Science

11:22am

Fri February 22, 2013
NPR Story

The SciFri Book Club Visits "Gorillas in the Mist"

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next - let me get a cup of coffee, put my feet down, get cozy, because it's our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. We have the book club regulars here with us. Flora's still with us. And joining us now is Annette Heist, senior producer for SCIENCE FRIDAY. Welcome to the program, Anette?

ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

FLATOW: And we had another classic book this month which is...

HEIST: "Gorillas in the Mist" by Dian Fossey.

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11:22am

Fri February 22, 2013
NPR Story

How Wood Smoke is Dirtying Alaska's Air

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:03 pm

In Fairbanks, Alaska, residents are using wood stoves to heat their homes during the frigid winter months. But, smoke created by these wood burners is contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country. Cathy Cahill discusses air quality in the Last Frontier.

11:22am

Fri February 22, 2013
NPR Story

Russia Meteor Renews Focus on Asteroid Threats

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:03 pm

A week after a meteor exploded over Russia on the same day that an asteroid swung closely past Earth, experts discuss how the potential threats posed by near-Earth objects should be addressed. Astronomers Donald Yeomans and John Tonry weigh in on how to keep the planet safe.

11:22am

Fri February 22, 2013
NPR Story

Ask A Dentist: Facts To Sink Your Teeth Into

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:03 pm

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And, it turns out, the dentist--because that fibery skin is good for your teeth. Dentists Mark Ryder of the University of California San Francisco and Mark Wolff of New York University answer your toothy questions in this episode of our "Ask an expert" series.

10:22am

Fri February 22, 2013
The Salt

For Fruit Flies, Alcohol Really Is Mommy's Little Helper

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:26 pm

Alcohol: a key babyproofing product for this little mother.
Illustration by Daniel M.N. Turner Photos via istockphoto.com

Many a mom has reached for a glass of wine after a long day of tending children. But only fruit fly moms use their version of Chardonnay to guard their babies from harm.

When fly moms see marauding wasps, they seek out the alcohol in fermenting fruit, and lay their eggs there, according to new research. The alcohol is toxic to the wasps, but not to the fruit flies. They've evolved a tolerance for hooch.

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3:27am

Fri February 22, 2013
Animals

Honey, It's Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:47 am

Adam Cole NPR

Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.

Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.

Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.

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5:04pm

Thu February 21, 2013
Shots - Health News

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:51 pm

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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11:53am

Thu February 21, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Convergent Evolution: Hyenas Offer Clues To The Human Past

Spotted hyena cubs socialize at their communal den in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Courtesy of Deanna Russell

When anthropologists work to reconstruct the lives of our own ancestors we bring together multiple sources of information. We look at fossils and material culture, such as ancient tool technologies. We even look at animals alive today whose behavioral patterns might provide clues to our past.

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5:12pm

Wed February 20, 2013
U.S.

Breakthrough Prize Awards Research To Cure Disease

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Melissa Block speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple chairman Art Levinson about the multimillion-dollar prize they've created with other Silicon Valley illuminati to award advancements in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists have been named winners of the Breakthrough Prize this year.

4:16pm

Wed February 20, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Universe Or universe? It All Depends On The Multiverse

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:41 pm

D. Minniti/Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo/VVV Survey ESO

Sometimes behind what appears to be a mere grammatical issue hides a much deeper question of meaning.

The reader can easily check, after glancing at a handful of books and articles, including here at 13.7, that the word "universe" sometimes is capitalized and sometimes not. How is that decided, exactly? And who decides it? A choice is being made every time an author (or, more realistically, an editor) refers to the cosmos as "Universe" or as "universe." Let's ponder the reasoning behind this choice.

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