Parch Marks, Wildfires, The Beatles. August 10, 2018, Part 1 | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Science Friday

Parch Marks, Wildfires, The Beatles. August 10, 2018, Part 1

The Mendocino Complex fire in northern California has spread to more than 300,000 acres—a swath of land bigger than New York City. The blaze is the state’s largest wildfire in recorded history, edging out last year's record-setting Thomas Fire, which devastated communities north of Los Angeles. While climate change is certainly to blame in fanning the flames of wildfires (by boosting temperatures, parching landscapes, and causing more erratic rainfall) there's another factor that's making today's fires increasingly dangerous: a nearly 1,400 percent increase in the number of people building homes in harm's way since the 1940s. Stephen Strader of Villanova University, Jon Keeley of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Erin Questad of Cal Poly Pomona join Ira to talk about people in the way of fire—and how we can nurse those ecosystems back to health.

If you had a number one hit song, you would probably remember writing it. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote over 200 songs together over 50 years ago. So it’s no surprise that memories have gotten a little fuzzy when it comes to who wrote which Beatles song. Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University and Beatles super-fan, developed an algorithm to determine the authorship of “In My Life” and several other contested Beatles songs. He (and his guitar) join Ira to discuss his findings.

Plus: It’s been hot in the United Kingdom this summer. But as lawns parch and grasses turn brown, the landscape is also revealing the buried remains of valuable archaeological finds. Aerial archaeologist Robert Bewley, at Oxford University, describes how “parch marks” can reveal hidden treasures.

And Vox staff writer Umair Irfan joins Ira to discuss what the researchers discovered about the benefits—and downsides—of a future geoengineered climate, and other science headlines in this week’s News Round-up.


Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.