Science and Nature

Far Out

Far Out explores the future of science, technology, and culture and how these changes may affect humanity and life on Earth.

What Happens When Demographics Change Forever?

6m 38s

Our demographics look different than they did even seventy years ago. People are choosing to have less children, which leads to an aging population that could strain social services and deal a blow to the economy. But isn’t slower population growth supposed to be more sustainable for our environment? The answer is complicated– but it’s one we’ll have to understand to tackle our changing world.

Episodes

  • What Happens When Demographics Change Forever?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Happens When Demographics Change Forever?

    S1 E18 - 6m 38s

    Our demographics look different than they did even seventy years ago. People are choosing to have less children, which leads to an aging population that could strain social services and deal a blow to the economy. But isn’t slower population growth supposed to be more sustainable for our environment? The answer is complicated– but it’s one we’ll have to understand to tackle our changing world.

  • Recycling is a Myth – Here’s How We Fix That: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Recycling is a Myth – Here’s How We Fix That

    S1 E17 - 7m 50s

    Globally, only 9% of plastic is ever recycled, and even that tiny amount requires some virgin plastic to maintain quality. But scientists have discovered a new way to address this issue: “plastivores”, organisms that have evolved to eat plastic using enzymes in their bodies. Can we harness these enzymes and use them on the macro scale? Or will it not be enough to keep up with plastic production?

  • The Dirty Truth About Our Clean Energy Future: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Dirty Truth About Our Clean Energy Future

    S1 E16 - 11m 25s

    In order to develop clean energy technology, specific rare earth metals like cobalt and nickel need to be harvested. These often come at a steep human and environmental cost– but what if there was another way? Some propose sourcing these metals from the ocean floor or asteroids, but these solutions come with additional considerations and concerns.

  • Geoengineering: The Riskiest Way to Save the Planet: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Geoengineering: The Riskiest Way to Save the Planet

    S1 E15 - 7m 34s

    How do we reduce the impact of climate change, and could geoengineering be the solution? Host Sinead Bovell is joined by sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson and other experts to examine the goal of Global Net Zero Emissions, direct air capture strategies, and why geoengineering is a risky strategy – that may be our only hope.

  • Why Tree Planting Campaigns Don’t Work: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why Tree Planting Campaigns Don’t Work

    S1 E14 - 7m 39s

    In 2019, a Turkey tree planting campaign set a world record. Three months later, 90% of those saplings were dead. Planting trees to replace old-growth forests is a common solution, but it typically does not solve the problem. With deforestation causing climate-related disasters, it’s time to take a hard look at reforestation and what we can do to save our forests.

  • How Talking With Animals Would Change Our World: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Talking With Animals Would Change Our World

    S1 E13 - 10m 12s

    In 1970, a recording of a whale song changed the world. The album, “Songs Of The Humpback Whale,” helped launch a movement to ban commercial whaling and protect endangered species. Today, scientists are getting closer and closer to understanding and imitating animal communication. Will we use this newfound power to protect our planetary neighbors? Here’s what we know.

  • What If Our Clothes Could Disrupt Surveillance Cameras?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What If Our Clothes Could Disrupt Surveillance Cameras?

    S1 E12 - 9m 23s

    What do you get when you combine mass surveillance with A.I.? It’s a dystopia that’s already a reality in places across the world. Fashion designers are pushing back, crafting clothing and accessories that trick facial recognition software into mislabelling a person as something else, like…a giraffe or a zebra. How can you escape constant surveillance? Sinéad Bovell takes a closer look.

  • How to Turn Skin Cells Into a Baby: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How to Turn Skin Cells Into a Baby

    S1 E11 - 9m 29s

    When two people love each other very much, they bring their skin cells to a lab, turn those cells into sperm and eggs, then put them together to make a baby. Wait, what? This is the future scientists are working on through a process called IVG. It’s already been done in mice. Are we on the verge of eliminating infertility? Is this a slippery slope towards designer babies? Sinéad Bovell discusses.

  • The Future of Dating is Weirder Than You Think: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Future of Dating is Weirder Than You Think

    S1 E10 - 10m 12s

    Tired of swiping? From AI companions like Replika to matchmaking services that use DNA to predict compatibility, scientific breakthroughs offer new and exciting paths to romance. How will these developments change the ways we fall in love? And what does that teach us about love itself? We’ll discuss the opinions of experts like Esther Perel as we explore the strange future of dating.

  • Why Make Humanoid Robots?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why Make Humanoid Robots?

    S1 E9 - 9m 4s

    Humanoid robots are no longer a thing of science fiction. Engineers have built machines that can mimic human movements and speech with remarkable precision. Why are scientists so determined to make robots look like us? Are they going to take our jobs? In this episode of Far Out, we unveil the secrets and moral complexities of humanoid robots.

  • Why Scientists Want to Resurrect Extinct Species: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why Scientists Want to Resurrect Extinct Species

    S1 E8 - 9m 55s

    From the wooly mammoth to the passenger pigeon, extinct species once maintained the balance of the earth’s delicate ecosystems. But human interference has resulted in dramatic loss of biodiversity. Can science restore what has been lost? In this episode of Far Out, we dig into ‘de-extinction’ as geneticists and molecular biologists attempt to bring back species to restore the health of the planet.

  • Why Male Birth Control Doesn’t Exist (Yet): asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why Male Birth Control Doesn’t Exist (Yet)

    S1 E7 - 9m 48s

    Despite trying, scientists haven’t been able to figure out male birth control, and more often than not, the burden falls onto women. But that might change. Experts are excited about two kinds of birth control in development, and if they prove to be successful, they could drastically change the landscape of contraception.

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