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Living Without Fear

December 17, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Doctors at University of Iowa have been studying a female patient they call "SM" for more than 20 years. SM has a damaged amygdala, a part of the brain. As a result, she doesn't experience fear. Daniel Tranel explains what doctors have learned about fear from SM, and how that information...

Visions Of Energy Efficiency Danced In Their Heads

December 17, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Homeowners hoping to save on utility bills may want to ask Santa for a storm door or insulation. Dec. 31 is the deadline for the energy tax credits that could cut your tax bill by up to $1,500. Science Friday runs down how to save some green this winter.

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word 'Comet'

December 17, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Although comets were sighted at least as early as 1000 B.C., Greek natural philosophers named them sometime around 500 B.C., using the Greek word kometes for "a head with long hair." Science historian Howard Markel discusses the word's origins and the study of comets through the centuries.

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Who's Tracking You Online?

December 17, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Many top websites deposit tracking tools on Internet surfers' computers, in order to help online marketers target ads. Ira Flatow and guests discuss Internet tracking, and the Federal Trade Commission's suggestion that browser makers build in a sort of "do not track" button.

The Man Who Turned Taxidermy Into An Art Form

December 17, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

In Kingdom Under Glass, author Jay Kirk tells the life story of Carl Akeley, the pioneering taxidermist and adventurer who hunted elephants alongside Teddy Roosevelt and once killed a leopard with his bare hands. Taxidermist David Schwendeman runs his family's 90-year-old studio and...

Futures in Biotech 72: A Four Billion Year Old Social Network

December 14, 2010 2:42 pm | by Futures in Biotech Podcast Podcasts Comments

Host: Marc Pelletier How controlling bacterial behavior may lead to an new class of urgently needed antibiotics. Guest: Dr. Bonnie Bassler: Hughs Medical Insitute Investigator; Professor of Molecular Biology and Professor of Chemistry, Princeton University. We invite you to read, add to,...

Teaching Computers To Be More Empathetic

December 10, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

High school juniors Matthew Fernandez and Akash Krishnan took the grand prize in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for designing software that decodes emotions in human speech. They say the software could be used by call centers, to direct angry callers to a human.

Rossellini's 'Seduce Me' Looks At Animal Courtship

December 10, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Actress and model Isabella Rossellini's video series, Seduce Me, investigates the strange and fascinating mating behaviors of animals. Rossellini plays a diverse cast of characters from the animal kingdom -- from hermaphroditic earthworms to swinging deer to asexual lizards.

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Chemistry Keeps Christmas Trees Alive, For Longer

December 10, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Just as an avocado ripens quickly in a paper bag, bathed in the ethylene gas it releases, Christmas trees may lose their needles because of a similar "ripening" process. Raj Lada, of Nova Scotia's Christmas Tree Research Center, discusses how to block this process to prolong the life of cut firs.

Thinking About Eating May Mean Eating Less

December 10, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say that repeatedly thinking about eating a certain food -- M&Ms or cheese -- led study participants to eat less of the food once it was presented to them. Researcher Carey Morewedge describes the work and its implications for dieters.

Celebrating The Royal Society

December 10, 2010 9:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Britain's premier science institution, the Royal Society, turns 350 this year. A new collection of essays called Seeing Further, edited by Bill Bryson, looks at the society's history. Writer Richard Holmes and outgoing society President Martin Rees discuss the institution.

Growing Snowflakes In A Bottle

December 10, 2010 9:42 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Try making your own winter wonderland. Ken Libbrecht, Caltech physicist and author of The Secret Life of a Snowflake, devised an experiment to grow a snow crystal in an old plastic bottle. Dry ice required.

Military Goes Green For An Edge On The Battlefield

December 3, 2010 8:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

The Navy is developing biofuel-burning F-18 fighter jets and hybrid-electric warships to increase energy independence. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus discusses those initiatives, and retired Army Gen. Steve Anderson talks about what he learned about energy-efficient camps while in Iraq.

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Challenge View Of How Life Works

December 3, 2010 8:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

All known life on Earth is made up mainly of six elements -- carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur and phosphorus. Felisa Wolfe-Simon talks about a strain of bacteria described in the journal Science that appears to be able to use arsenic instead of phosphorus in that mix.

Searching For Science In A Glass of Beer

December 3, 2010 8:43 am | by Science Friday Podcast Podcasts Comments

Yeast, hops, grain and water all need to combine with biology, chemistry and physics to make a great glass of beer. Charlie Bamforth, University of California, Davis professor of brewing science and author of the new book Beer Is Proof God Loves Us, offers a toast to honor the beverage.

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