The Podcast

Hear the untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech. Host David Pogue, five-time Emmy winner and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent, takes you behind the scenes into the worlds of the people who’ve built the best in transportation, entertainment, food, internet, and health. Creators reveal their inspirations and roadblocks they encountered in bringing their breakthroughs to the public.

How Impossible Meats Might Save the Earth

37:20

People talk about greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, planes, and factories, but one source out-pollutes them all: Cows. Raising meat animals like cows generates more methane than the entire fossil-fuel industry. So Pat Brown left his job as a Stanford biochemistry professor to dedicate his life to fixing the problem. He vowed to create perfect meat […]

The Man Who Stopped the Spammers

28:45

By the year 2000, the internet was already becoming a cesspool. The bad guys used software bots to sign up for millions of fake email accounts—for sending out spam. PhD student Luis Von Ahn stopped them. He invented the CAPTCHA, that website login test where you have to decipher the distorted image of a word. […]

Where Emoji Come From

33:29

Each year, the powers that be endow our phones with about 70 new emoji. For 2022, we get For 2022, you’ll be getting a mirror ball, a crutch, an X-ray, coral, a ring buoy, and a bird’s nest—with or without eggs in it. But who ARE the powers that be? Why do they add the […]

How the Fitbit Knows You’re Dreaming

33:14

Over the last decade, a group of California scientists has quietly amassed the biggest sleep database ever assembled. It includes every dozing off, every wakeup, every REM-cycle, every chunk of deep sleep, from 15 billion nights of human slumber. It can tell us the average person’s bedtime, whether men or women sleep longer, and which […]

Subtitles for the Blind

48:50

You already knew that you can turn on subtitles for your TV show or movie—handy if you’re hearing impaired, or just want to understand the dialogue better. But there’s a corresponding feature for people with low vision: audio description tracks, where an unseen narrator tells you, in real time, what’s happening on the screen. But […]

Chainsaws, Women, and the Cape Town Drought

37:15

In 2018, following a historic three-year drought, the water sources in Cape Town, South Africa ran dry. It was the first major city to face Day Zero: when you’d turn on the faucet—and nothing would come out. The town leaders discussed expensive, environmentally disruptive projects like pipelines and desalination plants. But then an environmental nonprofit, […]

How to Prepare for Wildfires

58:10

You’ve survived 2021—thanks, no doubt, to the science and tech that made your medical care, your internet, and your smartphone work. Tonight, New Year’s Eve, many podcast hosts are taking some time to reflect, to rest—and to post a re-run. But not “Unsung Science!” To tide you over until next week’s fresh episode, we offer […]

Where to Live in the Climate-Change Era

58:42

It’s the night before Christmas—and many podcasters (and listeners) are nestled all snug in their beds. But we didn’t want to leave you without a dose of witty Pogue science writing. So here, for your listening pleasure, is a free chapter from David Pogue’s latest audio book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change.” This is […]

Leap Seconds, Smear Seconds, and the Slowing of the Earth

36:23

The earth’s spinning is slowing down. Any clocks pegged to the earth’s rotation are therefore drifting out of alignment with our far more precise atomic clocks—only by a thousandth of a second every 50 years, but that’s still a problem for the computers that run the internet, cellphones, and financial systems. In 1972, scientists began […]

How the Cellphone was Born: Three Months of Craziness

33:56

In the early 1970s, “mobile phones” were car phones: Permanently installed monstrosities that filled up your trunk with boxes and, in a given city, could handle only 20 calls at a time. Nobody imagined that there’d be a market for handheld, pocketable cellphones; the big phone companies thought the idea was idiotic. But Marty Cooper, […]