This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you're a political junkie, I'm guessing a couple of words will make your skin crawl: hanging chads. Or you might like pregnant chads or whatever - we didn't know what a chad was before then. After the problems counting ballots in the 2000 election in Florida, municipalities around the country moved to adopt electronic voting systems with the thought that they would be easier to use, more straightforward to count.
Why does stuff have mass, you know, that gives it weight? If you're a regular listener, you might recall that it has to do with how subatomic particles interact with something called the Higgs Field, right? Higgs boson, becoming more familiar? How do scientists know that? Well, it's theory. It's backed up by, in part, by the reported discovery of the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, back in July.
Well, luckily that we lost Dr. Crabtree that - I'm sorry that we did lose him, but fortunately for us we have our next guest with us here, it's Dr. James Watson, sitting right here with us. Welcome to the program.
JAMES WATSON: I'm glad to be back with you.
FLATOW: Well, let me begin our interview a little bit early. You are certainly not unknown, Watson and Crick, and you have also a new book out now called "The Double Helix," and it's got all kinds of annotations, and what's new about this version of the book?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Turn on reality TV, and it may not be long before you ask yourself: Are we getting dumber? A new study may have some genetic answers to that question. Provocative research published this week in the journal Trends in Genetics suggests that human intelligence may have peaked thousands of years ago.
Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 3:01 pm
By Barbara J. King
Walk into a 3rd-grade classroom and see children negotiating an obstacle course: desks, chairs and boxes create tunnels through which the students are crawling. A whistle blows and the students freeze in place; when a bell sounds, the kids once again negotiate their makeshift maze.
New Jersey's most affluent community, Mantoloking, sits on a narrow barrier island 30 miles north of Long Beach. As Sandy approached, most of the residents fled inland. But Edwin C. O'Malley and his father, Edwin J. O'Malley Jr., hunkered down in their 130-year-old house.
They tied a boat to their porch and then watched the storm surge break over the dunes and flood the streets.
"Overnight that night, lying in bed, I could actually hear waves hitting the side of the house — which obviously made it more difficult to get to sleep," the younger O'Malley says.
The air reeks so strongly of rotten eggs that tribal leader Wes Martel hesitates to get out of the car at an oil field on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He already has a headache from the fumes he smelled at another oil field.
You walk into a room. There are people there, cars outside, dogs, phones ring, the radio is on, somebody coughs; it's the pleasant blur of a busy world, until something, someone catches your attention. Then you lean in, the other sounds fade back, and you focus. That's how listening works — for most of us.