Science & Technology

Brain Candy
11:19 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Living Large in 140 Square Feet

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Clock on the wall says it's Flora o'clock time.

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: Hi. Flora Lichtman is here...

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: ...with our Video Pick of the Week.

LICHTMAN: That's right. Speaking of consumers and energy and sustainability on the personal level, this serves as a perfect segue, actually, to our Video Pick, which is about a couple in Snohomish, Washington - so outside of Seattle - who have built their own home. But here's the thing.

FLATOW: Yeah.

Read more
Environment
11:19 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Obama: U.S. Should Lead Assault on Climate Change

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. President Obama announced a plan this week calling on the environmental protection agency to regulate how much carbon power plants are allowed to emit. He had tried and failed to get Congress to act on climate change from the very first days of his presidency. This week in a speech at Georgetown University, he announced it was time to take matters into his own hands.

Read more
Mental Health
11:16 am
Fri June 28, 2013

'Brainwashed' Examines the Value of Brain Scans

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Seems like every other week, a new study, complete with a colorful brain scan and a great headline, links a spot on the brain with the way we act. This is your brain on love; this is your brain on prayer; this is your brain on politics. But can a scan of your brain really tell you something about your beliefs and behaviors?

Read more
Energy
11:03 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Aiming For 'Wild and Crazy' Energy Ideas

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Back in 2007, Congress funded, and the president signed into law, a new kind of research organization, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E. You had heard of DARPA? This was ARPA-E. And its mission is to back energy technologies that are too risky for investors but offer a potentially huge payoff if they work.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:44 am
Fri June 28, 2013

U.S. Army Restricts Access To 'The Guardian' Website

The offices of The Guardian and The Observer in London.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 12:35 pm

The Monterey County (Calif.) Herald has a great scoop:

"The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday's Herald, but Armywide."

In simple terms: If you're accessing the Internet at an Army facility across the country, you would not be able to access parts, if not all, of the website for the British newspaper.

The Herald reports:

Read more
All Tech Considered
7:57 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Please Text And Tweet During This Theater Performance

A show called #Hashtag encourages audience members to tweet during the performance.
Quinn.Anya via Flickr

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:14 am

See if this sounds familiar: You're seated in a movie theater, watching the latest IMAX disaster flick when someone slides their iPhone out of their pocket and starts texting their significant other. The glow from the phone lights up their face like the man in the moon and somehow — despite the $75 million used on the pyrotechnic budget alone — that blue-white glow at the edge of your vision triggers instincts honed over millions of years of evolution, and you find yourself incapable of focusing on the movie.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
7:18 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Artist Plays Detective: Can I Reconstruct A Face From A Piece Of Hair?

Vimeo

Her techniques aren't super-sophisticated. She's not a leader in the field. She's more or less an amateur. This is what you can do with ordinary genetic engineering tools right now. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.

Read more
Environment
2:51 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Put Down Oil Drill, Pick Up The Test Tube: Making Fuel From Yeast

Jay Keasling (left), speaking with Rajit Sapar at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, is pioneering a technique to develop diesel fuel from yeast.
Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 9:41 pm

What if we could get our gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from yeast instead of from oil wells? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's already happening on a small scale. And there's a vigorous research effort to ramp this up on a massive scale.

One of the more innovative approaches uses a new technology called "synthetic biology." Jay Keasling is one of the leaders in this hot field.

Read more
Science
2:47 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Tips For Surviving A Mega-Disaster

Patong beach in Phuket, Thailand, was destroyed by the tsunami on Dec. 25, 2004. More than 230,000 people died.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 9:39 am

The U.S. is ready for tornadoes, but not tsunamis.

That's the conclusion of a panel of scientists who spoke this week on "mega-disasters" at the American Geophysical Union's science policy meeting in Washington, D.C.

The nation has done a good job preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, which occur frequently but usually produce limited damage and relatively few casualties, the panelists said. But government officials are just beginning to develop plans for events like a major tsunami or a large asteroid hurtling toward a populated area.

Read more
Planet Money
2:46 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change

CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 9:45 am

Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.

"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.

Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.

Read more

Pages