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May. 22, 2015

Retracted Research, 3.3 Million-Year-Old Stone Tool, and Panda Guts

In this week’s news roundup, Rachel Feltman of The Washington Post joins us for a roundup of her top science stories of the week.

panda, retraction, stone tool, yeast, opiate drugs, news roundup, rachel feltman

May. 22, 2015

The Small But Mighty Seed

Biologist Thor Hanson describes the dizzying diversity of seeds. A new documentary, Seeds of Time portrays the fight to save them.

seeds, kessler, wolfgang stuppy, climate change, seed bank, seeds of time, the triumphs of seeds

May. 22, 2015

In Your Skin, a Catalog of Sun-Induced Mutations

“Normal” human skin cells can contain a surprisingly large number of sun-induced mutations in their DNA, a new study has found.

sun, skin, mutation, philip jones

May. 22, 2015

Plankton Goes Viral

A multi-year scientific expedition gives scientists new insights into the ocean’s viral communities.

ocean, plankton, virus, tara, matthew sullivan, jennifer brum

May. 22, 2015

Neal Stephenson Versus the Moon

Neal Stephenson’s new novel Seveneves blasts humanity into orbit, only to bring them down to earth...five thousand years later.

May. 22, 2015

App Chat: Apps to ‘Smarten Up’ Your Car

Damon Lavrinc, an editor at Jalopnik, talks about driving apps and gadgets.

cars, jalopnik, damon lavrinc, smart car, app chat, apps

May. 15, 2015

‘Thrifty’ Metabolisms, Bad News Bees, and a Pricey Jar of Peanut Butter

Virginia Hughes of BuzzFeed News joins us for a roundup of her top science stories of the week.

endangered species, weight loss, peanut butter, bees, joe roman, virginia hughes

May. 15, 2015

How to Clone a Mammoth

An expert in the field of ancient DNA explains the why’s and how to’s of woolly mammoth de-extinction.

clone, mammoth, paleontology, beth shapiro, extinction, de-extinction

May. 15, 2015

Tracking Your Local (Space) Weather

How—and why—scientists keep a close eye on the activity of our nearest star.

nasa, solar, sun, heliophysics, space weather, solar flare, alex young

May. 15, 2015

NASA Budget Cuts Impact Earth-Based Science

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology passed a bill that would cut NASA’s earth science budget by roughly 20 percent.

nasa, budget, michael hiltzick, j marshall shepherd

May. 15, 2015

Emoting With Emoji

A look at what the rise of emoji says about online communication.

emoji, emoticon, language, internet, thomas dimson, tyler schnoebelen, ana becker, linguistics

May. 15, 2015

A Tiny, Living Identification Badge: Your Microbiome

The specific combinations of strains of bacteria that live on and in a person can be used to identify an individual—even up to a year later.

Eric Franzosa, pnas, dna, dna fingerprinting, biome, bacteria

May. 15, 2015

Chicken Beaks and Dinosaur Snouts

Scientists traced the evolution of dinosaurs to birds through the beak of a chicken.

bhart-anjan bhullar, dinosaurs, chicken beaks

May. 14, 2015

Science Friday, Live From Huntsville

Hear the full show as Ira and Science Friday take the stage at Huntsville, Alabama’s own U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

huntsville, alabama, space and rocket center

May. 08, 2015

The Oldest Bird, a Distant Galaxy, and the Beard Microbiome

Rachel Feltman of The Washington Post joins us for a roundup of her top science stories this week.

rachel feltman, the washington post, beard microbiome, feces in beard, modern birds, distant galaxy, andrew freedman, mashable

May. 08, 2015

Tales From ‘Big Pig’

Barry Estabrook's latest book, Pig Tales, is a journey through the good, the bad and the ugly of hog farming.

barry estabrook, pig tales: an omnivore's quest for sustainable meat, pork

May. 08, 2015

The Science Club Looks Into the Heart of the Sun

This season’s Science Club challenge: Tell us what the sun does.

sun, science club, charles bergquist, ariel zych

May. 08, 2015

Flash of the Disco Clam

Reminiscent of the flashy dance halls and shag carpets of the '70s, the disco clam flaunts frilly tentacles and its very own light show.

disco clam, clam, lindsey dougherty

May. 08, 2015

MicroRNA and Cancer Therapeutics

Could ingested plants be used as a delivery system of therapeutic microRNAs?

microrna, cell research, ken witwer, kendal hirschi

May. 08, 2015

Eugenia Cheng: How to Bake Pi

In her new book How to Bake Pi, mathematician Eugenia Cheng cooks up digestible math lessons on number theory to topology.

math, eugenia cheng, cooking, baking, pi

May. 08, 2015

Charting Music’s Big Revolutions

An evolutionary biologist brings big data to bear on 50 years of pop music history.

music evolution, hip hop, rap

May. 08, 2015

Animal Moms: From Lion to Mouse

Several scientists share stories of their favorite Animal Kingdom matriarchs with Science Friday, just in time for Mother’s Day.

mother's day, moms

May. 01, 2015

Salty Antarctic Aquifers, Penguin Poop, and a 3D-Printed Splint

Salty aquifers deep under Antarctica could be a blueprint for where life might hide out on Mars.

antarctica, salty aquifer, antarctic aquifer, arielle duhaime-ross, mars, penguins, penguin poop, trachea

May. 01, 2015

'Shrinks' Tells of Desperate Early Cures

In his new book, psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman documents the profession's early days—a time when malaria was considered an effective cure for mental illness.

shrinks, malaria, lobotomy, electroconvulsive therapy, nobel prize, jeffrey lieberman

May. 01, 2015

Seismic Risk and Safety in Nepal

How can cities like Kathmandu become more earthquake resistant in the future?

Brian Tucker, seismologist, seismology, GeoHazards International, earthquake, himalayas, nepal, tibet, mount everest, kathmandu

May. 01, 2015

Getting Charged Up for the Tesla Home Battery

Could Elon Musk’s plan for a home battery fire up an energy revolution?

energy, elon musk, battery, tesla

May. 01, 2015

The Debate on Gene Editing

How should research progress as human gene editing techniques become cheaper, faster, and more precise?

George Q. Daley, Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Alta Charo, Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, gene editing, ethics, crispr

May. 01, 2015

The Rise of the Celebrity Scientist

The New Celebrity Scientists profiles scientists who’ve cracked the fame code to become cultural icons.

celebrities, carl sagan, neil degrasse tyson, bill nye, stephen hawking, declan fahy

May. 01, 2015

The Other Side of Oliver Sacks

We all know Dr. Oliver Sacks as a renowned neurologist and a prolific author. But he’s a true Renaissance man, as becomes clear when reading his new memoir, On the Move: A Life.

oliver sacks, on the move, cancer

Apr. 24, 2015

The Most Unusual Laboratory (Not) on Earth

Floating 200 miles above the Earth, and speeding at nearly five miles per second, the International Space Station may be the most unusual lab available to science.

earth, international space station, julie robinson, kelly twins, mark and scott kelly

Apr. 24, 2015

Dreaming Up the Future of Interstellar Travel

Could solar sails, antimatter propulsion, and air-breathing rockets take us to Mars and other galaxies in the future?

marshall space flight center, les johnson, nasa, space, voyager 1

Apr. 24, 2015

YouTuber Wants to Make You ‘Smarter Every Day’

YouTube science star Destin Sandlin uses a high speed camera to unpack the science behind everyday phenomena.

destin sandlin, youtube, smarter every day, diy

Apr. 24, 2015

A Stegosaurus Smackdown, Plus Bumblebee and Mosquito Mysteries

Arielle Duhaime-Ross, a science reporter at The Verge, gives us her take on the week's news.

Arielle Duhaime-Ross, bumblebees, mosquitoes, stegosaurus

Apr. 24, 2015

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

In Sydney Padua’s graphic novel, two real-life Victorian-era computing pioneers build a steam-powered computer and use it to have adventures.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, ada lovelace, charles babbage, sydney padua

Apr. 24, 2015

A New Era for NASA? Charles Bolden Leads the Way

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden discusses the agency's priorities, from understanding conditions on Earth to reaching Mars.

charles bolden, barack obama, president, nasa, space exploration, moon, sun, solar system, robotic exploration, mars, manned mission to mars, mission

Apr. 24, 2015

The Pot-Stirrer

Amanda Glaze studies perceptions of evolution as well as its religious and societal influences throughout the Southeastern United States.

evolution, amanda glaze, american south, southeastern united states

Apr. 17, 2015

New Climate Polls, A Comet Mystery, and Puppy Love

Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post gives us her rundown of the week's science stories.

washington post, dogs and humans, human-dog bonding, oxytocin, yale climate center, anthony leiserowitz, climate change

Apr. 17, 2015

Water Wanes in the West

NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory found that snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is a fraction of what it used to be.

tom painter, aso, b. lynn ingram, the west without water, nasa, airborne snow observatory,

Apr. 17, 2015

Exploring Remote Villages for Clues to the Human Microbiome

The microbes that live on and in residents of an Amazonian village with no recorded contact with Western civilization are super-diverse—and some carry genes for antibiotic resistance.

microbiome, maria gloria dominguez-bello, yanomami

Apr. 17, 2015

How ‘Dark’ Is Dark Matter?

Scientists say dark matter may not be as “dark” as once thought.

dark matter, astrophysicist, richard massey, dark energy, gravity

Apr. 17, 2015

3D-Printed Coffee Cups Help Liquids Defy Gravity

The cups work using capillary action: Simply press your lips to the rim, and you get a sip, whether you want one or not.

don pettit, nasa, astronaut, mark weislogel, portland state university, coffee, drinking coffee in space, space station

Apr. 17, 2015

Geek Physics With Rhett Allain

In his book Geek Physics, Rhett Allain uses physics to answer pop culture and everyday science questions.

rhett allain, geek physics, bubble wrap, superheroes, physics questions, pop culture

Apr. 17, 2015

Science on Screen, From Old to New

The first science documentaries are almost as old as cinema itself.

cinema, films, reels, science in the movies, science goes to hollywood

Apr. 10, 2015

News Roundup: The Birth of the Moon, E.T. Life, and LHC Season Two

Washington Post science blogger Rachel Feltman gives us her top stories this week, and the BBC’s Jonathan Webb tells us what to expect from the revved-up particle collider.

large hadron collider, lhc, bbc, jonathan webb, moon, rachel feltman, speaking of science, physics, earth

Apr. 10, 2015

Undersea Cables String Together the Global Internet

Ninety-nine percent of the data zipping between continents travels not via satellite, but through thousands of miles of cables.

cables, undersea network, internet, nicole starosielski

Apr. 10, 2015

How the Apple Watch Measures Up

Re/code’s Lauren Goode give us her take on Apple’s new wearable.

apple watch, lauren goode, re/code

Apr. 10, 2015

The Macroscope: Babies on the Brink

A series of rigorous (and adorable) experiments by Karen Adolph of NYU's Infant Action Lab shatters the myth that babies learn to fear heights as they learn to crawl.

babies, infant action lab, fear of heights, ledge, bridge, karen adolph, nyu

Apr. 10, 2015

As Arctic Permafrost Thaws, Microbes Kick Into Action

Recent findings suggest that microbes living in Arctic permafrost could produce carbon dioxide and methane as it thaws.

microbiologist, janet jansson, carbon dioxide, microbes

Apr. 10, 2015

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

What questions should we ask as research on artificial intelligence progresses?

robots, a.i., artificial intelligence, elon musk, bill gates, steve wozniack,

Apr. 10, 2015

Are Scientific Journals Clogged With ‘Publication Pollution’?

Medical ethicist Art Caplan says science and medical journals are plagued by fraud, plagiarism, and predatory publishers.

art caplan, science journals, medical journals, fraud, plagiarism, predatory publishing

Apr. 03, 2015

A Climate Pledge, a Medieval Antibiotic, and an Exoskeletal Boot

In the news roundup this week, Eric Holthaus breaks down the new U.S. climate pledge.

greenhouse gas, climate change, antibiotic, exoskeletal boot, Eric Holthaus, Arielle Duhaime-Ross, slate, the vergy

Apr. 03, 2015

The Math Game Behind the Iran Nuclear Talks

Energy secretary Ernest Moniz joins us to talk about the science behind the diplomacy.

ernest moniz, energy secretary, iran, iran nuclear deal

Apr. 03, 2015

Cracking the Egg

There’s a better way to make hard-boiled eggs—and it doesn’t involve boiling.

egg, food failures, jeff potter, cooking for geeks, kitchen science

Apr. 03, 2015

Catching a Non-Stop, Transatlantic Flight on a Songbird’s Back

The blackpoll warbler, a songbird that weighs 12 grams, can fly 1,700 miles—non-stop—to its wintering grounds.

Bill DeLuca, blackpoll warbler, migratory songbirds, migration, bird migration, birds, songbirds, warbler, warblers, songbird

Apr. 03, 2015

Mercury: The Ashtray of the Solar System?

Scientists say that dust from passing comets could have darkened the surface of Mercury.

mercury, Peter Schultz, nature geoscience, carbon

Apr. 03, 2015

Festival of Fake Hypotheses Generates Real Laughs

The satirical science festival BAHFest challenges science fans to construct real arguments for completely bogus hypotheses.

Zach Weinersmith, bah, bahfest, bad ad hoc hypothesis, bad ad hoc hypotheses, sarah hird

Apr. 03, 2015

Building Cancer Vaccines From Tumor Mutations

Researchers look to the genome of a patient’s tumor to build a cancer vaccine.

Beatriz Carreno, Nicholas Restifo, National Cancer Institute, cancer, cancer vaccine, cancer treatment

Mar. 27, 2015

'Hellish' Conditions Gave Spark To Life On Earth

The early Earth was no place for life as we know it: Belching volcanoes, meteor strikes, hydrogen cyanide and a healthy bombardment of ultraviolet rays.

Mar. 27, 2015

Shaking Up the Climate Conversation, With Dance

A choreographer and a biologist team up to create a dance that’s part high art, part climate change consciousness raising.

dance, art, american museum of natural history, karole armitage, paul ehrlich, climate change

Mar. 27, 2015

Michael Gazzaniga: Tales from Both Sides of the Brain

Cognitive neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga discusses his on discovering how these halves communicate.

brain, caltech, 60s, michael gazzaniga

Mar. 27, 2015

One Last Thing: Left to Right

When we picture rapidly moving things, people seem to have a preference for ones that move from left to right, not right to left.

perception, running, peter walker, psychology

Mar. 27, 2015

Liquid 3-D Printer Speeds Past the Rest

A new, fast 3-D printer uses ultraviolet light and oxygen to shape liquid resin.

3d printing

Mar. 27, 2015

Understanding the Dark Side of Physics

Physicists discuss the quest to understand dark energy and dark matter.

dark matter, physics, jodi cooley, dan hooper, steven weinberg, dark energy

Mar. 27, 2015

Malaria Parasite Lures Mosquitoes With Bait-and-Switch

The malaria parasite manufactures lemon-and-pine-scented aromas that attract mosquitoes.

mosquito, malaria, audrey odom

Mar. 20, 2015

Keeping the President in Tune With Tech

Megan Smith, a Google alum who once built and raced a solar car across Australia, came on board last year as U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

megan smith, washington dc, chief technology officer, politics, science in politics

Mar. 20, 2015

Writing Women Back Into Science History

This Women’s History Month, Science Friday celebrates some of the unsung heroines of science.

women's history month, maria sibylla merian, marie tharp, dna, women in science, stem

Mar. 20, 2015

Sweeping the Skies, More Than 200 Years Ago

Astronomer Caroline Herschel was born 265 years ago this week, on March 16, 1750. She was the first woman to receive a salary for astronomical research.

caroline herschel, william herschel, astronomy, astronomer, one last thing, dean regas

Mar. 20, 2015

Scientists Dip Into the Water on Jupiter’s Largest Moon

Scientists estimate that a subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon—Ganymede—could be 60 miles thick.

moon, jupiter's moon, satellite, largest satellite, ganymede, orbit

Mar. 20, 2015

What Will It Take to Land a Person on Mars?

What technological hurdles must be cleared for a successful manned mission to Mars?

mars, mars one, traveling to mars, living on mars

Mar. 20, 2015

Warming West Coast Waters Upset Food Chains

Warmer waters are changing the distribution of food in the Pacific, stranding hundreds of starving sea lion pups on shore, and causing the death of hundreds of thousands of birds.

sea lions, dying, otters, pelicans, birds, drowning birds, food chain, warmer oceans, sea, ocean, temperature

Mar. 13, 2015

As Ebola Infection Rates Decline, Will Vaccine Search Continue?

Will momentum for developing an Ebola vaccine and treatment stay on track as infection rates decrease?

Ebola, treatment, vaccine, john cohen science, who, liberia

Mar. 13, 2015

Puzzling Polio-like Paralysis Baffles Doctors

Doctors are trying to piece together a puzzling polio-like paralysis that might be associated with a respiratory illness.

respiratory illness, enterovirus D68, paralysis, teri schreiner

Mar. 13, 2015

When a Seven-Foot-Long Arthropod Swam the Seas

Fossils found in Morocco might help explain how modern-day insects, crustaceans, and other arthropods got their shapes.

fossils, Morocco, Peter Van Roy, Aegirocassis benmoulae, large arthropod

Mar. 13, 2015

'ResearchKit' Taps iPhone Users for Clinical Trials

Apps on the new platform allow iPhone users to enroll in clinical trials on heart health, Parkinson's, or asthma. But critics say the smartphone-driven studies have flaws.

smartphone, apps, sensors, the verge, john wilbanks, arielle duhaime-ross, data, health data, apple, iphone, researchkit

Mar. 13, 2015

Rise of the Bot Author

Algorithms already write financial and sports news articles. Could they break into fiction?

artificial intelligence, journalism, robot, algorithm, mark riedl, tony veale, computer

Mar. 13, 2015

SciFri Celebrates π

This year holds an unusually special treat for enthusiasts of the constant π: March 14, 2015 approximates π not just to the usual three digits (3.14) but to five: 3.14.15.

pi, ian stewart, pi day

Mar. 13, 2015

Food Failures: Crafting Pie Crust

Just in time for Pi Day, we look at the science behind baking the perfect pie crust.

food failures, baking, pie, crust, j. kenji lopez-alt

Mar. 13, 2015

How an 11-Year-Old Named a (Dwarf) Planet

Venetia Burney, age 11, came up with the name ‘Pluto’ for a newly-discovered planet 85 years ago this week.

pluto, venetia burney, dwarf planet

Mar. 06, 2015

One Hundred Years of General Relativity

Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity on December 2, 1915.

relativity, albert einstein, physics, michael turner, alex filippenko

Mar. 06, 2015

Dawn Arrives at Ceres

Mission director and chief engineer Marc Rayman gives an update on the Dawn mission, scheduled to arrive in orbit around dwarf planet Ceres this week.

dawn, nasa, ceres, dwarf planet, marc rayman, space

Mar. 06, 2015

Avoid the Doctor—For Your Health

How much medical care is too much medical care?

health, doctor, medicine, h. gilbert welch

Mar. 06, 2015

The Interstellar Tourist’s Guide to Exoplanets

Exoplanet hunter Sara Seager explains how biosignature gases could help identify life on exoplanets, and The Takeaway’s John Hockenberry takes Ira on a futuristic tour of exoplanet vacation destinations.

exoplanet, sarah ballard, natalie batalha

Mar. 06, 2015

Fossil Jaw Turns Back Clock on Human Evolution

A newly discovered fossil jaw pushes the date of Homo's evolution back to 2.8 million years ago.

homo sapiens, homo, australopithecus, science express, brian villmoare

Mar. 06, 2015

Balancing Surveillance: Privacy and Security in the Digital Age

Is it possible to keep our personal information secure in the digital age?

data and goliath, cybersecurity, nsa, facebook, google, surveillance, computer surveillance

Mar. 06, 2015

Mysteries of the Mars Plume

Wayne Jaescke, a patent attorney and amateur astronomer, captured a photo of a wispy cloud rising 120 miles into the Martian atmosphere.

Wayne Jaescke, mars, plume

Feb. 27, 2015

Airport Apiaries, Now Boarding

Several major airports have found a new use for open but restricted space alongside runways and hangars—as a home for beehives.

beehives, bees, hives, airports

Feb. 27, 2015

Which Scientific Ideas Must Die?

This Idea Must Die asks scientists and big thinkers which scientific theories they’d target for extinction.

this idea must die, john brockman, sean carroll, seth lloyd

Feb. 27, 2015

Apps That Judge What's on Your Plate

A new class of food-coaching apps connects you to pros and peers who offer tips on healthy eating, based on descriptions and photos of what you eat.

app chat, apps, food apps, eating apps, food coach

Feb. 27, 2015

Dawn of the Cyborg Bacteria

In a basement laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, two roboticists have harnessed the sensing, swimming, and swarming abilities of bacteria to power microscopic robots.

cyborg, cyborg bacteria, Elizabeth Beattie, Denise Wong

Feb. 27, 2015

NASA and Integration During the Civil Rights Movement

As part of Black History Month, Science Friday looks at the role of African-American scientists at NASA during the Civil Rights era.

we could not fail: the first african americans in the space program; steven moss, richard paul, christine darden, Morgan Watson

Feb. 27, 2015

Future Crimes: The Next Generation of Security Threats

In Future Crimes, author Marc Goodman looks at how criminals are using emergent technology for their own benefit.

future crimes, future crime, marc goodman, technology

Feb. 27, 2015

After Decades of Dietary Warnings, Eggs Make a Comeback

After decades of warnings, the advisory committee behind the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines drops its prohibition on cholesterol.

dietary cholesterol, cholesterol, cleveland clinic, harvard school of public health, walter willett, steven nissen

Feb. 20, 2015

Legal Battle Ends, But Seas Continue to Rise in Kivalina, Alaska

With its legal battle over, Kivalina, Alaska struggles to relocate a 400-person village predicted to be underwater by 2025.

christine shearer, climate change, kivalina, colleen swan, inupiat, alaska, fossil fuels

Feb. 20, 2015

Habitats Shift As Arctic Temps Creep Above Freezing

As the ice retreats, habitats shift, and certain food chains have begun to crumble.

arctic, climate change, george divosky, cheryl rosa, cooper island, alaska

Feb. 20, 2015

Is Your Empty Stomach Fueling Your Shopping Spree?

Hungry shoppers spent up to 60 percent more than those who had a full stomach, according to a new study.

decision making, norbert schwarz, binder clips, proceedings of the national academy of sciences

Feb. 20, 2015

What Bilingual Babies Can Teach Us About Language Learning

Babies raised in bilingual households spend significantly more time lip-reading than their monolingual counterparts—which suggests that it could also be a vital skill for language learners of all ages.

bilingual babies, bilingual, david lewkowicz, languages, lip reading

Feb. 20, 2015

Are Women at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s?

Neurologists look at genes and hormones to understand why more women are developing Alzheimer’s than men.

alzheimer's disease, alzheimer's, women, men, roberta diaz brinton, michael greicius

Feb. 20, 2015

Forecasting the Future of Maps

How will new maps help us navigate from point A to point B more efficiently?

google maps, mapping, technology

Feb. 13, 2015

Dogs, They’re Just Like Us

An in-depth survey of pet dogs revealed surprising insights about breed-specific behaviors.

dogs, canines, breeds, pedigree, dog breeds, breeding, breed, james serpell

Feb. 13, 2015

Tales of Broken Hearts

In The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, Rob Dunn writes of the creative—and sometimes tragic—ways that scientists and surgeons have sought to mend the maladies of the heart.

books, bar room brawl

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How Humpbacks Hunt With Bubbles

Humpback whales blow bubbles around schools of fish to concentrate them for easier capture. It's called a bubble net, says David Wiley, research coordinator for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and it's visible as a ring of bubbles at the surface. Now, with underwater digital tracking tags and custom visualization software, whale researchers can see what the whales are doing underwater when they're bubble-netting.

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