Science & Health

NPR Story
3:15 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Abundance Of Elephants Strains South African Game Reserves

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In many parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching. But in South Africa, they're doing so well that some game reserves say they're overpopulated. Now, many of those reserves are trying to limit elephant reproduction even while some ecologists believe it's the wrong approach. Willow Belden reports.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:04 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Where's My Dinner? It Was Here A Second Ago — The Sandpiper's Dilemma

Robert Krulwich NPR

They scuttle, peck, scuttle, peck, then they dash up the shoreline, dodging waves, heads down, concentrating. What are they doing? They're "looking for something, something, something," writes the poet Elisabeth Bishop.

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The Salt
10:42 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Math Class Made Delicious: Learn About Cones Through Scones

If only Algebra II class had been this tasty ...
Courtesy Lenore M. Edman

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:19 am

Cooks use math to make beautiful food all the time: Slicing eight perfect pieces of pie or doubling a recipe requires basic knowledge of fractions, for example.

But how many cooks think about using beautiful food to illustrate the math itself?

Lenore M. Edman and Windell H. Oskay of the blog Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories do. Feast your eyes on their latest work, "Sconic Sections," pictured above.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Finding Simple Tests For Brain Disorders Turns Out To Be Complex

Anne Jones, 62, and Robin Jones, 73, at their home in Menlo Park, Calif. He took a test that revealed proteins typical of Alzheimer's disease.
Ramin Rahimian for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:17 pm

If you're having chest pain, your doctor can test you for a heart attack. If you're having hip pain, your doctor could test for osteoarthritis.

But what if you're depressed? Or anxious? Currently there are no physical tests for most disorders that affect the mind. Lab tests like these could transform the field of mental illness. So far efforts to come up with biomarkers for common mental health disorders have proved largely fruitless.

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Research News
8:54 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Why You're Clapping: The Science Of Applause

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We've all been to concerts and performances that bring us to our feet in wild applause.

(APPLAUSE)

WERTHEIMER: But what makes us clap more for some performances than others? You'd think it's obvious: the better the show, the more applause. Think again. New research at Uppsala University in Sweden has revealed that applause spreads through a crowd more like a contagion than a reaction to a performer. Researchers watched audience members respond to academic talks - talks even as dull as this one.

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The Salt
4:32 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

What Is Farm Runoff Doing To The Water? Scientists Wade In

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey sample water in Goodwater Creek, Mo., for pesticides and other chemicals that may have run off from the surrounding land.
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:37 am

America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Animals
3:25 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Big Old Alaskan Fish Turns Out To Be Just Big, Not Old

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:37 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now a big fish story. Last month a fisherman off the coast of Sitka, Alaska, brought in a record-breaking shortraker rock-fish. At nearly 40 pounds and three and a half feet long, the bug-eyed, bright orange beast is the biggest fish of its kind ever caught by a recreational fisherman.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Science
12:55 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Benjamin Franklin's Intellectual Revolution

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, you know, this week was Independence Day, and to celebrate, we're going to be looking at the life of Benjamin Franklin. We know him for his role in the American Revolution, but we're going to look at the great intellectual revolution he brought to America. Maybe you didn't know about that. Well, you can find out more about it in the new book, "The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America."

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Environment
12:55 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

With Rising Temperatures, Infrastructure Falters

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Exactly a year ago this week, a video on YouTube went viral. It was called "Heat Buckles Highway, SUV Goes Airborne." A road in Wisconsin buckled so badly from the heat that it sent cars flying. Well, this year, the buckling continues. But if you're in certain parts of the country, you don't need me to tell you that. It's hot, and I'm not going to use that but-it's-a-dry-heat line, either.

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Medical Treatments
12:54 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Building a Liver From Stem Cells

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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Medical Treatments
12:54 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Is Alternative Medicine Really 'Medicine'?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Before we begin our program today, I'd like to thank you, our listeners and our public radio stations for all of your support of SCIENCE FRIDAY. During this week's transition period, an overwhelming number of you chose to stay with us, and we are grateful for that and hope that you are grateful and will show your gratitude to your public radio station for staying with us. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Music Interviews
12:38 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Writing Tunes to Tune In To

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:56 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

That music has never been played publically before today. It's our brand new SCIENCE FRIDAY theme song. And joining me now to talk about - a little more about the tune, how to make music that sounds like science is the man who created it, BJ Leiderman, a composer, producer. I'm sure you know him, because he did the theme songs for MORNING EDITION, MARKETPLACE and I think WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Right, BJ?

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Health
11:03 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Can White Blood Cells Spread Cancer?

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. White blood cells are part of our body's defense system. Their job is to attack invaders, and one of the first white blood cells sent out is the neutrophil. These neutrophils put out a trap to capture and destroy the invaders. But here's where it gets interesting, because in a new study, researchers say they have shown that these nets might actually activate and spread the cancer cells. It's the exact opposite of what you want. But there may be a way to counteract this problem.

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The Salt
10:16 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Farming Got Hip In Iran Some 12,000 Years Ago, Ancient Seeds Reveal

An ancient wild barley sample recovered from Chogha Golan, Iran.
Courtesy of TISARP/Science

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 10:46 am

Archaeologists digging in the foothills of Iran's Zagros Mountains have discovered the remains of a Stone Age farming community. It turns out that people living there were growing plants like barley, peas and lentils as early as 12,000 years ago.

The findings offer a rare snapshot of a time when humans first started experimenting with farming. They also show that Iran was an important player in the origin of agriculture.

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Science
3:22 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Exploding The Mystery Of Blue Fireworks

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 8:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

If you're watching fireworks tonight, here's how you can tell you're looking at a top-shelf display and not some cut-rate carnival sideshow. Look for the blue fireworks. Are they true blue, not pale or purple or mauve?

The color blue has been the Holy Grail for pyrotechnics experts since fireworks were invented more than a millennium ago. It's by far the hardest color to produce. But why? For that, we turn to John Conkling. He's technical director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. John Conkling, welcome.

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