Who, or what, is conscious? How can we decide? Where in nature do we find consciousness? This can seem like the hardest problem in this whole field: the question of the consciousness of others. I am aware. So are you. We think, we feel, the world shows up for us. But what about an ant, or a snail, or a paramecium? What about a well-engineered robot? Could it be conscious? Is there a way of telling, for sure?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. He's been called Mayor McSchwinn for riding his bicycle to work. He's pledged to turn his town of Seattle into a model for what one city can do to lower its carbon footprint, and for good reason. As the climate changes, coastal cities like Seattle are challenged by rising sea levels.
We are broadcasting today from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. And just steps away from this building, right outside is something that should be familiar to anyone who's ever received a postcard from Seattle or taken home a pen or a glass or anything tchotchke of any kind. And it's the Space Needle, built in connection with the 1962 World's Fair. It is an iconic part of the Seattle skyline.
"The United Nations, and in particular I, have been making it consistently clear that providing arms to either side would not address this current situation," Ban told reporters during a briefing. "There is no such military solution."
One word sums up my reaction to Joss Whedon's film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing: Huzzah!
Here is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — and the director of The Avengers — working with American TV actors who have little or no training in verse-speaking. Who could have predicted such a team would produce the best of all filmed Shakespeare comedies?
In recent years, programs that double the value of food stamp dollars spent at farmers markets have generated a lot of attention. The basic idea: Spend, say, $10 in food stamps and get an extra $10 credit for purchases at the market.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your brain has nearly 100 billion neurons, and one of my next guests compares that complexity to the Amazon rainforest. In fact, he says there about as many trees in the Amazon as there are neurons in your brain. Think about what the Amazon looks like for a second.
The diet world has a new golden child: green coffee extract.
A "miracle fat burner!" "One of the most important discoveries made" in weight loss science, the heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz said about the little pills — which are produced by grinding up raw, unroasted coffee, and then soaking the result in alcohol to pull out the antioxidants.
American politics has become like a big square dance. When the music stops after an election, people switch to the other side on a number of issues, depending on whether their party remains in power.
That was pretty clear this week, when polls revealed more Democrats than Republicans support tracking of phone traffic by the National Security Agency — the exact opposite of where things stood under President George W. Bush.
Millions of Iranians cast ballots Friday in elections to replace incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a race that is being characterized as a potential challenge to the country's ruling Islamic clerics.
A slate of conservatives tacitly backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are facing off against the lone moderate, Hasan Rowhan, a former nuclear negotiator.
Other candidates include Saeed Jalili, also a nuclear negotiator; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf; and Khamenei's diplomatic adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati.
We taped this week's podcast while still giddy from the effects of the very fine Tony Awards broadcast, so we begin by sharing some thoughts about that killer opening number, some of the other musical happenings, our feelings on Pippin, Phantom and other theater pieces, and whether we are suffering from, as Glen puts it, "Doogie Fatigue."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented. The case involves a dispute over patents held on the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genes, the so-called breast cancer genes; and tests a company, Myriad Genetics, used to look for mutations to those genes.