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July 17, 2011 - A Great Migration - Guest: Dr. Ernest Williams, Jr.
July 18, 2011 10:04 AM PDT

The charismatic, orange and black monarch butterfly is a common visitor to gardens, old fields and roadsides in the Northeast during the summertime. Did you know these butterflies made quite the trip to get here? Monarchs are migratory butterflies; each autumn they journey as far as 2800 miles south to the mountains of central Mexico, only to head back north the following spring. This spectacular migratory feat might be in danger says Dr. Ernest Williams, Jr., a professor of biology from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. He explains to host Holly Menninger how the great monarch migration faces a number of threats, including the degradation of overwintering habitat in Mexico and the decline of breeding habitat in the Midwest. For more information and to participate in monarch citizen science projects, please visit: Journey North and Monarch Watch
Image Credit: J.C. Lucier

June 19, 2011 - Things that make you go HMMMMMM…Sound communication in fishes - Guest: Dr. Andy Bass
June 20, 2011 07:30 AM PDT

Sound communication abounds in the animal kingdom – birds tweet, crickets chirp, monkeys howl. But did you have any idea that fish could hum, growl and hoot? Dr. Andy Bass, a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Cornell University, and his lab group study the behaviors, nervous systems, and hormones of bony fish that communicate by producing sound. He shares with host Holly Menninger fascinating tales about the underwater vocalizations produced by toadfish, particularly the midshipmen fish that his group studies in the waters off the West Coast. Andy explains how research on fish sounds (and how fish ears and brains process those sounds) provides insight about communication across the animal kingdom, including humans! (Image Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)

June 12, 2011 - Invasive species on their minds…and their plates! - Guests: Matt Barnes, Andy Deines & Sheina Sim
June 14, 2011 06:11 AM PDT

How’d you like a blackberry smoothie? Interested in trying mysterysnail fettucine (photo to right)? What about a scoop of garlic mustard ice cream? If you’re willing to try any of these, then you are well on your way to invasivory: the act of eating invasive species. Or so say Matt Barnes, Andy Deines, and Sheina Sim – three graduate students at the University of Notre Dame who have taken their research interests in invasive species to a whole new culinary level. In January 2011, they launched, a blog dedicated to the art and science of eating invasive species. Each week, they dish up recipes, how-to-harvest tips, and news about the latest research on invasive species. In addition to sharing their favorite recipes and kitchen adventures, these invasivores explain to host Holly Menninger that the primary goal of their site is to increase public awareness about invasive species, an ever-growing ecological threat to our lands and waters. (Image credit: Ashley Baldridge)

June 5, 2011 - Cicadamania! - Guest: Dr. Walt Koenig
June 07, 2011 07:45 AM PDT

This week, Science Cabaret on Air is celebrating the 2011 emergence of the Great Southern Brood of 13-year periodical cicadas. Also known as Brood XIX, these striking red-eyed, orange-winged insects synchronously emerged in May throughout the southern US,, boisterously calling and mating like mad in the tree tops. Dr. Walt Koenig, a senior scientist with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has studied what effects the cicadas might have on other organisms in the forest, including the birds and trees. He joined host Holly Menninger to talk about this research and the wonderful and weird life cycles of the periodical cicadas. (Image credit)

May 29, 2011: A waist is a terrible thing to mind. Or is it? -- Guest: Carly Pacanowski
May 31, 2011 10:10 AM PDT

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. More than 66% of US adults are overweight or obese, and less than one-third of U.S. adults are at a healthy weight. The food we eat obviously affects our weight, but so does how and when we eat, how much physical exercise we get, and other patterns of behavior. Our relationship with food and body image is complicated and varies from person to person, but maintaining and losing weight might not be as hard as we think. A simple method -- the Caloric Titration Method, which is simply daily self-weighing -- could help people be more aware of what we're eating and help us reach and meet our weight goals. Carly Pacanowski, PhD student in nutrition at Cornell University, joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about the worrying statistics about obesity in America and new ideas about how to combat the overeating epidemic.

May 22, 2011 -- The Rapture Is NOT Upon Us, ThankYouVeryMuch -- Guest: Ann Martin
May 27, 2011 11:47 AM PDT

Host Jenny Nelson talks with Ann Martin, Cornell graduate student in astronomy, about black holes, dark matter, and whether the apocalypse is upon us. Ann, along with several other Cornell graduate students, is a volunteer organizer for, the popular Ask an Astronomer website.

May 15, 2011 -- All About Cheese -- Guests: Daina Ringus and Reid Ivy
May 15, 2011 11:46 AM PDT

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."
- G.K. Chesterton

The poets may be silent, but the cheesemakers have lots to talk about! Host Katie Nelson talks with Cornell Cheese Club co-founders Daina Ringus and Reid Ivy about the science and art of making cheese, why some cheese stinks, milking camels, and how much lactose is really in that creamy lump of Camembert.

Spritely Satellites -- May 8, 2011 -- Guest: Mason Peck
May 09, 2011 07:19 PM PDT

When the space shuttle Endeavour finally lifts-off on its final trip to space, it will carry some tiny cargo with it. Dr. Mason Peck, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University, and his students, built a trio of small satellite prototypes (the size of crackers!) that will be attached to the International Space Station for a test run in the harsh conditions of space. Like something out of a science fiction novel, Dr. Peck describes how these chip satellites -- called Sprites -- will one day ride the solar winds, collecting valuable information and transmitting it back to Earth. Yet, as Dr. Peck explains to host Holly Menninger, the Space Systems Design team remains puzzled by one small detail: how do you launch the Sprites into orbit without a rocket? They’re looking for your good ideas – think along the lines of a Pez dispenser for space!

May 1, 2011 -- Along came a spider and sat down beside her -- Guest: Linda Rayor
May 03, 2011 02:03 PM PDT

Linda Rayor is Cornell's "spider woman." A senior research associate of arthropod behavior at Cornell University, Dr Rayor studies spider behavior and is especially interested in social spiders, which make up only 1% of all spider species. She is also a tireless teacher, mentor, and communicator. She has inspired countless students to pursue science as a career, and she is also part of a six episode series on the Discovery Science Channel called 'Monster Bug Wars.' Only on Science Cabaret on Air will you hear someone call a spider "cute."

April 3, 2011 - Living Social: How has online communication technology changed our brains and behavior? Guest: Jeff Hancock
April 03, 2011 06:04 PM PDT

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…We all (well, most of us) use it, but to our betterment or detriment? Social media has certainly become integral to the way we communicate with friends and loved ones, classmates, colleagues, political allies, and even complete strangers. Dr. Jeff Hancock, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University, reveals to host Holly Menninger what the latest research emerging from Cornell’s Social Media Lab tells us about the way people live, behave, think and love online.

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