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Weird Science: The Conversation Explores The Natural World

The world is a mysterious place. In labs and observatories around the world, people are trying to make sense of nature’s secrets. This hour on The Conversation we talk to scientists and science writers about the natural world around us and what scientists are doing to harness its power.

The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood

There are many stories of great floods out there. The first and foremost tale would be the fable of Noah's ark. But some geologists have found that many of these legends have some basis in historical fact. David Hyde talks with University of Washington professor and MacArthur Award-winner Dave Montgomery, the author of "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood."

Frankenstein’s Cat: Bioengineering Animals

[asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "5447", "uri": "public://201308/826ANIMALS.mp3"}]]Goats crossed with spider genes. Bionic cockroaches. Glow in the dark fish. Are these new animals awesome or terrifying? Science journalist Emily Anthes says they're both. She talks about how scientists are bioengineering animals of the future.

The 4 Percent Universe And The History Of Skulls

[asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "5448", "uri": "public://201308/826SKULLS.mp3"}]]Everything that we know and can sense may only account for a measly 4 percent of the universe. So what’s the rest? And how do we know it’s there? Ross Reynolds gets the answers from science writer Richard Panek. Also, skulls are potent symbols of death, life and danger, and they also can tell a fascinating story about natural history. Journalist Simon Winchester tells us about the history of skulls and a man who obsessively collects them.