Science

2:38am

Sat June 29, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Stroke, Stroke, Stroke — The Atlantic Ocean's Dazzling Oarsmen

Gregory G. Dimijian Science Source

At night, in the ocean, they look like little Broadway billboards with dazzling trills of rainbow colored light. They have eight little runways on their bodies for light display. What are they?

They're called comb jellies. They're not jellyfish. They don't pulse like jellies. They seem to hang. You can find them bobbing off eastern beaches from Massachusetts to the Carolinas and if you pull them up (you can, they don't sting), they're goopy, gelatinous clumps vaguely shaped like walnuts.

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12:19pm

Fri June 28, 2013
Space

Not One, but Three 'Goldilocks Planets'?

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's been almost three years since astronomers found the first planet outside our solar system they called a Goldilocks planet, meaning that it's not too close, not too far, but just the right distance from its sun to potentially sustain life. And since then, more of these just right planets have been found, one at the time.

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12:19pm

Fri June 28, 2013
Brain Candy

Living Large in 140 Square Feet

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Clock on the wall says it's Flora o'clock time.

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: Hi. Flora Lichtman is here...

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: ...with our Video Pick of the Week.

LICHTMAN: That's right. Speaking of consumers and energy and sustainability on the personal level, this serves as a perfect segue, actually, to our Video Pick, which is about a couple in Snohomish, Washington - so outside of Seattle - who have built their own home. But here's the thing.

FLATOW: Yeah.

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12:19pm

Fri June 28, 2013
Environment

Obama: U.S. Should Lead Assault on Climate Change

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. President Obama announced a plan this week calling on the environmental protection agency to regulate how much carbon power plants are allowed to emit. He had tried and failed to get Congress to act on climate change from the very first days of his presidency. This week in a speech at Georgetown University, he announced it was time to take matters into his own hands.

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12:16pm

Fri June 28, 2013
Mental Health

'Brainwashed' Examines the Value of Brain Scans

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Seems like every other week, a new study, complete with a colorful brain scan and a great headline, links a spot on the brain with the way we act. This is your brain on love; this is your brain on prayer; this is your brain on politics. But can a scan of your brain really tell you something about your beliefs and behaviors?

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12:03pm

Fri June 28, 2013
Energy

Aiming For 'Wild and Crazy' Energy Ideas

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Back in 2007, Congress funded, and the president signed into law, a new kind of research organization, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E. You had heard of DARPA? This was ARPA-E. And its mission is to back energy technologies that are too risky for investors but offer a potentially huge payoff if they work.

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8:18am

Fri June 28, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Artist Plays Detective: Can I Reconstruct A Face From A Piece Of Hair?

Vimeo

Her techniques aren't super-sophisticated. She's not a leader in the field. She's more or less an amateur. This is what you can do with ordinary genetic engineering tools right now. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.

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4:33am

Fri June 28, 2013
Environment

Put Down Oil Drill, Pick Up The Test Tube: Making Fuel From Yeast

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Jay Keasling (left), speaking with Rajit Sapar at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, is pioneering a technique to develop diesel fuel from yeast.
Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

What if we could get our gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from yeast instead of from oil wells? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's already happening on a small scale. And there's a vigorous research effort to ramp this up on a massive scale.

One of the more innovative approaches uses a new technology called "synthetic biology." Jay Keasling is one of the leaders in this hot field.

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4:33am

Fri June 28, 2013
Science

Tips For Surviving A Mega-Disaster

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:39 am

Patong beach in Phuket, Thailand, was destroyed by the tsunami on Dec. 25, 2004. More than 230,000 people died.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The U.S. is ready for tornadoes, but not tsunamis.

That's the conclusion of a panel of scientists who spoke this week on "mega-disasters" at the American Geophysical Union's science policy meeting in Washington, D.C.

The nation has done a good job preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, which occur frequently but usually produce limited damage and relatively few casualties, the panelists said. But government officials are just beginning to develop plans for events like a major tsunami or a large asteroid hurtling toward a populated area.

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4:33am

Fri June 28, 2013
Planet Money

Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:45 am

CX Matiash AP

Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.

"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.

Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.

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