Science Friday

Fridays 1-3 p.m.
Ira Flatow

Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the trusted source for news about science, technology, and other cool stuff. Each week host Ira Flatow mixes it up with people in the know and those who want to be. It's brain fun, for curious people.

www.sciencefriday.com

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Music
1:58 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Reggie Watts Builds a Synthesizer, Bit by Bit

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

The synth stylings of Kraftwerk. When that song "Autobahn" came out 1974, and, yes, I was around to remember when it came out then, synthesizers were the cutting edge in music technology. It really were a rarity, but not so today. Synthesizers are everywhere. In pop music, from the top 40s, to indie synth pop, you definitely heard synthesizers, maybe you've even seen them in action. But do you know how they work? Yeah.

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Theater
1:58 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

In a New Play, Trusty Sidekick Is a Supercomputer

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you tuned into "Jeopardy!" in 2011, you might have heard an exchange like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

ALEX TREBEK: Watson, start us, please.

WATSON: The European Union for $200.

TREBEK: As of 2010, Croatia and Macedonia are candidates but this is the only former Yugoslav Republic in the EU. Brad.

BRAD: What is Bosnia?

TREBEK: No. Watson.

WATSON: What is Serbia?

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Books
11:21 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Science Book Picks for 2013

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow and you are invited to join our annual holiday club of the air. This week we'll be talking about some of the best science reads from 2013. I'm going to throw in my favorite one right at the beginning before Deborah and Maria get a chance to put a word in edgewise.

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Fitness & Nutrition
11:21 am
Fri December 13, 2013

This Doc's Miracle Drug? Exercise

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

You know the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, my next guest might add to that. How about a jog a day keeps the doctor away, or a set of pull-ups? His new book is a prescription pad for a variety of ailments from anxiety and depression to heart disease, diabetes, low libido, arthritis, even cancer. But what's different about this medical book is that there are no drugs recommended, no trips to the pharmacy.

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Health Care
12:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Dissecting America's $3 Trillion Medical Bill

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:54 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Do you know that what the number one reason for people filing bankruptcy in this country is? What's the number one reason? Not a lost job. It's not damage from earthquakes or floods. It's medical bills. My next guest says our high-priced medical treatments are responsible for some 60 percent of personal bankruptcies. And if you think you're safe because you have insurance, he says think again.

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Science
12:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Speech Science: Tongue Twisters and Valley Girls

Drawing from research presented at this year's Acoustical Society of America conference, psycholinguist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel untangles tongue twisters to look at speech planning patterns, and professor Amalia Arvaniti discusses the "Valley Girl" dialect.

Technology
12:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Would More Technology Mean Safer Trains?

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:56 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. For less than $100, you can buy a little gadget, a speedometer, that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and it will let out a terrific scream when you exceed that speed limit that you preset into it. In fact, there's a 99-cent app for that too for your smartphone that tells you when you've exceeded the speed limit.

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NPR Story
2:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Annual Prizes Honor the Stranger Side of Science

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There's research that tackles the really big questions like where did we come from? How did the universe form? How can people live longer, better lives? Today is probably not the day for that research. Instead, it's our annual salute to science that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.

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NPR Story
2:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

At STREB Action Lab, Dance and Physics Collide

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

If you're headed to the ballet this season, chances are to hear something like the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker," this season's dance blockbuster as usual. But dance doesn't always sound this sweet. Sometimes it sounds more like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLEXIGLAS SLAMMING)

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NPR Story
2:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Eating 'Wilder' Foods for a Healthier Diet

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving, this being the day after. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is, I think, the leftovers. Don't they always taste better? Well, my next guest is here to tell us how we can get the most flavor and nutrition out of those leftovers and our food all year round.

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Food
12:06 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

A Handful of Nuts, a Lifetime of Benefits?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. A growing body of evidence has been hinting that nuts - nuts - are good for us. The popular Mediterranean diet emphasizes nuts but, you know, most Americans only eat nuts on occasion. And I'm talking about, oh, that's less than once a week, except for me. I eat them every day, but that's another story.

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Space
12:06 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Budget Cuts Leave Curiosity and Cassini in Limbo

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Touchdown confirmed. We're safe on Mars.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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Digital Life
12:06 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Stores Are Snooping Into Your Smartphone

Retailers have used various techniques to analyze in-store buying behavior, such as surveys, video surveillance, and buyer reward programs. Some stores have been tapping into the technology in smartphones to track shoppers' actions. New York Times reporter Quentin Hardy discusses how they're doing this and what information they can gather.

Digital Life
12:17 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Should Sending Cash Be As Easy As Sending E-mail?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Now up, it's time for another episode of our App Chat series, where we review the latest apps and talk about new ways to use your smartphone. And today, we're going to talk about mobile payments. Ever gone out to eat with your friends and when the bill arrives, you realize it's cash only and, oh, you have no cash. What are you going to do?

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Author Interviews
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Early Balloonists Took Science 'Up, Up and Away'

In Falling Upwards, writer Richard Holmes tells the story of early balloon flight--and of the nervy scientists who risked life and limb to take their experiments into the air. Among their discoveries? Insect migration and the stratosphere. Falling Upwards chronicles the balloonists who took science into the stratosphere.

Space
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Searching for Earth 2.0

One in every five sunlike stars in the Milky Way may have an Earth-sized planet circling it in the Goldilocks zone--the sweet spot where liquid water could exist. That's according to a new analysis of data from the Kepler spacecraft. Sara Seager, an exoplanet hunter at MIT, talks about what's next in the hunt for Earth 2.0.

Animals
11:30 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The Myth of the Woolly Bear

Legend holds that the length of a woolly bear caterpillar's color bands can be used to forecast how severe the winter weather will be. The myth dates back to colonial American folklore but was popularized by a 1948 study. SciFri finds out if there's any truth to the lore, and what the caterpillar's fuzzy bristles are really used for.

Your Health
11:29 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Navigating Dietary Supplement Regulations

Echinacea, vitamins, and other dietary supplements have become a $5 billion industry, but the products don't need to be pre-approved by the FDA before they go on the market. How do we know what is really in our supplements? What regulations are currently in place? How can we keep ourselves safe and informed?

Space
11:29 am
Fri November 8, 2013

India and NASA Home In on Mars

This week, India launched Mangalyaan, its first robotic mission to orbit Mars and probe its atmosphere. Only Russia, Europe, and the U.S. have successfully orbited the planet. Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor in national security affairs, and planetary scientist Bruce Jakosky discuss the Indian space program, as well as NASA's upcoming mission to the Martian atmosphere.

Space
11:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Chris Hadfield's Lessons from Life in Orbit

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, author of the new book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, has flown three space missions, including 144 days on the International Space Station. Hadfield talks about life in zero gravity, his one fear while in orbit, and how he went from test pilot to astronaut.

Author Interviews
11:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Einstein's Real Breakthrough? Quantum Theory

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. When you think about Albert Einstein, the words E=MC squared and Theory of Relativity naturally come to mind. But Einstein did not win his Nobel Prize for that work. Instead, he won the prize for figuring out how light interacts with objects and for believing, when almost no one else did, that light and energy are carried as discreet packets called quanta.

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Technology
11:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

To Learn How Your Camera Works, Try Building One

Digital cameras are ubiquitous today — even $20 cell phones have them built in. But few people actually know how a digital camera works. Shree Nayar, a computer scientist at Columbia University, set out to change that with his Bigshot Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera kit, which gives tinkerers a view of a camera's anatomy.

Movies
11:47 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Science Goes to the Movies: 'Gravity'

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The most spectacular science shocker ever filmed. Too real to be science fiction, now science fact.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

That theme signals a new series we're calling Science Goes to the Movies. If you ever watch sci-fi flick and think, now, com on. Did that really happen? Well, to us, that's what this series is all about. We're going to ask scientists to put on their film critic hats and help us separate the fact from Hollywood fiction.

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Animals
11:47 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Discover the Inner Beauty of the Naked Mole Rat

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, it's time for our video pick of the week. And making his debut on SCIENCE FRIDAY is our new video producer, Luke Groskin. Hey, Luke.

LUKE GROSKIN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: You like this seat? Get used to it.

GROSKIN: It's nice and comfy.

FLATOW: All right. What have you got for us this week?

GROSKIN: Well, today we're going to regale ourselves in the inner beauty of the naked mole rat.

(LAUGHTER)

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Author Interviews
11:47 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Craig Venter: Life at the Speed of Light

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Craig Venter was the first person to ever create a living thing from scratch, a cell, a bacterium, into which was inserted manmade genetic material - DNA. And for all intents and purposes, it was alive, moving, reproducing. It opened up a whole new world of what he and we now call synthetic biology, creating stuff from genetic code as we need it.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Making Sense of Science Infographics

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. Chances are, without even realizing it, you've seen at least one infographic today. Did you catch the weather forecast this morning? Maybe you saw a rain cloud moving across a map of the U.S. Maybe you opened the paper to find pie charts of the latest poll results. Now those are infographics.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Promising New Treatment for the Deadly Ebola Virus

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

Now, for many of us, we first heard about the Ebola virus from the movie "Outbreak," Dustin Hoffman trying to contain an outbreak of an Ebola-like virus in a small California town. Well, in the 18 years since that movie came out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented 18 known outbreaks of Ebola, with the most recent happening last fall in the Congo.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

With Shutdown Over, Scientists Assess the Damage

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. Ira Flatow is away. After nearly three weeks, the shutdown is finally over. The Smithsonian is open, national parks have opened up their gates, and federal labs all over the country are turning on their lights. But not everyone is back to business as usual. Many scientists who were about to start their field season in Antarctica had their trips cancelled or postponed.

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Science
12:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Vines Choking Out Trees in the Tropics

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky.

If you've ever walked through the jungle, you'll know it can be surprisingly dark down on the forest floor. You see trees soaring up all around. You're creating a dense canopy overhead. And climbing toward that canopy, snaking up the trees are the vines.

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NPR Story
1:36 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Brave Genius': A Tale of Two Nobelists

In Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, Sean B. Carroll tells the story of biologist Jacques Monod and philosopher Albert Camus--two men who made significant contributions to their respective fields, and who shared an enduring friendship.

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