Two Cold Winters Don't Make A Climate Trend

January 28, 2011 10:41 am Podcasts Comments

The polar vortex, a jet stream swirling around the north pole, has weakened the past two winters, allowing plumes of cold air to slip south. But to most climatologists, two years don't make a trend. Atmospheric scientist John Wallace talks about why he is cautious about linking weird...

Privacy At Stake As Sites Track Online Preferences

January 28, 2011 10:41 am Podcasts Comments

Sites like, which provide a service to users by shortening URLs, also get something in return — users' browsing preferences.'s Hilary Mason talks about the services sites hope to provide by collecting such data, and the trade-off of less privacy for a more customized online experience.

Twitter, Facebook As Political Tools In Arab World

January 28, 2011 10:41 am Podcasts Comments

Tunisian and Egyptian political activists used Facebook and Twitter to organize protests and publicize breaking news. Harvard's Jillian York discusses the use of social media platforms for digital activism, and cases in which governments have blocked the services or compromised user privacy.


Science Diction: The Origin Of 'Physician'

January 28, 2011 10:41 am Podcasts Comments

In the 13th century, Anglo-Normans appropriated the French physique, or remedy, to coin the English physic, or medicine, which is still in dictionaries today. Science historian Howard Markel discusses how physic became physician, and the parallel evolution of the word physics.

An Earlier Departure Out Of Africa?

January 28, 2011 10:41 am Podcasts Comments

A cache of stone tools found in the United Arab Emirates suggests that modern humans may have left Africa earlier — and via a different route — than previously thought. Anthropologist Will Harcourt-Smith describes the finding and how it may change thinking on human origins.

Assessing The Health Of The Gulf, Post-Spill

January 21, 2011 8:42 am Podcasts Comments

The Macondo spill was just the latest insult to a Gulf Coast already suffering from decades of oil and gas development, river diversions and Hurricane Katrina. Ira Flatow and guests discuss long-term restoration plans for Gulf wetlands and wildlife, and the oil's impact on human health.

Young Filmmakers Make Litter Scary

January 21, 2011 8:42 am Podcasts Comments

In the style of a 1950s horror film, Esteban Valencia, Eduardo Hernandez and Randi Levey, students from Miami Beach Senior High, created a cautionary tale about trashing the beach. The video, Garbage Monsters, got top honors in the Oceans 2030: Youth Outlook Multimedia Contest.

Changing Climate Means Changing Oceans

January 21, 2011 8:42 am Podcasts Comments

Scientists who study the oceans say the effects of climate change are already being seen in the world's oceans. From acidification and warming temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice loss, Ira Flatow and guests look at how the oceans are changing with changes in climate.


Futures in Biotech 74: Cancer and Aging: Rival Demons with Dr. Judith Campisi

January 15, 2011 10:40 am Podcasts Comments

Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Simon Melov Seeking to better understand how cellular senescence contributes to the pathophysiology of aging. Guest: Dr. Judith Campisi, Ph.D., professor at the Buck Institute. We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes. Comments and suggestions on...

Visual Biography Explores Love And Radium

January 14, 2011 8:46 am Podcasts Comments

The story of Marie and Pierre Curie is one of love, scientific partnership, and one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. Artist and author Lauren Redniss discusses her new book, Radioactive, an illustrated biography of the pair and a look at their complicated legacy.

Following A Wandering North Pole

January 14, 2011 8:45 am Podcasts Comments

The location of the magnetic North Pole is moving towards Siberia at about 40 miles per year -- and every few hundred thousand years, the north and south poles switch positions entirely. Geophysicist Ronald Merrill explains what's known about the inner workings of the Earth's magnetic field.

Adding Smarts To The Electrical Grid

January 14, 2011 8:45 am Podcasts Comments

The nation's electrical distribution system has been getting less reliable over time, according to an article by electrical engineering professor Massoud Amin. How dependable is our electrical infrastructure, and will plans for a more intelligent 'smart grid' improve its reliability?

New Fossil From The Dawn Of Dinosaurs

January 14, 2011 8:45 am Podcasts Comments

Reporting in the journal Science, Paul Sereno, Ricardo Martinez and colleagues describe Eodromaeus murphi. This dinosaur was four feet long, fifteen pounds and lived 230 million years ago, just a few million years after dinosaurs first evolved.

What Does '4G' Really Mean, Anyway?

January 14, 2011 8:45 am Podcasts Comments

Mobile phone companies are rolling out faster wireless data networks with names like LTE, WiMax and HSPA+, marketing them all under the name '4G.' But are they really much faster than 3G? Engadget senior mobile editor Chris Ziegler talks about how the new networks measure up.

Tracking Carbon Through Your Gut And Beyond

January 14, 2011 8:45 am Podcasts Comments

In a recent survey, many college students said body fat is "burned off." Few knew that gym-goers actually break down fat molecules into carbon dioxide and water, extracting energy in the process. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the basics of energy, matter and the carbon cycle.


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