Science Friday podcast

Science Friday

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

 

#150

New Guidelines Recommend Earlier Breast Cancer Screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has [updated its recommendations] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/breast-cancer-screening-guidelines-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) for breast cancer screening once again. The recommendations now stipulate that women and people assigned female at birth should begin getting mammograms at age 40, and continue every other year until age 74. The previous guidelines recommended beginning screening at age 50. These guidelines carry a lot of weight because they determine if mammography will be considered preventive care by [health insurance ] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/breast-cancer-screening-guidelines-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and therefore covered at no cost to the patient. Why have the guidelines changed? And how are these decisions made in the first place? To answer those questions and more Ira Flatow talks with Dr. Janie Lee, director of breast imaging at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Transcript for this segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-17-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

8 hrs Ago

17 MINS

17:31

8 hrs Ago


#149

New Rule Sets Stage For Electric Grid Update | Harnessing Nanoparticles For Vaccines

Upgrades to the power grid under a new rule could help accommodate an increasing renewable energy supply and meet data center demands. Also, extremely small particles might help scientists develop vaccines that are stable at room temperature and easier to administer. New Rule Sets Stage For Electric Grid Update -------------------------------------------- The [US electric grid is straining] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/us-electric-grid-rules/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to keep up with demand. For starters, our warming climate means more electricity is needed to keep people cool. Last summer—which was the hottest on record—energy demand in the US experienced an all-time hourly peak. And even though more renewable energy is being produced, our current grid, largely built in the 1960s and 1970s, was not built to handle those needs. Increased use of AI and cryptocurrency, which require power-hungry data centers, have only increased the burden on the grid. But on Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved [new rules to upgrade the grid] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/us-electric-grid-rules/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to accommodate rising demands. The policy includes approval for the construction of new transmission lines and modification of existing transmission facilities. Casey Crownhart, climate reporter for the MIT Technology Review, joins Ira to talk about this and [other science stories of the week] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/us-electric-grid-rules/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , including how a recent ocean heatwave will impact ocean life and the upcoming hurricane season, a new self-collection test for cervical cancer, and how a tiny beetle uses audio mimicry to avoid being eaten by bats. Could Vaccines Of The Future Be Made With Nanoparticles? -------------------------------------------------------- In 2021, vaccines for COVID-19 were released, a little over a year after the SARS-CoV-2 virus triggered a global pandemic. Their remarkably short production time wasn’t the result of a rush-job, but a culmination of [decades of advancements] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/nanotechnology-vaccines/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) in infrastructure, basic science, and mRNA technology. But despite the years of innovations that allowed those vaccines to be developed and mass-produced so quickly, their delivery method—an injection—still has some drawbacks. Most injected vaccines need to be kept cold, and some require multiple trips to a pharmacy. And people with needle phobias may be reluctant to get them altogether. So what could [the vaccines of the future] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/nanotechnology-vaccines/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) look like? Dr. Balaji Narasimhan, distinguished professor and director of the Nanovaccine Institute at Iowa State University, joins Ira Flatow onstage in Ames, Iowa, to talk about how his lab is [using nanotechnology] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/nanotechnology-vaccines/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to develop the next generation of vaccines, and how they could be more effective than current vaccines in the face of the next pandemic. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-17-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) .   [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

17 May 2024

26 MINS

26:36

17 May 2024


#148

How Climate Change Is Changing Sports

Sports are a critical part of human culture just about everywhere in the world. Maybe you played little league as a kid, or like to go to the park for a game of pickup basketball, or even just cheer for your favorite team on the weekends. Unfortunately, like so many other things, climate change is taking a toll on the world of sports. It’s getting too warm for appropriate ski conditions at ski resorts. Rising temperatures put [athletes at risk of heat stroke] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/climate-change-sports-book/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Globally, sports are a trillion dollar industry, and billions of people rely on them for their jobs, fitness, and health. Guest host Sophie Bushwick talks with Dr. Madeleine Orr, sports ecologist and author of Warming Up: How Climate Change is Changing Sport, about how [our warming climate is altering how we play sports] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/climate-change-sports-book/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , and what to do about it. [Read an excerpt from Warming Up at sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/climate-change-sports-book/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-10-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

16 May 2024

17 MINS

17:46

16 May 2024


#147

Why Is Tinnitus So Hard To Understand And Treat?

[Tinnitus,] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/tinnitus-causes-and-treatment/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) a condition commonly described as a persistent ringing in the ears, affects millions of people around the world. In the US, the prevalence of tinnitus is estimated at around 11% of the population, with 2% affected by a severe form of the condition that can be debilitating. But despite it being so common, the exact causes of some tinnitus, and how best to think about treating the condition, are still unclear. In some cases, it’s brought on by exposure to loud noise, while in others, [an ear infection or even earwax can be to blame.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/tinnitus-causes-and-treatment/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Dr. Gabriel Corfas, director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the University of Michigan, joins guest host Sophie Bushwick to talk about current research into the condition and possible treatments, from regrowing nerve cells, to devices that provide electrical stimulation. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-10-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

15 May 2024

17 MINS

17:50

15 May 2024


#146

Finding Purpose In A ‘Wild Life’

Wildlife ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant has tracked bears through the mountains, lived with lions, been chased by elephants, and trekked after lemurs in a rainforest. Now, she co-hosts the renowned [nature television show] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/wild-life-book-dr-rae-wynn-grant/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.” Dr. Wynn-Grant’s new memoir, Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World, documents [her many adventures] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/wild-life-book-dr-rae-wynn-grant/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) as well as her experience navigating conservation as a Black woman and landing her dream job as a nature television host. [Read an excerpt from Wild Life here.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/black-bear-study-wild-life-book-excerpt/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-10-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

14 May 2024

17 MINS

17:59

14 May 2024


#145

Archeopteryx Specimen Unveiled | Trees And Shrubs Burying Great Plains' Prairies

The Field Museum has unveiled a new specimen of Archaeopteryx, a species that may hold the key to how ancient dinosaurs became modern birds. Also, a “green glacier” of trees and shrubs is sliding across the Great Plains, burying some of the most threatened habitat on the planet. Remarkably Well-Preserved Archeopteryx Specimen Unveiled -------------------------------------------------------- The Field Museum in Chicago just unveiled a new specimen of one of the [most important fossils ever] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/archaeopteryx-fossil-at-field-museum/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) : Archaeopteryx. It lived around 150 million years ago, and this species is famous for marking the transition from dinosaurs to birds in the tree of life. The Field Museum now has the 13th known fossil—and it may be [the best-preserved one yet] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/archaeopteryx-fossil-at-field-museum/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . So what makes this specimen so special? And what else is there to learn about Archaeopteryx? To answer these questions, guest host Sophie Bushwick talks with Dr. Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at the Field Museum, about what makes [Archaeopteryx such an icon] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/archaeopteryx-fossil-at-field-museum/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) in the world of paleontology and why they’re so excited about it. Trees And Shrubs Are Burying Prairies Of The Great Plains --------------------------------------------------------- In the Flint Hills region of Kansas, the Mushrush family is beating back a juggernaut unleashed by humans — [ a Green Glacier of trees and shrubs] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/great-plains-trees-green-glacier/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) grinding slowly across the Great Plains and burying some of the most threatened habitat on the planet. This blanket of shrublands and dense juniper woods gobbling up grassland leads to wildfires with towering flames that dwarf those generated in prairie fires. It also eats into ranchers’ livelihoods. It smothers habitat for grassland birds, prairie fish and other critters that evolved for a world that’s disappearing. It dries up streams and creeks. New research even finds that, across much of the Great Plains, the advent of trees actually [makes climate change worse] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/great-plains-trees-green-glacier/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Now a federal initiative equips landowners like Daniel Mushrush with the latest science and strategies for saving rangeland, and money to help with the work. [Read more at sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/great-plains-trees-green-glacier/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-10-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

13 May 2024

24 MINS

24:58

13 May 2024


#144

JWST Detects An Atmosphere Around A Rocky Exoplanet | Boeing Plans To Fly Humans To The ISS Next Wee...

Astronomers have confirmed they found an atmosphere around an Earth-like rocky exoplanet for the first time. Also, Boeing’s Starliner craft was scheduled to carry humans to the International Space Station in 2017. Its launch is now set for May 17, 2024. In A First, JWST Detects An Atmosphere Around A Rocky Exoplanet --------------------------------------------------------------- Earlier this week, astronomers announced they had discovered an atmosphere around a rocky Earth-like planet named [55 Cancri e,] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/jwst-exoplanet-atmpsphere/) about 40 light-years away from Earth, thanks to instruments onboard the JWST telescope. Finding an atmosphere around a rocky planet is a big step for exoplanet exploration: Earth’s atmosphere is crucial to its ability to sustain life, and astronomers need to be able to identify rocky planets that have atmospheres to search for life outside the solar system. However, 55 Cancri e is likely far too hot to have any life: Researchers estimate the surface temperature to be about 3,100 F, thanks to its close proximity to its sun and a probable magma ocean that envelops the planet. But this could also give clues to Earth’s formation, as its own surface was also once covered by lava. Jason Dinh, climate editor at Atmos, joins guest host Sophie Bushwick to talk about this and other top news in science this week, including tightening restrictions on [risky virus research in the US] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/jwst-exoplanet-atmpsphere/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , possible evidence for [a sperm whale “alphabet,”] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/jwst-exoplanet-atmpsphere/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and how environmental changes are leading to an increase in disease in humans, animals, and plants. Boeing Plans To Fly Humans To The ISS Next Week ----------------------------------------------- When NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011, the agency had to find a new way to transport astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Russia’s Soyuz program has met that need in the meantime, but NASA has wanted a more local solution. So they started awarding contracts to private US companies who could act as space taxis, including SpaceX, with its Dragon capsule, and Boeing with its [Starliner capsule] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/boeing-starliner-launch-date/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , through the United Launch Alliance (ULA). Unlike SpaceX, Boeing has yet to fly humans in its spacecraft. But it plans to do so [no earlier than next Friday] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/boeing-starliner-launch-date/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , carrying Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, NASA astronauts and former Navy pilots to the ISS. Starliner was originally supposed to launch this week, but due to issues with a pressure regulation valve on the Atlas V rocket’s upper stage, ULA had to delay the launch to replace the valve. Brendan Byrne, assistant news director at Central Florida Public Media, talks with guest host Sophie Bushwick about Boeing’s rocky road to the ISS and how NASA hopes to split the workload of ferrying astronauts between Boeing and SpaceX. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-10-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

10 May 2024

18 MINS

18:14

10 May 2024


#143

Challenging The Gender Gap In Sports Science

The first Women’s World Cup was in 1991, and the games were only 80 minutes, compared to the 90-minute games played by men. Part of the rationale was that [women just weren’t tough enough] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/evergreen-up-to-speed/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to play a full 90 minutes of soccer. This idea of women as the “weaker sex” is everywhere in early scientific studies of athletic performance. Sports science was mainly concerned with men’s abilities. Even now, most participants in sports science research are men. Luckily things are changing, and more girls and women are playing sports than ever before. There’s [a little more research about women too] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/evergreen-up-to-speed/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , as well as those who fall outside the gender binary. SciFri producer Kathleen Davis talks with Christine Yu, a health and sports journalist and author of Up To Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes, about the gender data gap in sports science. Read an excerpt of [Up to Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/evergreen-up-to-speed/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) at sciencefriday.com. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-3-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) .   [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

09 May 2024

16 MINS

16:06

09 May 2024


#142

What Martian Geology Can Teach Us About Earth

At first glance, Mars might seem rather different from our own planet. Mars is dry, with little atmosphere, and no liquid water on its surface. It is half the size of Earth, [lacks a planetary magnetic field] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/mars-geology-teaches-about-earth/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , and does not appear to have active plate tectonics or volcanic activity. In some ways it is a world frozen in time, affected only by the force of wind and the occasional meteorite impact. That [static nature] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/mars-geology-teaches-about-earth/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , however, could give scientists clues to conditions that once existed on Earth, but have been lost to the effects of plate tectonics and weathering. Ira talks with planetary geologist Dr. Valerie Payré of the University of Iowa about her research into the geology of Mars, and what it could tell scientists about early Earth. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-3-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

08 May 2024

18 MINS

18:14

08 May 2024


#141

How Louisiana Is Coping With Flooding In Cemeteries

Emily Dalfrey lives across the street from Niblett’s Bluff Cemetery, where generations of her family are buried, in Vinton, Louisiana. In 2016, a period of prolonged rainfall caused flooding so severe that people could drive boats over the cemetery. The water put so much pressure on the graves that some of the vaults, which are located near the surface, popped open. Some of Dalfrey’s own family members’ caskets were carried away and deposited in her yard. Unsure how to restore the cemetery, the community contracted Gulf Coast Forensic Solutions, a company that helps people locate and rebury loved ones after natural disasters damage cemeteries. [Read the rest of this article on sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/louisiana-flooding-cemeteries-climate-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-3-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

07 May 2024

11 MINS

11:19

07 May 2024


#140

Inside Iowa State’s Herbarium | Science-Inspired Art From ‘Universe of Art’ Listeners

The Ada Hayden Herbarium preserves hundreds of thousands of specimens, including some collected by George Washington Carver. And, as the “Universe of Art” podcast turns one, listeners discuss solar music boxes and what it’s like making art with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Inside Iowa State’s Herbarium With 700,000 Plant Specimens ---------------------------------------------------------- Herbariums are [plant libraries] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/iowa-state-plant-herbarium/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) —they contain fragile specimens of plants collected from near and far, and they are meticulously described and cataloged so that someone can reference them in the future. At Iowa State University, the Ada Hayden Herbarium contains more than 700,000 specimens, about [half of which are from Iowa] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/iowa-state-plant-herbarium/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Ira talks with herbarium’s director, Dr. Lynn Clark, and curator Deb Lewis about how plants are preserved, why herbariums are so important, and what it takes to manage a plant archive. Science-Inspired Art From Two ‘Universe of Art’ Listeners --------------------------------------------------------- Last week, we kicked off a first-anniversary celebration for Universe of Art, our science-meets-art spinoff podcast. A lot of listeners have written in since the start of the podcast, telling us about the science-inspired art they’ve made in their spare time. Last week, host D. Peterschmidt spoke with Todd Gilens, a visual designer who worked with the city of Reno, Nevada, to create a mile-long poem on the city’s sidewalks about the connections between urbanism and stream ecology. This time, we’ll meet two listeners. Craig Colorusso is a [punk rock guitarist-turned-sound artist] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/universe-of-art-listener-science-art/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) who creates public sculptures and experiences that enhance visitors’ connection to nature. Two of his projects, Sun Boxes and The Bridges At Coler, use solar panels to play reflective, calming music he composed. “You have this idea where you are in nature and you are listening to something that is powered by nature,” he said. “I think that’s perfect.” And we’ll meet a listener who prefers to go by Chris, who was an engineer and avid artist who made mosaics and crocheted before developing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). It’s a debilitating condition characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be improved by rest, and can also include brain fog, pain, and dizziness. It’s similar to what many Long COVID patients experience. Chris’ condition is considered severe, and caused her to lose the use of her hands, and thus her preferred art mediums. However, Chris could still use her left hand with a rollerball mouse and realized that she could use programs like Chaotica to create fractals that she adds to collages in Photoshop, [resulting in colorful collages] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/universe-of-art-listener-science-art/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . “They’re just beautiful and I’m doing art again and I’m so happy about it,” she said. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-3-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

06 May 2024

24 MINS

24:02

06 May 2024


#139

Science From Iowa’s Prairies | Planning To Go See Cicadas? Here’s What To Know

Science Friday is in Ames, Iowa, home to prairies, greater prairie chickens, and an array of wildlife. Also, the co-emergence of two periodical cicada broods is underway. Scientists have tips for how to experience the event. Science From Iowa’s Prairies ---------------------------- This week, SciFri is coming to you from Ames, Iowa. We’re kicking off the sciencey Iowa celebrations by spotlighting some of the [plants, animals and unique ecosystems] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/iowa-prairie-science/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) of the Hawkeye state. Ira talks with Charity Nebbe, host of the “Talk of Iowa” at Iowa Public Radio, about the state’s largest [prairie restoration project] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/iowa-prairie-science/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , the conservation of prairie chickens, and its rebounding wildlife. Planning To Go See Cicadas? Here’s What To Know ----------------------------------------------- In parts of the American South and Midwest, [two broods] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/cicada-tourism-double-brood-midwest/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) of cicadas are emerging: Brood XIX, known as the Great Southern Brood, and Brood XIII, called the Northern Illinois Brood. The dual emergence of these two particular broods is a rare event, since the Great Southern Brood emerges on a 13-year cycle and the Northern Illinois Brood emerges on a 17-year cycle. The last time they were seen together was in 1803. The two could overlap this spring in parts of Illinois and Iowa, where cicada enthusiasts will gather in parks to observe the emergence. “ [Plan] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/cicada-tourism-double-brood-midwest/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to spend an afternoon or two,” recommends entomologist Dr. Laura Iles from Iowa State University. “Here in Iowa it tends to be pretty patchy even within a park, so talk to someone, a ranger, about what path to hike on and the best places to go see them.” Ira Flatow speaks with Dr. Iles about the fascinating [life cycle of cicadas] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/cicada-tourism-double-brood-midwest/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , how best to approach cicada tourism, and why gardeners should hold off on planting new trees this year. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/may-3-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

03 May 2024

25 MINS

25:08

03 May 2024


#138

Maybe Bonobos Aren't Gentler Than Chimps | Art Meets Ecology In A Mile-Long Poem

A study found aggression between male bonobos to be more frequent than aggression between male chimpanzees. Also, visual artist Todd Gilens created a walkable poem along Reno’s Truckee River that draws parallels between urbanism and stream ecology. Bonobos Are Gentler Than Chimps? Maybe Not. ------------------------------------------- Bonobos are a species of great ape, along with gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees. Over the years, they’ve gained [a reputation as being calmer and more peaceful] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bonobos-more-aggressive-than-chimps/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) than other ape species. But recent work published in the journal Current Biology finds male bonobos may be just as aggressive as male chimpanzees, if not more so. Dr. Maud Mouginot, a postdoctoral associate in anthropology at Boston University, led [the study] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bonobos-more-aggressive-than-chimps/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , in which observers followed individual chimps and bonobos in the wild from morning to night, keeping track of all their interactions. The researchers found that bonobos engaged in 2.8 times more aggressive interactions and 3 times as many physical aggressions as the chimpanzees in the study. Dr. Mouginot joins guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross to discuss the findings, what might account for the differences in aggressiveness, and what it can teach researchers about primate behavior. Art Meets Ecology In A Mile-Long Poem ------------------------------------- One year ago this month, we launched our podcast [Universe Of Art] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/mile-long-sidewalk-poem-reno-nevada/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , which features arts-focused science stories, like the science behind “Dune” and why a group of science illustrators created an online celebration of invertebrate butts. And to our surprise, a lot of you wrote in to tell us about your own science-inspired art projects, including artist Todd Gilens. Gilens is a visual artist and designer who collaborated with the city of Reno, Nevada, to create a mile-long poem, called [“Confluence,”] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/mile-long-sidewalk-poem-reno-nevada/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) printed on the city’s sidewalks bordering the Truckee River. He was interested in how water shapes landscapes, and how urban architecture can mirror those natural processes. He later found the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, a University of California field station near Mammoth Lakes, and spent several field seasons with them to learn about stream ecology. Universe Of Art host D. Peterschmidt sat down with Todd to talk about how the poem came together and why he spent four field seasons in the Sierra Nevada with stream ecologists to create the piece. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-26-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

02 May 2024

17 MINS

17:56

02 May 2024


#137

When Products Collect Data From Your Brain, Where Does It Go?

There are products on the market that monitor your brain waves through caps or headbands: Some aim to improve mental health, sleep, or focus, while others can plunge users into virtual reality for gaming. What happens to the neural data that neurotechnology companies collect from these devices? Consumers may be accustomed to their personal data from apps and social media being sold to third parties. However, the [potential sale of brain data] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/neural-data-brain-privacy-law/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to a third party raises additional privacy concerns. There are no federal laws governing the data collected by these wearable devices. But Colorado recently became the first state in the country to pass [legislation protecting neural data] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/neural-data-brain-privacy-law/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) in consumer products. Guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross talks with Jared Genser, general counsel and co-founder of The Neurorights Foundation about the current landscape of neuro privacy. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-26-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

01 May 2024

17 MINS

17:52

01 May 2024


#136

Visualizing A Black Hole’s Flares In 3D

The words “black hole” might bring to mind an infinite darkness. But the area right around a black hole, called the accretion disk, is actually pretty bright, with matter compressing hotter and hotter into a glowing plasma as it is sucked in. And amid that maelstrom, there are even brighter areas—bursts of energy that [astronomers call flares.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/black-hole-flares-3d-model/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Scientists are trying to better understand what those flares are, and what they can tell us about the nature of black holes. This week [in the journal Nature Astronomy] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/black-hole-flares-3d-model/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , a group of researchers published a video that they say is a 3D reconstruction of the movement of flares around the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Dr. Katie Bouman, an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences, electrical engineering and astronomy at Caltech in Pasadena, California, joins guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross to talk about the research, and how computational imaging techniques can help paint a picture of things that would be difficult or impossible to see naturally. Transcripts for this segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-26-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

30 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:16

30 Apr 2024


#135

The 4,000-Year History of Humans and Silk

Silk is one of the most luxurious fabrics for clothing and bedding. Unlike cotton or linen, silk is made most commonly by insects—often the Bombyx mori, a domesticated moth that feeds on the leaves of mulberry trees. Humans have a [4,000-year history with the textile] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/history-of-silk-and-humans/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and the creatures that make it, as documented in the new book Silk: A World History. Since silk has an unconventional origin as a secretion rather than a plant product, it has unique biological qualities that make it strong and enduring. And because it’s a natural protein fiber, it’s biodegradable, so scientists think it could have a future as a [sustainable alternative to plastics] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/history-of-silk-and-humans/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and electronic parts. Guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross speaks with Dr. Aarathi Prasad, biologist and author of Silk: A World History. They discuss the ways humans have changed silk-creating creatures through domestication, future applications of the textile, and Prasad’s experience growing silkworms of her own. [Read an excerpt from Silk: A World History at sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/history-of-silk-and-humans/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-26-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

29 Apr 2024

17 MINS

17:13

29 Apr 2024


#134

Flint’s Water Crisis, 10 Years Later | Underwater Cables Could Help Detect Tsunamis

While progress has been made in replacing water pipes in Flint, many residents say they still don’t know if their tap water is clean or not. Also, scientists are adding sensors to an underwater cable network to monitor changes in the ocean and quickly detect earthquakes and tsunamis. 10 Years Later, Flint’s Water Crisis Still Isn’t Over ----------------------------------------------------- In 2014, city officials in Flint, Michigan, switched their water source to the Flint River, a move that was projected to save the city $5 million. Instead, the water [corroded the city’s lead pipes] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/flint-michigan-water-crisis-10-year/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , which led to multiple negative health impacts for local residents, including lead poisoning, and a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that resulted in a dozen deaths. Now, almost 30,000 homes and businesses have [had their water lines replaced] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/flint-michigan-water-crisis-10-year/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , but 1,900 others have still not been reviewed. The city says they’ve reached out to owners of these properties with no response and have not been able to move forward, but activists claim that the city hasn’t contacted them. Guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross is joined by Vox senior correspondent Umair Irfan to talk about [this and other top science news] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/flint-michigan-water-crisis-10-year/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) from this week, including new Long COVID trials that are underway, regulations from the EPA that require new coal and gas plants to limit 90% of their CO2 emissions, and a positive software update for Voyager 1. How Underwater Telecom Cables Could Help Detect Tsunamis -------------------------------------------------------- Deep under the sea, a wide network of cables crisscrosses the ocean floor, keeping the internet and other telecommunications online. While these cables have a big job to do, researchers want to make them even more important by giving them the ability to [detect seismic activity] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/internet-cables-tsunami-warning/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and alert those on land of a tsunami risk earlier than is currently possible. Portugal is about to be the testing ground for these new, integrated cables, with [a 3,700-kilometer cable to be installed] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/internet-cables-tsunami-warning/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) between the Iberian country and the Madeira and Azores archipelagoes. This is a fitting place to pilot this, as Lisbon was the site of a devastating 1755 earthquake and tsunami that killed tens of thousands. Joining guest host Arielle Duhaime-Ross to discuss the potential of smart cables is Dr. Bruce Howe, research professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii and chair of the United Nation’s [SMART Cables Joint Task Force] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/internet-cables-tsunami-warning/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-26-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) .    [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

26 Apr 2024

25 MINS

25:28

26 Apr 2024


#133

Fighting Banana Blight | Do Birds Sing In Their Dreams?

America’s most-consumed fruit is at risk from a fungal disease. Researchers in North Carolina are on a mission to save Cavendish bananas. Also, birds move their vocal organs while they sleep, mimicking how they sing. Scientists have translated those movements into synthetic birdsong. Fighting Banana Blight In A North Carolina Greenhouse ----------------------------------------------------- Bananas are the world’s most popular fruit. Americans eat nearly 27 pounds per person every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A deadly fungus could destroy most of the world’s crops, but a company in Research Triangle Park is trying to save the banana through gene editing. When it comes to growing bananas, RTP may not be the first place that pops in your head. But Matt DiLeo has a greenhouse full of them. DiLeo is Vice President of Research and Development at Elo Life Systems, a biotechnology firm that’s exploring how gene editing can improve fruits and vegetables. On a cloudy afternoon in early April, DiLeo opened the greenhouse door and stepped into a steamy atmosphere with a slightly floral odor. This greenhouse is packed floor to ceiling with banana trees. You’ve got to duck to keep the giant leaves from hitting your face. Some of the bananas are yellow, some are green, some are tiny and pink. DiLeo says they all share an important trait. “Many of these are naturally resistant to the TR-4 fungus,” DiLeo said. [Read the rest of the article at sciencefriday.com.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/banana-fungus-cure-north-carolina/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Do Birds Sing In Their Dreams? ------------------------------ When birds sleep, what are they dreaming about? Researchers from the University of Buenos Aires have figured out a way to tap into bird dreams. When a bird slumbers, its voice box, called the syrinx, can move in ways that are similar to when they sing while they’re awake. Essentially, birds are [silently singing in their dreams.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bird-dreams-synthetic-birdsong/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Now, researchers have figured out how to translate that vocal muscle movement into a [synthetic bird song] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bird-dreams-synthetic-birdsong/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , meaning you can listen to how birds sing in their dreams. Guest host Maggie Koerth talks with Dr. Gabriel Mindlin, professor of physics at the University of Buenos Aires about his latest [bird dream research] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bird-dreams-synthetic-birdsong/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , published in the journal Chaos. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-19-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

25 Apr 2024

19 MINS

19:02

25 Apr 2024


#132

Why Is Solving The Plastic Problem So Hard?

One of the biggest environmental issues in our modern world is plastic, which has become integral in the manufacturing of everything from electronics to furniture. Our reliance on plastic has led to a [recycling crisis:] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/plastic-problem-difficult-solutions/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) A vast amount of plastic that winds up in our recycling bins isn’t actually recyclable, and ultimately winds up in landfills. Large companies have committed to reducing plastic packaging and cutting back on waste. But there’s still no good way to scale up the removal of plastic that already exists. [Waste-eating bacteria] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/plastic-problem-difficult-solutions/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and enzymes have been shown to work in lab settings, but the scale-up process has a long road ahead. Judith Enck, former EPA regional administrator and founder of the organization Beyond Plastics, has dedicated her career to advocating for making plastics more recyclable and keeping toxic chemicals out of the manufacturing process. She joins guest host Maggie Koerth to talk about why plastics are such a difficult environmental issue to solve, and what makes her feel hopeful this Earth Day. Transcripts for this segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-19-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

24 Apr 2024

17 MINS

17:53

24 Apr 2024


#131

What Worsening Floods Mean For Superfund Sites

Superfund sites are some of the most polluted areas in the country, containing highly toxic waste such as asbestos, lead, and dioxin. Cleaning them up, which follows a systematic, science-based process as required by law, can take decades. There are [more than 1,300 of these sites across the US] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/superfund-sites-flooding-climate-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , from Florida’s Panhandle to the banks of the Rio Grande in New Mexico. They’re found in nearly every state, often near residential areas. The EPA estimates that 78 million people live within three miles of a Superfund site—nearly 1 in 4 Americans. But these waste dumps face a growing threat: the worsening effects of climate change. The EPA has determined that [more than 300 Superfund sites are at risk of flooding] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/superfund-sites-flooding-climate-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . The actual number of flood-prone sites, however, may be more than twice that amount, according to a 2021 Government Accountability Office report. Floodwaters can move toxic waste into neighboring communities, which threatens drinking water, agriculture, and broader ecosystem health. [Read more at sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/superfund-sites-flooding-climate-change/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-19-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

23 Apr 2024

17 MINS

17:52

23 Apr 2024


#130

The Global Mental Health Toll Of Climate Change | Capturing DNA From 800 Lakes In One Day

An explosion of research is painting a clearer picture of how climate change is affecting mental health across the globe. Also, a citizen science project aims to find species that have gone unnoticed by sampling the waters of hundreds of lakes worldwide for environmental DNA. Assessing The Global Mental Health Toll Of Climate Change --------------------------------------------------------- As the effects of climate change become more visible and widespread, people around the globe are dealing with the [mental health impacts.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/the-rise-of-eco-anxiety-scientists-wake-up-to-the-mental-health-toll-of-climate-change-mk-host/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) But what are those impacts exactly, and how do they differ between people in different parts of the world? That’s been the focus of a rapidly growing area of research, which is seeking to understand the psychological impacts of climate change, sometimes referred to as [“eco-anxiety.”] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/the-rise-of-eco-anxiety-scientists-wake-up-to-the-mental-health-toll-of-climate-change-mk-host/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Guest host Maggie Koerth is joined by Dr. Alison Hwong, a psychiatry fellow at University of California San Francisco, to talk about what scientists have learned about global eco-anxiety and what strategies they’ve found to reduce its more harmful effects. Citizen Scientists Will Capture DNA From 800 Lakes In One Day ------------------------------------------------------------- Taking an accurate census of the organisms in an ecosystem is a challenging task—an observer’s eyes and ears can’t be everywhere. But a new project aims to harness the growing field of environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect species that might escape even the most intrepid ecologists. In the project, volunteers plan to [take samples from some 800 lakes] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/citizen-science-edna-global-lakes/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) around the world on or around May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity. Those samples will then be sent back to a lab in Zurich, Switzerland, where they’ll be analyzed for the [tiny traces of DNA that organisms leave behind] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/citizen-science-edna-global-lakes/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) in the environment. Dr. Kristy Deiner, organizer of the effort, hopes that just as lakes collect water from many streams across an area, they’ll also collect those eDNA traces—allowing researchers to paint a picture of the species living across a large area. She talks with SciFri’s John Dankosky about the project, and how [this type of citizen science] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/citizen-science-edna-global-lakes/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) can aid the research community. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-19-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

22 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:09

22 Apr 2024


#129

Clean Energy Transition Progress | Avian Flu In Cattle And Humans Has Scientists Concerned

Global temperature increases are slowing, electric vehicle sales are growing, and renewable energy is now cheaper than some fossil fuels. Also, in a recent outbreak of avian flu, the virus has jumped from birds to cows, and to one dairy worker. A disease ecologist provides context. Progress Toward A Clean Energy Transition ----------------------------------------- In honor of Earth Day, we’re highlighting a few positive trends and some promising solutions to the climate crisis. Globally, a clean energy transition is underway. A recent column in cipher, an online news outlet focused on climate solutions, recapped some encouraging progress, including a rise in electric car sales, a drop in the cost of renewable energy, and a [slowing of global temperature increases.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/clean-energy-transition-progress/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) SciFri’s John Dankosky is joined by Casey Crownhart, climate reporter at MIT Technology Review, to talk through some climate solutions news and other top science stories of the week, including a record year for wind energy, a proposal to swap out power lines to increase grid capacity, and hibernating bumble bees who can live for a week underwater. Why Avian Flu In Cattle And Humans Has Scientists Concerned ----------------------------------------------------------- During the last few weeks, you may have heard about an ongoing outbreak of avian flu in which the virus has jumped from wild birds and poultry to cattle in eight states, and now to one dairy worker. While [transmission to cattle and humans is new] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bird-flu-outbreak-cows-and-humans/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , [avian flu has been spreading] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/bird-flu-outbreak-cows-and-humans/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) and decimating wild bird populations for years, and has led to many farmers to “depopulate” their poultry stock to contain the spread of the deadly virus, with limited success. Guest host Maggie Koerth is joined by Dr. Nichola Hill, assistant professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, to talk about how devastating this virus has been to birds across the world, why the jump from birds to mammals is making virologists anxious, and how concerned the rest of us should be. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-19-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

19 Apr 2024

25 MINS

25:12

19 Apr 2024


#128

A Cheer For The Physics Of Baseball

College basketball’s March Madness concluded this week, meaning that now the national sports attention can turn fully to baseball. The next time you’re at the ballpark—whether you’re devoted enough to fill in the box scores by hand, or are just there for the peanuts and crackerjacks—take some time to appreciate the [physics of the game.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/physics-of-baseball/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) There are tricky trajectories, problems of parabolas, converging velocities, and the all-important impacts. Dr. Frederic Bertley, the president and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, joins Ira to talk about the science of sports, and about how [sports can be a gateway to scientific literacy.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/physics-of-baseball/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-12-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

18 Apr 2024

17 MINS

17:37

18 Apr 2024


#127

Carbon Cost Of Urban Gardens And Commercial Farms | Why There's No Superbloom This Year

Some food has a larger carbon footprint when grown in urban settings than on commercial farms, while for other foods the reverse is true. Also, what’s the difference between wildflowers blooming in the desert each spring, and the rare phenomenon of a “superbloom”? The Carbon Cost Of Urban Gardens And Commercial Farms ----------------------------------------------------- If you have a home garden, you may be expecting that [the food you grow has less of an environmental impact] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/urban-farms-carbon-footprint/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) than food grown on large commercial farms. But new research throws some cold water on that idea. A study led by scientists at the University of Michigan examined 73 small urban gardening sites across the U.S., the U.K., France, Poland, and Germany, and found that [food grown in urban settings produced six times more carbon emissions] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/urban-farms-carbon-footprint/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) per serving than commercially grown food. The bulk of these emissions (63%) came from the building materials used for items like raised garden beds. However, there are some foods that have a smaller carbon footprint when grown at home. They include crops like tomatoes and asparagus, which sometimes need to be flown long distances or require power-hungry greenhouses when grown commercially. Jason Hawes, PhD candidate in the School for Environment and Sustainability at University of Michigan and lead author of the study which was published in Nature Cities, breaks down the results of the research with Ira. They talk about how urban farmers have responded to the findings, the positive social benefits of community gardens, and [what home gardeners can do] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/urban-farms-carbon-footprint/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) to lessen their carbon footprint. Why There Won’t Be A Superbloom This Year ----------------------------------------- In California, wildflowers are in bloom. Last year, [there was a superbloom] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/superbloom-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Though there’s no official criteria, a superbloom is when there is an above average number of wildflowers blooming, mostly in desert regions of California and Arizona. It’s an explosion of color in regions that typically have sparse vegetation. About a month ago, a few news articles hinted that maybe, just maybe, we were in for another superbloom year. Turns out we’re not. [Who decides when there’s a superbloom anyway?] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/superbloom-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) And why did this year turn out not to be a superbloom after all? To answer those questions and provide an update on the state of California’s wildflowers, SciFri producer Kathleen Davis talks with Dr. Naomi Fraga, director of conservation programs at the California Botanic Garden, and research assistant professor at Claremont Graduate University. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-12-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

17 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:51

17 Apr 2024


#126

Inside The Race To Save Honeybees From Parasitic Mites

Last year, almost half of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died, making it the second deadliest year for honeybees on record. The main culprit wasn’t climate change, starvation, or even pesticides, but a parasite: [Varroa destructor.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/honeybees-parasitic-mites/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) “The name for this parasite is a very Transformer-y sounding name, but … these Varroa destructor mites have earned this name. It’s not melodramatic by any means. [They are] incredibly destructive organisms,” says [Dr. Sammy Ramsey] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/honeybees-parasitic-mites/) , entomologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. These tiny mites feed on the bees and make them susceptible to other threats like diseases and pesticides. They’re also highly contagious: They arrived in the US in 1987, and now they live in almost every honeybee colony in the country. Honeybees pollinate many important crops, like apples, peaches, and berries, and their pollinator services add up to billions of dollars. Ramsey and his lab are trying to put an end to the varroa mites’ spree. Part of their research includes spying on baby bees and their accompanying mites to learn how the parasites feed on the bees and whether there’s a way to disrupt that process. In Boulder, Colorado, SciFri producer Rasha Aridi speaks with Dr. Ramsey and fellow entomologist Dr. Madison Sankovitz about how the varroa mites terrorize bees so effectively, and what it would take to get ahead of them. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-12-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

16 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:09

16 Apr 2024


#125

The Brain’s Glial Cells Might Be As Important As Neurons

Half of the cells in the brain are neurons, [the other half are glial cells] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/glial-cells-important-as-neurons/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . When scientists first discovered glia over a century ago, they thought that they simply held the neurons together. Their name derives from a Greek word that means glue. In the past decade, researchers have come to understand that [glial cells do so much more] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/glial-cells-important-as-neurons/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) : They communicate with neurons and work closely with the immune system and might be critical in how we experience pain. They even play an important role in regulating the digestive tract. Ira is joined by Yasemin Saplakoglu, a staff writer at Quanta Magazine who has reported on these lesser-known cells. Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [ sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-12-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

15 Apr 2024

15 MINS

15:50

15 Apr 2024


#124

Limits On ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water | An Important Winter Home For Bugs | Eclipse Drumro...

A long-awaited rule from the EPA limits the amounts of six PFAS chemicals allowed in public drinking water supplies. Also, some spiders, beetles, and centipedes spend winter under snow in a layer called the subnivium. Plus, a drumroll for the total solar eclipse. EPA Sets Limits On ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water -------------------------------------------------------- This week, the EPA finalized the first-ever national limits for the level of [PFAS chemicals] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) that are acceptable in drinking water supplies. Those so-called “forever chemicals,” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have long been used in products like fire retardants and oil-and water-repellent coatings, and are now ubiquitous in the global environment. Water treatment plants will now have to test and treat for several varieties of the chemicals, which have been linked to [a variety of health problems in people.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Sophie Bushwick, senior news editor at New Scientist, joins SciFri producer Kathleen Davis to talk about the rule and its potential impact on water agencies. They’ll also talk about other stories from the week in science, including research into [a new vaccine against urinary tract infections] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , theories that extend the multiverse into a [many-more-worlds interpretation] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , the passing of particle physicist [Peter Higgs] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , and a new front in the war on pest rats: [rodent contraceptives.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/pfas-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Where Snowpack Meets Soil: An Important Winter Home For Bugs ------------------------------------------------------------ When winter rolls around and snow piles up, many insects head down to a small layer called the [subnivium] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/insect-ecosystem-between-snow-and-soil/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) for the season.. This space, between snowpack and soil, shelters small insects, amphibians,and mammals from freezing temperatures. Arthropods as a whole are understudied, says Chris Ziadeh, graduate of the University of New Hampshire and lead author of [a recent study] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/insect-ecosystem-between-snow-and-soil/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) about the distinct communities that live in the subnivium. Better understanding which creatures call the subnivium home in the winter, as well as their behavior, could help us conserve them as the climate warms. Guest host Kathleen Davis talks to Ziadeh about winter arthropod activity, species diversity, and why we should all care about protecting insects in our communities. Drumroll Please! A Performance For The Solar Eclipse ---------------------------------------------------- People found all manner of ways to celebrate the solar eclipse that happened earlier this week, but one Science Friday listener found a particularly [musical way to take in the experience.] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/solar-eclipse-drumroll/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) Matt Kurtz, a sound artist and musician based in Akron, Ohio, realized his town would be in the path of totality for the April 8 eclipse. So with some funding from Akron Soul Train, a local artist residency, he put together a percussion section (complete with a gong) to perform a drumroll and build suspense up until the moment of totality. They performed in Chestnut Ridge Park to a crowd of onlookers. “When you hear a [drumroll], it forces you to be like, something’s about to happen,” he said in an interview. “It’s a way to pay attention.” As the gong rang out and the crowd cheered, Kurtz put down his sticks and experienced his first solar eclipse totality. “It was a release,” he said. “I had a couple minutes of peace where I got to look at the stars and feel where all this work went to.” Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-12-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

12 Apr 2024

25 MINS

25:43

12 Apr 2024


#123

Investigating Animal Deaths At The National Zoo

When a critter meets its end at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, it ends up on a [necropsy table] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/zoo-animal-deaths/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) —where one of the zoo’s veterinary pathologists will take a very close look at it, in what is the animal version of an autopsy. They’ll poke and prod, searching for clues about the animal’s health. What they do—or don’t—find [can be used to improve the care of living animals,] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/zoo-animal-deaths/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) both in the zoo and in the wild. On stage in Washington, D.C., Ira talks with Dr. Kali Holder, veterinary pathologist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, about her work, and they embark on a case of CSI: Zoo. Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-5-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

11 Apr 2024

17 MINS

17:41

11 Apr 2024


#122

Eating More Oysters Helps Us—And The Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay produces around [500 million pounds of seafood] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/chesapeake-bay-oyster-aquaculture/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) every year, providing delicious blue crabs, striped bass, oysters, and more to folks up and down the coast. It’s one of the most productive bodies of water in the world, but the bay is constantly in flux due to stressors like overfishing, pollution, and climate change. But scientists have [a plan to conserve the bay’s biodiversity] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/chesapeake-bay-oyster-aquaculture/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , support the people who rely on it, and keep us all well fed—and it involves oyster farming. On stage in Washington, D.C., Ira talks with Imani Black, aquaculturist, grad student at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and founder of the nonprofit Minorities in Aquaculture, as well as Dr. Tara Scully, biologist and associate professor at George Washington University. They discuss the bay’s history, the importance of aquaculture, and how [food production and conservation go hand in hand] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/chesapeake-bay-oyster-aquaculture/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . Transcripts for each segment will be available after the show airs on [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-5-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

10 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:37

10 Apr 2024


#121

How Trees Keep D.C. And Baltimore Cool

Springtime is a great reminder of just how beautiful trees can be. Cherry blossoms and magnolias put on a gorgeous show, but trees aren’t just there to look good. They play an important role in [absorbing heat] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/dc-baltimore-trees/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) , sequestering carbon dioxide, and preventing soil erosion. Dr. Mike Alonzo, assistant professor of environmental science at American University, is using satellites to determine just how effective urban trees are at keeping neighborhoods cool. He’s been able to track changes to the tree canopy over time, and identify when during the day trees do their best cooling work. In Baltimore, Ryan Alston with the Baltimore Tree Trust has been working with the community to help residents understand the importance of planting trees. The city has a [history of redlining] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/dc-baltimore-trees/) , which affected the number of big trees in historically Black neighborhoods, leading to major differences in how hot certain neighborhoods get in the summer. Alonzo and Alston join Ira Flatow live on stage at George Washington University to discuss the power of urban trees. The transcript for this segment will be available the week after the show airs on  [sciencefriday.com] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/april-5-2024/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . [Subscribe to this podcast.] (https://pod.link/73329284) Plus, to stay updated on all things science, [sign up for Science Friday's newsletters] (https://www.sciencefriday.com/newsletters/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=scifri) . ... Read more

09 Apr 2024

12 MINS

12:57

09 Apr 2024