Science & Environment

Krulwich Wonders...
12:56 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Comparing Sperm Whales To Sperm: A Swimming Contest

Brad Purnell YouTube

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:40 pm

If you're a big, big whale with a gigantic tail swimming through water, nothing gets in your way, not the water, not the other fish, not nothin'. You are so much bigger than the water molecules around you, you move through the sea the way humans move through the air on a calm day — you just go. Whales, I imagine, don't think much about water.

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Humans
12:37 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

'Countdown' Explores the Effects of Our Overpopulated Planet

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:08 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. According to the population institute, it took only 14 years, from 1999 to today, for the global population to increase by one billion people, just 14 years. Every four and a half days we add another million people. That's adding a city the size of Dallas. Is this sustainable? Can the population of the Earth continue to grow and still supply the people on it with the raw essentials they need, like food, housing, shelter?

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Technology
12:28 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Cracking Open Encryption Standards

Recent revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance have put even the standards by which encryption systems are designed into question. Encryption experts Matthew Green, Phillip Zimmerman, and Martin Hellman discuss what makes a code secure and the limits of privacy in the modern age.

Science
12:18 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

With Government Shut Down, Science Idles

As the budgetary stalemate in Washington continues, many federally funded science projects are now on hold. Matthew Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Science describes some of the effects of the funding impasse on research programs, from the CDC to NASA.

Space
12:18 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Sifting Martian Soil and Dreaming of Future Expeditions

Soil collected last year by the Mars rover Curiosity may contain two percent water, researchers report. Laurie Leshin of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute describes what else the rover is finding in the soil, and what that information might mean for future expeditions to Mars.

Shots - Health News
11:48 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Despite Many Warnings, Antibiotics Are Still Overprescribed

Unless it's strep throat, antibiotics are unlikely to help you get over a sore throat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:25 pm

We've known for years that antibiotics don't help in most cases of bronchitis or sore throat. And for decades, public health officials have tried to stop doctors from overprescribing antibiotics.

None of that seems to have made a difference, though: Antibiotics are still being prescribed when they don't help — and could hurt, a study says.

Primary care and emergency room doctors are prescribing antibiotics for a sore throat about 60 percent of the time, according to national health surveys between 1997 and 2010.

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StoryCorps
5:16 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Out Of The Rat Race: Lucky Rodents Find Their Own 'Taj Mahal'

Dawn and Don Burke opened a rat sanctuary, The Rat Retreat, in their home in Boise, Idaho. Most people don't realize what affectionate pets rats can be, Dawn says.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 11:12 am

Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.

From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.

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Research News
5:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Open-Access Journals Hit By Journalist's Sting

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Publication is the coin of the realm for scientists. It's how they make their careers.

GREENE: Traditionally, it's been hard to get research published at least until the last decade and explosion of open-access journals online.

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Shots - Health News
6:37 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee

You could do all that brain work. Or you could make it up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:34 am

Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.

That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).

The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Shutdown Quiets NASA, So Space Station Astronauts Enjoy View

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 5:20 pm

Of all the government agencies, NASA is among the hardest hit by the government shutdown. As of Oct. 1, nearly all of its employees have been told to pack up and head home.

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