Morning recess at St. Augustine Catholic School in Culver City, Calif., is like recess in many other schools. Children run and play in the afternoon sun. But nearby, away from the basketball hoops and the games of tag, the staff is preparing.
Next to the playground sits a cargo container full of supplies: water, duct tape, an axe, a shovel and a generator along with gasoline. All of these supplies are here just in case the freeways are cut off or the power goes out — in case there is a major, destructive earthquake.
Fish sauce — that funky, flavor-enhancing fermented condiment — is part of what gives Southeast Asian cooking its distinctive taste. But it turns out, this cornerstone of Eastern cooking actually has a long history on another continent: Europe. And it goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The most spectacular science shocker ever filmed. Too real to be science fiction, now science fact.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
That theme signals a new series we're calling Science Goes to the Movies. If you ever watch sci-fi flick and think, now, com on. Did that really happen? Well, to us, that's what this series is all about. We're going to ask scientists to put on their film critic hats and help us separate the fact from Hollywood fiction.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Craig Venter was the first person to ever create a living thing from scratch, a cell, a bacterium, into which was inserted manmade genetic material - DNA. And for all intents and purposes, it was alive, moving, reproducing. It opened up a whole new world of what he and we now call synthetic biology, creating stuff from genetic code as we need it.
Sewage and fertilizer runoff into China's Lake Taihu have fed a nasty bloom: an annual explosion of frothy cyanobacteria, which release neurotoxins into the lake. Hans Paerl, a marine and environmental scientist who studies Lake Taihu, says the warmer temperatures brought by climate change only contribute to the slime's advance.
What makes someone a psychopath? Can these traits be passed through family lines? Neuroscientist James Fallon, and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain, discusses his scientific and personal exploration into the antisocial mind.
Cotard's syndrome, also known as Walking Corpse Syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes sufferers to believe they are dead. The exact cause is unknown. Doctors Thomas Linden and Andres Hellden describe effects of the syndrome that they observed in patients who took a common antiviral medication.