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Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.
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Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Immigration and the Microbiome, Spice Trends. Nov 9, 2018, Part 1

11/9/2018
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‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes. Even if you’re not a fan of the fall beverage, we’ve all been touched by the 15-year dominance of Starbucks’ signature PSL (that’s pumpkin spice latte in coffee lingo) and its pumpkin spice spawn. So what is it about pumpkin spice that made it a blockbuster, not just today, but centuries ago? And how do spice makers predict if something is going to be a hit or a bust? Senior flavorist Terry Meisle and food scientist Kantha Shelke join guest host...

Duration:00:47:47

Heart History, Disease Seasonality, Beatboxing. Nov 9, 2018, Part 2

11/9/2018
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The case presented a medical mystery. A man had entered his doctor’s office complaining of chest pain, so his doctors ordered an angiogram, an X-ray of the arteries of his heart. His condition was serious: a complete blockage of one of his coronary arteries, and a severe dysfunction of his left ventricle. The doctor realized his patient had been having a heart attack for more than 24 hours. On the face of it, nothing would seem unusual about the case. Heart disease is the number one killer...

Duration:00:48:38

Physics Mysteries, Appendix and Parkinson’s, Paralysis Treatment. Nov 2, 2018, Part 2

11/2/2018
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Ever wondered why your dog’s back-and-forth shaking is so effective at getting you wet? Or how bugs, birds, and lizards can run across water—but we can’t? Or how about why cockroaches are so darn good at navigating in the dark? Those are just a few of the day-to-day mysteries answered in the new book How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future, by David Hu. Once upon a time, there was very little hope for patients paralyzed by a spinal cord injury....

Duration:00:50:12

Local Science Issues, Dolphin Calls, Kepler Death. Nov 2, 2018, Part 1

11/2/2018
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With the midterm elections less than a week away, science is on voters’ minds even when it’s not on the ballot. From coastal floods in Florida, to the growing pains of renewable energy in Hawaii, to curbing the opioid addiction crisis in Kentucky, different stories hit closer to home depending on what state you’re in. We'll share stories of salmon conservation policy, meat substitute labeling, renewable energy expansion, and more from their respective states. And they take listener input:...

Duration:00:49:18

Science Goes To The Movies: First Man, Driverless Car Ethics, Beetle Battles. Oct 26, 2018, Part 2

10/26/2018
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Damien Chazelle’s film First Man reconstructs the personal trials of astronaut Neil Armstrong in the years leading up to his famous first steps on the moon—as well as the setbacks and losses that plagued the U.S. space program along the way. This week in “Science Goes To The Movies,” our panel of space exploration experts weighs in. Is this an authentic story of Apollo 11’s triumphs and costs? And what are the stories Hollywood could tell—about the history of space exploration, or its...

Duration:00:48:06

Blood, Spatial Memory, Gerrymandering. Oct 26, 2018, Part 1

10/26/2018
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Blood is essential to human life—it runs through all of our bodies, keeping us alive—but the life-giving liquid can also have a mysterious, almost magical quality. As journalist Rose George points out, this association goes back to thousands of years, even showing up in “The Odyssey.“ Odysseus, while traveling in Hades, comes across his mother Anticlea, who will not speak to him. At least, she says, “Not until she drinks the blood that Odysseus has taken from reluctant sheep. For Homer,...

Duration:00:47:58

Music And Technology, Social Critters, Sleep And Genetics. Oct 19, 2018, Part 2

10/19/2018
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Mark Ramos Nishita, more popularly known as Money Mark from the Beastie Boys, has created the “Echolodeon.” The custom-built machine converts original piano rolls, created from actual performances by greats like Debussy and Eubey Blake, into MIDI signals routed through modern-day synthesizers. Step aside, honeybees, there’s a new pollinator in town. We talk about the intricate life cycle of bumblebees, whose queens spend most of their life cycles solitary and underground, but then emerge in...

Duration:01:01:13

C-Section Increase, Puerto Rican Hurricane Recovery, A Turtle Tiff. Oct 19, 2018, Part 1

10/19/2018
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The World Health Organization recommends that the C-section rate should be about 15% of births, for optimal outcomes for mothers and babies. But a series of studies published in The Lancet this week shows that rates worldwide are much higher. In the past 15 years, worldwide rates have nearly doubled. In the United States, one out of three children are born through the procedure. At the same time, the rate varies within countries—showing certain communities may have limited access lifesaving...

Duration:00:47:36

Squirrel Monkeys, Salmon Migration, The Realness. Oct 12, 2018, Part 2

10/12/2018
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Squirrel monkeys have big brains for their size, they’re chatterboxes, and they’ve even been to space. There may even be parallels between squirrel monkey communication and the evolution of human language, says primatologist Anita Stone. She joins Ira to translate the culture of our primate cousins, and talks about what they can teach us about ourselves. To be a salmon is to live an adventurous life: They hatch in freshwater streams, travel miles downstream to the ocean, and live years...

Duration:00:47:36

Election Security, Channel Islands, IPCC Report. Oct 12, 2018, Part 1

10/12/2018
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The voting infrastructure is a vast network that includes voting machines, registration systems, e-poll books, and result reporting systems. This summer, the federal government put out a report that stated that hackers, possibly connected to Russia, targeted the election systems of twenty-one states. No changes in voter data were detected. How can we secure our voting from malicious hacks and technological errors? Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of NYU’s Brennan Center's Democracy Program,...

Duration:00:48:10

Dung Beetles, Exomoon, Poison Squad. Oct 5, 2018, Part 2

10/5/2018
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Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was formed in 1906, you might have been more weary of pouring milk over your morning cereal. Milk could be spiked with formaldehyde, while pepper could contain coconut shells, charred rope or floor sweepings. In 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who was appointed chief chemist of the Federal Agriculture Department, began to investigate how manufacturers used additives and unhealthy practices in food—and pulled together “The Poison Squad.” Author...

Duration:00:48:15

Nobels, Argument Logic. Oct 5, 2018, Part 1

10/5/2018
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This week the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology, and medicine awarded its top scientists with its highest honor, the Nobel Prize. And this year, the annual celebration of scientific greatness was punctuated by a historic achievement: For the first time ever two female scientists won the award for both physics and chemistry, Dr. Donna Strickland and Dr. Frances Arnold. Dr. Arnold joins Ira to discuss her award and the legacy of female Nobel laureates. While most of us might think...

Duration:00:47:01

Water Wars, Air Pollution And Fetuses, Electric Blue Clouds. Sept. 28, 2018, Part 2

9/28/2018
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Yemen is gripped by civil war—and some experts say it could be the first of many “water wars” to come, as the planet grows hotter and drier. In This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-Offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America, Jeff Nesbit writes of the Yemeni conflict and many other geopolitical consequences of a warming world, including the precarious future of the Indus River, under the control of China, India and Pakistan, and why Saudi Arabia’s biggest dairy...

Duration:00:50:15

Utah National Monuments, North Carolina Coal Ash, Asteroids. Sept. 28, 2018, Part 1

9/28/2018
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Back in December, the Trump administration announced reductions to two of Utah’s national monuments: Grand Staircase-Escalante, which runs from the Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon National Park, and Bears Ears, newly established by the Obama administration just a year before. The reduction opened up nearly 2 million acres of previously protected federal land to fossil fuel and mineral exploitation, angering Native Americans, for whom the land is historically and spiritually significant, as well...

Duration:00:48:09

Undiscovered Presents: The Magic Machine. Sept. 25, 2018

9/25/2018
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As a critical care doctor, Jessica Zitter has seen plenty of “Hail Mary” attempts to save dying patients go bad—attempts where doctors try interventions that don’t change the outcome, but do lead to more patient suffering. It’s left her distrustful of flashy medical technology and a culture that insists that more treatment is always better. But when a new patient goes into cardiac arrest, the case doesn’t play out the way Jessica expected. She finds herself fighting for hours to revive...

Duration:00:39:52

Endangered Crow, Hawaiian Biodiversity, Mars Simulation. Sept. 21, 2018, Part 2

9/21/2018
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About five million years ago, the island of Kauai emerged from the ocean waves, and a new chain of island habitats was born, right in the middle of the Pacific. In those Hawaiian islands, birds would have found a multitude of microclimates, a lack of most predators, and a pretty safe spot to grow and evolve—which they did, diversifying into a wide range of species, each suited to a different lifestyle and habitat. But today Hawaii’s diverse birds are under attack by invasive mongooses, cats,...

Duration:01:18:00

Utah Dino Bones, Salt Lake Migrations, Tree Canopies. Sept. 21, 2018, Part 1

9/21/2018
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If you stood in southeastern Utah over 200 million years ago, you’d be overlooking the ocean. The landlocked state wasn’t quite the same landscape of scarlet plateaus and canyons you might see today, but a coastal desert where sand dunes butted up right against the sea. And it was home to some of the earliest dinosaurs. In this region of Utah, today known as Indian Creek in Bears Ears National Monument, the remains of dinosaur relatives, known as protodinosaurs or “dinosaur aunts and...

Duration:01:02:02

Undiscovered Presents: The Holdout. Sept 18, 2018.

9/18/2018
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Since the 1980s, Gerta Keller, professor of paleontology and geology at Princeton, has been speaking out against an idea most of us take as scientific gospel: That a giant rock from space killed the dinosaurs. Nice story, she says—but it’s just not true. Gerta's been shouted down and ostracized at conferences, but in three decades, she hasn’t backed down. And now, things might finally be coming around for Gerta’s theory. But is she right? Did something else kill the dinosaurs? Or is she just...

Duration:00:33:14

Soil Future, Plant Feelings, Science Fair. Sept 14, 2018, Part 2

9/14/2018
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Climate change is increasing temperatures and causing heavier rainfalls across the country. Scientists are studying how these changes will affect different natural resources, including the soil ecosystem. For example, in Wisconsin, soil erosion is predicted to double by 2050 due to heavier rainfalls, according to a report by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Agricultural scientist Andrea Basche talks about how soil formation and health is tied to climate. She joins...

Duration:00:50:58

Florence Flooding, Algorithms, Dino Demise. Sept. 14, 2018, Part 1

9/14/2018
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Last month, California passed a bill ending the use of cash bail. Instead of waiting in jail or putting down a cash deposit to await trial at home, defendants are released after the pleadings. The catch? Not everyone gets this treatment. It’s not a judge who determines who should and shouldn’t be released; it’s an algorithm. Algorithms have also been used to figure out which incarcerated individuals should be released on parole. Mathematician Hannah Fry and computer scientist Suresh...

Duration:00:50:06