Science

12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

Scientists In The Dark Over Birth Of The Moon

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. The moon, it's our nearest neighbor, but we don't know much about where our companion came from. In the 1800s, Charles Darwin's son, Sir George Darwin, proposed that maybe the moon just popped off from the Earth when the Earth was spinning much faster than it is today.

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12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

Spacecraft Records 'Chorus' of Space Sounds

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

A NASA spacecraft captured the clearest recording yet of what space sounds like inside Earth's radiation belts. Craig Kletzing, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, explains what causes these eerie chirping noises, and what we can learn from them.

12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

How One Guy Raised $1.3 Million for a Tesla Museum

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Matthew Inman, creator of the humor site "The Oatmeal," led an online drive that raised over $1 million for a new museum to honor the inventor Nikola Tesla. Inman discusses how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign, and why Tesla is the greatest geek who ever lived.

12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

Winter Weather Predictions

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Science Or Folklore? — The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts winter weather months in advance. Is that even scientifically possible? Meteorologist Jason Samenow, of The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, talks about the science and art of seasonal forecasting, and why even the pros at NOAA sometimes get it wrong.

12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

Making Sense Of Presidential Polls

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

In less than a month, the 2012 presidential election turned from an almost certain victory for President Obama to a neck-and-neck race. New York Times blogger and statistician Nate Silver and Princeton neuroscientist Sam Wang talk about making sense of the polls--and why not all votes are created equal.

12:12pm

Fri October 19, 2012
NPR Story

New Program Spurs Solar Development on Public Land

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

The government recently announced a new plan to facilitate the development of solar energy projects on public land in six Western states. Lawrence Susskind, a professor of urban and environmental planning at MIT, explains what it means for the future of renewable energy.

10:45am

Fri October 19, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Charles Darwin And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Aaron Birk

I guess everybody, even the smartest people who ever lived, have days when they feel dumb — really, really dumb. Oct. 1, 1861, was that kind of day for Charles Darwin.

In a letter to his friend Charles Lyell, Darwin says, "I am very poorly today," and then — and I want you to see this exactly as he wrote it, so you know this isn't a fake; it comes from the library of the American Philosophical Society, courtesy of their librarian Charles Greifenstein. Can you read it?

It says:

Whoah! You know the feeling, right?

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11:53am

Thu October 18, 2012
The Salt

Top Five Myths Of Genetically Modified Seeds, Busted

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 5:49 pm

Central Illinois corn and soybean farmer Gary Niemeyer readies his genetically modified seed corn for spring planting at his farm near Auburn, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Having just stepped into the shouting match over patents on genetically engineered crops, there are a few small things that I, too, would like to get off my chest.

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9:37am

Thu October 18, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

So, Would You Eat A Panda?

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A Chinese scientist recently suggested that prehistoric humans ate pandas. The evidence, based on cut marks on panda bones, strikes me as thin, but the report led me to a thought experiment.

How would people in the modern world react if the some population or subculture today made panda-foraging a goal? I imagine most of us would be horrified, and not only because the panda is an endangered species. The panda has become a symbol of cuteness, an animal we love to love.

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5:49pm

Wed October 17, 2012
Space

Scientist Find Nearest Planet Outside Solar System

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:37 pm

An artist's impression shows a planet, right, orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, center, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth.
ESO/L. Calcada AP

Scientists say they have detected the nearest planet outside of our solar system, an alien world about the size of Earth that's orbiting a star called Alpha Centauri B.

Imaginary planets in the Alpha Centauri star system have been a staple of science fiction for decades. That's because the three stars in this system—Alpha Centauri A, B, and C—are only about four light years from our Sun. That's far away, but it's still closer than everything else beyond our solar system, so Alpha Centauri has long been a tempting destination for storytellers who dream of interstellar travel.

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