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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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What’s the customary 5th Anniversary gift? Apparently… WOOD! So we wrangled our favorite sawmill owner/operator of LA’s Angel City Lumber, Jeff Perry – who rescues downed street trees from the chipper and turns them into beautiful planks, boards, stumps and chonks. We cover everything from forest management to 2x4s, wood grain, burls, bog logs, saw…
 
We’re back! Listen to Part 1 first, then hit this follow-up with your favorite geologist Schmitty Thompson, who answers listener questions a-plenty. Such as: What is a geode? Are crystals in gift shops even real? Where’s the best place to look at rocks? Is ice a rock? Plus: rock puns, favorite rocks, best and worst rock names, long hikes, imposter …
 
It’s a shorter, swear-free version of the wonderful Genealogy episode with author Stephen Hanks -- who teaches genealogy classes in Portland, Oregon and has contributed to PBS genealogy documentaries. We chat histories, mysteries, memories and families, plus what ignited his passion for learning about his own history. Also: how to find your family …
 
What is a rock? How big is a boulder? Why are they pretty and heavy? It’s rock talk with a true enthusiast, the charming and beloved Geologist Schmitty Thompson. Schmitty walks us through different types of rocks, minerals, geological formations, roadside wonders, countertop crystals, stone skipping, and why you should stare lovingly into a pit of …
 
Mountain goats are not goats. And there’s only one living species, Oreamnos americanus. WHAT?? Montana-based wildlife biologist and Oreamnologist Julie Cunningham counts mountain goats from helicopters, traps and tests them for science, and spends even her off days searching for them on mountaintops. We cover their population, sensual mating habits…
 
How many legs? Why so many legs? What's a millipede versus a centipede? And again WHY SO MANY LEGS. We have just the guy for that: Diplopodologist Dr. Derek Hennen. As a person who’s spent over a decade sorting through leaf litter and naming scores of new species, Derek is truly a champion for the multi-limbed little critters. If you liked what Cas…
 
How do societal structures affect the planet? Why should we get to know our neighbors? What’s the ecological price we pay for … stuff? Yep, there’s an -ology for that. We chat with the founder of Critical Ecology: biogeochemist, National Geographic Explorer, researcher and plant nerd, Dr. Suzanne Pierre. Dr. Pierre’s Critical Ecology Lab is involve…
 
If you have a physical body, or know someone who does, this episode is for you! Hello, we’re all going to die. And we’re probably all going to lose someone we love. Thanatologist Cole Imperi has become a dear friend and on July 17, 2022 we pulled up a street corner in LA to chat about what she’s been up to and how to cope with the loss of a loved o…
 
As I round out my bereavement leave following your beloved Grandpod’s passing, we’re serving up a special updated Encore of an episode and an Ologist who changed my life. Hoooo boy. We get all up in death and dying's business and to my shock, it's not a bummer. Confront and perhaps OVERCOME existential anxiety as we discuss not only the science of …
 
Hope you dug tortoises because we’re back, shellin’ out the good stuff, with this week’s encore of sea turtles, so get ready to become wildly obsessed with them. Cheloniologist Dr. Camryn Allen met up with Alie on a tropical island (ok, in a hotel room on a tropical island) to chat about flipper slappings, turtle rodeos, nesting BBs, current surfin…
 
We're bringing back one shell of an episode with today's encore. What's a tortoise? What's a turtle? Why do they live so dang long? What's up with their junk? Wildlife biologist and testudinologist Amanda Hipps studies gopher tortoises and dishes about turtle nomenclature, cliques, dicks, behavior, burrows, evolution, habitats and more. If you don'…
 
Nothin' like crackin' open a cold one with the Ologites, amirite? If you like booze, you'll love... fungus! Alie goes Rogue and takes a field trip to a brewery in Newport, OR where she smells vats of bubbling beer slop and learns about the microorganisms that are the workhorses of the brewing industry. Learn about yeasts, how beer is made, the hard…
 
A few personal updates from your internet dad and then … WHO ARE WE? This one is a banger, folks. Personality researcher & psychology professor Dr. Simine Vazire dishes about introverts, extroverts, self-esteem, sociopaths, neuroticism, conscientiousness, Buzzfeed quizzes, yearbook inscriptions, trusting people, screwing up your kids, acting like y…
 
A Smologies kid-friendly version of… ALIENS! EXTRATERRESTRIALS! MARTIANS! The phenomenal Dr. Kevin Peter Hand of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory dishes on the oceans of distant moons, methane rivers, ice crusts, the James Webb Space Telescope findings, what might be out there, aliens, what elements a planet needs to sustain life, and how finding e…
 
YOU’RE NOT READY. But it’s time. Otters. Sea otters. River otters. Big beefy otters. Tiny otters. Giant river otters. Otters chasing you down the street. Dr. Chris J. Law, a professional Lutrinologist, shares tales about coastal vs. inland otters, otter terrorism, magical teeth, lustrous fur, rock pockets, kelp naps, otter terrorism, cautionary mot…
 
I NEEDED TO MAKE THIS, OKAY? I needed to get excited about summer wonders. So we toiled over the ultimate Summersode. Kick back for a compliation of snorkling tips, shark statistics, firefly safaris, constitutional law questions, the science of makeouts, appreciation for hornets, horniness for foraging, cabins, campfires, crevice checking, jellyfis…
 
Another kid-safe, short episode of Smologies! What IS a coral? Where do they grow and what do they eat and why are they so pretty? What kind of tools do coral scientists use? Why are they so many colors? And what is bleaching? Will changing your sunscreen save coral reefs? The wonderful and charming Cnidariologist Dr. Shayle Matsuda took time out o…
 
DO NOT YOU SKIP THIS ONE. Listen. Give flies a chance. Everyone loves a bee, but meanwhile flies are out here with all kinds of bodies and adaptations, inhabiting the least inhabitable lands, pollinating your future lunch, shimmering in rainbows, having lifelong love affairs, and burrowing in your back to eat your flesh. It’s a wild world and Austr…
 
Gorillas. These chest-beating, salad-munching, communal living, thick-furred beauties have so many surprises for you. Gorillaologist (IT’S A WORD) Dr. Tara Stoinski has been a gorilla scientist for nearly 3 decades and dishes on everything from fieldwork in cloudy mountains to dick facts, forest farts, banana flim-flam, the intersection of animal c…
 
Have you listened to Part 1 yet? No? Go on, git. Here's a link to it! Go do that. Now if you have, this Part 2 is a bonanza of problem solving from neurologist and somnologist Dr. W. Chris Winter. He'll cover: if you should be taking sleep supplements or pills, sleep talking, apnea, why sleepiness makes us hungry, narcolepsy, the difference between…
 
Bugs are cool! But are they lunch? Entomophagy Anthropologist Dr. Julie Lesnik is an expert on bug eating and enthusiastically explains how much more sustainable – and tasty? -- it is than other types of animal proteins. We talk about the human past, present and future of ingesting insects, from grasshopper tacos to ant omelettes, cricket wedding c…
 
Birds do it. Bees do it. Why the hell can't we do it? Called "The Sleep Whisperer," neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. W. Chris Winter joins for an updated encore of the thrilling 2-parter about why we need sleep, the ideal amount of it, what sleep does to the brain, insomnia, sleep stages, ideal bedtime conditions, and even the historical lore a…
 
Predatory. Sneaky. Deadly. Lifesavers? You think you don’t care about cone snails. But that’s about to change. Conotoxinologists Dr. Sabah Ul-Hasan and Dr. Joshua Torres study these spiral-shelled hunters of the sea. Why all the fuss? Because their venom -– and the microbes that live in it — may hold medical magic that can help us solve problems re…
 
We’ve done Nephrology, Gynecology, and Phallology — but nothing prepared us for this. Penis implants. Road trip pees. Kegels. Bidets. Squirting. UTIs. Clitoral flim-flam. Elephant bladders. Everyone’s favorite Urologist, Dr. Fenwa Milhouse, makes chatting about the uh, juicy stuff effortless and easy. Like peeing should be. She humbly describes her…
 
Insects humming. Birds squawking. Chainsaws buzzing? What does the rainforest sound like? Or the oceans outside of port cities? Is the world getting louder? And what can recording devices detect that our ears – especially mine, Alie’s – can’t? Acoustic Ecologist Dr. Eddie Game of the Nature Conservancy has asked conservation questions over decades …
 
If you LIVE for drama, you will LOVE dead Romans. Wars, backstabbing, opulence and uprisings: a little something for everyone. Classical Archeologist and TV host Dr. Darius Arya is back for an encore of this 2018 classic to dish about priceless garbage piles, lead poisoning, ancient political scandals, pottery graveyards, unearthing sculptures, tom…
 
THE SQUIDMOBILE HAS ARRIVED. Get in losers; we’re talking cephalopods. Yes, she drives a vehicle with squid all over it and encourages people to text her, and we have this encore episode to prove it. The world's most impassioned squid nerd, Sarah McAnulty, gets locked in a basement with Alie to talk about cephalopods, alien DNA, camouflage, invisib…
 
Oh boy. This episode may seeeeem crappy but it is certainly not a waste of your time. We’re not kidding, while the episode is of course wonderful, mostly thanks to our wonderful guests, it is also certainly about poopy wastewater and what we can all learn from it. About those terrific guests: we mostly speak with Dr. Amy E. Kirby, Ph.D., MPH of the…
 
The hedgehogs of the sea: echinoids are spiky, spiny, pokey, be-toothed, venomous, mysterious, gorgeous evolutionary marvels. And Dr. Rich Mooi of the California Academy of Arts & Sciences is one of their biggest champions. Come stroll through the offices for a face-to-face encounter with this infectious expert. We talk sand dollars, uni, doves of …
 
Flesh hungry plants. The world’s fastest hunters. Botany with brains? Seymour, it’s time to feed because we’re doing meat-eating plants with conservation ecologist and carnivorous phytobiologist, Hali’a Eastburn. Can a Venus Fly Trap digest human flesh? Do frogs think of pitcher plants as home or hell? How fast is a bladderwort? Are scientists anes…
 
Pomodoro timers! Bullet journals! Apps, tips, tricks and philosophies. Also: the most mellow episode ever, recorded late at night in a guest room. Like a cozy duvet of wisdom, this one is full of life hacks for remaining productive & healthy during distracting times. I asked Ologites their best strategies for keeping their brains less burdened and …
 
The SMOL version of an ep about smol precious creatures, we're talkin' slimy little angels with bellies for feet... literally! That's what gastropod means! We've got Dr. Jann Vendetti of the Natural History Museum of LA County to talk with Alie about snail-based beauty products, escargot, urban snails, thousands and thousands of teeth, and whether …
 
Trains. Locomotives. Choochoos. Bullet trains. Hyperloops. Subways. How fast can they go? How did they change American history? Why do people love them? What should we do with all that abandoned track? Can you marry a train? What's it like to shovel coal into a steam engine? Alie went off the rails at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan tal…
 
Did Part 1 leave you informed and now you need a pep talk? Get ready for an absolute banger of an episode with 5 experts: René Brooks of BlackGirlLostKeys.com, TEDTalk speaker and How to ADHD YouTuber Jessica McCabe and neuroscientist Jahla Osborne of University of Michigan. What is it like to get diagnosed? How do you know which medication – if an…
 
Focus. Productivity. Relationships. Distraction. Neurodiversity. How do you know if you have ADHD? How can you get others to understand your ADHD brain? What are your treatment options and how can they help? In Part 1, we talk racing thoughts, brilliant brains and the causes and effects of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with the world’s l…
 
Gather 'round fellow nerds, you’re about to learn about the wildest not a fern not a bush not a cactus plant you never knew you never knew about: CYCADS. These endangered ancient plants have been around for 270 million years, give or take, and now they’re some of the most valuable vegetation in the world. Come along to learn about these uncomfortab…
 
Ah, charismatic megafauna! Teeth, claws, fur, hibernation, bear hugs, hiking, cougar attacks, nature preserves, and living your childhood dreams with Alie’s longtime -ologist crush, Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant. The large carnivore ecologist, researcher and TV presenter tells us all about her field work, what it’s like to stuff a baby bear in your coat, how …
 
You have ants. We all have ants, but do we KNOW ants? Get ready for cult-leader queens, bullet ant stings, kitchen pest hacks, the dynamics of a billion-sister megacolony. Dr. Terry McGlynn sits down to have a BIG discussion about itty-bitty creatures in this encore because I was out of town seeing my family and just needed a week off. Learn about …
 
Bundle up for a smol, classroom-friendly episode with Princeton University evolutionary biologist and Thermophysiologist Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton. You’ll learn about everything from heat tolerance to frostbite, anti-freeze woodfrogs to icy alligators, why some people run hot, why your toes run cold, how a fever is like a honeybee, how geography in…
 
Shoving elk into a dorm room freezer. The wildest tasting rice. Flower bulbs, acorn whoopie pies, frybread debates, mushroom foraging tips, corn magic, puffball mythology, decolonized diets, squash lasagna, bison harvests, small worlds, Instapots and – most importantly – food sovereignty with the WONDERFUL Indigikitchen cooking show host, environme…
 
I scream, you scream, we all scream for… a brand new, screaming hot episode of Ologies. Be warned *slaps the top of this ep* you can fit so many screams in this bad boy. (Seriously though, there’s a lot of screaming in this episode, it’s probably not the one to gently fall asleep to.) What kinds of screams you ask? We got birds, foxes, caterpillars…
 
Slamming heads together to impress someone: why does this happen? Let’s ask Dr. Nicole Ackermans, whose current job involves receiving sheep heads and painstakingly counting damaged neurons from headbutting concussions. The Neuropathology episode last week gives all the concussion basics, but this one turns the microscope away from accidents and po…
 
Games! Play! Fun! Addiction? Flim-flam? From the origins of tabletop classics to the future of VR, Dr. Jane McGonigal answers our burning questions. This video game developer, TED speaker and bestselling author is an expert on how playing -- and especially video games -- can motivate, soothe and connect us. Will video games turn your child into a f…
 
Hi, last week I fell down a flight of stairs. Then I went to the hospital. Then I emailed Dr. Mary Alexis Iaccarino, a Harvard Medical School professor and specialist in rehabilitation from traumatic brain injuries. I asked her all about what happens during a concussion, when to be worried, how long it takes to heal, when a person should get their …
 
Here we go: SIX more raccoon experts, because one episode is not enough for the wonders of these terrific trash bandits. Revel in the raccoon love and hear about presidential pets, neuronal density, why raccoonologists walk out on the job, their fabled intelligence, how Aesop factors into raccoonology, and the comfort of the male gaze? Also, treat …
 
Tiny hands! Round rumps! Chaos! Compost! Delicious garbage and sweet faces make raccoons as mysterious as they are adored. World class raccoon expert, psychologist and animal behaviorist Dr. Suzanne MacDonald of Toronto’s York University explains tree sleeping, brain worms, cartoon raccoons, queer icons, whether you should keep one as a pet and als…
 
Who doesn't love a floppy, slime-filled, hot dog shaped creature of the deep sea? On this Smologies (It's like if Ologies were more Smol) we return to our conversation with Tim Winegard, a professional hagfishologist (YES IT'S A WORD) at Chapman University, and he dishes on the world's slimiest treasures. You're gonna learn about things like why yo…
 
How do your knees feel? How do YOU feel about your knees? Buckle up to better your relationship with what some listeners call their most hated and contentious joint. Globally-lauded orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Stone agreed to sit on a porch and explain everything from cracking to popping, patellas to tendons vs ligaments, cartilage donuts, physica…
 
From crisp cider to blistering lava, life advice, climate solutions, the comforts of venison stew, cockroaches in orbit, UFO culture, social justice, dongs, worms, wasps, fireflies, bear orgies, makeouts, disasters, the deep ruts of the patriarchy, and desperate horny bugs. This second-ever “Audiobook Mixtape” has it all. So if you’re near a firepl…
 
CATS! Kittens. Tigers. Purring. Toys. Litterboxes. We cover it all in this abridged and G-rated Felinology version for Smologites, or just anyone who doesn’t want to listen to swearing with their science. Professional cat behavior expert Dr. Mikel Delgado dishes on domestication, cats on leashes, why they want to sit on your laptop, how to play wit…
 
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