science

Virginia Guard Public Affairs via Flickr Creative Commons

If you break a 30-second drug  commercial into parts, you’d hear about 7 seconds of why you should be taking a product, followed by a breathless lists of potential side effects and “ask your doctor today!” That list of potential side effects satisfy legal obligations, but doesn’t stop millions of people from making pharmaceuticals a multi-billion dollar business.  Still, the mind is a powerful thing – and new research shows that informing patients about possible side-effects makes them more likely to experience them.  It’s a phenomenon called “the nocebo effect”.  Chris Berdik is a

sameold2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: The Bad Science of the Left/Tweeting Political Poems

Think the right has cornered the market on denying science? No way, says Alex Berezow. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is co-author of the book Science Left Behind: Feel Good Falacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left. 

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Unicorns, Nessie, Big Foot...Oh My!

Sep 26, 2012
VeniceVandal via Flickr Creative Commons

A replica of Bigfoot, a display case dedicated to lake monsters, and the “mystery cat corner” are a few of the sights to see at Portland, Maine’s International Cryptozoology Museum. A little bit oddity, a little bit kitsch, it’s the type of place you might find by walking down a random alley... lucky for us, our adventurous producer Zach Nugent took that walk, and brings us this audio field trip.

The famous Patterson-Gimlin film:

SpiritualHerbs via Flickr Creative Commons

Last spring, we heard a series of stories of bizarre and violent crimes attributed to people high on the street drug “bath salts.” in Florida, police shot a man who was cannibalizing another man’s face – and a mother tore off her clothes and assaulted her three-year-old son.  Although neither crime has been definitively linked to the deceptively-named street drug, they ignited conversations about the production and complicated legal status of ‘bath salts'.

Endeavor's Final Voyage

Sep 24, 2012
Marcus Teply

Space shuttle Endeavor took a final victory lap over California landmarks Friday, piggybacked on top of a NASA 747 on its way to retirement at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Endeavor is the last of the four space shuttles to be relegated to a museum, and its final flight brought crowds of thousands out to streets, rooftops, and even freeways, looking to the sky for a glimpse of history. Valerie Hamilton sends this audio postcard from the Los Angeles International Airport.

Check out a video of Endeavour's epic piggy-back ride:

Seacoast Science Center

Sep 22, 2012
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

At the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye, visitors learn about the science and beauty of marine life and the Gulf of Maine. Myra Sallet is a 13-year-old volunteer who particularly likes working with younger kids who come to explore.

Living with Lyme

Sep 17, 2012
fairfaxcounty via flickr creative commons

Recently, we learned on this program about the other tick-borne pathogens we should be worrying about beyond Lyme Disease. In the meantime, more and more people in New Hampshire are contracting Lyme. It’s a trend we’ve noticed even on Facebook, where many of our friends are posting about their positive test results, including Word of Mouth contributor Adam McCune…so we asked him to share his story.

sameold2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

Think the right has cornered the market on denying science? No way, says Alex Berezow. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is co-author of the book Science Left Behind: Feel Good Falacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

Powerplantop via Flickr Creative Commons

Since spring of this year, our Shifting the Balance series has explored how environmental and social factors affect the way people eat…and how those factors play in to America’s obesity epidemic.  A recently published study in Pyschology reports demonstrates how setting the right mood at meal time can help diners cap their calories. 

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Chasing Lightning/Birth Photography

The Story Of Phineas Gage: Redux

Aug 31, 2012
From the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus. / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, a construction worker in Brazil suffered a strange and grisly construction accident - an iron rod fell from the fifth floor of the building on which he was working. The bar broke through the worker's helmet -- and his skull, eventually exiting through one of his eyes.

Fake Science 101

Aug 30, 2012
Horia Varlan via Flickr Creative Commons

Science is one of those topics it seems you either get or you don’t. If you fall in the latter category, you might have wished at some point – maybe during a high school physics test – that you could just make up the answers and get credit for being clever.   Well, our next guest makes his living doing exactly that. Phil Edwards is the author behind the Fake Science blog, and a new sort of textbook called Fake Science 101.

Peter O via Flickr Creative Commons

Ever wonder whether hard facts play a part in changing a person's mind? Turns out, not so much. Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote about the real influences on choice for The New York Times Magazine.

OK. Maybe you're in your desk chair. You're in your office. You're in New York, or Detroit, or Timbuktu. You're on planet Earth. But where are you, really? This hour, Radiolab tries to find out.

the_exploratorium via Flickr Creative Commons

Produced with Phoebe Axtman and Zach Nugent

Mounting research has shown that the most important factor in a child’s successful education is not his or her socioeconomic status, class size, or even the design of the curriculum…. it’s the teacher.  But teacher dropout rate is high and the highly talented teachers are too few, especially in Science and Math.

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If you want to learn about the earth, you’re gonna have to get your hands dirty.   That’s the philosophy of environmental educator David Sobel: senior faculty member at Antioch University New England, and author of the book "Beyond Ecophobia".

Photo Credit FlyingSinger, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Two Harvard professors are developing a proposal for a first-of-its-kind field experiment in geo-engineering… a trial balloon that would release chemical particles into the atmosphere.  Their hope?  To better understand the effectiveness and dangers of technology designed to manually reverse climate change.  Henry Fountain covere

Photo Credit USDAgov, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Angus Batemen’s mid-twentieth century study into the breeding habits of fruit flies concluded that females are a limiting factor in reproduction – in other words, they are choosy about mates – while males are sexually indiscriminate. Sound familiar?  Batmen’s paper on sexual selection has been cited nearly two-thousand times since its original publication. His ideas have trickled into popular portrayals and jokes about   prudish, commitment-centric women and indiscriminate, sex-hungry men.

(Photo by jaBB via Flickr Creative Commons)

In 1968, L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, declared as the result of a scientific experiment an unusual and disturbing notion: that tomatoes scream when sliced.  However strange his declaration may have seemed, Hubbard is in good company when it comes to prodding garden produce in search of an emotional response.

Part 1: Is "Liking" Free Speech?/The Legacy of Limmer

Photo Credit Orangeacid, via Fickr Creative Commons

Dr. Daniel Palanker is associate professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, a member of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, and senior author on a paper published last month in Nature Photonics describing his work on photovoltaic retinal prosthetics.

 

Geek Cuisine

Jun 4, 2012
Photo credit storyvillegirl, via flickr creative commons

Jeff Potter is a software engineer and author of Cooking for Geeks, which breaks down the science of what happens to our food while it’s cooking. Jeff invited reporter Britta Conroy-Randall into his kitchen to learn more about how anyone can master the culinary arts…even the soufflé, as long as they combine two specific ingredients

 

 

Ethan Hein / Flickr Creative Commons

Thanks to growing awareness of a national obesity epidemic, and the lowering of complication rates since its introduction in the 1960s, gastric bypass procedures have become an increasingly popular treatment option for the morbidly obese.  At least 200,000 people signed up last year in the U.S. alone. 

Photo by Penn State, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Recently, popular books like Max Brook’s World War Z, and Colson Whitehead’s Zone One took serious literary stabs at the realm of the living dead.

A Fantastic Voyage to Kill Superbugs

May 8, 2012

Nano-technology is enabling breakthroughs in a number of scientific fields at an unimaginably small scale. Consider that the basic unit of measurement for nano-particles is 40,000 times smaller than the width of the average human hair.  Recently, researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a nano-particle capable of infiltrating the human immune system and delivering a targeted dose of powerful antibiotics.

Ira Flatow: Live at UNH

May 3, 2012

A special broadcast of NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday host Ira Flatow, recorded in front of a live audience at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.  

In part one, Flatow talks about the declining state of science coverage in the news, and his hope that new media will be the new outlet for spreading the gospel of science. In part two, I sit down with Flatow and we talk about his career, the challenges of expanding online platforms, and address questions form the audience. 

(Photo by brondabailey via Flickr)

All that "40 is the new 30" boosterism aside, midlife is not the start of a downward spiral. David Bainbridge is a clinical veterinary anatomist at Cambridge University, and the author of several books including Middle Age: A Natural History. He believes middle age might be a pivotal part of the human evolutionary process, and potentially the most productive years of our lives. 

(Photo by tauntingpanda via Flickr Creative Commons)

Sting and Trudie have the rainforest, George Clooney has Sudanese refugees, and Alan Alda has… well, science contests for kids.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Sociobiologist E.O. Wilson

Apr 30, 2012

Pulitzer Prize Winning Socio-biologist, E.O. Wilson  has spent a lifetime exploring the ideas of evolution and the genetic basis for social behavior in humans. In his latest book, "The Social Conquest of Earth", Wilson overturns his earlier theory on why our species developed strong social ties. Group selection, Wilson now says, not kin selection is the primary driving force of human evolution

Guest

E.O. Wilson - Biologist, naturalist and author of more than 20 book. His latest is called "The Social Conquest of Earth" 

DNA U.S.A.

Apr 26, 2012

We sit down with Oxford professor Bryan Sikes whose new book. "DNA U.S.A." explores the complicated genetic melting pot of America. The findings are fascinating, southwestern Spanish Catholics with Jewish genes, African DNA in southern whites. Though we are all born with surnames, Sykes says, "those names fragment and mutate with far more regularity than the DNA we inherit”

Guests

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