Sound Science: Episode 6 - You Are Made of Chemicals

When we hear the word chemical many people automatically think of a bad or dangerous substance. Something that you definitely don’t want to eat or drink and maybe even something that could be dangerous to touch or smell. This idea seems to be particularly popular in our current society, with many foods and cosmetics labeled as chemical-free.

But what if we told you that you are made of chemicals? That everyone and everything around you is made of chemicals. This podcast will explore some of the misconceptions surrounding chemicals and give you a better understanding of what the word really does mean.

Movie Review: Memento (2000)

The film Memento (2000) stars Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, an insurance investigator on the hunt for the individual responsible for his wife’s rape and murder. The only problem is that he has a severe form of anterograde amnesia from the injuries that he sustained during the home invasion that left his wife dead.

Our expert reviewer for this film is Dr. Clayton Dickson, a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta and Principal Investigator of the Brain Rhythms Lab.

Sound Science: Episode 5 - Solar System Formation

Space is often described as the final frontier, but it could also be considered the first frontier. It took billions of years for the Universe to form into the environment that it is today. In our more local environment, the solar system within which we live has been developing for approximately 4.6 billion years. Tune in to our podcast to learn about how our solar system, our sun, and our planet first began and developed into the place that we call home!

Sound Science: Episode 4 - How Diet Affects the Environment

It is a confusing and daunting task to try and understand climate change and, arguably more importantly, how do we as individuals contribute to climate change? In this episode we will discuss the consequences that a reoccurring and everyday decision has on climate change and how relatively simple changes can help reduce our environmental impact. Today, Sound Science discusses how your diet affects the environment.

Movie Review: Transcendence

Where did this movie succeed in addressing scientific content accurately, and where did it fail? It’s a frequently recurring theme in Hollywood, but should we really be fearing artificial intelligence and its ill-intentions for humanity (see Terminator 1984, I Robot 2004, Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015)? Our expert reviewer for this film is Dr. Csaba Szepesvari, a professor in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta and member of the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence group.

Sound Science: Episode 3 - Space Junk

Humans have been going to space since 1961, but unfortunately, we haven’t been taking care of the trash. Immense amounts of space junk have accumulated around Earth, discarded by rocket launches and even by explosions of satellites.  This junk is a potential risk every time new vessels enter space and jeopardizes the future of humanity in space. Tune in as the PSI team discusses the amount of space junk that surrounds us, the ramifications of what it means, and how we might solve the problem!

Sound Science: Episode 2 - Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opiate that is 80-100 times more powerful than morphine. Across Canada and the world, rates of fentanyl overdose have skyrocketed in recent years and it has risen to the forefront of the larger opioid epidemic. What makes fentanyl so much worse than other opiates like OxyContin and why is it so addictive? Tune in as the PSI team discusses how fentanyl works, why it causes so many overdoses, and where it fits in the larger opiate epidemic.

Sound Science: Episode 1 - Concussions

For a long time, concussions were considered insignificant injuries that people quickly recover from. However, we now know that concussions are significant injuries that can have long-lasting effects. Modern testing has documented their impact on cognitive function for months to years after injury, and repeated concussions have been linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Much of the problem stems from the fact that the symptoms of these "invisible" injuries are not always easily and immediately recognized. Tune in as the PSI team describes how concussions occur, their impact, and the links between concussions and degenerative diseases.

Coral Bleaching: Where did all the Colors Go?

Climate change is causing devastating effects around the globe. Several major coral bleaching events have happened since 1979 (1). In 2016 and 2017 the world’s coral reefs, particularly the Great Barrier Reef (2), experienced a bleaching event like none other. If you have read our summary about coral reefs, you know that coral reefs are an important part of the world. Read on to find out how coral bleaching happens and how we can stop it.

CO2 as a Greenhouse Gas - The Importance of Carbon in the Atmosphere

You have probably heard in the news that we need to reduce our carbon emissions to prevent global climate change, but what are carbon emissions? And why are they important? Carbon emissions can be defined as the release of carbon into the atmosphere, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) or as methane (CH4). This occurs during the burning of a fuel source to produce energy. A common example of this is the use of a fossil fuel, such as gasoline, to power our vehicles (1, 2). But why is carbon dioxide such a big deal? What properties does it have that make it such a big threat to the climate of our planet?

Plant or Animal: What Exactly is Coral?

Coral and coral reef are some of those terms that are important to know but can be easily overlooked. Maybe your first introduction to a coral reef was in a popular movie about a clownfish. Maybe you have visited a reef before but you still are not really sure what you were looking at. By knowing what corals are we can better understand how important they are to the oceans and appreciate them that much more!