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Searching For The Origins of Creativity

December 24, 2010 10:37 am Podcasts Comments

From Darwin's theory of evolution to the invention of YouTube, what factors play a role in innovation? Is there such a thing as an idea whose time has come? Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, talks about great conceptual advances and how to foster creativity.

Eggnog: Spike And Let It Sit, For Safety

December 24, 2010 10:37 am Podcasts Comments

A perennial holiday dilemma: Will alcohol kill bacteria like salmonella in homemade eggnog? Microbiologists Vincent Fischetti and Raymond Schuch, from The Rockefeller University, ran an experiment in the lab to see whether salmonella can survive in a vat of spiked eggnog.

The Man Who Turned Taxidermy Into An Art Form

December 17, 2010 10:34 am Podcasts Comments

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

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Lunar Eclipse Is A Winter Sky Highlight

December 17, 2010 10:34 am Podcasts Comments

The shadow of the Earth will pass over the moon late Monday, Dec. 20, into Tuesday morning. Meteorologist and sky watcher Joe Rao discusses the lunar eclipse, and other astronomical events to look out for this winter, including an early dawn visit by Venus on Christmas Day.

Living Without Fear

December 17, 2010 10:34 am 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 from SM and how that information might be useful.

Visions Of Energy Efficiency Danced In Their Heads

December 17, 2010 10:34 am 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 10:34 am 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.

Who's Tracking You Online?

December 17, 2010 10:34 am 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.

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

December 14, 2010 1:38 pm 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,...

Thinking About Eating May Mean Eating Less

December 10, 2010 8:35 am 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 8:35 am 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 8:35 am 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.

Teaching Computers To Be More Empathetic

December 10, 2010 8:35 am 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 8:35 am 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.

Chemistry Keeps Christmas Trees Alive, For Longer

December 10, 2010 8:34 am 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.

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