Is small-batch hard apple cider the next microbrew? It seems everybody and their brother is experimenting with ways to make the potent stuff profitable. Sales of domestically produced hard cider have more than tripled since 2007, according to beverage industry analysts — and that's not counting Europe, where it has held a steady popularity for centuries.
Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.
Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 4:31 pm
Communications between the Earth and Mars are on hiatus for several weeks, thanks to interference from the sun. That means NASA's orbiters and rovers that study Mars will be left to their own devices until radio signals can once again travel between the two planets.
Known as "solar conjunction," the problem arises when the orbit of planets places the sun directly between them.
It's widely known that the world's icecaps are melting. While most people are focused on what we're losing, some have considered what might be gained by the disappearance of all that ice.
In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report estimating that 13 percent of the world's remaining undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the remaining undiscovered natural gas could be in the Arctic.
Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 10:30 am
Health officials in China say they've confirmed 11 new bird flu diagnoses, bringing the number of H7N9 infections to 60, with cases spread across several provinces, the official Xinhua news agency reports. The virus, which first infected people in Shanghai and eastern China, has now sickened at least one person in Beijing, along with two others in the central province of Henan.
The announcement came from President Vladimir Putin as he spoke to orbiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Cosmonaut's Day, the 52nd anniversary of the first manned space flight by Russian spacefarer Yuri Gagarin.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira today. You know the phrase you are what you eat? Well, new research suggests a slight modification: Your gut bacteria are what you eat. And if you eat more red meat, for example, you'll nurture populations of microbes that like to eat red meat, too, which might not seem like a bad thing except that researchers have pinpointed a compound in red meat called L-carnitine that when broken down by gut bacteria might contribute to heart disease.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. Later in the hour, a teenage science activist and the plight of the monarch butterfly. But first, researchers have developed a new way to fight antibiotic-resistant microbes by borrowing a trick from a longtime foe of the bacteria, the bacteria phage.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, another mover and shaker in the alimentary canal - coffee. Whether you're a home brewer or a latte devotee, whether you take it light and sweet or on ice, your coffee is guaranteed to be chock full of chemistry. It starts in the bean, which is actually not a bean at all.
It's a seed, according Harold McGee, author of "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" along with other books on science and food. And we caught up with Harold, to hear more about how coffee gets its signature taste.
Next up, a case of life imitating art. A few months ago, we talked to writer Barbara Kingsolver about her latest book, "Flight Behavior." The book is a fictional account of an ecological disaster in the making, and the fate of millions of monarch butterflies is at the center of the plot. Would the species survive? That's the art part.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 12:03 pm
In Gulp. Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, science writer Mary Roach takes a journey through the gut, from the secret healing powers of saliva to the taxonomy of poop. Along the trip, she serves up odd medical anecdotes, such as the story of William Beaumont, an eccentric surgeon who once ate chicken from another man's stomach.