Science

12:00pm

Fri December 7, 2012
NPR Story

'Escape Fire' Exposes Flaws Of American Healthcare

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

And I'm Ira Flatow. Last week on the show, we talked about the Affordable Care Act - you know, Obamacare - and how it gave millions more Americans access to health care.

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12:00pm

Fri December 7, 2012
NPR Story

Ask an Astronaut: NASA Spaceflyers Open Up

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Next up, who didn't, at one time or another, now think about it, who didn't want to be an astronaut when they were growing up, especially those of us, the children of the space-age space race? Well, for those of us whose lives are a bit more Earthbound, we've got a fun edition to our Ask an Expert series. How about Ask an Astronaut? Everything you wanted to ever ask an astronaut, Flora.

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12:00pm

Fri December 7, 2012
NPR Story

No Joke

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:03 pm

Why Even Tragedy Gets A Laugh — When comedian Tig Notaro found out she had breast cancer, she incorporated the grim news into her stand-up routine--and got quite a few laughs from the audience. Notaro and neuroscientist Robert Provine discuss the origins of laughter, what separates the amusing from the truly funny, and why even tragedy sometimes gets a laugh.

12:00pm

Fri December 7, 2012
NPR Story

(for scifri) Unlocking A Lake's Bacterial Secrets, Beneath 20 Meters Of Ice

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:03 pm

What does life truly need to survive? Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Alison Murray and colleagues describe a community of unusual bacteria that survive under 20 meters of ice in the dark, salty, sub-freezing waters of Lake Vida, Antarctica.

11:49am

Fri December 7, 2012
The Salt

When It Comes To Boxed Wine, The Cooler, The Better

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:22 pm

If you're picking a boxed wine for your party this season, be aware that temperature is everything.
AFP Getty Images

Bag-in-the-box wine doesn't have the classiest of reputations. It's usually cheap and in the past at least, has been aimed at less sophisticated consumers. But in recent years, boxed wine has tried to buck the stereotype, whether by gussying up the product packaging or simply putting higher-quality wine in the box.

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4:55am

Fri December 7, 2012
Environment

World Bank Issues Alarming Climate Report

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:20 am

Countries attending U.N. climate talks were not able to come up with any major agreements on reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. This comes after the World Bank issued a report predicting global temperatures could rise by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century — possibly sooner if current promises to curb emission are not kept. Renee Montagne talks about this with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

2:49am

Fri December 7, 2012
Space

Is Another Moon Mission Written In The Stars?

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:23 am

Apollo 17 was the sixth and final Apollo mission to the moon. Here, lunar module pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Cmdr. Eugene Cernan and command module pilot Ron Evans pose in the lunar vehicle.
NASA

On Dec. 7, 1972, NASA launched its final human mission to the moon. Forty years later, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan says he'd love to give up his claim to fame as "the last man on the moon."

"I'd like to be able to shake the hand of that young man or young woman who replaces me in that category," Cernan told NPR. "But unfortunately, the way things have gone and the way things are looking for the future, at least the near-term future, that won't happen in my lifetime. And that truly is disappointing."

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3:57pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:19 pm

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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3:30pm

Thu December 6, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Dear Readers: Have You Yelled At Me Recently? Thank You!

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:24 am

iStock

Dear Readers,

If you've yelled at me, corrected me, contested me, or what the heck, even offered a nice remark on something I've written this last year at 13.7 on human evolution or animal welfare, gender issues or vegetarian diets, thank you.

I recently expressed my gratitude for your engagement to a roomful of anthropologists, and so it's only right that you should hear it too.

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12:43pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Salt

Fruit Fly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food; Human Nose Not So Reliable

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:10 pm

Now we know why we'll never see a common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) sitting on a beet.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

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