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Geek Your Father's Day

June 18, 2010 4:38 pm | Comments

This Sunday, forget the BBQ and try constructing a balloon-powered sky-cam or folding some electronic origami. Ken Denmead, author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share, describes projects for science enthusiasts of all ages.

In Afghanistan, High-Tech Tools Replace The Hammer

June 18, 2010 4:38 pm | Comments

Geology surveys in Afghanistan don't just rely on the trusty map and hammer. John Brozena of the Naval Research Laboratory discusses how geologists there have mapped mineral deposits from planes carrying various sorts of cameras as well as gravity and magnetic sensors.

Can The Gulf Spill Push Americans To Rethink Oil?

June 18, 2010 4:38 pm | Comments

In The Fate of Nature, former Anchorage Daily News reporter Charles Wohlforth writes that cleaning up oil spills is impossible, saying they're merely the cost of doing business. But how much destruction will it take to persuade Americans to embrace energy alternatives?

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New Film Investigates 'Fracking' For Natural Gas

June 18, 2010 4:37 pm | Comments

The natural gas industry says hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," could supply the U.S. with domestic energy for almost 100 years. But environmentalists are worried it may not be safe. Josh Fox, the director of the new documentary Gasland, talks about the potential dangers of fracking.

Science Diction: How 'X-Ray' Got Its 'X'

June 18, 2010 4:37 pm | Comments

Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, discusses how the German physicist William Roentgen stumbled across the phenomenon of X-rays while playing with a cathode tube in his lab, and why Roentgen gave the electromagnetic beams the name "X-rays."

Futures in Biotech 61: One Heart Beat Away

June 15, 2010 12:41 am | Comments

Host: Marc Pelletier Tackling problems of the heart with biotechnology. Guest: Julian Stelzer, Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes. Comments and suggestions on Futures in Biotech. For a...

Distant Chemistry Sparks Thoughts Of Life

June 11, 2010 3:39 pm | Comments

Researchers studying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere around Saturn's moon Titan have detected imbalances that, some say, could be signs of life. Jonathan Lunine, a scientist on the Cassini mission to Saturn, says it's too soon to plan a solar-system-wide block party.

Research Tries To Lessen Food Allergies' Bite

June 11, 2010 3:39 pm | Comments

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found flaws in how food allergies -- abnormal responses to foods triggered by the body's immune system -- are diagnosed. New guidelines on dealing with food allergies are scheduled for publication this fall.

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Scientists Forever Blowing Bubbles

June 11, 2010 3:39 pm | Comments

James Bird estimates that he watched thousands of bubbles pop while he was getting his doctorate at Harvard University. With the help of high-speed cameras, he and his colleagues discovered that bubbles birth baby bubbles when they burst, with implications ranging from hot tubs to global climate.

Does Multitasking Lead To A More Productive Brain?

June 11, 2010 3:39 pm | Comments

Multitasking is a trademark of modern office work, but is it really more productive? Research suggests the brain is actually more efficient when focusing on one task at a time. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the benefits and drawbacks of multitasking, and ways to limit distractions.

Brains, Like Red Wine, Get Better With Age

June 11, 2010 3:39 pm | Comments

In The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind, New York Times health and medical science editor Barbara Strauch writes about ways the brain actually improves with age, and discusses what recent studies say about keeping the brain in tip-top shape.

Man Meets Animal In The New Film <em>Splice</em>

June 4, 2010 2:43 pm | Comments

Human-animal hybrids have been a part of mythology for millennia. But what if it were actually possible to create half-human creatures in the lab? Vincenzo Natali, director and screenwriter of the science fiction film Splice, talks about the ethics of splicing human and animal DNA.

Will Breast Cancer Ever Be Preventable?

June 4, 2010 2:43 pm | Comments

Two research papers out this week tackle breast cancer prevention. A study in Nature Medicine describes a possible cancer vaccine; the other, in The Lancet, looks at the influence of lifestyle on genes. Immunologist Vincent Tuohy and oncologist Cliff Hudis explain the work.

Strikingly Little Is Known About Lightning

June 4, 2010 2:43 pm | Comments

For as common as lightning is, scientists have yet to completely understand what causes it. Physicist and lightning researcher Joseph Dwyer is learning more about lightning by causing lightning strikes and recording the X-rays and gamma rays that the lightning produces.

Oil Spill: Can Science Clean Up This Mess?

June 4, 2010 2:43 pm | Comments

After a string of engineering failures, the most consistent mitigation strategy for the oil spill has been dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of potentially toxic dispersant into the Gulf. Ira Flatow and guests discuss whether scientists should be able to provide better solutions.

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