08/21/2015

Crowdsourcing Planetary Names, Female ‘Viagra,’ and a Vomit Machine

11:44 minutes

After two previous rejections, the Food and Drug Administration approved Addyi, the first prescription drug to increase a woman’s sexual drive. The approval was bolstered by a campaign by a pharma-based advocacy group called Even the Score. The group’s message focused on the drug as an issue of “women’s sexual health equity.” BuzzFeed News science editor Virginia Hughes discusses the controversy surrounding the pill, along with other stories from the week in science.

Plus, scientists have discovered thousands of exoplanets and stars that have stretched our imaginations—from gassy, Earth-sized planets to low-density, “puffy planets.” The names for these planetary systems, however, are less memorable. The International Astronomical Union, the authority for assigning celestial names, has opened up the process to the crowd. Should pulsar “PSR 1257+12” be renamed “Rock’n’Roll Star”? Lee Billings, space and physics editor at Scientific American, breaks down the good and bad of a public naming system.

Segment Guests

Virginia Hughes

Virginia Hughes is science editor at BuzzFeed News in New York, New York.

Lee Billings

Lee Billings is editor of Scientific American and author of Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars (Current, 2013) based in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim is a producer for Science Friday. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.