Science Friday

Friday 2 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow hosts a weekly talk show about science.

Randall Munroe’s Thousand-Word Challenge

Nov 28, 2015

Scientists say they have a new cure for hearing loss

Nov 28, 2015
Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

Jay Alan Zimmerman is a successful composer who writes music for movies and musicals. There's something that sets him apart from other composers, however. He's deaf. 

Zimmerman wasn’t always deaf. He came to New York and began his career in music. Over time he realized he had lost quite a bit of hearing at the top of his range. He didn’t realize just how bad his hearing loss was until one day when he was trying to work on a new track. 

This is a microscopic image of MDMA, the psychoactive drug popularly known as ecstasy, or Molly, that “produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The smell inside the warehouse of Nine Pin Ciderworks in Albany, New York, on a recent afternoon was unmistakable: alcohol, with a hint of sweetness.

The aroma wafted from three large plastic vats nearly filled to the brim with the juice of 21,000 pounds of apples recently picked from a nearby orchard. Gurgling loudly, the liquid belched carbon dioxide in a process crucial to turning pure apple juice boozy — fermentation. A gaseous haze hung over the vats at eye level.

The recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have reopened the debate over whether the government should have expanded abilities to crack open encrypted messages and access encrypted devices. The director of the FBI in testimony on Capitol Hill this week that messages are going unread, even from those responsible for known attacks.

Two experts, however, say the real problem isn’t lack of access, but lack of analysis. 

After the Paris attacks CIA Director John Brennan warned that encryption could hinder security services from tracking potential dangers.