Science Friday

Friday 2 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow hosts a weekly talk show about science.

Preventing A ‘Digital Dark Age’

Dec 16, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/35290925806">Lance Cheung/USDA</a>

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote to end “net neutrality” — rules that keep internet service providers (ISPs) from creating paid fast lanes for some content, while blocking or slowing downloading speeds for other content.

Invasion Of The Jellyfish

Dec 11, 2017

Microbes In Space! (But They’re Ours)

Dec 11, 2017

Another way to look at the fossil record? By examining coal.

Dec 10, 2017
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<a href="http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/10945">CSIRO</a>/<a href="http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/pages/about/">CC BY 3.0</a>. Image cropped.

If you’re like most people, you probably think of coal as a chunk of black fossil fuel. Geologist Jen O’Keefe sees it differently: For her, each piece of coal is a window back in time. 

“I'm really interested in why we have coal in the first place, and what it can tell us about ancient environments,” says O’Keefe, a professor of geology and science education at Morehead State University. “We've got this great time capsule in our backyard that we can start to pick apart.”

After Cassini, where to next?

Dec 9, 2017
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<a href="https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/voyager-2-image-of-neptune">NASA/JPL</a>

The Cassini spacecraft just ended its 13-year orbit around Saturn in September, and scientists are already dreaming of where to send the next orbiter.

For the future of self-driving technology, look to ... bats?

Dec 9, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy-frost/8019878370/in/album-72157631612933493/">S. Frost/USFS</a>. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

Venture near a cave at night, and you may glimpse a phenomenon that still stymies scientists: Thousands of bats streaming out of the cave at high speeds, using echolocation to avoid in-air collisions.

“All we know about science, physics, biology says that [bats are] doing an impossible task by echolocating in these large groups,” says Laura Kloepper, an assistant professor of biology at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. “What we know about how echolocation works is that when they're in these groups, the signals from each bat should be interfering with each other.”

A Narwhal’s Slow, Anxious Heart

Dec 9, 2017

Microbes In Space! (But They’re Ours)

Dec 9, 2017

Dusting Off Voyager 1’s Thrusters

Dec 9, 2017
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Courtesy of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

As a pending federal lawsuit over coal ash pollution in a Central Kentucky lake plods along, new details have emerged about the extent of contamination in the water.

In The South, Examining An HIV Epidemic

Dec 4, 2017

Bad News Bears For Yeti Hunters

Dec 4, 2017

Soccer made headlines in November, as men’s teams vied for the final few slots in the 2018 World Cup. On the subject of soccer and heads, there was other news, as well: Researchers presenting midmonth at the Society for Neuroscience meeting revealed that heading the soccer ball may be riskier for women than men.

Why did passenger pigeons go extinct?

Dec 3, 2017

The last passenger pigeon died more than 100 years ago, but scientists still puzzle over how a bird once numbering as many as 5 billion disappeared so quickly from North American skies. “Hunters with guns,” is the big answer — but why didn’t small populations of pigeons survive anywhere?

Modern medicine has reached amazing heights, but even in our own basic anatomy, there are secrets we haven’t quite cracked. For one, as bird veterinarian M. Scott Echols explains, doctors have only a rough idea of where all our veins and capillaries are — and that map is just as vague in animals.

In The South, Examining An HIV Epidemic

Dec 1, 2017

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