Science Friday-logo

Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes
Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

What The Small Intestine Can Tell Us About Gut Health

7/17/2024
The gut microbiome is an important ecosystem of microbes that lives in each one of us, and its strength affects our overall health. However, the small intestine is an underappreciated part of the gut microbiome. Most of the research into our microbiomes has focused on the other end of the gastrointestinal tract, namely, the colon. And poop samples are an easy way to analyze the microbiome in that lower part of the gut. Better understanding microbiome disruptions in the small intestines may allow researchers to better understand disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease. Dr. Christopher Damman, associate professor of gastroenterology at the University of Washington, gives SciFri producer Kathleen Davis a crash course in the microbiome of the small intestine. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:12:37

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Helping Queen Conchs Mate In The Florida Keys

7/16/2024
In shallow water not far from the Florida Keys’ famed Seven Mile Bridge, a herd of the state’s flamboyantly pink queen conchs is struggling to survive. Warming seas and wild swings in temperature have shut down their reproductive impulses in the waist-deep water, leaving them to creep along the ocean floor, searching for food but not love. Meanwhile, just a few miles away in deeper, cooler waters, the iconic mollusks mate freely. So scientists have a rescue plan: load the inshore conchs into milk crates, ferry them to colonies in deep water, and let nature run its course. As climate change fastracks ocean warming, the researchers hope their plan hatches enough baby conchs to help boost the flagging population. “Once you put them in a more appropriate temperature regime, snails have a remarkable capability to heal themselves,” says Dr. Gabriel Delgado, a conch scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who is leading the pilot project. “Now you have a contributing member to future populations.” To read the rest of this article (plus see stunning images of conchs!) visit our website. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:11:51

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

How Congestion Pricing Can Impact Human Health

7/15/2024
In early June, New York Governor Kathy Hochul blocked a congestion pricing plan from going into effect in New York City. This plan would have charged a fee for cars to enter the central business district of Manhattan, and it would have been the first congestion pricing plan to be fully implemented in the United States. While congestion pricing can be costly for commuters, the fact that it keeps some cars off the road means it can have health benefits for surrounding communities. Successfully implemented congestion pricing plans in cities such as London, Singapore, and Stockholm have led to better air quality and health. SciFri’s John Dankosky sits down with Dr. Janet Currie, co-director of Princeton’s Center for Health and Wellbeing, and Dr. Andrea Titus, assistant professor of the Department of Population Health at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, to talk about the health impacts that congestion pricing has had around the world as well as the potential effects it could have in New York City and in other cities in the United States. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:50

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Galaxies ‘Dance’ In Stunning New JWST Image | Why Some Cats Scratch Furniture

7/12/2024
As the James Webb Space Telescope marks two years of operations, NASA unveils a new image of two galaxies interacting. And, new research shows that cats’ tendency to scratch is affected by stress, certain kinds of play, and how active they are at night. Galaxies ‘Dance’ In Stunning New JWST Image The James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful telescope created by humans, has been successfully operating in space for two years now. Since its launch, the telescope has dazzled astronomers and the public with new kinds of scientific data about the universe and with stunning, highly detailed pictures. And on its two-year anniversary, the telescope continues to return impressive visuals: NASA released a mesmerizing image today of two intermingling galaxies nicknamed the Penguin and the Egg. Jason Dinh, climate editor at Atmos, joins guest host Kathleen Davis to talk about that and other top science stories of the week, including a new study that shows that children with autism have a unique microbiome, new FEMA rules that factor in climate change when rebuilding in flood-prone areas, and how invasive insects use hitchhiking to spread their populations. Why Some Cats Scratch Furniture So Much If you have a cat, you’ve probably endured your fair share of unwanted furniture scratching. Maybe you’ve purchased scratching posts, rearranged your furniture, or played with your cats before bed, to try to prevent it. And yet, you wake up to shredded upholstery or bedding. Furniture scratching is often a stress response, and cats who live with kids or are more playful and active at night are more likely to scratch. SciFri producer Kathleen Davis spoke with Dr. Yasemin Salgirli Demirbas, a physiology professor at Ankara University in Turkey and visiting fellow at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, about her recently published study which tracked why some cats are more prone to scratching destruction than others and explored the best way for cat owners to achieve a mostly intact living room. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:18:54

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Your Pain Tolerance May Have Been Passed Down From Neanderthals

7/11/2024
There’s a little bit of Neanderthal in most of us. Neanderthals and Homo sapiens had a long history of intermingling, before the former went extinct about 40,000 years ago. That mixing means most modern humans have some amount of Neanderthal DNA—and it accounts for up to 3% of the genome in some people. While these genetic remnants don’t have much impact on our day-to-day lives, they may be responsible for one surprising effect: pain tolerance. Recent research shows that people with Neanderthal variants in the gene SCN9A have a lower pain tolerance than people without the gene. This isn’t the only Neanderthal remnant that’s been passed down. A study from earlier this year pinpointed a certain genome region that impacts nose shape. Taller, wider noses were passed down from our Neanderthal ancestors who lived in colder climates. A larger nose warmed air before it hit the sensitive lungs. Ira speaks with Dr. Kaustubh Adhikari, assistant professor of statistics at the Open University in the United Kingdom, who worked on both of these studies. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:13:18

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

How Can Iowa’s Agriculture Adapt To Climate Threats?

7/10/2024
Climate change is having a profound effect on agriculture. Farmers over the past decade have faced intensifying drought and heat stress on crops, leading many to wonder, what will agriculture look like 50 years from now? In May, at SciFri Live at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Ira Flatow discussed the future of agriculture, and potential solutions to these problems, from innovative farming techniques, to ensuring that Iowa’s farmers of color have the resources they need to succeed. He was joined by Todd Western III, a sixth-generation Iowan farmer with Western Family Farms and senior donor advisor at Greater Twin Cities United Way, and Dr. Patrick Schnable, a distinguished professor at Iowa State University and co-founder of Dryland Genetics. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:50

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

How Do They Actually Store The Declaration Of Independence?

7/9/2024
These days, the 4th of July is known for its fireworks and cookouts. But the holiday commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important founding documents of the United States. The Declaration of Independence, alongside the Emancipation Proclamation, the Constitution, and countless other documents, is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Like any other museum, the National Archives doesn’t just house these items, it preserves them, protecting them from the degradation that happens over time. In March, at SciFri Live in Washington D.C., Ira spoke to two restoration experts about what goes on behind the scenes of the National Archives: Conservator Saira Haqqi and physicist Mark Ormsby. They discuss the history of papermaking in the US, changes in restoration science, and what “National Treasure” really got right. Transcript for this segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:23

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

How Politics And Diplomacy Shape Panda Conservation

7/8/2024
Earlier this year, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington announced that pandas would be returning to the capitol. This news was met with great fanfare because the zoo’s resident pandas had returned to China last fall, leaving the District panda-less for the first time in more than 50 years. After the pandas left D.C. in the fall, SciFri producer Rasha Aridi and journalist Aja Drain dug into the juicy political history of panda conservation and how it shaped panda research. In this segment from December 2023, they look back at 80 years of panda conservation, and how “panda diplomacy” paved the way for groundbreaking science. And they try to answer the multi-million dollar question: Was it all worth it? Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:30:47

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

The Best Science Books For Summer 2024

7/5/2024
It’s officially summertime, and a new season of reading is here! Two science writers and voracious readers have compiled their summer reading recommendations, just for Science Friday fans. Before you head out for a week at the beach, start packing for that road trip, or stock up for a long staycation, we’ve got the list of science-y summer reads, straight from those familiar with the best on the shelf. Joining guest host Diana Plasker to offer listeners their recommendations are Riley Black, a Salt Lake City-based science writer and the author of several books, including The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World; and Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of several books, including The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Transcripts for this segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:30:16

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Avoiding Grilling and Barbecue Pitfalls

7/4/2024
In a conversation from 2014, Ira talks marinade myths, charcoal chemistry, and the elusive “smoke ring”—the science behind barbecue and grilling. Are marinades a myth? How does the elusive “smoke ring” form? And can the debate over gas versus charcoal be settled at last? In this episode of our “Food Failures” series, barbecue and grilling expert Meathead Goldwyn looks at the science behind the grill and offers tips for controlling smoke, temperature, and moisture. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:14:50

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

From Microbes To Mammoths: How Life Transformed The Planet

7/3/2024
When you think about Earth, you might think of a giant rock, floating around in space, making laps around the sun. A rock that just happens to have critters, plants, and people crawling around its surface. A new book by Ferris Jabr called Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life argues otherwise: Life doesn’t just exist on Earth, but life is Earth, and the Earth itself is alive. That idea might sound radical, and it is. There’s a shift happening in how we understand the planet, and what it’ll take to save it, and ourselves, from the future humans are creating. Becoming Earth takes readers on adventures across the world to learn how life has transformed the Earth, from changing the color of the sky to reshaping the continents. Guest host Anna Rothschild talks with author Ferris Jabr, a science writer based in Portland, Oregon. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:27:14

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Study Shows Which Kids Are Getting Periods Younger Than Others

7/2/2024
If you have teenagers in your life, you may have noticed that kids these days seem to be getting their periods earlier than previous generations did. It’s not just in your head: A recent study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health confirms what many people have assumed, as well as additional findings about period regularity in younger generations. The study, which analyzed self-reported data from more than 71,000 participants in the US, found that menstrual periods are arriving earlier for younger generations, with the average age dropping from 12.5 years old for people born in 1950 to 11.9 years old for those born in 2005. More staggering, however, is that both early menarche—a person’s first menstrual period—and irregular periods were much more common in the non-white and low-income study participants. And period irregularity has become more common for younger generations compared to their older counterparts. These findings are a big deal, because early menarche and irregular periods can be a signal of future health issues, including pregnancy complications and mental health changes. Joining guest host Anna Rothschild to discuss the findings and their implications is lead study author Dr. Zifan Wang, postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:15:41

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

What To Do When Your Hypothesis Is Wrong? Publish!

7/1/2024
Most scientific studies that get published have “positive results,” meaning that the study proved its hypothesis. Say you hypothesize that a honeybee will favor one flower over another, and your research backs that up? That’s a positive result. But what about the papers with negative results? If you’re a researcher, you know that you’re much more likely to disprove your hypothesis than validate it. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of incentives to publish a negative result. But, some argue that this bias to only publish papers with positive results is worsening existing issues in scientific research and publishing, and could prevent future breakthroughs. And that’s where the Journal of Trial and Error comes in. It’s a scientific publication that only publishes negative and unexpected results. And the team behind it wants to change how the scientific community thinks about failure, in order to make science stronger. Guest host Anna Rothschild talks with Dr. Sarahanne Field, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Trial And Error, and assistant professor in behavioral and social sciences at University of Groningen. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:37

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

The Sample From The Far Side Of The Moon | Will The Seine Be Clean Enough For The Olympics?

6/28/2024
China’s Chang’e 6 return capsule landed in Mongolia, carrying samples from the far side of the moon. Also, Paris has invested $1.5B in cleaning up the Seine for open-water swimming events, but recent tests indicate it’s not yet safe. A Sample From The Far Side Of The Moon Lands On Earth This week, the return capsule from China’s Chang’e 6 lunar mission returned to Earth, touching down in a remote part of Inner Mongolia. Inside were dust and rock samples collected from the far side of the moon. Researchers hope that the samples could shed light on both the moon’s formation, and conditions in the ancient solar system. Rachel Feltman, host of the podcast “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week,” joins guest host Anna Rothschild to talk about the mission and other stories form the week in science, including a CDC warning about dengue fever, a trans-oceanic butterfly flight, and the possibility of seeing a stellar nova in the coming weeks. Will The Seine Be Clean Enough For Olympic Swimmers? The Paris Summer Olympics are fast approaching. Opening ceremonies for the games kick off on July 26. And all eyes are on the notoriously polluted River Seine. Due to aging infrastructure, sewage has sometimes flowed directly into it. For the past 100 years swimming in the river was banned. Now, the French government has spent roughly $1.5 billion to upgrade sewage treatment in Paris in order for athletes to be able to swim in the Seine. Earlier this week, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo was set to take a dip in the river to prove its cleanliness. In protest some Parisians threatened to poop in the Seine to show their dislike of the disruptions and high price tag of the Games. The dip was postponed until after upcoming elections, but recent water quality tests indicate that the river is not yet safe to swim in. Guest host Anna Rothschild talks about the current state of the river with Dr. Dan Angelescu, founder and CEO of Fluidion, a water testing company based in Paris, France. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:25:13

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

The Octopus Overlooked By Science | Squid With ‘Giant’ Eggs Could Be New Species

6/27/2024
The larger Pacific striped octopus is unusually social. But it wasn’t recognized by scientists until 2015, despite one man’s efforts. And, a deep-sea squid in the family Gonatidae was filmed cradling large eggs for its body size, which suggests it’s an entirely new species. Why It Took Decades For This Octopus To Be Recognized Octopus mating behaviors can be quite deadly. Many species are cannibalistic, making the entire prospect of mating dangerous, and female octopuses often die after laying one clutch of eggs. Their cannibalistic tendencies mean that octopuses don’t socialize as much as other animals. But the larger Pacific striped octopus (LPSO) is different. For one, they live together in colonies. And mating is not only a safer proposition, it involves beak-to-beak “kissing.” Plus, females can lay eggs repeatedly, even tending to embryos at various stages of development. But because these behaviors are so uncharacteristic of most octopuses, the scientific community didn’t officially recognize their existence until 2015, despite the decades-long effort of a Panamanian diver and artist named Arcadio Rodaniche. When he tried to share his findings about the LPSO at a symposium and publish them in a journal, he was flatly rejected. But his persistent research and documentation of the species would eventually be validated when researchers were able to obtain and observe the octopuses in captivity. SciFri producer Kathleen Davis sits down with freelance science writer Kenna Hughes-Castleberry to talk about an article she reported for Science Friday about the late Rodaniche and his yearslong effort to get official scientific recognition for the LPSO. Read the story at sciencefriday.com. Squid With ‘Giant’ Eggs Could Be A New Species To finish up our celebration of Cephalopod Week we wanted to share a bit of squid news. A group of researchers recently identified a potentially new squid species in the family Gonatidae. Scientists took a closer look at some video footage captured back in 2015 and found a deep-water squid that was cradling some rather large eggs, which was not in line with other squid of the same family. John Dankosky talks with Dr. Bruce Robison, midwater ecologist and senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, about this new discovery. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:18:31

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

House Stalls On Bill To Compensate Victims Of Nuclear Testing

6/26/2024
In July 1945, the US deployed the world’s first nuclear weapon during the Trinity Test. Since then, the US has tested more than 200 nukes above ground in places including New Mexico, Nevada, and several Pacific Islands. For decades to come, “downwinders,” or people who lived near those test sites, and those involved manufacturing these weapons, were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. They’ve disproportionately suffered from diseases like cancer, autoimmune disorders, and more. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was established in 1990 to provide victims of the US nuclear program a one-time payment to help cover medical bills. But the program has fallen short of helping everyone affected—like the downwinders living around the Trinity Test site in New Mexico. A new bill, which was passed in the Senate earlier this year, would expand the program to include more people and provide more money. It’s up to the House now to pass it, but Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana won’t call a vote. And the clock is ticking, because RECA expired on June 10. So what happens now? SciFri’s John Dankosky speaks with Tina Cordova, downwinder and co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium in Albuquerque; Loretta Anderson, co-founder of the Southwest Uranium Miners’ Coalition Post ‘71, from the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico; and Lilly Adams, senior outreach coordinator at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:42

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Crowdsourced Data Identifies 126 ‘Lost’ Bird Species

6/25/2024
Some birds are famous for being extinct, like the Dodo and the passenger pigeon. But how do we prevent species from reaching that point? One of the starting points is to try and track down the birds that are “lost to science.” These are birds that have not been documented in over a decade, but just might still be out there, if we look for them. A new study analyzed data, images, and recordings from platforms that crowdsource observations from all over the world to identify birds “lost to science.” In total, the project, called The Search for Lost Birds identified 126 such species. SciFri producer Kathleen Davis is joined by Dr. John Mittermeier, director of the Search for Lost Birds at the American Bird Conservancy to talk more about the findings of this research and what it’s like to track down a “lost” bird. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:17:11

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

20 Years Later, How Are City Climate Plans Actually Going?

6/24/2024
In 2005, countries around the world ratified the Kyoto Protocol. It was the first big, legally-binding international climate policy, but there was a big drawback: The United States, the world’s richest country and second-highest emitter, didn’t ratify it. In response, American mayors took action. Even if the US wouldn’t commit to cutting climate emissions, their cities would. It was the classic “think global, act local” move. It started with mayoral resolutions—a bunch of “whereases” laying out the reasons cities needed their own climate targets. Whereas manmade climate change is happening. Whereas cities are responsible for 70% of the world’s emissions. Whereas more than half the world’s people live in cities. Whereas cities are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Therefore? Our city is going to do something about it. Mayors proclaimed, city councils adopted, and gavels cracked on podiums across the country as city climate plans were created, along with a new job to manage it all: the chief sustainability officer. Twenty years later, hundreds of US cities have climate plans. Their chief sustainability officers are responsible for aggressive decarbonization goals that require deep cuts to emissions, and fast. But are cities actually meeting their targets? And do city sustainability officers have what they need to meet them? Read the rest of this story at sciencefriday.com. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:18:24

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

It’s Hot. But How Hot? | Canine Cancer Vaccine Shows Promising Results

6/21/2024
Researchers say the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is a better indicator of heat stress. Also, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs. A new vaccine has increased survival rates in clinical trials, offering hope for dogs and humans. Yes, It’s Hot. But How Hot? Much of the country has been enduring a heat wave this week, with millions sweating from Maine to the Midwest. But describing exactly how hot it is—and when temperatures become hazardous—can be challenging. Beyond the basic temperature, there’s the heat index, invented in 1978, which incorporates humidity measurements and is supposed to give a better indication of how a person might feel outside. Some health researchers are calling for more attention to a different type of temperature measurement known as the wet bulb globe temperature. It tracks temperature, humidity, and sunlight, and improves upon the heat index standard. Umair Irfan, senior correspondent at Vox, joins SciFri’s Kathleen Davis to talk about measuring temperatures and protecting yourself from extreme heat. Plus, they discuss other stories from the week in science, including advances in tornado prediction, a delay in a return flight from the International Space Station, and a newly-described horned dinosaur that once roamed the US. A Canine Cancer Vaccine Shows Promising Results Dogs are by far the most popular pet in the United States: 62 million households have at least one. They are humans’ best friends, after all. Sadly, cancer is the leading cause of death in domestic dogs. And when a pet gets sick, it can be devastating for the entire family. Lucky for dogs (and their people), there may soon be a breakthrough in treating canine cancer: a vaccine that can slow and even stop the spread of tumors. Clinical trial results are quite promising so far, increasing 12-month survival rates in dogs with some cancers from 35% to 60%. The research team also reports that in many dogs the vaccine shrinks tumors. Joining guest host Kathleen Davis to talk about this novel therapy is Dr. Mark Mamula, professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Mamula discusses this important breakthrough, and possible future applications for human cancer therapies. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:25:54

Ask host to enable sharing for playback control

Mannequins Help Teach People How To Spot Ticks | Protecting A Flickering Symbol Of Summer Nights

6/20/2024
Two mannequins walk into a science lab, and one’s got a big tick problem. She can teach humans how to check for ticks. Also, researchers used citizen science observations and machine learning to understand where fireflies are and what they need to thrive. In Wisconsin, Mannequins Help Teach People How To Spot Ticks Nationwide, Wisconsin is a hot spot for Lyme disease. And cases are rising, as climate change and development alter how humans interact with the ticks that transmit this disease. In Wisconsin, cases reported annually have more than doubled in the last two decades. With tick season underway, tick checks are one of the most important ways you can prevent infection. I recently visited the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-borne Disease, which is housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where researchers are using a new tool to teach people how to do tick checks — mannequins. Read the rest at sciencefriday.com Protecting A Flickering Symbol Of Summer Nights When people talk about watching fireflies, a common comment is “You know, I don’t see as many fireflies as I used to.” Researchers are trying to figure out whether that impression is actually accurate, and which of the over 2,000 firefly species might be affected—and to do so, they need a lot more data. A recent paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment used over 24,000 citizen science observations as well as machine learning models to try to better identify where certain species of fireflies can be found, and what types of habitat and climate they need to thrive. Dr. Sarah Lower, a firefly researcher at Bucknell University and a co-author of the study, joins guest host Annie Minoff to talk about some ways to protect fireflies near you, including preserving darkness and providing moist, permeable, natural soils for firefly larvae. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on sciencefriday.com. Subscribe to this podcast. Plus, to stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters.

Duration:00:18:17