The Ghost in the MP3

What’s lost when a song is compressed into an MP3? To the untrained ear, perhaps nothing. But to one composer, these “lost sounds” are a source for his stunning and ghostly musical compositions.

This episode was produced by Emily Richardson-Lorente with editing by Andrea Mustain. It was curated and hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler, and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Outside Podcast: Devil’s Highway, Part 2

Transistor’s mothership PRX has partnered with Outside Magazine to produce four special podcast episodes on the Science of Survival. You’ll receive them in Transistor’s podcast feed, and for even more, subscribe to the Outside Podcast.

Here’s episode 4.

In the spring 2001, a large group of men set out from Mexico to cross the border into Arizona through some of the harshest desert terrain anywhere. The tragic result helped researchers develop the Death Index, a new model for predicting dehydration fatalities.

Outside Podcast: Devil’s Highway, Part 1

Transistor’s mothership PRX has partnered with Outside magazine to produce four special podcast episodes on the Science of Survival. You’ll receive them in Transistor’s podcast feed, and for even more, subscribe to the Outside Podcast.

Here’s episode 3.

In the heart of the Sonoran Desert is the remarkable story of Pablo Valencia, a gold prospector who spent six days wandering in 110-degree heat before stumbling into scientist William McGee’s camp.

Trace Elements: The Musical

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Ta-da! Our fifth special episode with Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek of Trace Elements is here. Let us know what you enjoyed about their series and what surprised you in the comment section below. In just five episodes they’ve covered the science of feeling no fear, illusions with robots, bio-hacking, a mystery at a lake, and this time…

Birds of a feather may flock together — but it turns out birds that live in the city sing at higher frequencies, louder, and more often than their rural friends to outmatch the noise pollution of cars and people. The din of city life is creating new divisions between bird species. Researchers like Elizabeth Derryberry are finding those high-pitched tenors of the bird world aren’t quite as attractive to mates as the lower Barry Whites of the country.

Guests:
Elizabeth Derryberry, Tulane University
David Luther, George Mason University

Trace Elements: Upgrade

It’s here! Episode three of our special five-part series called Trace Elements with hosts Cristina Quinn and Alison Bruzek.

Hacking your hearing aid to implanting NFC tags into your hands — we are now in the age of DIY Bio. Dive into the growing underworld of body modification from the backrooms of tattoo shops to the lab in your kitchen.

Guests:
Frank Swain, biohacker/community manager at New Scientist
Amal Graafstra, CEO of Dangerous Things
Meredith Patterson, technologist

The Invention of the Home Pregnancy Test

We love a good backstory to a scientific invention that is ubiquitous today. Meet the women who got pregnancy tests out of labs and into homes.

In the episode:
Audrey Peattie
Margaret Crane
Gloria Allen

Special thanks to Dr. Jesse Olszynko-Gryn (University of Cambridge), whose research provided the basis for this piece.

This episode was brought to us by the podcast Mother, produced by Amy Gastelum and Anne Noyes Saini.

Rodney Learns to Fly


Rodney Stotts and Mr. Hoots, a Eurasian eagle owl.

“Biophilia” refers to the instinctive affection humans have for nature. It’s a term that was coined in the mid-’80s by renowned biologist E.O. Wilson. This story is about just such a connection: Rodney Stotts grew up selling dope and guns. But he’s always loved caring for birds. The drugs landed him in jail. The birds helped set him free.

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Rodney Stotts and Mr. Hoots, a Eurasian eagle owl.

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Producer/reporter Ari Daniel.

This story was produced by Ari Daniel and edited by Andrea Mustain. Hear more of Ari’s reporting on his site and follow Ari on Twitter.

This episode of Transistor was hosted by Genevieve Sponsler and was mixed by Josh Swartz. The intro/outro music is called “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

Imagine All the People


Casey draws his imaginary grandson, Georgie. Photo by Pien Huang.

Casey is just four, but he already has an imaginary grandson. What does science say about what imaginary friends do for kids and the adults they become?

Hey listeners, do you remember your imaginary friends? We’d love to hear who they were. Comment below or tweet us @TransistorShow.

This episode’s story was produced by Pien Huang and edited by Andrea Mustain. It was hosted for this episode of Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Disease Detectives On the Case

Ebola, salmonella, even measles. All of these have a source, and disease detectives trained at the CDC know how to find the culprits. Join two rookies as as they solve “the case of the nutty dish”.

This episode was originally produced by Philip Graitcer for PRX’s STEM Story Project in 2014. It was hosted for this episode of Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.