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Breeding better bees, and training artificial intelligence on emotional imagery

Science Podcast
Steve Baker/Flickr

Imagine having a rat clinging to your back, sucking out your fat stores. That’s similar to what infested bees endure when the Varroa destructor mite comes calling. Some bees fight back, wiggling, scratching, and biting until the mites depart for friendlier backs. Now, researchers, professional beekeepers, and hobbyists are working on ways to breed into bees these mite-defeating behaviors to rid them of these damaging pests. Host Sarah Crespi and Staff Writer Erik Stokstad discuss the tactics of, and the hurdles to, pesticide-free mite control.

Also this week, Sarah talks to Philip Kragel of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder about training an artificial intelligence on emotionally charged images. The ultimate aim of this research: to understand how the human visual system is involved in processing emotion.

And in books, Kate Eichorn, author of The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media, joins books host Kiki Sanford to talk about how the monetization of digital information has led to the ease of social media sharing and posting for kids and adults.

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

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[Image: Steve Baker/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]