#46: Is There Nuclear Waste in the Ocean (& Can We Become Super Heroes if There Is)?

In Episode 46, Quinn & Brian ask: Is there nuclear waste in the ocean... and can we become superheroes if there is?

Our guest is Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson, an Associate Dean and Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Carolina, where she focuses on just ONE thing–– oh, wait, no, we got that wrong. She focuses on just about EVERYTHING: biogeochemistry and geochemistry; climate change; society, policy & environment; coastal processes; water resources & hydrology; and oceanography. She is also a co-author on a paper about the impact of the accident that happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant ("Fukushima Daiichi–Derived Radionuclides in the Ocean: Transport, Fate, and Impacts").

Make sure you put your learning hat on as you put in your headphones for this episode because Dr. Benitez-Nelson has some shit to teach us today. You’ll come away from this episode knowing more about the pros and cons of nuclear power – and the ocean in general – than you ever did before (unless you also happen to be a Renaissance scientist). And at the very least, you’ll have some fun facts to throw around when you talk about the upcoming release of Aquaman.

Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript here.

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Important, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters

#40: What Takes a Young Woman from Art School to NASA... & Why Might That Change Everything Forever, for Everyone?

In Episode 40, Quinn & Brian ask: What would take a young woman from art school to NASA... and why might that change everything forever, for everyone, for good?


Our guest is Ariel Waldman, the author of What's It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There, the founder of Spacehack.org, the global director of Science Hack Day (something she awesomely calls “massively multiplayer science”), and a member of the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts – a program that nurtures radical, science fiction-inspired ideas that could transform future space missions.


Ariel is helping to build a great new future full of exciting ideas, and she does everything in her power to invite others to collaborate and contribute themselves. She’s doing all of the things, and while you don't have to do all of them too, Ariel is an inspiration for all of us to get out there and do SOMETHING! Plus, she is single handedly proving to parents everywhere that you can, in fact, do something with an art degree.

Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript here.

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#39: Is The Ocean Running Out of Oxygen? Is That Bad?

In Episode 39, Quinn & Brian ask: Is The Ocean Running Out of Oxygen? Is That Bad?

Our guest is Dawn “Deepsea Dawn” Wright, Ph.D., the Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (AKA Esri) and a Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State University. She also happens to have the distinction of being the first African-American woman to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible ALVIN (which we would totally be up for doing if anyone has a spare submergible chipmunk for us to ride).

Dr. Wright leads efforts to map the entirety of the ocean floor in, essentially, the same detail as the Google Maps app on your phone. This is one of the grandest endeavors that our society has yet to undertake, and it’s not just a good excuse to take a ride in a cool submarine. In many ways, we understand the stars and celestial bodies better than we understand the water that covers the majority of our planet – and we need to understand it if we’re going to protect it and prevent the depletion of oxygen.

P.S. If you like golden retriever puppies, you should definitely follow Dawn on Instagram.

Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript here.

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Important, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters

 
 

#27: What Happens When the Atlantic Ocean Invades the Arctic Ocean?

In Episode 27, Quinn & Brian ask: What happens when the Atlantic Ocean invades the Arctic Ocean?

Our guest: Julia Roberson, vice president of relations for the Ocean Conservancy in Washington D.C. Julia takes complex issues, like one ocean invading another, and makes them real and relevant to human beings, and finally (and most specific for us) helps us act on them. She’s damn funny and way smarter than us, but once again, a gentle reminder: it’s a low, low bar.

Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript here.

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#7: How can we use the ocean without using it up?

In Episode 7, Brian and Quinn ask: How can we use the ocean without using it up?

Meet Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, marine biologist, policy expert, and conservation strategist extraordinaire. And like a hundred other things, because her hobbies include saving the planet, what about you, punk?

Find out how the ocean’s doing, who should be responsible for keeping it clean, how representation is a nightmare on ocean conservation boards just like everywhere else, and finally, the seafood you definitely should and should not be eating. 

Listen here, or read the transcript here.

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