Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:50 pm
Credit Jazz Aldrich / Great Basin Brewing Company
The world isn't going to end next Friday, but Dec. 21, 2012, has come to be known as the Mayan apocalypse because that's when the Mayan calendar ends. As scientists have told us repeatedly, the end of the calendar year was actually a time for celebration and renewal — the equivalent of an ancient New Year's Eve. So breweries around the country have decided to celebrate with — what else? — beer.
Nothing beats the smell of a live Christmas tree in your home, but how can you keep the needles on your tree and off your carpet? Rick Bates, professor of horticulture at Penn State University, offers tips for how to properly care for your Christmas tree this holiday season.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Of course we'll be following any updates in the school shooting in Connecticut that has left dozens of people dead, including children and the gunman. Any updates that are necessary, we'll break in and let you know.
Imagine one day, just one day, where the world you saw was upside-down: water poured up; smoke drifted down; balloons acted more like lead weights. It might be enough to drive you crazy. Could you handle two days? Three? How about 10 days with your vision turned completely on its head?
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:03 pm
Alan Alda founded The Flame Challenge last year to promote better science communication, and he started by asking scientists to come up with a kid-friendly explanation for a flame. Now, Alda is back with round two of the popular contest, and kids want to know: What is time?
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:02 pm
Though we hear about them every holiday season in that famous song, chestnuts – whether roasting on an open fire or otherwise – have been noticeably absent from many American tables for decades, thanks to a deadly fungus that decimated the species near half a century ago. But a small army of determined growers have been on a seemingly quixotic quest to put chestnuts back on the American table, and they're just starting to see results.
There are more species of insects than pretty much anything else in the world. And scientists know there are millions they haven't even identified yet. Now, in a tropical rainforest in Panama, a multinational team of scientists has just completed the first ever insect census.
Scott Miller, an entomologist at the Smithsonian who worked on the Panama, shows off one of the species from the survey that's at the National Museum of Natural History's insect zoo in Washington, D.C.
Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.
And that shouldn't be a surprise.
Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:50 pm
Credit Jeff Turner / Wikimedia Commons
Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.
That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.
But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.
Of the 100 "top science stories for 2012" chosen by Discover Magazine, I am most fascinated by #42: "The Myth of Choosy Women, Promiscuous Men." It reports a serious challenge to an experiment that has remained a touchstone in evolutionary biology for over 50 years.