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Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.
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New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


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Episodes

Volume Control, Dermatology In Skin Of Color, Kelp Decline. Nov 15, 2019, Part 2

11/15/2019
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Dermatologists presented with a new patient have a number of symptoms to look at in order to diagnose. Does the patient have a rash, bumps, or scaling skin? Is there redness, inflammation, or ulceration? For rare conditions a doctor may have never seen in person before, it’s likely that they were trained on photos of the conditions—or can turn to colleagues who may themselves have photos. But in people with darker, melanin-rich skin, the same skin conditions can look drastically different,...

Duration:00:50:15

EPA Transparency Proposal, Tick Milking. Nov 15, 2019, Part 1

11/15/2019
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This week, a House Committee held a hearing to review an Environmental Protection Agency proposal called ‘Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.’ The proposal would require researchers to disclose underlying data—which could include private medical and health information—for any scientific studies that the agency would use in determining environmental regulations. Science reporter Lisa Friedman from the New York Times discusses how this proposal could be used to weaken regulations...

Duration:00:50:16

SciFri Extra: Add A Dash Of Science To Your Thanksgiving Recipes

11/13/2019
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This Thanksgiving, put your cooking skills to the test. Looking for tips to avoid singed sweet potatoes, acrid apple pies, and a burned bird? In this 2016 conversation from the SciFri archive, Molly Birnbaum and Dan Souza from Cook’s Science help us understand the science behind favorite Thanksgiving recipes so you can avoid food failures, and get the most out of your roast and side dishes.

Duration:00:23:56

Infant Formula, AI Weirdness, Venus Fly Traps. Nov. 8, 2019, Part 2

11/8/2019
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Would you feel comfortable consuming a product that listed “whey protein concentrate” and “corn maltodextrin” on its list of ingredients? What about feeding it to your baby? Most of the ingredients found in baby formula are actually just carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and are perfectly safe—and necessary—for infant health. But this inscrutable list of ingredients is one reason why many parents are opting to buy European formula for their little ones. Word is spreading around parenting...

Duration:00:50:32

Biomedical Espionage, Einstein’s Eclipse, Transit Of Mercury. Nov. 8, 2019, Part 1

11/8/2019
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The FBI, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other agencies who oversee federal research grants are currently asking if the open culture of science in the U.S. is inviting other countries to steal it. The FBI has been warning since 2016 that researchers could be potentially sending confidential research, and even biological samples, to other countries. On Monday, a report in the New York Times outlined the scale of ongoing investigations: nearly 200 cases of potential intellectual...

Duration:00:50:35

Moths, Alan Alda, Graveyard Lichens. Nov 1, 2019, Part 2

11/1/2019
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There are over 160,000 species of moths worldwide, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. For example, the Comet Moth, native to the rainforests of Madagascar, boasts vibrant red and yellow patterned wings, feathery antennae, and long swapping tails, thought to useful for distracting its bat predators. By comparison, most common North American moths seem boring and dull. While their butterfly relatives flit about the garden in daylight, moths are often found lurking around outside...

Duration:00:50:42

PFAS Lawsuit, Bat Disease. Nov 1, 2019, Part 1

11/1/2019
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Eighteen years ago, a lawyer named Robert Bilott sent a letter to the EPA, the attorney general, and other regulators, warning them about a chemical called PFOA, short for perfluorooctanoic acid. Outside of the companies that made and used PFOA, most people had never heard of it. But E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, better known as DuPont, had been using PFOA to make Teflon since the early 1950s. In the course of a lawsuit against the chemical corporation, Bilott had uncovered a trove...

Duration:00:50:34

“Black Software” Book, Mucus. Oct 25, 2019, Part 2

10/25/2019
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When the World Wide Web was first being developed, African American software engineers, journalists and entrepreneurs were building search engines, directories, and forums to connect and bring on black web users and communities. In his book Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, Charlton McIlwain tells the stories of these individuals. McIlwain also discusses the role these technologies can play in racial justice including how digital data...

Duration:00:49:10

Spiders, Quantum Supremacy, Missouri Runoff. Oct 25, 2019, Part 1

10/25/2019
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Spiders were one of the first animals to evolve on land. And over the span of 400 million years of speciation and evolution, they’ve learned some amazing tricks. One of their trademarks? The strong, sticky substance that we call silk—every spider produces it, whether for weaving webs, wrapping prey, or even leaving trails on the ground for potential mates. But every silk is unique, each with different chemistry and different physical properties. Even a single spider web may use multiple...

Duration:00:50:39

Policing And Mental Health, Ancient Clams, Moon Plan. Oct. 18, 2019, Part 2

10/18/2019
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In the 1980s and 1990s, in the midst of rising crime rates and a nationally waning confidence in policing, law enforcement around the country adopted a different approach to addressing crime. Instead of just reacting to crime when it happened, officers decided they’d try to prevent it from happening in the first place, employing things like “hot spots” policing and “stop and frisk,” or “terry stops.” The strategy is what criminologists call proactive policing, and it’s now become widely used...

Duration:00:49:33

Degrees Of Change: Climate Change Migration. Oct. 18, 2019, Part 1

10/18/2019
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When the water rises, whether from heavy rains or rising seas, communities have a few options: reinforce flood-threatened homes, rebuild after the water recedes, or—in places where the threat of repeated floods and even more damage is increasing—leave. And while leaving may feel synonymous with defeat, more cities and states are interested in encouraging people to leave risky floodplains—a process called managed retreat. FEMA offers a buyout program that usually involves offering homeowners...

Duration:00:50:33

Office Air Pollution, Tetris Decisions, Alzheimer's Update. Oct 11, 2019, Part 2

10/11/2019
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If you live and work in an urban area, you might think about the air quality outside your home or workplace. But what about the air quality inside the office? It turns out that on average, indoor environments have higher concentrations of potentially harmful substances, such as aerosols and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While past research has focused on chemical emissions from building materials, cleaning supplies, and even furniture, air pollution researchers are increasingly looking...

Duration:00:47:36

Trust In Science, California Power Outages, Regrowing Cartilage. Oct 11, 2019, Part 1

10/11/2019
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Despite widely reported attacks on science, the vast majority of Americans continue to trust scientists, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center. Many listeners of Science Friday might take it as a given that we should trust science, but is that trust well-founded? Naomi Oreskes, history of science professor at Harvard University, argues that we should. In her new book, Why Trust Science?, she explains how science works and what makes it trustworthy. (Hint: it’s not the...

Duration:00:48:40

Bread Baking Science And Denial In Climate Report. Oct 4, 2019, Part 2

10/4/2019
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Flour, salt, yeast and water are the basic ingredients in bread that can be transformed into a crusty baguette or a pillowy naan. But what happens when you get a sticky sourdough or brick-like brioche? Chef Francisco Migoya of Modernist Cuisine breaks down the science behind the perfect loaf. He talks about how gluten-free flours affect bread structure, the effects of altitude and humidity on dough and how to keep your sourdough starter happy. Plus, amateur baker and “Father of the Xbox”...

Duration:00:49:22

Data-Collecting Smart TVs, Microbiome Cooking, Cannabis Pollution. Oct 4, 2019, Part 1

10/4/2019
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Today, it’s much easier to find smart TVs on the market. Companies like Vizio and Samsung create devices capable of internet connection and with built-in apps that let you quickly access your favorite streaming services. But that convenience comes with a hidden cost—one you pay for with your data. Smart TVs have joined the list of internet connected devices looking to harvest your data. They can track what shows you watch, then use that data to deliver targeted ads, just like Facebook. Not...

Duration:00:50:49

Bitters And Botany, Whale Evolution. Sept 27, 2019, Part 2

9/27/2019
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Can conservation be concocted in your cocktails? Yes, according to the botanist authors of Botany at the Bar, a new book about making your own bitters—those complex flavor extracts used to season a Manhattan or old-fashioned. They experiment with an array of novel recipes using underappreciated plants found around the world, from tree resin, to osha root, to numbing Szechuan peppercorns. Ira talks to ethnobotanist Selena Ahmed and plant geneticist Ashley DuVal about their recipes, how you...

Duration:00:48:51

Oceans And Climate, Quantum Mechanics. Sept 27, 2019, Part 1

9/27/2019
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A new report issued this week by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change paints a troubling picture of the world’s ice and oceans. The ocean effects of climate change, from warming waters to ocean acidification to sea level rise, are already altering the weather, fisheries, and coastal communities. The authors of the report state that the ocean has already taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system since 1970, the surface is becoming more acidic, and oxygen is...

Duration:00:49:18

Bird Populations In Decline, Real Life Sci-Fi Disasters, Brain Wiring. Sept 20, 2019, Part 2

9/20/2019
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There may be almost 3 billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970, according to a study published this week in the journal Science. The decline over time works out to a loss of about one in 4 birds. However, the decline does not appear to be evenly distributed. Then, journalist Mike Pearl investigates what the world would look like after technology breakdowns, a real-life Jurassic Park, and other sci-fi doomsday scenarios in his book, The Day It Finally...

Duration:00:48:21

Degrees Of Change: Climate And Fashion. Sept 20, 2019, Part 1

9/20/2019
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Climate change has been trending in the news recently—and if there’s one industry out there that knows something about trends, it’s the fashion industry. Long known for churning out cheap garments and burning through resources, some fashion labels like fast fashion giant H&M are now embracing sustainable fashion trends. But can this industry—which is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions—really shed its wasteful business model in favor of one with a lower carbon footprint? Marc Bain,...

Duration:00:50:20

The Center Of The Milky Way, Rats At Play, And Geometry. Sept 13, 2019, Part 2

9/13/2019
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The Greek mathematician Euclid imagined an ordered and methodical universe, but his vision struggled to catch on for centuries, until Renaissance painters and French monarchs found a way connect the ancient science of geometry to the real world. Science historian Amir Alexander joins Ira to share the story of geometry’s rising global influence in his new book Proof!: How The World Became Geometrical. Plus, a million years ago, the black hole at the center of our galaxy burped. Now,...

Duration:00:50:09