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Quantifying Happiness

November 12, 2010 10:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Harvard researchers have developed a Web tool for volunteers to record what they're doing and how they feel while doing it. The goal? To measure happiness. Doctoral student Matt Killingsworth describes some early results suggesting many people aren't "living in the moment."

A Conversation With The New NSF Director

November 12, 2010 10:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Subra Suresh, former dean of engineering at MIT, was sworn in last month as director of the National Science Foundation, which doles out billions of dollars for basic research each year. Suresh talks about his priorities and how the NSF's budget is likely to fare with the new Congress.

Bye, Bye Ivory Tower. Scientists Pledge To Speak Out

November 12, 2010 10:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

This week, a group of scientists called the "rapid response team" has promised to speak up about climate change and take skeptics head-on, even if that means participating in political debates. But does this verge on advocacy? And is that a problem? Ira Flatow and guests discuss.

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Futures in Biotech 70: SBIR Funding: The Business of Science

November 7, 2010 4:43 pm | by Futures in Biotech Podcast Podcasts Comments

Host: Marc Pelletier How to fund the development of your own technology through SBIR funding. Guest: Lisa Kurek of Biotechnology Business Consultants We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes. Comments and suggestions on Futures in Biotech. For a free audiobook, visit...

These Babies Can Out-Climb Their Parents

November 5, 2010 9:44 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Australian brush turkeys (Alectura lathami) fend for themselves the day they hatch, says Ken Dial of the University of Montana Flight Lab. The birds fly the day they hatch, and hatchlings can climb vertical ledges better than adults, according to Dial's latest research.

Can Science Shape Human Values? And Should It?

November 5, 2010 9:44 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Ira Flatow talks with scientists and philosophers about the origins of human values, and the influence of modern scientific thought on human values. Even if science can shape human morals, should it? Or does science bring its own set of preconceptions and prejudices to moral questions?

A Time-Out For Athletes And Concussions

November 5, 2010 9:44 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

A new position statement from the American Academy of Neurology includes the recommendation that any athlete suspected of having a concussion be removed from play and evaluated. Neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher describes the new recommendations and the reasons for the changes.

Scientist Gets Her Due in ‘Photograph 51’

November 5, 2010 9:44 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

In 1952, scientist Rosalind Franklin took a clear X-ray photo of DNA. Nobel Prize winners Watson and Crick used the image, in part, to determine the double helix -- but did Franklin get the credit she deserved? Actress Kristen Bush and playwright Anna Ziegler discuss a new play on Franklin.

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Counting Crowds: Results May Vary

November 5, 2010 9:44 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

How many people attended Jon Stewart's rally last weekend, or Glenn Beck's rally last summer? It depends on who you ask. Two crowd-counting experts explain the "gold standard" for measuring crowd size, and discuss why some rally organizers might disagree with the counts.

Is Genome Sequencing Surpassing Medical Knowledge?

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

The cost of sequencing a human genome is plummeting, and soon many people may obtain a copy of their own. But how useful is that information to patients, especially if their genes predict untreatable, fatal diseases? Hank Greely discusses the promise and the pitfalls of genetic testing.

The Mysterious Life Of The Cholera Bacterium

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Scientists have long known that cholera is caused by a bacterium transmitted through food or water. But where does the bacterium live between epidemics, and what dictates the timing of new outbreaks? CDC cholera expert Eric Mintz discusses the bacterium behind the Haiti outbreak.

'Goat Sucker' May Just Be A Mangy Coyote

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

The legend of the ferocious chupacabra, or goat sucker, has circulated around Central America since the 1990s. But the supernatural chimeric beast -- described by some as half dog, half bat -- may just be a coyote suffering from mange, says entomologist Barry OConnor of the University of Michigan.

The Past, Locked In Amber

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Scientists excavating an Indian amber deposit say it dates back more than 50 million years, and contains the remains of at least 100 previously undocumented species of insects. American Museum of Natural History curator David Grimaldi describes the amber, and the organisms trapped within it.

Slip Into The Secret Life of Eels

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

In his new book Eels, writer James Prosek describes the life history and cultural significance of this slimy, snake-like and often misunderstood fish, introducing the reader to an eel fisherman on the Delaware River and to the myths of the Maori of New Zealand along the way.

Taste Receptors In Lungs May Help Asthmatics

October 29, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Writing in Nature Medicine, researchers report on discovering bitter taste receptors in human lungs, and that bitter compounds expand airways in asthmatic mice. Stephen Liggett talks about the possibility of treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with bitter compounds.

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