This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There's research that tackles the really big questions like where did we come from? How did the universe form? How can people live longer, better lives? Today is probably not the day for that research. Instead, it's our annual salute to science that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 12:37 pm
Ah, the old beer-tapping prank: One strong hit on the top of an open beer bottle, and poof! Your IPA explodes into a brewski volcano.
"In one second, most of your beer has really turned into foam," says physicist Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Carlos III University in Madrid. "You better have put the bottle into your mouth, because you need to drink whatever is coming out."
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:13 pm
The decision to give up entire food groups can be a radical attempt to reform an unhealthy diet, as former President Bill Clinton demonstrated when he revealed in 2011 that he'd gone vegan, after heart bypass surgery.
But more often in this day and age, eschewing animal products is political.
And so that's why we were interested to read that former Vice President Al Gore, one of the world's most famous environmentalists, had — like his former boss — gone vegan, too.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 9:10 pm
By Adam Frank
So I'm standing on the top of this hill near my house wondering about thankfulness. I needed to take a walk after getting double-teamed by news about the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and a NY Times article about the coming crisis in food production due to climate change. Thanksgiving was just a week away and it was hard to square my own manifold blessings with a world full of difficulty and suffering.
The United Nations negotiations in Warsaw over a climate treaty are moving at glacial speed — and that's in part because there's a fundamental problem.
In the coming decades, carbon dioxide emissions from China, India and other rapidly developing countries are expected to grow quickly. Residents there aspire to lifestyles Americans and Europeans enjoy today, and those nations aren't willing to slash emissions, because doing so could slow their economic growth.
Methane is the source of the gas we burn in stoves. You can also use it to make plastics, antifreeze or fertilizer. It comes out of underground deposits, but it also seeps up from swamps, landfills, even the stomachs of cows.
And while methane is valuable, a lot of it gets up into the atmosphere, where it becomes a very damaging greenhouse gas.
The Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the company 23andMe demanding that its saliva test be taken off the market. The company claims the test can detect the genetic likelihood of more than a hundred diseases — a claim the FDA says the company has not proved sufficiently.