The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its latest assessment today. This is the fifth since 1990. The reports project the rate of global warming, sea level rise and other expected effects that result largely from our use of fossil fuels, which puts billions of additional tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year.
Brain surgery is a dicey business. Even the most experienced surgeons can damage healthy tissue while trying to root out tumors deep inside the brain.
Researchers from the University of Maryland are working on a solution, and it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. They're developing a tiny, maggot-like robot that can crawl into brains and zap tumors from within.
Facts and values are entangled in science. It's not because scientists are biased, not because they are partial or influenced by other kinds of interests, but because of a commitment to reason, consistency, coherence, plausibility and replicability. These are value commitments.
One way to bring this out: we don't do more science to prove we should be reasonable. Doing science presupposes being reasonable. Being reasonable isn't one of the facts. It's a value.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:55 pm
Mohammed Ashour has a big order to fill: By March 2014, he has to deliver 10 tons of grasshoppers to customers in Mexico.
He and four other MBA students at McGill University in Montreal have a plan to farm insects in poor countries and turn them into flour that can be used in everything from bread to corn tortillas. And on Monday, former President Bill Clinton handed them $1 million to make it happen.
A Danish shipping company announced Friday the first-ever voyage of a large commercial freighter through the Northwest Passage — a journey made possible by the disappearance of Arctic ice due to global warming.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. We're here at the Wisconsin Science Festival at the Institute for Discovery in Madison and talking about a trip to America's dairy land, of course. Inevitably you're going to talk about food and fermentation. In the form of Wisconsin, it's famous for fermentation, one of the oldest ways of preserving food. It's also a way to get really unique flavors.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We're broadcasting from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, home this week of the Wisconsin Science Festival. Astronomers and astrophysicists have traditionally, for centuries, looked upwards to the sky to learn more about the universe. We've launched telescopes into space. We have sent probes beyond our solar system to study dark matter, colliding galaxies, how the planets formed.
We've been talking about the Stone Age but now we're living in what some scientists are calling the anthropocene. Maybe you've never heard of that word. It's a time where everything on the planet is touched by humans in some way, whether it's directly, like clear cutting forests or suppressing fires, or indirectly by the effects of climate change. Is this, as the environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote, oh, 20 years ago, is this the end of nature?
For those who think the forces of natural selection no longer apply to modern humans, paleoanthropologist John Hawks would urge you to reconsider. In recent times — that's 10 to 20 thousand years, for a paleoanthropologist — Hawks says we've picked up genetic variations in skin color, and other traits that allow us to break down starch and digest cheese.