Add all of us up, all 7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then?
Adolescent brains have gotten a bad rap, according to neuroscientists. It's true that teenage brains can be impulsive, scientists reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans. But adolescent brains are also vulnerable, dynamic and highly responsive to positive feedback.
Now is the moment in the program when I admit that I am a total Star Wars nut. Those of you with me, you might recall that Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine enjoyed the warmth of not one but two suns. That dramatic scene, you remember Luke at dusk gazing at the weird peaceful sunset.
If the thought of eating horse meat makes you queasy, what about strong, sturdy oxen? A small Vermont college that emphasizes sustainable living will soon slaughter two beloved campus residents: Bill and Lou, a pair of oxen. Green Mountain College plans to serve the meat from the oxen in its dining hall, but the plan has drawn international outcry and a massive Facebook petition to save the oxen.
A professor spends his off-time tracking the little things in life that bother us. Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, tells us what poor parking, long waits in the doctor's office, and the controversial brussel sprout tell us about science.
In his new book Spillover writer David Quammen traces the evolution of Ebola, HIV and other diseases that moved from animals to humans. Quammen describes how scientists look for the reservoirs of the infectious agents, and what might be done to prevent the next pandemic.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. The moon, it's our nearest neighbor, but we don't know much about where our companion came from. In the 1800s, Charles Darwin's son, Sir George Darwin, proposed that maybe the moon just popped off from the Earth when the Earth was spinning much faster than it is today.
A NASA spacecraft captured the clearest recording yet of what space sounds like inside Earth's radiation belts. Craig Kletzing, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, explains what causes these eerie chirping noises, and what we can learn from them.