Above the Noise

Endangered Species: Worth Saving from Extinction? | Above the Noise

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Throughout Earth’s history there have been five major mass extinction events—where a large percentage of species died out. Scientists estimate that we are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction event right now, where species are dying out at 1,000 to 10,000 times baseline extinction rates. Moral and ethical arguments to try to prevent species extinction include reasons like all life has a right to be here, or that we owe it to our grandchildren to protect species so they can see them in the wild. Join Above the Noise host Myles Bess to find out why should we care if a species goes extinct.

Are Energy Drinks Really that Bad? | Above the Noise

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Above the Noise host Shirin Ghaffary weighs the potential health risks of drinking energy drinks, and compares them to other sugary, caffeinated beverages. Energy drinks are a billion dollar industry and their popularity keeps growing despite health concerns. We are warned they are particularly dangerous for children and teens -- and there have even been reports of deaths linked to energy drink consumption. In this video we take a closer look at the science to see if energy drinks are really as bad as the hype, and what it is about them that has doctors concerned.

Voices from the March for Science | Above the Noise

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The March For Science attracted participants from all over the world who voiced their support of evidence-based policy and the impact of scientific research on everyday life. Thousands of people of all ages participated in marches for science across the country on April 22. But some scientists feel that marches like these are a mistake and risk politicizing science. In this special report, host Shirin Ghaffary speaks with young participants at the San Francisco march.

How Could 3D Printed Guns Affect Gun Laws? | Above the Noise

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In the United States, the gun debate has been raging for decades. Gun rights advocates think there are enough -- or maybe too many -- laws restricting their second amendment right to bear arms. Those wanting more gun control believe that to protect people’s safety, we need the government to regulate who can have a gun. But what happens when technology is one step ahead of the laws? That’s the case with 3-D printed guns. It’s always been legal for adults to make their own guns at home, but traditionally, that required specialized tools and a lot of skill. 3-D printing, however, is changing that, making it significantly easier to make a gun from scratch. This has sparked both interest from gun enthusiasts and concerns about public safety. Host Shirin Ghaffary explores how 3-D printed guns are affecting the gun debate in the United States.

Can Procrastination Be a Good Thing? | Above the Noise

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It seems like we’re always being told that procrastination is bad. Taking a closer look at why people procrastinate, though, it’s more complicated than it might seem. Many researchers would agree that procrastination can actually be helpful. Distractions provide the mind a break during which we can creatively think through problems. Explore the science behind procrastination in this week’s Above the Noise video.

Can You Win an Argument with a Conspiracy Theorist? | Above the Noise

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A conspiracy theory is a belief that an organization is working in secret to achieve some sinister goal. These theories are nothing new, but with the internet and the rise of social media, conspiracy theories are getting in front of a lot of eyeballs. Have you ever sat down and tried to argue with someone who believes in a conspiracy theory? Watch the latest Above the Noise video to discover why some people believe in conspiracy theories and whether you can change the mind of someone who believes in one.

Can Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Help Fight Disease? | Above the Noise

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In the last couple of years, the mosquito species Aedes aegypti has garnered perhaps the most attention, at least in parts of the U.S. where it resides. It’s the one that can transmit a generous selection of very nasty diseases including Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. In an effort to control these mosquito populations and reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, some scientists at the British company OXITEC have turned to genetic engineering. Host Myles Bess dives into the science and policy surrounding the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

How Widespread Is Student Homelessness? | Above the Noise

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Student homelessness in the US is a tricky thing to quantify. HUD -- the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development -- controls most of the money used to help the homeless. But, that agency misses about 4 in 5 homeless students. Why? It’s all about how you define the term “homeless”. According to HUD, you’re only considered homeless if you’re living in a shelter or living on the streets. But according to the Department of Education, about 80% of the 1.3 million homeless students living in the US are couch surfing, living in motels, or doubling up with family or friends. These students aren’t eligible for HUD money, so increasingly, it’s up to schools to provide help. Host Myles Bess explores how homeless students get the help they need when different federal agencies use competing definitions to define who’s homeless.

Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather? | Above the Noise

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Fluctuations in weather happen all the time. But sometimes, those fluctuations can get extreme, making disasters like hurricanes and heatwaves more intense. What role does climate change play in extreme weather? Watch the latest Above the Noise episode to find out.

Why Only 9 Countries Have Nuclear Weapons | Above the Noise

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North Korea has been making headlines recently, mostly due to its nuclear weapons. In early January, the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, boasted of his ability to reach the U.S. with nuclear-armed missiles. Then in March -- in an apparent 180 -- he told South Korean officials that he would be willing to negotiate with the U.S. to completely denuclearize. What are the rules that govern who has nukes and who doesn’t? And why do some countries maintain huge nuclear arsenals, while many other countries don’t have any nukes? Joe Hanson of It's OK to Be Smart joins host Myles Bess to investigate.

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