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Jan. 30, 2015

Scientists and the Public Disagree on Key Issues

Is it possible to shift public opinion on controversial scientific issues?

lee rainie, tim o'brien, michael lacour, vaccine, vaccinations, gmos, science

Jan. 30, 2015

The True Story Behind ‘Spare Parts’

In “Spare Parts,” four teenage MacGyvers beat MIT with a smelly robot built with PVC pipe.

spare parts, robots, underwater robots, ROVs, immigration policy, teenagers, undocumented residents, illegal immigrants,

Jan. 30, 2015

Small Drones Raise Big Legal Questions

Law professor Ryan Calo discusses how to regulate personal drones and other potentially invasive technologies.

cnn, drones, white house, drone, south lawn, drone on south lawn, ryan calo

Jan. 30, 2015

Modernizing Money: ‘Chip-and-PIN’ Credit Cards and Mobile Payments

Sorting through the changing technology of credit cards and mobile payments.

chip-and-PIN, mobile payments, credit cards, robin sidel, nanette byrnes

Jan. 30, 2015

Hitting the Sack: Sleep Cycles Can Affect Athletes’ Performance

An athlete’s performance can vary by up to 26 percent, depending on the time of day.

current biology, roland brandstaetter, super bowl, football, sleep, sleep deprivation, peak performance, athletes, bedtime

Jan. 30, 2015

Face Time

We can make split-second judgments about someone's personality and character without even consciously seeing their face.

real world judgments, split second judgments, jon freeman

Jan. 23, 2015

Lasers Help Metal Resist Rust and Ice

Scientists use lasers to create super water-repellent metals.

water-resistance, water, metal, chunlei guo, physics, lasers

Jan. 23, 2015

Remembering the Moment Black Holes Went Mainstream

Forty-five years ago, a collaboration between Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking transformed perceptions about black holes and the beginning of the universe.

roger penrose, stephen hawking, black holes, physics, mathematicians

Jan. 23, 2015

Conserving Cuba’s Coral Reefs

Since 1970, Caribbean coral have declined by more than 50 percent, according to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

coral reefs, cuba, marine biology

Jan. 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes of the Explorers Club

The Explorers Club houses artifacts from research expeditions over the last century, including the first exploration to the North Pole to the Apollo 11 moon mission.

explorers club, exploration, expedition

Jan. 23, 2015

Scientists Engineer Bacteria With Genetic 'Kill Switch'

Genetic engineers have designed strains of E. coli that can survive only in the presence of a compound that doesn't exist in nature.

Dan Mandell, david guston, e. coli, genetic engineering

Jan. 23, 2015

Journeying to the Building Blocks of the Solar System

What can comets, asteroids, and protoplanets tell us about the formation of the solar system?

comets, asteroids, protoplanet, rosetta mission, dawn mission, nicolas thomas, osiris, comet 76p, marc rayman, ceres, vesta

Jan. 23, 2015

Put Down Your Phone, Give Your Brain a Break

Some studies suggest letting the mind wander spurs creativity and contemplation. Is it time to rethink our relationship with our phones and bring back boredom?

new tech city, candy crush, manous zomorodi, alex goldmark, podcast, boredom, smartphone, tablet

Jan. 16, 2015

The SciFri Book Club Reads ‘The Lost City of Z’

The SciFri Book Club cracks the cover of our winter book pick: David Grann’s non-fiction tale of Amazonian exploration, The Lost City of Z.

the lost city of z, exploration

Jan. 16, 2015

Which Cyber Hacks Should We Worry About?

Molly Sauter explains the scope and severity of recent cyber attacks.

cyber attack, cyber hack, the coming swarm

Jan. 16, 2015

The Long Quest to Make Machines Talk

Brad Story, a professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences, walks us through the history of talking machines, and computer scientists Alan Black and Rupal Patel talk about making computerized voices more personal and engaging.

brad story, voder, siri, cortana, google now, alan black, rupal patel

Jan. 16, 2015

Does the ‘Innate Genius’ Stereotype Widen the STEM Gender Gap?

In a new study, academics rated philosophy—where women are earning less than 35 percent of the Ph.D.s—as a field where candidates need raw talent for success.

stem, gener gap, brilliance, innate genius, women and stem

Jan. 16, 2015

Spinning Theories on Planet Rotation

Scientists modeled how an exoplanet’s atmosphere could keep its rotation from locking up.

planets, rotation, earth, spinning

Jan. 16, 2015

Sea Turtles Guided Home by Magnetic Sense

Female turtles return to the coastlines where they hatched using the earth's magnetic fields as a navigational tool.

sea turtles, migration, navigation, current biology, roger brothers

Jan. 16, 2015

Tablets and Smartphones Might Be Sapping Your Sleep

Researchers say using tablets and smartphones before bedtime can shift your circadian rhythms.

charles czeisler, sleep, circadian rhythms, awake, mobile phones, smartphones, blue screen, tablets

Jan. 09, 2015

CES 2015: Smart Mirrors, Autonomous Cars, and Safer Home Security

Re/code reviewer Lauren Goode gives her rundown of the best tech at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show.

consumer electronics show, re/code, lauren goode, mercedes, self-driving cars, autonomous vehicle, autonomous car, driverless cars

Jan. 09, 2015

Can Diet and Exercise Affect Your Genes?

Researchers are examining how exercise, diet, and your environment play a role in gene expression.

dna, epigenetics, methyl groups, andy feinberg, diet and exercise, exercise, diet

Jan. 09, 2015

Sifting Soils for New Approaches to Antibiotics

Researchers report that they’ve isolated a new type of antibiotic compound from soil-dwelling bacteria that previously couldn’t be cultured.

antibiotic, antibiotic resistance

Jan. 09, 2015

A Broadway Hit, With an Autistic Math Whiz at Its Center

Actor Alex Sharp talks about playing a 15-year-old math whiz on the Autism spectrum in the hit Broadway play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, christopher boone, broadway

Jan. 09, 2015

Diet Pill Mimics the Effects of Eating

The “imaginary meal” pill helps mice lose weight—but can it do the same in humans?

ronald evans, food pill, imaginary meal, diet, food

Jan. 09, 2015

The Cold Virus Seeks Safety in the Nose

One out of five people harbors a cold virus in their nose at any one time.

nose, rhinovirus, cold, cold virus

Jan. 09, 2015

Mapping White-Nose Syndrome’s Lethal Course in Bats

Bats infected with white-nose syndrome use up twice as much energy during hibernation as uninfected bats.

white-nose syndrome, bats, hibernation, bmc physiology, david blehert

Jan. 09, 2015

Bill Nye on the Origins of Evolution

When it comes to evolution, Bill Nye the Science Guy won’t be denied.

bill nye the science guy, evolution, bill nye

Jan. 02, 2015

An App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Dr. Eric Topol's book The Patient Will See You Now argues that technology will save patients time and money—and put healthcare back in their hands.

the patient will see you now, eric topol, medicine, medical apps

Jan. 02, 2015

Birding Into the New Year

We’ll check in on the 115th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count and hear what birds have made an appearance so far this winter.

cbc, geoff lebaron, kenn kaufman, christmas bird count, birding, birdwatching

Jan. 02, 2015

Don’t Stress! How to (Hopefully) Keep New Year’s Resolutions

A lack of discipline isn’t what might undermine your goals, but rather an abundance of stress.

stress, willpower, new years, new year, new years resolutions, dieting, exercise

Jan. 02, 2015

Could an ‘Ocean’ of Water Be Trapped Within the Earth?

Rocks deep within the earth’s mantle could sequester water for billions of years and release small amounts to the surface.

earth's mantle, water

Jan. 02, 2015

Families Geek Out! Try These DIY Experiments at Home

Bill Nye the Science Guy writer Lynn Brunelle and Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments author Mike Adamick share fun science experiments parents and kids can do at home.

bill nye the science guy, home science experiments, dad's book of awesome science experiments, diy, hacks

Dec. 26, 2014

2014 Science Year in Review

From the Ebola outbreak to the Rosetta mission to a comet, a look at the biggest science stories of the year.

science stories, 2014 year in review, ebola, rosetta comet

Dec. 26, 2014

Birdie in Flight

The aerodynamics of the badminton birdie, along with a complex chain of movements executed by players, enables it to reach 200 mph.

badminton, emily driscoll, birdie, flight

Dec. 26, 2014

John McPhee Assembles California

In this 1993 interview from the Science Friday archives, writer John McPhee talks plate tectonics and global geology.

john mcphee, eldridge moores, assembling california, geology

Dec. 26, 2014

SciFri Live: Science Movie Quiz

You may know science, but how well do you know movie science?

caltech, movie science, quiz

Dec. 19, 2014

Does Mars Have What It Takes to Support Life?

NASA’s Curiosity rover finds evidence of methane and organics on the Red Planet.

curiosity rover, nasa, john grotzinger, methane on mars, organics on mars, life on mars, mars, red planet

Dec. 19, 2014

Scientists Speak Out About Attacks on Science

Bioengineer John Dabiri and conservation biologist Terrie Williams, two targets of Senator Tom Coburn's 2014 “Wastebook” look beyond the caricatures painted by politicians and pundits to tell the story of their research.

Dec. 19, 2014

Making Space a More Democratic Place

What if anyone could 3-D-print a satellite in space? Or jet from the Earth to the Moon, using just the hydrogen found in a two-liter bottle of water?

nasa, space, mason peck, democratizing space

Dec. 19, 2014

Moving Ice May Mean More Melting for Greenland

By 2060, Greenland’s seasonal “supraglacial” lakes will double in number and move farther inland.

greenland, glaciers, ice sheet, andrew shepherd, nature climate change, global warming, climate change

Dec. 19, 2014

Science Goes to the Movies: ‘The Imitation Game’

SciFri’s scientist-film critics weigh in on the Alan Turing biopic.

janna levin, simon sing, alan turing, the imitation game, benedict cumberbatch, german

Dec. 19, 2014

Weighing In on the ‘Good Carb, Bad Carb’ Debate

Curbing “high glycemic” carbs may not benefit healthy eaters.

high glycemic carbs, good carbs, bad carbs, glycemic index, low glycemic carbs, Frank Sacks

Dec. 19, 2014

Under the Influence of Beer Foam

A team of fluid mechanics researchers at Princeton University dive into the anti-sloshing physics of foam.

princeton, fluids, fluid mechanics, beer, beer foam, coffee

Dec. 12, 2014

Evidence Mounts for Liquid Water on Mars

NASA reveals new evidence for a large lake that could have existed for millions of years on Mars.

Ashwin Vasavada, gale crater, mars, curiosity

Dec. 12, 2014

Alan Alda Challenges Scientists to Answer: What Is Sleep?

Alan Alda’s “Flame Challenge” asks scientists to answer the big questions that keep them up at night to 11-year-olds around the world.

alan alda, flame challenge, what is a flame, sleep

Dec. 12, 2014

Food Failures: Cookie Science Secrets

In this episode, Cooking for Geeks author Jeff Potter gives home bakers tips on how to achieve cookie perfection using different sugars, fats, and flours.

jeff potter, cooking for geeks, cookies

Dec. 12, 2014

DIY Holiday Gift Hacks

Avoid the long lines and hack your holiday gifts, from homemade perfume to 3-D printed ornaments.

holiday gifts, diy, hacks

Dec. 12, 2014

The Best Science Books of 2014

Science writers Deborah Blum and Annalee Newitz join Ira to share their favorite science books of 2014.

deborah blum, annalee newitz, books, reading

Dec. 05, 2014

Climate Deal or Not, Fight Against Global Warming Has Begun

Last year, for example, new solar plants outpaced coal installations in the U.S., and carbon-trading schemes across state and national borders have already begun.

climate change, climate talks, global warming, peru, paris, david biello, Robert Stavins, scientific american

Dec. 05, 2014

How Long Does a President’s Legacy Last?

In 1991, 53 percent of students tested could recall Lyndon Johnson as the 36th president; that number dropped to 20 percent by 2009, according to a new study released in Science.

presidents, science, forgetting, memory, henry roedinger

Dec. 05, 2014

Paola Antonelli: ‘Design Is More Than Cute Chairs’

For MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, “design” includes computer interfaces, video games, and maker kits.

Museum of Modern Art, Paola Antonelli, moma, video games, art, modern art, museums

Dec. 05, 2014

You Are ‘When’ You Eat

In mice, eating within an 8-12 hour window helped to prevent and even reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes.

gut microbiome, food, eating, diet, Amir Zarrinpar, cell metabolism, eat

Dec. 05, 2014

Test Launch Marks New Phase for NASA

NASA is in early stage test flights for Orion, its updated crew capsule, but the spaceflight landscape is changing.

nasa, orion, earth, space exploration, houston chronicle, eric berger

Dec. 05, 2014

What’s Killing West Coast Starfish?

Scientists have linked an unprecedented starfish die-off along the West Coast to a virus.

sea star wasting disease, sea stars, starfish

Dec. 05, 2014

Near City Streets, an Insect Cleaning Crew

Ants and other insects could be able to remove thousands of pounds of food waste from street medians and city parks each year.

Elsa Youngsteadt, Global Change Biology, ants, rats, food, urban landscape, city, new york city

Nov. 28, 2014

Ig Nobel Prizes Salute Science’s Strange and Silly

In a Science Friday holiday tradition, we’re playing highlights from this year’s 24th First Annual Ig Nobel awards ceremony.

ig nobel prizes, ig nobel awards, improbably research, marc abrahams

Nov. 28, 2014

Does Your Genome Belong to Your Family, Too?

Should doctors share information about your risky genes with your family, since they, too, might harbor that suspect DNA sequence?

susan m. wolf, robert green, dna, genes, genetics

Nov. 28, 2014

An Art Movement Where Art and Science Collide

In the new art movement “art-sci,” artists take inspiration from science, use scientific techniques in their artwork, and inspire new science.

art-sci, artsci, science and art, Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art

Nov. 21, 2014

Ghosts of Early Language May Linger in the Brain

Chinese adoptees living in Canada, who now speak only French, still process Chinese sounds as native speakers do, even if they have no conscious recall of word meaning.

Fred Genesee, infants, brains, language, chinese, speaking, language processing, speech

Nov. 21, 2014

Would You Trust a Robot to Schedule Your Life?

Given access to your Google calendar, a personal assistant named Amy will happily schedule all your appointments. The catch? She's a machine—a digital personal assistant.

Manoush Zomorodi, Alex Goldmark, amy, new tech city, machine, personal assistant, robot

Nov. 21, 2014

Food Failures: The Science of Sides

Find out how to avoid Turkey Day trip-ups in the latest episode of our “Food Failures” series.

Thanksgiving, turkey day, sides, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cranberries, pectin, turkey, food failures, julie yu, exploratorium

Nov. 21, 2014

Meet The Brain Scoop’s Emily Graslie

YouTube science star Emily Graslie takes viewers behind the scenes of natural history museums with “The Brain Scoop.”

emily graslie, brain scoop, field museum, chief curiosity correspondent, dissection, dissecting

Nov. 21, 2014

Into the Wormhole: The Science of 'Interstellar'

It’s a sci-fi epic set among black holes, wormholes, and tesseracts. But director Christopher Nolan and physicist Kip Thorne say Interstellar doesn’t break the laws of physics.

interstellar, christopher nolan, kip thorne, space, astronauts

Nov. 21, 2014

‘Hot’ for Turkey

Female wild turkeys parse the courtship performances of males to determine their genetic potential.

turkey, heritage turkey, strut, genetics

Nov. 14, 2014

The First Touchdown on a Comet

The European Space Agency’s Philae lander is the first probe to touch down on a comet.

european space agency, philae lander, comet, rosetta, joel parker

Nov. 14, 2014

Lacking Funding, Some Scientists Turn to the Crowd

Scientists frustrated by a lack of research dollars are turning to crowdfunding.

crowdfunding, kickstarter, cindy wu, ethan perlstein

Nov. 14, 2014

Horns, Claws, and Teeth: The Animal Weapons Arms Race

Doug Emlen, author of “Animal Weapons,” unpacks the evolutionary arms race that pushes horns, claws, teeth and other animal defenses to the extreme.

evolutionary arms race, evolution, animal weapons

Nov. 14, 2014

Here Kitty, Kitty: The Genetics of Tame Animals

Researchers discuss the possible genetic underpinnings that make certain cats and rats tame.

cats, kittens, domestication, tameness, tame, domesticate, rat, wes warren, alex cagan

Nov. 14, 2014

Mining Wikipedia Data to Track Disease

By analyzing access to specific health-related pages on Wikipedia, researchers may be able to identify—or even forecast—potential disease outbreaks.

PLOS Computational Biology, dengue fever, wikipedia, wikipedia search, illness, sickness, flu, outbreak, ebola, sara del valle

Nov. 14, 2014

‘New Environmentalism’ Moves Beyond Pollution and Climate Change

Gus Speth, a longtime Washington insider, says it’s time to consider consumerism, economic instability, and a functional democracy as core environmental issues.

gus speth, new environmentalism, consumerism, economy, democracy, pollution, climate change

Nov. 07, 2014

U.S. High-Speed Internet Lags Behind on Price, Cost

For less than $40 a month, residents of Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bucharest, and Paris can enjoy lightning-fast Internet download and upload speeds of 1,000 Mbps.

internet, internet speed, high speed internet, slow internet, download, upload

Nov. 07, 2014

Apple Science, From American Beauty to Zestar

Between new crosses and old heritage varieties, there’s a world of apples beyond the Red Delicious.

apples, heritage apples, apple science

Nov. 07, 2014

George Washington Carver: Renaissance Man

Carver was a painter, singer, and piano teacher, taught farmers the virtues of crop rotation, and developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans.

george washington carver, peanut butter, inventor

Nov. 07, 2014

Piecing Together the Puzzle of Insect Evolution

One hundred researchers studied 144 insect species to fill in the blanks of insects’ evolutionary history.

insects, insect road map, science

Nov. 07, 2014

Opening Up the Synthetic Biology Toolkit

Synthetic biologist Christopher Voigt and biotechnologist Stephen Streatfield discuss current trends in synthetic biology.

synthetic biology, tobacco

Nov. 07, 2014

Spilling Our Guts: Decreased Diversity in the Human Microbiome

How can hospital stays and the evolution from apes to humans change the diversity of our microbiome?

gut microbiome, gut bacteria

Oct. 31, 2014

Ebola Vaccines Fast-Tracked As Outbreak Slows

Jon Cohen, a staff writer covering the outbreak for Science magazine, says that despite the vaccines’ success in monkeys, their efficacy in humans is far from guaranteed.

ebola, vaccine, jon cohen

Oct. 31, 2014

Could This 3-D Printer Print Itself?

This week, HP announced its new 3-D printer, which it claims can print materials strong enough to lift up a car—and do it 10 times faster than anything on the market today.

3d printing, 3d printer, arik hesseldahl, hp

Oct. 31, 2014

Scientists Sniff Smelly Comet

The Rosetta spacecraft has detected the scent of a comet...and it stinks.

comet, odor, space, european space agency, rosetta, rosina, ammonia, sulphur dioxide, methane, kathrin altwegg, 67p/c-g

Oct. 31, 2014

Countering Memory Loss With Cocoa Compounds

Researchers try to counteract age-related memory decline with cocoa flavanols.

dentate gyrus, memory, cocoa, flavanol, scott small, neuroscience

Oct. 31, 2014

Creature Double Feature

Witness two tales that will make your skin crawl and your mind reel with fear and curiosity.

zombies, leeches, bloodsuckers, vampires, halloween

Oct. 31, 2014

Doctors ‘Unwrap’ a 3,000-Year-Old Mummy

Radiologists use CT scans to piece together the life, and death, of Egyptian mummies.

mummy, mummies, scary, egyptian, egypt, egyptian mummies, washington university

Oct. 31, 2014

A Haunted House Turned Scientists’ Lab

Scientists turn Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse into a real-world lab to discover why some brains thrive on fear.

fear, scary, scarehouse, haunted house, spooky, halloween

Oct. 31, 2014

Behind the Monster Music: Why Some Tunes Scare Us

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and Sound Opinions co-host Jim DeRogatis discuss the neuroscience of spooky songs.

scary, halloween, sounds, creepy music, scary music, horror film, sound effects

Oct. 24, 2014

Nerve Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man to Move Legs Again

The pioneering treatment uses cells from the nasal cavity and strips of nerve from the ankle to repair a spinal injury.

spinal cord, spine, spinal injury, paralysis, olfactory, darek fidyka, geoffrey raisman

Oct. 24, 2014

Fossil Find Pushes Back Neanderthal-Human Mixing

Researchers say a leg bone discovered in a Siberian river bank belongs to a man who lived some 45,000 years ago.

neanderthal, human, evolution, DNA, Svante Paabo, genetics

Oct. 24, 2014

Meet ‘The Innovators’ Who Made the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators shows how the digital revolution was a team effort.

walter isaacson, innovators, innovation, tech, digital revolution, computer science, engineering

Oct. 24, 2014

Hand Sanitizer May Increase BPA Absorption

Hand sanitizer and similar products could increase the amount of BPA absorbed by the skin.

Oct. 24, 2014

You Observed...Everything

The Science Club meets to discuss your observations of the world around you, from spider habitats to lunar eclipses.

science club, observeeverything, #observeeverything

Oct. 24, 2014

Making a Meal From a Mouthful of Seawater

A manta ray can filter 240 gallons of seawater per minute.

manta ray, devil ray, filter feeder

Oct. 17, 2014

Rooting Out the Plant Microbiome

Scientists are uncovering the importance of the plant microbiome for fighting off pathogens and increasing crop yields.

plants, plant microbiome, bacteria

Oct. 17, 2014

More Than Cornflakes

John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, W.K., are known today for their most famous discovery—corn flakes—but invented many other health foods along the way.

kellogg, kellogg brothers, w.k. kellogg, john harvey kellogg, cereal, almond butter, peanut butter, artificial coffee, corn flakes

Oct. 17, 2014

Environmental Detectives Use Genetic Tools to Track Invasives

A recently developed technique called "environmental DNA" allows invasive species trackers to get a time-sensitive fingerprint of which species are living where—including underwater.

invasive species, environmental DNA, asian carp

Oct. 17, 2014

The 'First' Battle of Gas Versus Electric

As plug-in electric vehicles struggle to carve out a slice of today's auto market, it's worth remembering the first such battle—at the turn of the 1900s.

studebaker, gas, electric, vehicles, electric car, gas guzzler

Oct. 17, 2014

Forensic Entomologists Hunt Down Insects to Help Catch Criminals

To help piece together a crime scene, forensic entomologists examine the insects found in the area.

forensic entomology, crime scene, insects

Oct. 17, 2014

Is Your ‘Priceless’ Painting a Fake? Better Ask a Scientist

Techniques from physics and chemistry can help scientists and art historians sniff out art forgeries.

Oct. 10, 2014

How Did the Violin Get Its Shape?

From its role in biological systems to cultural products, “shape is information that can tell us a story,” says biologist Dan Chitwood.

violin, viola, cello, wood, evolution, music

Oct. 10, 2014

Your Home, Your Bacteria

The surfaces in a home reflect the distinct blend of bacteria that inhabit the people that live there.

climate change, ocean, temperature

Oct. 10, 2014

Is MSG Bad for Your Health?

Four decades of scientific studies suggest the food additive MSG may not deserve its toxic reputation.

msg, monosodium glutamate, food additive

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\tWinter weather means more than sledding and snowmen. Next snowstorm, grab a magnifying glass and try snowflake hunting. Bullet rosettes, stellar plates, and capped columns are just a few of the varieties of snow crystal you can find in your backyard. Kenneth Libbrecht, physicist at Caltech and snowflake expert, shares secrets of the snowflake.

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