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Useful Science

115 episodes - English - Latest episode: 9 months ago - ★★★★★ - 110 ratings

Science is useful, but its usefulness isn't always obvious. In this podcast we dive deep into scientific research to figure out how the science was done, what was discovered, and how you can use it to improve your life.

Science Education science parenting education creativity productivity environment health fitness nutrition happiness
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Episodes

Climate Anxiety and Winter Sports

April 19, 2022 14:59 - 35 minutes - 24.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/60 This week we're talking about climate anxiety and winter sports. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes The 2021 Western North American heat dome increased climate change anxiety among British Columbians: Results from a natural experiment https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667278222000050#bib0024 Association Between Am...

21 Rerelease: Sleep

January 20, 2022 17:07 - 1 hour - 51.6 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/21 This week we're talking about sleep. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes People who slept less than 6 hours a night were 4 times more likely to catch a cold. Higher nighttime temperatures due to climate change are projected to disrupt summer sleep patterns, particularly for people who cannot afford air conditioning and people who are more sensitive to heat, like the elderly. Not sleeping enough (staying up fo...

Dog Ownership and Gift Giving

December 08, 2021 16:36 - 38 minutes - 26.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/59 This week we're talking about dog ownership and gift giving. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Dog owners have a 24% lower risk of dying early and a 31% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The Gift of Psychological Closeness: How Feasible Versus Desirable Gifts Reduce Psychological Distance to the Giver

Fatigue & Risk Management in Healthcare Workers

October 19, 2021 14:43 - 1 hour - 48 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/58 This week we're talking about fatigue & risk management in healthcare workers. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Association of residency work hour reform with long term quality and costs of care of US physicians: observational study Education Outcomes in a Duty-Hour Flexibility Trial in Internal Medicine Figuring in fatigue: A co...

Racial Disparities in Health and Medicine, Part 2

July 21, 2021 15:11 - 11 minutes - 8.11 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/57 Deborah talks about two intervention programs designed to address the effects of discrimination on Black youth. Alex presents the results of the Oregon Water Futures Project, which revealed inequalities in water access throughout the state. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected]nce.org. Show Notes Elevating Water Priorities for Oregon Communities. Program...

Racial Disparities in Health and Medicine, Part 1

July 01, 2021 13:00 - 1 hour - 43.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/56 This week we're talking about racial disparities in health and medicine. Ian and Deborah present research focusing on differences in cancer treatments for Black patients in contrast to White patients, and also discuss athlete head trauma and concussion education in the US. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Black patients in the U.S....

Racial Disparities in Health and Medicine

July 01, 2021 13:00 - 1 hour - 43.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/56 This week we're talking about racial disparities in health and medicine. Ian and Deborah present research focusing on differences in cancer treatments for Black patients in contrast to White patients, and also discuss athlete head trauma and concussion education in the US. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Black patients in the U.S....

Neighborhood Connections and Green Spaces

June 04, 2021 13:00 - 49 minutes - 34.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/55 This week we're talking about neighborhood connections and green spaces. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes ‘It's real, not fake like a park’: Residents’ perception and use of informal urban green-space in Brisbane, Australia and Sapporo, Japan Residential relocation and change in social capital: A natural experiment from the 2011 G...

Cultural Change

May 12, 2021 21:56 - 53 minutes - 49 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/54 This week we're talking about cultural change. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Global Increases in Individualism Social Structure, Infectious Diseases, Disasters, Secularism, and Cultural Change in America Tuning in to psychological change: Linguistic markers of psychological traits and emotions over time in popular U.S. song ly...

Food and Allergies

April 13, 2021 12:00 - 32 minutes - 22.3 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/53 This week we're talking about food and allergies. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes When surveyed, almost 1 in 5 Americans report that they have a food allergy, but only 1 in 10 report symptoms consistent with food allergies or have received a diagnosis from a physician. This suggests that around twice as many Americans believe they...

Behavior Change

March 23, 2021 13:00 - 52 minutes - 35.9 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/52 On this episode we're joined by special guest, Erika Kirgios, whose research explores strategies for promoting prosocial behavior. Familiar hosts Avaneesh, Uyen, and Cameron discuss two of Erika's recent studies. One investigates “temptation bundling,” the process of pairing a pleasurable indulgence with a less-pleasurable behavior that confers delayed rewards in order to make it seem more appealing in the short-term. A second study demonstrates the ...

Parenting, Part 2

March 02, 2021 19:04 - 1 hour - 41.3 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/51 This week we're talking about parenting. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Curious Neuron

Parenting, Part 1

February 09, 2021 16:52 - 1 hour - 49.4 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/50 This week we're talking about parenting. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulscience, or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Mothers In Science

Vaccine Skepticism

January 19, 2021 19:03 - 57 minutes - 39.5 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/49 The COVID vaccine is a major medical triumph. But not everyone is so excited to receive it. What do we know about vaccine hesitancy? How about its more radical cousin, vaccine rejection? And how does the situation in the United States differ from other countries, like Australia? All that and more on this episode of the podcast, featuring Duncan, Avaneesh, and Cameron. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as ...

Sleep and Lunch Breaks

December 29, 2020 14:00 - 1 hour - 42.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/48 The pandemic has affected all of us – and while we continue to manage the ongoing tragedy and loss, many have begun to look for silver linings as well. Here are two that can result from spending more time at home than usual: (1) nightly sleep among university students appears to have improved, and (2) having more flexibility in how you spend your lunch break (walking to a park, doing yoga) may decrease stress and fatigue, and increase concentration, ...

Blind Cooperation

December 15, 2020 12:00 - 41 minutes - 28.9 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/47 The way we make decisions says a lot about us. In this episode, we highlight two studies that delve into the idea of “Blind Cooperation.” It turns out that being the kind of person who spontaneously cooperates with others and offers help without calculation can confer social benefits in the long run. Namly, it’ll earn you the reputation of being trustworthy. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us on Twitter as @usefulsci, Instagram as @usefulsci...

46: The Ig Nobel Prize

November 24, 2020 18:31 - 36 minutes - 25.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/46 In an annual ceremony at Harvard University, the Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that "first make people LAUGH, and then make them THINK.” It's a quirky and entertaining tradition, and we've featured their 2020 ​A​wards in this episode of the podcast. Hear from Susan, Duncan, and Camerom, who discuss their favorite Ig Nobel Prize winners, and learn more about the ​30-year-old tradition organized by the Annals of Improbable Research. "The ...

The Ig Nobel Prize

November 24, 2020 18:31 - 36 minutes - 25.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/46 In an annual ceremony at Harvard University, the Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that "first make people LAUGH, and then make them THINK.” It's a quirky and entertaining tradition, and we've featured their 2020 ​A​wards in this episode of the podcast. Hear from Susan, Duncan, and Camerom, who discuss their favorite Ig Nobel Prize winners, and learn more about the ​30-year-old tradition organized by the Annals of Improbable Research. "The prizes ar...

Laughter and Social Connection

November 10, 2020 17:21 - 34 minutes - 31.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/45 Not all laughter is created equal, and the truth is you probably laugh differently around people you don’t know than you do with friends and family. While subtle, many people can tell the difference. And do social media sites like Facebook provide a replacement for real interactions? A famous study from 2013 says no. Facebook may even make people less happy. Find out more in this episode on Social Connection. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow ...

45: Laughter and Social Connection

November 10, 2020 17:21 - 34 minutes - 31.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/45 Not all laughter is created equal, and the truth is you probably laugh differently around people you don’t know than you do with friends and family. While subtle, many people can tell the difference. And do social media sites like Facebook provide a replacement for real interactions? A famous study from 2013 says no. Facebook may even make people less happy. Find out more in this episode on Social Connection. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach....

Climate Change and Health

October 21, 2020 11:00 - 45 minutes - 31.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/44 Research suggests that higher local temperatures are associated with a greater incidence of antibiotic-resistant infections. In other words, climate change may exacerbate the already growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. On the flip side, scientists in Portland, Oregon find that planting more vegetation, using reflective materials on hard surfaces, and installing green roofs on buildings may help cool urban areas susceptible to extrem...

44: Climate Change and Health

October 21, 2020 11:00 - 45 minutes - 31.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/44 Research suggests that higher local temperatures are associated with a greater incidence of antibiotic-resistant infections. In other words, climate change may exacerbate the already growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. On the flip side, scientists in Portland, Oregon find that planting more vegetation, using reflective materials on hard surfaces, and installing green roofs on buildings may help cool urban areas susceptible ...

Microplastics

October 06, 2020 11:00 - 43 minutes - 29.9 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/43 The average person eats at least 50,000 microplastics a year, and inhales a similar amount. Microplastics have been found in every part of our digestive tract, and are deleterious to the liver and gut. There is good news, however: researchers at Penn State are working on eco-friendly and biodegradable substitutes. They're made from squid teeth. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Note...

43: Microplastics

October 06, 2020 11:00 - 43 minutes - 29.9 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/43 The average person eats at least 50,000 microplastics a year, and inhales a similar amount. Microplastics have been found in every part of our digestive tract, and are deleterious to the liver and gut. There is good news, however: researchers at Penn State are working on eco-friendly and biodegradable substitutes. They're made from squid teeth. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] ...

5-Year Anniversary

September 22, 2020 14:45 - 32 minutes - 22.3 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/42b 5-Year Anniversary Special. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected]

42: Productivity and the Color Green

September 08, 2020 11:00 - 1 hour - 45.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/42 More people are working from home than ever before. These lifestyle changes can meaningfully impact productivity, stress, and mental health. For example, researchers found that merely thinking that your employer expects you to monitor work email during nonwork hours can ramp up anxiety and harm romantic relationships. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Pressure to ans...

Productivity and the Color Green

September 08, 2020 11:00 - 1 hour - 45.2 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/42 More people are working from home than ever before. These lifestyle changes can meaningfully impact productivity, stress, and mental health. For example, researchers found that merely thinking that your employer expects you to monitor work email during nonwork hours can ramp up anxiety and harm romantic relationships. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Pressure to answer work ...

Social Justice

August 25, 2020 12:00 - 52 minutes - 36 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/41 This episode examines the difficult issues that surround diversity, injustice, and trust. Multiple studies in the United States and Europe found that more ethnic diversity in residential settingis is associated with lower trust among neighbors. And an analysis from 2011 found that many African regions that were raided during the transatlantic slave trade developed cultures of distrust, which can still reverberate in the day-to-day interactions of peo...

41: Social Justice

August 25, 2020 12:00 - 52 minutes - 36 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/41 This episode examines the difficult issues that surround diversity, injustice, and trust. Multiple studies in the United States and Europe found that more ethnic diversity in residential settingis is associated with lower trust among neighbors. And an analysis from 2011 found that many African regions that were raided during the transatlantic slave trade developed cultures of distrust, which can still reverberate in the day-to-day interactio...

Dogs and Wellbeing

August 11, 2020 14:00 - 37 minutes - 25.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/40 The Useful Science team unveils the many benefits of dogs on our well-being. Researchers in Canada found that therapy dogs can positively impact patients’ experiences in stressful hospital settings plagued by long wait times. And in an observational study of families with young children, researchers found that pre-schoolers who played with the family dog three or more times per week displayed fewer conduct problems, and more prosocial behaviors, comp...

40: Dogs and Wellbeing

August 11, 2020 14:00 - 37 minutes - 25.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/40 The Useful Science team unveils the many benefits of dogs on our well-being. Researchers in Canada found that therapy dogs can positively impact patients’ experiences in stressful hospital settings plagued by long wait times. And in an observational study of families with young children, researchers found that pre-schoolers who played with the family dog three or more times per week displayed fewer conduct problems, and more prosocial behavi...

Knots

July 21, 2020 15:11 - 38 minutes - 26.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/39 This week we're talking about knots. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Topological mechanics of knots and tangles The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot

39: Knots

July 21, 2020 15:11 - 38 minutes - 26.7 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/39 This week we're talking about knots. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Topological mechanics of knots and tangles The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot

38: Clinical Trials, COVID-19, and Ethics

July 07, 2020 15:51 - 49 minutes - 34.2 MB

[https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/38\](https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/38) The Useful Science team provides a breakdown on clinical trials - what they are, why they matter, and how long they take. As a wave of urgent clinical trials related to COVID19 is unfolding around the world, researchers try to balance the need for vaccines & treatment with ethical concerns and the health of study participants. Music by [Solomon Krause-Imlach](https://solomonkrauseimlach.com/). F...

Clinical Trials, COVID-19, and Ethics

July 07, 2020 15:51 - 49 minutes - 34.2 MB

[https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/38\](https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/38) The Useful Science team provides a breakdown on clinical trials - what they are, why they matter, and how long they take. As a wave of urgent clinical trials related to COVID19 is unfolding around the world, researchers try to balance the need for vaccines & treatment with ethical concerns and the health of study participants. Music by [Solomon Krause-Imlach](https://solomonkrauseimlach.com/). Follow us ...

Murder Hornets

June 23, 2020 16:13 - 33 minutes - 23 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/37 Avaneesh Narla and Joshua Conrad Jackson discuss the insect that’s been making headlines lately. Also known as Asian giant hornets, these critters have received a lot of hype lately, not just for the scary name but also for their potential to wipe out the oh-so-important pollinating honey bees. Are these fears founded, or is there a bigger threat to our bees? Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected]

37: Murder Hornets

June 23, 2020 16:13 - 33 minutes - 23 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/37 Avaneesh Narla and Joshua Conrad Jackson discuss the insect that’s been making headlines lately. Also known as Asian giant hornets, these critters have received a lot of hype lately, not just for the scary name but also for their potential to wipe out the oh-so-important pollinating honey bees. Are these fears founded, or is there a bigger threat to our bees? Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected]

36: Sugar

June 09, 2020 16:48 - 29 minutes - 20.4 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/36 Uyen Nguyen and Joshua Conrad Jackson are back to discuss some things you might not have heard about sugar. More sugar consumption may lead to risky business in kids. We also examine whether the increasingly popular taxes on the sugar industry actually reduce sugary drink intake. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes In Mexico, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages reduced ...

Sugar

June 09, 2020 16:48 - 29 minutes - 20.4 MB

https://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/36 Uyen Nguyen and Joshua Conrad Jackson are back to discuss some things you might not have heard about sugar. More sugar consumption may lead to risky business in kids. We also examine whether the increasingly popular taxes on the sugar industry actually reduce sugary drink intake. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes In Mexico, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages reduced the sales...

35: Expiration Dates

May 26, 2020 11:00 - 44 minutes - 30.8 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/35 Returning hosts Avaneesh Narla and Dr. Susan Rogers Van Katwyk are here to demystify and unravel some of the mystery of “best by” or expiration dates. How much science is out there about these labels, and how much do they really tell us about health and safety? Does reducing the price of almost-expired food at the store increase overall waste? Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Sh...

Expiration Dates

May 26, 2020 11:00 - 44 minutes - 30.8 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/35 Returning hosts Avaneesh Narla and Dr. Susan Rogers Van Katwyk are here to demystify and unravel some of the mystery of “best by” or expiration dates. How much science is out there about these labels, and how much do they really tell us about health and safety? Does reducing the price of almost-expired food at the store increase overall waste? Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes ...

34: Physics and Teaching Complicated Concepts

May 12, 2020 16:36 - 1 hour - 42.1 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/34 Duncan talks about VR in the classroom. Avaneesh talks about how ice is the most slippery at about -7 C and becomes less slippery at colder temperatures. Jaime talks about how to teach quantum physics. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ready student one: Exploring the predictors of student learning in virtual reality Molecular Insight into the Slipperiness of Ice Sc...

Physics and Teaching Complicated Concepts

May 12, 2020 16:36 - 1 hour - 42.1 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/34 Duncan talks about VR in the classroom. Avaneesh talks about how ice is the most slippery at about -7 C and becomes less slippery at colder temperatures. Jaime talks about how to teach quantum physics. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ready student one: Exploring the predictors of student learning in virtual reality Molecular Insight into the Slipperiness of Ice Science and...

Special: COVID-19 Followup

May 09, 2020 12:00 - 1 hour - 50.4 MB

A followup episode on COVID-19. Coronavirus antibody tests aren’t as accurate as they seem - Quartz The False Hope of Antibody Tests - The Atlantic Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease 2019 - CDC Medical masks vs N95 respirators for preventing COVID‐19 in healthcare workers: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized trials Shadowpox Game

33: Temper Tantrums

April 28, 2020 20:12 - 1 hour - 41.6 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/33 Ian talks about how to deal with kids who don't like their gifts. Cindy talks about the role of maternal behavior in regulating a child's emotions. This is a crossover with the Curious Neuron Podcast (Dr. Cindy Hovington) Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Kids with higher levels of 'effortful control' (the ability to replace one emotional behavior with another) were b...

Temper Tantrums

April 28, 2020 20:12 - 1 hour - 41.6 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/33 Ian talks about how to deal with kids who don't like their gifts. Cindy talks about the role of maternal behavior in regulating a child's emotions. This is a crossover with the Curious Neuron Podcast (Dr. Cindy Hovington) Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Kids with higher levels of 'effortful control' (the ability to replace one emotional behavior with another) were better at ...

32: Office Fitness

April 17, 2020 11:00 - 36 minutes - 25.4 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/32 This week we're talking about office fitness. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ten minutes of moderate exercise (stair walking) increased feelings of alertness more than caffeine in chronically sleep-deprived women. Employees who used a walking treadmill workstation at speeds up to 2 mph showed an increase in productivity over a period of 1 year.

Office Fitness

April 17, 2020 11:00 - 36 minutes - 25.4 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/32 This week we're talking about office fitness. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ten minutes of moderate exercise (stair walking) increased feelings of alertness more than caffeine in chronically sleep-deprived women. Employees who used a walking treadmill workstation at speeds up to 2 mph showed an increase in productivity over a period of 1 year.

31: Politics and Polarization

April 03, 2020 12:00 - 46 minutes - 32.3 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/31 This week we're talking about politics and polarization. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ecological and cultural factors underlying the global distribution of prejudice Could climate change fuel the rise of right-wing nationalism? Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure

Politics and Polarization

April 03, 2020 12:00 - 46 minutes - 32.3 MB

http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast/31 This week we're talking about politics and polarization. Music by Solomon Krause-Imlach. Follow us @usefulsci or email us at [email protected] Show Notes Ecological and cultural factors underlying the global distribution of prejudice Could climate change fuel the rise of right-wing nationalism? Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure

Twitter Mentions

@usefulsci 65 Episodes
@joshrosenau 1 Episode