from light bulbs to cars and aircraft, and there's a better way to capture carbon from fossil fuels before it is burned For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dec 02, 2015
Babbage: Relativity's revelations
00:13:22
Our correspondents discuss the importance of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and how it is still revealing the secrets of our cosmos For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 25, 2015
Babbage: The rise of the drone-selfie
00:11:52
Google makes its core machine-learning system, TensorFlow, open-source and the Flying Robot International Film Festival kicks off in San Francisco For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 18, 2015
Babbage: Things visible and invisible
00:13:10
How satellites can save lives in the aftermath of an earthquake and a tantalising signal looks increasingly like it could be from dark matter For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 11, 2015
Babbage: The big chill
00:11:10
Hypersonic air-breathing engines may at least be a reality and the Cassini spacecraft has a close encounter with Saturn's icy moon For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 04, 2015
Babbage: Time and energy
00:11:47
Why stock traders will soon need atomic clocks and Dupont finally tries to crack cellulosic biofuel For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 28, 2015
Babbage: Fusion and confusion
00:11:34
Fusion energy gets a new star player and an unusual find in our galaxy both perplexes astronomers and gives hope to alien hunters For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 21, 2015
Babbage: Swine lifelines
00:11:24
Dell makes a $67 billion bet in the form of the technology industry's largest ever merger and scientists prepare pig organs for human transplants For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 14, 2015
Babbage: Nobel's neutrinos
00:14:14
A data transfer pact between the EU and America is struck down in Europe and two scientists working on the changing identities of neutrinos receive the Nobel Prize in Physics For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 07, 2015
Babbage: Opportunity and curiosity
00:11:56
Countries pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris and NASA discovers water on Mars reigniting hopes for life on the red planet For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 30, 2015
Babbage: Zoning drones
00:12:50
The rise in drone hobbyism raises questions about how best to control the skies, and scientists hope to catch sight of Einstein's gravitational wave For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 23, 2015
Babbage: Hybrid fliers
00:13:24
The hybrid and electric plane industry takes off and advanced artificial intelligence is used to diagnose disease For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 16, 2015
Babbage: What lies beneath
00:10:57
Radar scans reveal an enormous site of underground stone monoliths near Stonehenge and subterranean plant seed banks could save harvests and lives in the face of climate change For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 09, 2015
Babbage: Inspectors' gadgets
00:11:43
New technology used by nuclear weapons inspectors and 3D printing buildings on Earth and in outer space For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 02, 2015
Babbage: The microbes in our midst
00:10:55
Scientists say a universal flu vaccine is on the horizon and a new study unearths the thousands of bacteria and fungi in our homes For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 26, 2015
Babbage: Climate's wild child
00:13:42
A new technique makes editing the human genome much easier and this year's El Niño, a disrupting climate phenomenon, could be the strongest ever For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 19, 2015
Babbage: Thinking with your tentacles
00:11:11
The secret to the intelligence of the octopus lies in its genome and scientists explore how big data disrupts the principle of anonymity For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 12, 2015
Babbage: Notes from the oeno files
00:10:44
Fine wine is priced by using artificial intelligence and President Obama announces new rules to reduce carbon emissions For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 05, 2015
Babbage: Sunset and sunrise in the Kuiper belt
00:11:34
Scientists fit living cells with lasers to track what they get up to and New Horizons gets a stunning final look back at Pluto For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 29, 2015
Babbage: The Jodie Foster moment
00:13:10
Clinical trials for drugs are not as closely scrutinised as they should be and a Russian billionaire is on the hunt for extraterrestrials For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 22, 2015
Babbage: Atomic vision
00:11:05
Hackers threaten the "internet of things", and scientists use atomic microscopes to observe and control chemical reactions in real time For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 15, 2015
Babbage: Hacking the hackers
00:09:02
The Hacking Team gets hacked, exposing alleged illegal activities, and NASA's New Horizons probe flickers back to life as it approaches the planetoid Pluto For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 08, 2015
Babbage: Break-ups
00:11:32
Embryos frozen during relationships lead to legal troubles down the road, and SpaceX loses a cargo carrier in the risky business of rocketry For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 01, 2015
Babbage: Mapping crises with mobiles
00:10:28
How mobile phone data can help aid workers during humanitarian crises and start-ups which tweak your phone’s connectivity take on the big mobile network companies For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 24, 2015
Babbage: Quantum leaps and bee-conomics
00:09:10
Computer companies are harnessing the power of quantum mechanics and why the majority of bees have no economic value For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 17, 2015
Babbage: Up in e-smoke
00:07:15
Organs on chips allow researchers to mimic complicated human systems and Wales plans to ban e-cigarettes For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 10, 2015
Babbage: AI and IA
00:09:27
Ad-blocking software has reached the mainstream and is going mobile, and handheld robots begin to marry what both man and machine do well For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jun 03, 2015
Babbage: Thin-skinned
00:07:33
Nokia attracts bids for its HERE mapping service and tests of a few brave mice suggest space travel could be terrible for the skin For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 27, 2015
Babbage: Home-brewed heroin
00:08:11
How lab experiments got a step closer to yeast that can make morphine, and how app experiments by developers such as Facebook happen in New Zealand For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 20, 2015
Babbage: LEDtime
00:06:33
This week our correspondents discuss the effects gadget-use can have on teenagers’ sleep, and Silicon Valley's billion-dollar "unicorns". For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 13, 2015