In Fairbanks, Alaska, residents are using wood stoves to heat their homes during the frigid winter months. But, smoke created by these wood burners is contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country. Cathy Cahill discusses air quality in the Last Frontier.
Up next - let me get a cup of coffee, put my feet down, get cozy, because it's our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. We have the book club regulars here with us. Flora's still with us. And joining us now is Annette Heist, senior producer for SCIENCE FRIDAY. Welcome to the program, Anette?
ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hello.
FLATOW: And we had another classic book this month which is...
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:26 am
Many a mom has reached for a glass of wine after a long day of tending children. But only fruit fly moms use their version of Chardonnay to guard their babies from harm.
When fly moms see marauding wasps, they seek out the alcohol in fermenting fruit, and lay their eggs there, according to new research. The alcohol is toxic to the wasps, but not to the fruit flies. They've evolved a tolerance for hooch.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden is scheduled for a stop in north Alabama.
The space agency says Bolden will visit the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville on Friday afternoon.
Marshall is NASA's main center dedicated to developing space propulsion systems. Engineers there are now working on the Space Launch System, which are heavy-lift rockets being designed to take U.S. astronauts back into space.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:25 pm
This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.
Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
State Health Officer Don Williamson told Alabama lawmakers that money will be available to fund Alabama's Medicaid program at a minimal level through 2014.
But Williamson told a joint meeting of the House and Senate General Fund budget committees Wednesday he did not know where the money would come from after 2014 to run the health insurance program for the economically disadvantaged.
Williamson is also the interim director of the Alabama Medicaid Program.
Melissa Block speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple chairman Art Levinson about the multimillion-dollar prize they've created with other Silicon Valley illuminati to award advancements in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists have been named winners of the Breakthrough Prize this year.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 5:44 am
As many as 30 million people living from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley are in the path of a storm moving east out of California that could dump several inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain and sleet elsewhere in the next few days.
According to the Weather Channel, the storm is caused by an "upper-level dip in the jet stream," on Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:04 pm
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:33 pm
Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:
In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.
What if, before your children were born, you could make sure they had the genes to be taller or smarter? Would that tempt you, or would you find it unnerving?
What if that genetic engineering would save a child from a rare disease?
As advancements in science bring these ideas closer to reality, a group of experts faced off two against two in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the proposition: "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies."