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Jai Ranganathan

Jai Ranganathan
Dr. Jai Ranganathan is a biologist and his research focuses on questions of species conservation. He can be reached at jai.ranganathan at

Recent posts


Ecosystems Secretly Protect Against Lyme Disease

Lizards, it seems, are good at keeping ticks free of Lyme disease, which suggests that a ecosystem that benefits lizards (and other creatures) ultimately benefits humankind, ecologist Cherie Briggs explains in this podcast.


Climate Change Pushing Millions to Edge of Starvation

Climatologist Chris Funk explains his findings that long-term ocean warming has created a chain reaction that is likely to permanently dry out East Africa.


Evacuation Lessons From Hurricane Irene

Safety officials may have overreacted in preparing for Hurricane Irene, but that’s the best course of action, says evacuation expert Micah Brachman.


Law of the Jungle: Powerful Men Have More Children

Anthropologist Christopher von Rueden’s studies of a Bolivian tribe suggest that men’s instinctive drive for power is a strategy to seed their descendants thickly.


New Answers to Whale of a Mystery

Biologist Graham Slater explains that the evolution of whales into behemoths of the sea occurred in evolutionary spurts and not in a slow and steady process.


Could Organic Farming Threaten Our Food Supply?

Pest ecologist Scott Merrill discusses the bizarre adaptions of insects who feast on our crops, and how some organic farming practices may make life easier for them.


Greek Economic Collapse: Pulling Europe and U.S. Down?

Economist Benjamin J. Cohen discusses the ramifications of the debt crisis in Greece, one of the four PIGS — Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain — whose debt problems threaten economic stability in Europe and the United States.


Six Months after Arab Spring, Uncertainty Rules in Egypt

While the Arab Spring spotlight has marched on to Syria and Libya, pioneering Egypt’s first steps have by followed by little-noticed stumbles.


What Causes Conflict?

By studying pig-tailed macaques, physicist Simon DeDeo untangles the hidden structures underlying conflict in social animals — including humans.


Hidden Patterns in Presidential Voting

In predicting presidential voting in the United States, don’t sweat the small stuff, political scientist Nathan Collins explains to Curiouser & Curiouser host Jai Ranganathan.


The Origin of Monogamy

Where does the idea of marriage — monogamous marriage specifically — come from? Anthropologist Laura Fortunato has some answers.


From Siberia to the Tropics with a Thermometer

Marine biologist Steve Katz has tapped a Russian family’s multigenerational measurements of the temperature of a Siberian lake to explain how climate there is part of climate everywhere.


The Next Epidemic — How Society Aids Disease

Are we at greater risk now from massive disease outbreaks? It’s a vital question after a wave of deadly E. coli infections in Germany has put hundreds in the hospital and killed more than 20. Disease ecologist Sadie Ryan explains how societal changes are aiding the bugs.


Can Threatened Species Evolve Their Way Out of Trouble?

Ecologist Andrew Gonzalez explains that experiments on yeast suggest that threatened species may be able to evolve fast enough — under the right conditions — to survive.


Climate Change, Agricultural Production and Africa’s Poor

With climate change set to wreck agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, what will happen to the world’s poorest people?


Doggy DNA: Few Genes Separate Chihuahua from Great Dane

Geneticist Adam Boyko walks us through the DNA maze that produces dogs of all shapes and sizes from a very few genes.


Year After BP Oil Spill: Where Are We?

Biogeochemist Molly Redmond discusses the state of the Gulf of Mexico a year after the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill, looking at what’s still unknown and how some lucky breaks kept damage from being even worse.


Nuclear Power’s History in the US: Miracle to Demon

Over its short lifetime, nuclear power has migrated from being the miracle of America’s energy future to an at times unruly nuclear demon, says historian Patrick McCray.


The Dilemma and Future of Nuclear Power

In this last of a three-part podcast, Dr. Theo Theofanous talks about the health impacts of radiation leaking from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant and about the future of nuclear power.


Japanese Nuclear Crisis: How Does This End?

In the second of three parts, engineering professor and nuclear risk expert Theo Theofanous discusses the options Japan has to avert even greater catastrophe at the badly damaged Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant.


Behind the Japanese Nuclear Reactor Crisis

Engineering professor Theo Theofanous, long recognized for his work on risk and accident analysis specifically focused on nuclear reactors, begins the first of three podcasts on the Fukushima incident with Curiouser & Curiouser host Jai Ranganathan.


Japan’s Earthquake: Deciphering the Fury

With the help of seismologist Chen Ji, Curiouser & Curiouser host Jai Ranganathan examines the tectonic roots of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


Fishing for Answers in Marine Sanctuaries

Marine biologist Tim McClanahan asks if poor Kenyan fishermen can improve themselves without destroying local coral reefs? (Hint: yes)


Can We Avoid Devouring the Planet?

Stanford geographer Holly Gibbs discusses the challenge of preserving natural areas while still feeding an increasingly hungry world.


Nuclear Weapons and Conservation: Connecting the Dots

Ecologist Nick Haddad discusses his massive experiment in creating habitat corridors on lands protected because they surround guarded nuclear sites.

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Don’t Text and Drive—Especially If You’re Old

A new study shows that texting while driving becomes even more dangerous with age.

Apparently You Can Bring Your Religion to Work

New research says offices that encourage talk of religion actually make for happier workplaces.

Canadian Kids Have a Serious Smoking Problem

Bootleg cigarette sales could be leading Canadian teens to more serious drugs, a recent study finds.

The Hidden Psychology of the Home Ref

That old myth of home field bias isn’t a myth at all; it’s a statistical fact.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

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