Citizen Science, EU and Greece, Social Networking and Crisis

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Mar 2, 2015
  • 1:42:02
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Citizen Science: Valley of the Khans with Albert Lin (1:11) Guest: Albert Lin, Research Scientist at the University of California, San Diego and an emerging explorer at the National Geographic Exploration  People are commemorating a key moment in the Civil Rights movement—the Selma Montgomery march that took place 50 years ago this week. Many people coming together and marching is one way to make a change.  In this digital age, there’s increasing opportunity to mobilize virtually – to combine the expertise of many hundreds of thousands of people – and make something happen. Petitions circulated on routinely prompt public officials and corporations to take action. The Smithsonian Museums have a crowd-sourcing website where people with spare time or an excess of enthusiasm for history can help transcribe documents in the museum collection that are too hard for a computer to decipher. Along those same lines, anytime you get one of those “captcha” tests when you’re posting or signing up for something on the internet, you’re proving you’re not a robot while simultaneously teaching computers how to better read handwritten documents.  The scientific world is particularly keen on capturing the power of the group. Players of an online puzzle game called FoldIt have helped advance our knowledge of how proteins are structured. What else might “citizen scientists” be able to solve?  “There is this idea that we can participate in science at an individual level but also that those individual contributions can come together to be bigger than those corporations alone. When we start to mobilize,” says Lin, “together we can really change how we think of individual participation in science.”  EU and Greece (16:10) Guest: Wade Jacoby, Professor of Political Science at BYU  There are undoubtedly leaders of some European countries shaking their heads right now and wondering if it was such a good idea after all to switch to a common European currency. They’ve been forced to agree to yet another round of bailout funds for Greece, whose debt crisis has been dragging on the rest of the Eurozone for years. This latest bailout is only temporary – lasting four more months – and requires Greek officials to commit to tough reforms, including sharp tax hikes and budget cuts. Such harsh measures have already pushed Greek unemployment to over 25 percent in the last several years. If Greece’s economy were allowed to collapse the other 19 countries tied to it by a common currency would also suffer. You have to wonder if this is an eventuality those countries foresaw when they signed on to use the Euro.  There would be some consequences for the rest of the Euro zone.  “..having a weak country like Greece join stronger countries like Germany and the Netherlands, it weakens the value of the Euro,” says Jacoby.  “It’s a pretty complicated thing to do. It can be done, but it’s not easy,” says Jacoby on setting up a new currency.  Snoring and Sleep Apnea (33:11) Guest: Helena Schotland, Division Sleep Specialist in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health Systems  Some of the latest research indicates that children diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder may actually be suffering the effects of sleep apnea. And the extreme fatigue people with MS experience could also be a result of sleep apnea.  “As people age, unfortunately we get kind of floppy on the outside. As we age, we also get floppy on the inside. People may develop sleep apnea over time,” says Schotland.  “The brain often wakes up for a split second and you go back to sleep and you don’t even realize it. But if you do this 100 times during the night it’s as if someone comes and pokes you and wakes you up 100 times in the night. You need sleep that is not interrupted—what we called consolidated sleep where you fall asleep but also stay asleep for an extended period of time,” says Schotland.  “We’re finding many more people,” says Schotland, “who have sleep apnea who might have been diagnosed with something else in the past.”  Social Networking and Crisis (51:57) Guest: Lewis Borck, PhD. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Arizona  A Pew Research study done in 2010 said that a little more than four-in-ten American adults know most or all of their neighbors. Maybe we just don’t feel the need to be as connected to those who live near us. Or maybe it’s the fault of Facebook and Instagram, making us feel connected online, while being isolated in the real world. Whatever the reason, researchers at the University of Arizona say you might want to focus a little more on building connections with your neighbors. Pottery unearthed in the American southwest show the bigger your social circle, the better you’re equipped to handle a crisis like a natural disaster.  “We can actually watch large groups of multiple villages and multiple cities and how they are coming together and how they treat their neighbors and persist or survive in a difficult time. You are more likely to survive in a crisis if you are socially connected to people in your area,” says Brock.  Parent Previews: Lazarus Effect and Leonard Nimoy (1:05:33) Guests: Rod & Kerry Gustafson of Parent Previews  A moment of reflection now, on the passing of TV and film star Leonard Nimoy – best known as Dr. Spock, of course. Considering how iconic his character and the TV show Star Trek have become, it’s incredible to think the original series only aired for three seasons from 1966 to 1969. It’s been in reruns constantly since then – which is how I came to know and love Nimoy as Spock during my childhood. And of course, there have been countless spin offs and remakes of the original.  Nimoy died Friday at the age of 83 from chronic lung disease. And we start with him today as we connect with Rod Gustafson and Kerry Bennett of Parent Previews for our weekly chat about film.  “He had a lot of talent,” says Rod Gustafson about Leonard Nimoy.  "There's this conflict between science and religion in this movie, but it's all zombies by the end. Very much your zombie science fiction movie," says Kerry Gustafson.  Tech Transfer (1:18:05) Guests: Bryan Morse, Professor of Computer Science at BYU  David Brown, with the BYU Technology Transfer Office  As digital cameras get more advanced—and even allow people to capture 3-D video—the editing software needs to keep pace.  “We’re all used to going to the movies and seeing 3-d movies. Those are done with stereo cameras. Just the same way stereo has 2 speakers and you get a richer volume of sound, the same is with visual audio,” says Morse.  “I try to teach my students that anything that we do,” says Morse, “a user can do interactively if they spend enough time on it. Our goal is to save people time. The more we can automate the more and more value there is for the users. We want to do the heavy lifting and save the people from doing the tedious part of the process.” Show More...