show episodes
 
Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
 
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show series
 
You’re six to ten times LESS likely to catch COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated, and thus less likely to infect others. Great! But what about breakthrough cases? Who’s at risk for them? How many folks haven’t gotten vaccinated? Should pregnant people get the ol’ jab, what might happen with transmission rates in 2022, yearly booster questions, the ethics…
 
Wolf howls, wolf packs, wolf history and more! November 23 is the dog appreciation holiday Wolfenoot so we’re dishing up a puppy-sized and kid-friendly Smologies with lupinologist and Princeton professor Dr. Brigette vonHoldt. Learn about wolf populations, canine family dynamics, Game of Thrones direwolves, if wolves howl at the moon, myths and tru…
 
Who’s on it? What’s on it? And why does the interface feel like you’re on a prank show? Scicomm host, vlogger, author, internet friend, and TikTok-maker Hank Green stops in to chat about learning the language of the algorithm, dopamine, duets, data concerns, idealized selves, self-expression, mental health, authenticity, work/ life boundaries. And …
 
PAIN. What is it? Where does it come from? And how can we hurt less? Which hurts more, a kidney stone or heartache? Why does chronic pain persist? Can we turn down our pain dials? To answer these huge questions, pain psychologist Dr. Rachel Zoffness enthusiastically explains the brain, pain and how to retrain it. She is an unabashed neuronerd and a…
 
Boy howdy... Squid games. We know we weren't the only ones watching Squid Game and thinking, "Do squid play games?" Hence we combined the study of squids (teuthology) and games (ludology) to make Teuthological Ludology with everyone's favorite squid expert: Dr. Sarah McAnulty from the 2018 Teuthology episode. We reunited on mic to discuss things li…
 
This is the shorter, cleaner, smologized version of our full length Veterinary Biology episode https://www.alieward.com/ologies/veterinarybiology At long last: an episode dedicated to veterinary medicine! Dr. Terrence Ferguson & Dr. Vernard Hodges have been friends for nearly 30 years and have co-owned their rural Georgia veterinary clinic, Critter…
 
Bidding farewell to the sweetest and spookiest month, we traipse past graves with archeologist, conservator and Taphologist Robyn Lacy. What’s the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? Is it wrong to picnic in one? And can tombstone scrubbing help the world and soothe your living soul? Plus, font trends on headstones, old-timey gravestone …
 
They dance. They flirt. They will steal your heart. They are spiders. Jumping spiders, specifically, and impassioned spider scientist Dr. Sebastian Echeverri is on board to tell you all about their sexy dances. How far can a jumping spider jump? What makes a good spider dancer? Why are they so cute? Can you sample their mating drumming and make a s…
 
PART 2: The stunning conclusion of a 3-hour gab session about frickin' bats with America's favorite chiropterologist, Dr. Merlin Tuttle. Learn about bat conversations, their close friendships, surprising dongs, where they keep their nipples, how to go bat spotting after the sun sets, more myths and misconceptions about bat danger, perhaps the gross…
 
“People fear most what they understand least." Words of wisdom from explorer/American treasure/bat expert, Dr. Merlin Tuttle. As your internet dad/host takes care of her surgically recuperating husband this week, we revisit her visit to Austin. In 2019, Alie headed to the bat capital and sat down with the legendary chiropterologist to discuss wild …
 
Crows have funerals? CROWS HAVE FUNERALS. The inky black bird with the big brain warns and maybe mourns around their fallen friends and Dr. Kaeli Swift is here to tell us all about it. As an avid wildlife researcher and corvid specialist, she's observed death behaviors that will shock you to your bones and ruffle your hackles -- while somehow also …
 
Grab your fire extinguisher and hang on to your eyebrows, we’re building FIRES today. Now, this is pyrotechnology in the anthropological sense; the kind covered in hair metal concert venue liability insurance will have to wait for another day, no no, these are the kind your ancestors made. Get ready for sharp rocks, hairy jello, sooty caves, glowin…
 
Teeth. Tails. Concentric nipples. This not-at-all-rodent has the distinction of being North America’s sole marsupial and so Alie hunted down lauded Opossumologist Dr. Lisa Walsh and launched an absolute torrent of giddy questions. How many ticks do they really eat, can we keep them as pets, how do we all convincingly feign death, opossum vs. possum…
 
How ya like them apples?! Well, liquified. And fermented. Author, podcaster, cider-maker and globally lauded beverage historian Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist, is an enthusiastic champion of this tragically overlooked drink, and he joins with a bushel full of facts, well-spun yarns and tasting tips. Belly up for a foaming glass of friendly competi…
 
HAPPINESS RESEARCH, straight up. What is happiness? How do our circumstances affect happiness? Why is the word “gratitude” kinda cringey? What can we do to feel better? Should we feel guilty for feeling happy? When is positivity “toxic?” Yale cognitive scientist, Eudemonologist, and host of The Happiness Lab podcast Dr. Laurie Santos chats about ho…
 
Art meets science! Problems meet solutions! Climate change meets … hope? In this atypical episode, things get casual as hell as Alie sits down to talk about the Drawdown Design Project: an illustration non-profit started by filmmaker, Emmy-nominated television editor and longtime friend Andy Hall. When he’s not having to edit Alie on Innovation Nat…
 
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. You loved her Oceanology episode and now she is in your feed to address everyone’s agonizing internal question: IS MY CARBON FOOTPRINT BS?! I don’t drop a lot of podcast episodes into my precious Ologies feed, but this topic was so wonderfully covered by Dr. Johnson and co-hot Alex Blumberg that I had to do it. And as a…
 
YA LIKE BEES? You will -- after this short, edited-for-all-ages Smologies cut of our classic Melittology episode featuring President of the Urban Beekeepers Association, Amanda “Mandy” Shaw. We chat about honeybees vs. native ones, hives vs. nests, honey, how to become a beekeeper, social structures, why a queen becomes a queen, how to keep Mason b…
 
Cultural burns. Prescribed blazes. A healthy forest. What exactly is “good fire?” Let’s ask Indigenous fire scientist Dr. Amy Christianson, who is a co-host of the podcast ...Good Fire. This wonderfully generous and informed scholar took a quick break from her Canadian wilderness vacation to fill me in on Indigenous history, collaborations between …
 
As Smashmouth said, “My world’s on fire, how ‘bout yours?” Why yes, Mr. Mouth, it is, indeed, on fire. As so many of us around the globe are sharing in this burning sensation, what better time than now to sit down and fire off a lot of questions at Fire Ecologist, Dr. Gavin Jones. We talk about what fire is, how hot it burns, fire trends, tinderbox…
 
Ohaaay another edited-down, classroom-friendly Smologies! About... toads! Are they frogs? Do they have arms? What do they eat? How long do they live? What’s with the warts? Amphibian enthusiast Priya Nanjappa joins with a toadally awesome episode that will change the way you crouch down and shake hands with your tiny backyard grumpa.(And for the fu…
 
Biological mysteries solved with numbers! Graphs! Patterns! Data points! Systems biology! You never knew it existed, yet it’s keeping us alive. Systems Biologist Dr. Emily E. Ackerman join to chat about why the field appealed to her, how her work shifted during the pandemic, why she wants to scream at Excel sometimes, how computing might replace sp…
 
We’re BACK! With a fresh new episode to light up your life and butt. World renowned firefly expert Dr. Sara Lewis of Tufts University joins to share her love of a bug that many think is merely a mythological delight. Learn how these tiny animals illuminate the night, the dos and don’ts of firefly observation, how to take good firefly photos, femme …
 
Yes, a double dose of short, all-ages episodes to launch Smologies! We cleaned up the full version and polished it into a safe-for-work digest of dinosaur facts and tales from a paleontologist with Dr. Michael Habib. Learn about the economics of a dino dig, his favorite beasts, cloning from amber samples, which museum dinos are real vs. fakes, Jura…
 
Introducing… SMOLOGIES. Smaller, shorter, G-rated episodes cut from your favorite classics. Listen to Smologies in classrooms, around people whose language is squeaky clean, and in safe-for-work settings. You get bite-sized info in a jiffy, and I get to reserve my filthy language for our longer, regular episodes that drop on Tuesdays. In this episo…
 
Lemon sharks! Goblin sharks! Bonnet sharks! Whale sharks! And ...sawfish? WE NEEDED A BIGGER BOAT. One shark episode was not enough, during this: The Week of the Shark. Sure, Alie just got married a few days ago, but that doesn’t mean we can’t throw together this bundle of wonder with a few of the incredible researchers from Minorities in Shark Sci…
 
SHAAAARKS. Leading shark researcher Dr. Chris Lowe dishes about bad shark PR, behind-the-scenes Jaws trivia, his thoughts on Sharknado, surfing safety, immune system marvels, cannibal twins, shark personalities, sea sex, and knife teeth in this, an encore-but-refreshed episode with your newly married pod-dad. Alie learns that sharks are not the oce…
 
A special encore as your dad hastily preps to wed your podmom, Jarrett. Refresh your brain about your heart, then stay tuned for a new secret at the end. Love! Romance! Intimate relationships! Marriage! Divorce! Remarriage! Clowns! This episode has it all. The wonderfully warm Dr. Benjamin Karney of the UCLA Marriage lab has been studying romance a…
 
UFOs are real. Straight up. There are unidentified objects flying around — but does that mean they’re aliens? Two experts in the research and culture of Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) -- science journalist/author Sarah Scoles and Dr. Kate Dorsch, a scholar in the History and Sociology of Science -- joined Alie moments after Friday’s breaking n…
 
Wasps!? Don’t even THINK of skipping this one, my beautiful chickens. You’re about to change your outlook on the most maligned winged sky babies, and we are delighted that author, bug dude, and spheksologist Eric Eaton is about to change your mind and fill your heart with respect and appreciation. Hunker down for fig critters, bejeweled zombie quee…
 
Lifted restrictions! Discarded masks! Vaxxing & relaxing! Parties. Variant confusion. FOMO while also dreading events. Worry about strangers. Grief for a cancelled year. WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE? We’ve got you covered. As infection rates go down and restrictions lift in the U.S., you may feel: relieved, overjoyed, nude without a mask, guilty about sur…
 
Human-sucking mud holes. Beautiful birdsongs. Early mornings. Eyeball gnats. Stunning vistas. The long-awaited episode with ornithologist Corina Newsome is finally here and we talk all about the day-to-day-realities of being a Wildlife Ecologist. She dishes about working in zoos, getting her masters, housing for grad students, nest checking, birdin…
 
Dongs. Schlongs. Peters. Intromittent organs. Gamete cannons. Biologist, gonad researcher, and Phallologist Dr. Emily Willingham joins to chat about peckers big and small, plain and fancy, barbed, coiled, colossal, pickled, and efficient. Also on the agenda: how the pressures of masculinity affect self-image, what actually contributes to a partner’…
 
Seals. Sea lions. Walruses. Walrus dongs. Classic Ologies. We sit down with Luis A Hückstädt, PhD and talk about blubber, ocean currents, psychedelic teeth, whisker tech, receding ice, boops, snoots, barks, butt nubbins and whether or not that one seal from the video actually felt bashful about getting that fish cake? Or was it a sea lion? Which is…
 
Ohulloh! This is not your regular Ologies episode (which will come on Tuesday per usual.) It’s actually not an Ologies episode! This is a fun little bonus GUEST podcast we're dropping in our feed. Real Good is a show that started during the beginning of COVID to highlight different non-profits helping with the pandemic — but soon revealed that many…
 
Mustard gossip. Knotweed recipes. Cow parsnips. Serviceberry appreciation. Hogweed warnings. Dead man’s fingers. The incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining Alexis Nikole Nelson a.k.a. @BlackForager walks us through Foraging Ecology with a ginormous bushel of tips & tricks for finding edibles at all times of the year, from blossoms to fungus. Bel…
 
Bones. Shells. Reefs. Teeth. Biomineralogy. The wonderful UCLA geochemist Rob Ulrich answers a giant pile of questions such as: How do crystalline structures materialize out of thin air and water? How do squishy animals make such hard shells? What’s the difference between a shell and an exoskeleton? What’s the noise you hear when you listen to a se…
 
Talking dogs. Rolled Rs. That dangly thing in the back of your throat. Speech impediments. Alternative forms of communication. And talking cats. World famous speech pathologist by day, dog whisperer also by day, Christina Hunger MA, CCC-SLP joins us to talk about what those letters after her name mean, helping people literally find their voice, AAC…
 
Salam Alikum and Ramadan Kareem, we wish you all a blessed Ramadan. I can't believe we are in the last few days of this blessed month.This week are excited to chat with Mohamed Jama regarding his journey into a senior leadership position in the Tech industry, and we spoke about how to navigate the workplace as a black Muslim in a non-diverse enviro…
 
Shipwrecks. Treasure. Sunken planes. Scuttled submarines. New life forming around old machinery. There’s an -ology for that -- just ask Maritime Archaeologist and wreck nerd Chanelle Zaphiropoulos. This absolutely charming and passionate scuba diver, history buff and antiquities scholar dishes about pirates, warships, admirals worth admiring, and s…
 
Real skulls. Fake pistols. Vegan steaks. Onstage bonfires. Cursed productions. Industry secrets and more with the world’s most lovable and beloved prop master, Professor Jay Duckworth aka @Proptologist on TikTok. A veteran of stage and screen and now an adjunct professor at Pace University, Jay chats about props vs. wardrobe vs. set design, how he …
 
Salam Alikum and Ramadan Kareem, we are wishing you all a blessed Ramadan.In this episode, I was really excited to interview Mustafa Farah who is a Senior VP Product Manager at Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo one of the four most prominent financial institutions in the United States. He works closely with commercial banking customers to streamline and aut…
 
Because one bears is not enough bears, SIX more ursinologists join to answer your questions about polar bear fur, monogamy, that scene from "The Revenant" and more. Five chapters of bear life, from mindblowing mating strategies to how bears get from point A to B, media portrayals of these beautiful beasts and how to save them. Also: do bears want y…
 
Hello everyone, we are back, recharged and feeling fresh after taking a couple of weeks to break to prioritise business deadlines & juggle personal life. I absolutely missed the podcast and reading all your emails/DMs. I promise we will get back to every message soon, and grateful for checking on me. All is well just needed a break : ) This week I …
 
Grizzlies. Pandas. Black bears. Chonkers. The episode you’ve begged for with scientist, explorer, and Ursinologist Chris Morgan. Why are bear ears so cute? What’s up with hibernation? How do you play nice with bears? What is it like to hug them? How creepy is Teddy Ruxpin? Panda patterns, fat bear competitions, tooth nubbins, land “bridges,” campin…
 
This encore includes tons of previously cut and never-before-heard bonus material (and maybe an eggregious number of sidenotes) about how perfect and weird eggs are. The biggest eggs! The smallest eggs! The people arrested for stealing the most eggs! Oologist Dr. John Bates gives Alie a tour of the egg vault at the Field Museum of Chicago and it wa…
 
PART 2 with legit professional Fanthropologist Meredith Levine. In this thrilling conclusion, we take Patreon questions and address stans vs. fans, cults and fandom, how fan fiction circumvents the studio system, how showrunners feel about fan suggestions, fangirling, fanboying and a novel term for that plus a bonus tables-are-turned interview abou…
 
Why does some music give us butterflies? Why do we loooove certain comic books, social media accounts or TV characters? What story does your toothpaste tell? Legit professional Fanthropologist Meredith Levine is a fount of fandom knowledge and we chat all about everything from cosplay to K-Pop, Star Wars, Frasier, Trekkies, fan-fic, how influencer …
 
What’s in pee? Should you donate a kidney to a stranger? Which hurts worse: childbirth or kidney stones? Why are some kidneys the size of footballs? March is World Kidney Month and before you shrug it off: 15% of adults have chronic kidney disease -- and most don’t even know it. This episode could save a life. Transplant Nephrologist Dr. Samira Far…
 
They are numerous. They are patient. They are COMING for the United States in droves this spring: They are cicadas. *The* Cicada guy Dr. Gene Kritsky joins to chat all about the annual cicadas you may see every summer vs. the periodical ones that cycle through the states in broods of giant numbers. Learn how they survive underground for decades, wh…
 
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