If you're a big, big whale with a gigantic tail swimming through water, nothing gets in your way, not the water, not the other fish, not nothin'. You are so much bigger than the water molecules around you, you move through the sea the way humans move through the air on a calm day — you just go. Whales, I imagine, don't think much about water.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. According to the population institute, it took only 14 years, from 1999 to today, for the global population to increase by one billion people, just 14 years. Every four and a half days we add another million people. That's adding a city the size of Dallas. Is this sustainable? Can the population of the Earth continue to grow and still supply the people on it with the raw essentials they need, like food, housing, shelter?
Recent revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance have put even the standards by which encryption systems are designed into question. Encryption experts Matthew Green, Phillip Zimmerman, and Martin Hellman discuss what makes a code secure and the limits of privacy in the modern age.
Soil collected last year by the Mars rover Curiosity may contain two percent water, researchers report. Laurie Leshin of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute describes what else the rover is finding in the soil, and what that information might mean for future expeditions to Mars.
Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.
From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.
Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.
That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).
The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.
Last week the Dallas Zoo announced that it was shipping one of its largest, most popular residents to the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina.
Patrick, a 430-pound silverback male gorilla who has lived in Dallas for 18 of his 23 years, just doesn't like the company of other gorillas. He's underscored his preference for solitude by nipping or biting the females. The Riverbanks Zoo has a reputation for helping in cases like this and Patrick will move there soon.