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Building a landslide observatory, and the universality of music

Science Podcast
Martin Lewinson/Flickr

You may have seen the aftermath of a landslide, driving along a twisty mountain road—a scattering of rocks and scree impinging on the pavement. And up until now, that’s pretty much how scientists have tracked landslides—roadside observations and spotty satellite images. Now, researchers are hoping to track landslides systematically by instrumenting an entire national park in Taiwan. The park is riddled with landslides—so much so that visitors wear helmets. Host Sarah Crespi talks with one of those visitors—freelance science journalist Katherine Kornei—about what we can learn from landslides.

In a second rocking segment, Sarah also talks with Manvir Singh about the universality of music. His team asked the big questions in a Science paper out this week: Do all societies make music? What are the common elements that can be picked out from songs worldwide? Sarah and Manvir listen to songs and talk about what love ballads and lullabies have in common, regardless of their culture of origin.

Explore the music database

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer; KiwiCo; McDonalds

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[Image: Martin Lewinson/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]