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The Compass

Podcast The Compass
Podcast The Compass

The Compass


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  • The Public Misunderstanding of Science: Racist robots
    Sometimes it’s right to be sceptical about new technologies. US tech reporter Katherine Gorman joins Sue Nelson to report on artificial intelligence and how it’s rapidly pervading our lives. Katherine reports from New York on controversial facial recognition cameras and we hear how regulators are struggling to keep up with innovation. Image: Concept illustration of an electronic eye (Credit: ValeryBrozhinsky/Getty Creative)
  • Toxic debates
    Across Europe, activists fearful of 5G technology have attacked phone masts. Science journalist and former BBC Science correspondent Sue Nelson teams up with science reporter Hidde Boersma in the Netherlands to find out how conspiracy theories take root and what can be done to combat them. She also hears how scientists can improve their communication and what they have learnt from debates around climate change. (Photo: Protesters march against 5G technology in 2019, The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Michel Porro/Getty Images)
  • Trust: What is the best way to communicate public health messages?
    Anti-vaxxers, flat Earthers, 5G arsonists and climate change deniers – why have so many people given up on science and where are governments, scientists and the media going wrong? As Covid-19 continues to affect us all, what is the best way to communicate public health messages, when the bottom line is saving lives? Umaru Fofana reports from Sierra Leone on the Ebola prevention and vaccine campaigns and former BBC science correspondent, Sue Nelson, speaks to public health experts and fact checkers about efforts to combat misinformation. (Photo: Pupils look at an Ebola prevention poster during a sensibilisation campaign provided by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Abidjan. Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Thailand: Asia’s sugar bowl
    Lainy Malkani looks into the story of sugar in Thailand, now the second biggest exporter of sugar in the world. We hear how farmers there are coping with climate change, what sustainable production might look like and what sugar cane can be used for once the sweet juice has been removed, from fuel to water bottles. Lainy looks at the future of sugar, talking to those experimenting with sugar to try to make it healthier, like the company Douxmatok, who are hacking sugar crystals at a structural level in an effort to help us eat less of it without compromising on taste. Presenter: Lainy Malkani Producer: Megan Jones
  • USA: Plantations and plains
    Lainy Malkani focuses on the story of sugar in the USA. From one of the oldest confectionery shops in New Orleans where the local delicacy of pecan nut pralines are made every day, to a former sugar plantation along the Mississippi river, she hears about the role of sugar in the history of Louisiana. She speaks to Khalil Gibran Mohammed about the legacy of sugar and slavery in the region, and hears from the manager of the Whitney plantation about what remains there today. From there to the sugar beet plains of the mid-West, Lainy looks at how sugar has influenced government policy over time, and how the commodity has become central to American culture, its diet and economy today.

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