Science Friday

News & Information: Sat • 11am-1pm
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Yes, we know it's on Saturday but they wouldn't change the name of the show for us ... we asked.  But we think it's a great program for Saturdays. 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.

Picture of the Week: DNA Bunny

4 hours ago

The candy-colored bunny above looks good enough to eat, but it’s no Easter leftover. This is a 3-D-printed model of a microscopic, rabbit-shaped structure made entirely out of DNA. An enlarged picture of that tiny structure (which is 50 nanometers long) appears at left. Can you make out its cottontail shape? 

EPA contractors caused gold-mine blowout that turned a river orange

6 hours ago
Jonathan Thompson, High Country News

Orange. That was the new color of the Animas River in Colorado.

Contractors working for the EPA caused the blowout at the Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado. That released a plume of toxic orange-yellow sludge that eventually reached as far as Utah and New Mexico.

When the corpse flowers bloom, people flock

Aug 26, 2015
Scott Dressel-Martin

A rotten stench has been wafting through a greenhouse at the Denver Botanic Gardens — and visitors are all too eager to breathe it in. Who knows if they’ll ever get a second chance? 

Pregnant panda? It's almost impossible to tell

Aug 24, 2015
Becky Malinsky/Smithsonian's National Zoo

Pregnancy is not something that’s easy to hide. From expanding pregnant bellies, to morning sickness and ultrasounds, whether someone is pregnant, eventually, is usually not that hard to figure out.

When it comes to giant pandas, however, scientists are still often unable to detect pregnancy — sometimes up until the actual moment a panda cub is delivered. 

“Everything is complicated with giant pandas,” says Pierre Comizzoli, a research biologist with the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Grizzlies, polar bears evolve with climate change.

Aug 23, 2015
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/madsogtrine/9567269800/in/photolist-fzqKZA">Mads Pihl</a>/Flickr

Scientists say the Arctic has undergone unusual, and increasingly rapid change over the past few decades as a result of climate change, including the appearance of the Pizzly bear — a grizzly-polar bear hybrid.

“There’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Alaska, and there’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Siberia, Scandinavia, Canada as well,” says environment and energy editor for Scientific American David Biello.

These non-air conditioned ways of keeping cool could make a huge difference with climate change

Aug 22, 2015
<a href="https://pixabay.com/en/buildings-air-conditioning-china-455239/">skowalewski</a>/pixabay.com

The modern phenomenon of air conditioning is something people in much of the developed world have become accustomed to. Now in China, India, Brazil and other developing countries people who have never had A/C are beginning to jump on the cool-air bandwagon.

The 19th and 20th century emergence of mechanized air has had a far-reaching impact on how modern architecture has developed. With global temperatures rising, scientists, architects and researchers are looking for new and more energy-efficient ways to keep people cool. 

Picture of the Week: Corpse Flower

Aug 20, 2015

A rotten stench has been wafting through a greenhouse at the Denver Botanic Gardens—and visitors are all too eager to breathe it in. Who knows if they’ll ever get a second chance? 

Write Your Name in Binary Code

Aug 20, 2015

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100001

Those ones and zeros might not look like anything to you, but in binary code the numbers are actually saying “Hello!”

Join the SciFri Book Club This Summer

Aug 20, 2015

The SciFri Book Club is back in session! Last winter, we ventured deep into the gnat-infested Amazon jungle with David Grann’s tale of Victorian-era exploration, The Lost City of Z. This time, the only bugs are in the hardware. Join us as we read Tracy Kidder’s true story of computer engineering heroism, The Soul of a New Machine.

Shutterstock

The next time you eat out in a restaurant, consider the sounds around you. Is there music playing? Just the gentle hum of other people’s conversations? Maybe it’s relatively quiet.

Whatever the acoustic atmosphere, it could be affecting how you experience the flavor of the food and drink you’re consuming, according to a growing body of research.

Having trouble choosing the right cooking oil? So is everyone else.

Aug 18, 2015
<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-101192845/stock-photo-oil-texture.html?src=T_tDolruoC3RZ0--LZLnfg-1-89">Shutterstock</a>

Ever stood in the grocery aisle staring at 15 kinds of cooking oil, wondering which is the best one to buy? Which is the healthiest? Which is the best for cooking? Well, here are a few basic tips that might help.

Does Sound Affect the Way We Taste?

Aug 18, 2015

The next time you eat out in a restaurant, consider the sounds around you. Is there music playing? Just the gentle hum of other people’s conversations? Maybe it’s loud and booming, maybe it’s relatively quiet.

Whatever the acoustic atmosphere, it could be affecting how you experience the flavor of the food and drink you’re consuming, according to a growing body of research.

The rat could become man's newest best friend

Aug 17, 2015
Monique Hammerslag

In many places in the world, rats are regarded as a vile nuisance and a menace to society. But the truth is that scientists, researchers and even police and health care workers are discovering how useful our ancient foe, the common brown rat, can actually be.

Aaron Blaisdell, a professor of comparative psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles, has found that rats are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

How the thermometer got its name

Aug 17, 2015
Zwager/<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Thermometer#/media/File:Kwikthermometers.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

In 1626, the French Jesuit Jean Leurechon (1591-1670) first coined the word “thermometer.” It appeared in his best-selling book, Récréation Mathématique, which he wrote under the nom de plume of Hendrik van Etten. (A subsequent English translation was entitled Mathematical Recreations, or a Collection of Sundry Excellent Problems Out of Ancient and Modern Philosophers Both Useful and Recreative).