Fighting Fire with Fire
39 min

From California's crimson skies to smoke so thick along Colorado's front range that sent people indoors for days, this year has been an especially bad one for extreme wildfires. On today's episode, we ask, how did the wildfires get so bad – and what can we do to address them? 

Call(s) to action

  • Help build fire adapted communities. If you're interested in learning more about the range of small, wonky, zoning-type solutions to reduce pressures driving people to the WUI (pronounced wooie!)and make managed retreat a more palatable option, check out fireadaptednetwork.org, where you can keep track of all the little policy changes that would actually help make a big difference.
  • Prepare Your Home for Fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CalFire, has a great resource to teach you how to prepare your home for wildfire. You can find it at readyforwildfire.org.
  • Learn More about Fires from Bobbie Scopa through the audio stories she tells on her website, Bobbie on Fire
Science Friday
Science Friday
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Ig Nobel Prizes, Koji Alchemy. Nov 27, 2020, Part 2
Laugh Along At Home With The Ig Nobel Awards We know traditions are different this year. Maybe you’re having a small family dinner instead of a huge gathering. Maybe you’re just hopping on a video call instead of going over the river and through the woods. At Science Friday, our holiday tradition of broadcasting highlights from the annual Ig Nobel Awards ceremony is different this year too. Rather than being recorded live in front of a cheering crowd at Harvard’s Sanders Theater, the ceremony was virtual this year. But one thing remains the same—awards went to a bunch of genuine scientists for research that first makes you laugh, then makes you think. This year marks the ceremony’s 30th anniversary. Marc Abrahams, editor of the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and master of ceremonies for the awards, joins Ira to talk about Ig Nobel history, and to share highlights from this year’s winners. Koji: The Mold You Want In Your Kitchen When chef Jeremy Umansky grows a batch of Aspergillus oryzae, a cultured mold also known as koji, in a tray of rice, he says he’s “bewitched” by its fluffy white texture and tantalizing floral smells. When professional mechanical engineer and koji hobbyist Rich Shih thinks about the versatility of koji, from traditional Japanese sake to cured meats, he says, “It blows my mind.” Koji-inoculated starches are crucial in centuries-old Asian foods like soy sauce and miso—and, now, inspiring new and creative twists from modern culinary minds. And Shih and Umansky, the two food fanatics, have written a new book describing the near-magical workings of the fungus, which, like other molds, uses enzymes to break starches, fats, and proteins down into food for itself. It just so happens that, in the process, it’s making our food tastier. You can grow koji on grains, vegetables, and other starchy foods, and make sauces, pastes, alcohols, and vinegars. Even cure meats. Umansky and Shih say the possibilities are endless—and they have the koji pastrami and umami popcorn to prove it. Plus, Urmansky and Shih share some of their favorite koji-inspired holiday dishes and leftover recipes—from turkey amino spreads to cranberry sauce amazake to soy sauce-infused whipped cream. Read more on Science Friday!
47 min
The Allusionist
The Allusionist
Helen Zaltzman
126. Survival: Custodians of the Languages
In Australia, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of languages. Until English arrived. Rudi Bremer and Karina Lester talk about the destruction and revival of indigenous Australian languages. Content note: this episode refers to violence and genocide. Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/custodians, and listen to the other episodes in the Survival series: Second Home about Welsh in Patagonia; Oot in the Open, about the suppression and revival of Scots; and Bequest, about queer language in Māori; and the pair of Key episodes are about language extinction and preservation. The Allusionist music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers. I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are soothingly escapist. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST. • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist. • Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10. • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain. • Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com. • Acorn TV. Allusionist listeners get a 30-day free trial at acorn.tv if you use the code allusionist.
30 min
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