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Blue Dot: Fractions and understanding our world: a conversation with James Zimring

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Host Dave Schlom visits with James Zimring, Professor of Experimental Pathology at the University of Virginia. In a follow-up to his seminal work, What Science is and How it Really Works, Zimring examines how our minds are, at times, not quite wired to think about the world in terms of fractions, which are the basis for much of statistics and data analysis.

In his new book, Partial/TRUTHS, Zimring uses examples from a wide array of human existence from ordering a hamburger to going to war. In a modern society that is bombarded by facts and figures, often used by bad actors to confuse us or our understandable wish to make the world fit into a view that makes sense to us, having some basic tools to evaluate claims based on numerical data is important. And Zimring makes it imminently interesting and accessible.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.