Unsung Science

CBS Radio

Hear the untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech. “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent and six-time Emmy winner David Pogue takes you behind the scenes into the creation stories of the world’s greatest advances and the people behind them. From transportation, food, space, internet, and health, creators reveal their inspirations and roadblocks they encountered in bringing their breakthroughs to the public. Hear all-new episodes of the award-winning Unsung Science podcast every other Friday.

Location:

United States

Networks:

CBS Radio

Description:

Hear the untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech. “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent and six-time Emmy winner David Pogue takes you behind the scenes into the creation stories of the world’s greatest advances and the people behind them. From transportation, food, space, internet, and health, creators reveal their inspirations and roadblocks they encountered in bringing their breakthroughs to the public. Hear all-new episodes of the award-winning Unsung Science podcast every other Friday.

Language:

English


Episodes

AI and the End of Writing

1/20/2023
In early 2023 ChatGPT blew up the internet. It’s an AI app that can create any piece of writing you ask for. Poems, homework, lyrics, essays, outlines, recipes, interview questions, and even code. All are indistinguishable from something written by a person, all instantaneous and free. In schools, cheaters began cheating immediately. Educators were horrified, calling it the end of homework, college-entrance essays, and even writing skills. New York City schools banned it. Experts called it...

Duration:00:31:42

Introducing: Season 2 of Unsung Science with David Pogue

1/13/2023
From NASA helicopters in space to robot bouys at sea, “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent David Pogue is covering all the latest innovations across tech and science on season 2 of Unsung Science. Hear interviews with industry leaders who take you behind the scenes of the world’s greatest advances in transportation, food, space, internet, and health. New episodes every other Friday. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at...

Duration:00:02:41

Back to Titanic Part 2

12/19/2022
In “Back to Titanic” Part 1, David Pogue told of his invitation to join an expedition to visit the wreck of the Titanic in a custom submersible. The company, OceanGate, ordinarily charges $250,000 per person, as part of a new wave in adventure travel. Bad weather immediately canceled the dive that Pogue and the “CBS Sunday Morning” crew were scheduled to join—but the CEO offered a consolation dive to the Grand Banks. The sights were said to include shark breeding grounds, towering...

Duration:00:38:26

Back to Titanic Part 1

11/27/2022
The wreck of the Titanic lies about 2.4 miles below sea level. Only five submersibles in the world can carry people to that depth—and four of them have been retired or reassigned. The one remaining sub is something special. First, it holds five people comfortably (instead of two or three uncomfortably). Second, it’s the only one made of carbon fiber. And third, you can buy your way onto it. For $250,000, OceanGate Expeditions will take you down to visit the world’s most famous shipwreck....

Duration:00:39:38

The Secret of Baby Carrots

11/20/2022
If you type the word “carrot” into Google Images, you get thousands of photos of the classic root vegetable. They’re all full-length, orange, straight, and pointy. Which is a little odd, because 70% of all the carrots we buy are, in fact, baby carrots. Or at least we think they’re baby carrots. Turns out baby carrots aren’t baby at all. And the story of their creation is twisty, uplifting, and super satisfying. It’s all about a California carrot farmer with a distaste for waste—and a...

Duration:00:29:09

From Revisionist History: The Triplicate Program and Opioid Epidemic

7/28/2022
I'm sharing a bonus episode from my friends at Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked. This season, Malcolm’s obsessed with experiments – natural experiments, scientific experiments, thought experiments. In this preview, we learn about Paul Madden, who ran the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in the 1930s. He enacted an expensive, burdensome, annoying bit of bureaucratic anti-drug hysteria known as the “triplicate program” that made...

Duration:00:13:16

How Impossible Meats Might Save the Earth

2/11/2022
People talk about greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, planes, and factories, but one source out-pollutes them all: Cows. Raising meat animals like cows generates more methane than the entire fossil-fuel industry. So Pat Brown left his job as a Stanford biochemistry professor to dedicate his life to fixing the problem. He vowed to create perfect meat replicas using only plant ingredients. His Impossible Burger is already a megahit—but can he be serious about replacing all beef, pork, chicken,...

Duration:00:40:51

The Man Who Stopped the Spammers

2/4/2022
By the year 2000, the internet was already becoming a cesspool. The bad guys used software bots to sign up for millions of fake email accounts—for sending out spam. PhD student Luis Von Ahn stopped them. He invented the CAPTCHA, that website login test where you have to decipher the distorted image of a word. Or you have to find the traffic lights or fire hydrants in a grid of nine blurry photos. Those tests help to keep down the volume of spam, spyware, and misinformation; they advance...

Duration:00:31:59

Where Emoji Come From

1/28/2022
Each year, the powers that be endow our phones with about 70 new emoji. For 2022, you’ll be getting a mirror ball, a crutch, an X-ray, coral, a ring buoy, and a bird’s nest—with or without eggs in it. But who ARE the powers that be? Why do they add the emoji they add? Why do we have a blowfish but not a catfish? Why do we have police car, police officer, and judge, but not handcuffs, jail, or prison? In this hilarious episode, you’ll meet the shadowy figures who choose which symbols get...

Duration:00:36:39

How the Fitbit Knows You're Dreaming

1/21/2022
Over the last decade, a group of California scientists has quietly amassed the biggest sleep database ever assembled. It includes every dozing off, every wakeup, every REM-cycle, every chunk of deep sleep, from 15 billion nights of human slumber. It can tell us the average person’s bedtime, whether men or women sleep longer, and which city is really the city that never sleeps. These scientists work at Fitbit—the company that sells fitness bands. And for them, revealing your sleep patterns is...

Duration:00:36:23

Subtitles for the Blind

1/14/2022
You already knew that you can turn on subtitles for your TV show or movie—handy if you’re hearing impaired, or just want to understand the dialogue better. But there’s a corresponding feature for people with low vision: audio description tracks, where an unseen narrator tells you, in real time, what’s happening on the screen. But who creates them, and how, and when? And how do they describe the action during fast dialogue, fast action, sex scenes, and screens full of scrolling credits? A...

Duration:00:50:21

Chainsaws, Women, and the Cape Town Drought

1/7/2022
In 2018, following a historic three-year drought, the water sources in Cape Town, South Africa ran dry. It was the first major city to face Day Zero: when you’d turn on the faucet—and nothing would come out. The town leaders discussed expensive, environmentally disruptive projects like pipelines and desalination plants. But then an environmental nonprofit, the Nature Conservancy, proposed a radically different approach that could win Cape Town 13 billion gallons of water a year, cheaply and...

Duration:00:39:51

How to Prepare for Wildfires

12/31/2021
You’ve survived 2021—thanks, no doubt, to the science and tech that made your medical care, your internet, and your smartphone work. Tonight, New Year’s Eve, many podcast hosts are taking some time to reflect, to rest—and to post a re-run. But not “Unsung Science!” To tide you over until next week’s fresh episode, we offer a free audiobook chapter from David Pogue’s book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change.” This is the chapter on how to prepare for wildfires, timed to coincide with the...

Duration:00:59:41

Where to Live in the Climate-Change Era

12/24/2021
It’s the night before Christmas—and many podcasters (and listeners) are nestled all snug in their beds. But we didn’t want to leave you without a dose of witty Pogue science writing. So here, for your listening pleasure, is a free chapter from David Pogue’s latest audio book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change.” This is Chapter 2, “Where to Live.” Obviously, not everyone can afford to move just to escape climate-crisis disasters—yet 40 million Americans do move every year, and an increasing...

Duration:01:00:13

Leap Seconds, Smear Seconds, and the Slowing of the Earth

12/17/2021
The earth’s spinning is slowing down. Any clocks pegged to the earth’s rotation are therefore drifting out of alignment with our far more precise atomic clocks—only by a thousandth of a second every 50 years, but that’s still a problem for the computers that run the internet, cellphones, and financial systems. In 1972, scientists began re-aligning atomic clocks with earth-rotation time by inserting a leap second every December 31, or as needed. It seemed like a good idea at the time—until...

Duration:00:37:36

How the Cellphone was Born: Three Months of Craziness

12/10/2021
In the early 1970s, “mobile phones” were car phones: Permanently installed monstrosities that filled up your trunk with boxes and, in a given city, could handle only 20 calls at a time. Nobody imagined that there’d be a market for handheld, pocketable cellphones; the big phone companies thought the idea was idiotic. But Marty Cooper, now 92, saw a different future for cellular technology—and he had 90 days to make it work. A story of corporate rivalry, Presidential interference…and...

Duration:00:36:49

How Apple and Microsoft Built the Seeing-Eye Phone

12/3/2021
Your smartphone can see, hear, and speak—even if you can’t. So it occurred to the engineers at Apple and Microsoft: Can the phone be a talking companion for anyone with low vision, describing what it’s seeing in the world around you? Today, it can. Thanks to some heavy doses of machine learning and augmented reality, these companies’ apps can identify things, scenes, money, colors, text, and even people (“30-year-old man with brown hair, smiling, holding a laptop—probably Stuart”)—and then...

Duration:00:48:31

How to Prepare for Climate Change: Intro

11/26/2021
It's Thanksgiving weekend, and for many podcasts, a week off. But we didn't want to sock you with some re-run—or, worse, leave you with no episode at all. So David Pogue is here to offer a free chapter from his audio book, "How to Prepare for Climate Change." You'll hear the complete Introduction, which is designed to teach you the difference between mitigation and adaptation—and convince you to keep doing the former, but start doing the latter. See Privacy Policy at...

Duration:00:07:04

Who Makes the Fake Languages for Hollywood?

11/19/2021
The first time you heard “Star Trek” characters speak Klingon, or the “Game of Thrones” characters speaking Dothraki and High Valyrian, you might have assumed that the actors were just speaking a few words of gibberish, created by some screenwriter to sound authentic. But these are complete languages, with vocabulary, syntax, grammar, and even made-up histories. There’s only one person on the planet whose full-time job is creating them—and these days, he’s swamped with requests. No doubt...

Duration:00:37:06

How NASA's $2 Billion Rover Landed Itself on Mars: "Seven Minutes of Terror"

11/12/2021
Perseverance, NASA's latest Mars rover, is a one-ton, $2 billion marvel. The plan was for it to enter the Mars atmosphere going 12,000 miles an hour. The problem: How do you slow it down enough to set it down gently on the surface? You can't use retro rockets, because they'd stir up so much dust, the rover’s cameras and instruments would be ruined. You can’t deliver Perseverance inside a larger spaceship, because the rover wouldn’t be able to drive out of the landing crater. You can’t even...

Duration:00:42:42