We Have Concerns

We Have Concerns

Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni talk about the personal philosophical concerns they find lurking inside everyday things. It's fun?

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    Bye Polar

    Russian scientists have driven away polar bears that besieged their weather station on an island in the Arctic Ocean for two weeks. After five scientists based at the weather station on Troynoy island, in the Kara Sea north of Siberia, were encircled by 10 adult bears and some cubs, a nearby ship was able to reach the island and supply the scientists with dogs and flares to scare off the bears. Anthony and Jeff discuss the predicament and wonder what they might do faced with the same challenge.

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    Bringing Up Baby

    Jeff is back! And he's an honest-to-goodness real life Dad! Anthony takes a moment to check in on the experience of bringing a new Cannata into the world.

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    Scan You Keep a Secret?

    Security researchers Abdul Serwadda and Richard Matovu recently tested a pair of EEG authentication systems to see if it was possible to identify personal information from anonymous brainwave scans. The pair created a machine learning system that compared the new brainwaves scans to EEG scans from a group of known alcoholics -- and the machine successfully identified 25-percent of persons who identified themselves as alcoholics in the new sample. Anthony and guest host Kris Straub wonder if this means anything at all, or is a lot of click-baity scare tactics.

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    Not-a-Dog Person

    A man who spent the last two years raising two beloved pet dogs has had a bit of a shock. The pair of 'puppies' Wang Kaiyu bought and raised at his home in Maguan County in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, have turned out to be two Asian black bears. Anthony and special guest Kris Straub fill in for Jeff as he becomes a new Dad, and discuss the level of delusion required to mistake bears for puppies.

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    Up Sh%t Creek

    Firefighters in Norway have pulled a man from the inside of a toilet after he lowered himself in to retrieve a friend's phone and became stuck in the tank below. Oh yes, the story gets much worse from there. Anthony and Jeff discuss the concept of diving into a toilet after a phone, and the depths of friendships. Not an episode for the squeamish.

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    Host in the Shell

    For Hermit crabs, suitable shells are hard to come by. So they have come up with an ingenious scheme. When a crab happens upon a shell, it scopes it out – and when it is too big, the crab sits and waits, sometimes up to eight hours. More crabs show up to check out the potential new digs, and for those whom the shell is too big, they line up and wait. And get this, they line up in size order. Up to 20 crabs, lined up biggest to smallest, waiting for just-the-right–size crab to appear. Jeff is blown away by this incredible organization, but Anthony see a problem...

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    Live and Let Diet

    A new study, published in Elementa, looks at the consequences of switching the U.S. to different kinds of diet, from full vegan to various kinds of egg and cheese-supplemented vegetarian diets. And the results show that a completely vegan food chain would actually feed fewer people. Anthony and Jeff discuss the responsibility we all have as eaters, and how much that should play into our decisions.

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    A Knife Well Tasted

    Surgeons in India extracted 40 knives from inside the body of a police officer during a rare, five-hour operation. Surjeet Singh suffers from an uncontrollable urge to consume knives and had swallowed the knives over several months. Jeff and Anthony discuss strange compulsions, and what life must be like for someone with this condition.

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    The Prime Sinister

    For the most part, numbers are simply cold indicators, unable of expressing menace or guile, but then there’s Belphegor’s Prime, a supposedly sinister numeric palindrome that has a number of odd qualities. Or at least that’s what one mathematician would have you believe. Jeff and Anthony discuss the lore surrounding one simple prime number, and get hip to the cool world of math.

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    And the Beasts Shall Inherit the Earth

    What if every animal on the planet has suddenly woken up a rational, self-aware being? Would one creature come to rule all others, much as we humans have done, or would our varied kind arrive at some sort of peaceful, enlightened coexistence? The thought experiment is the subject of a BBC Future article that has Anthony and Jeff wondering what that kind of world might be like.

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