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Science Friday 1508

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Aug. 28, 2015

Urban Ecosystems, Turing Nanopatterns, and Serving Sizes

Brandon Keim, a freelance science reporter, shares this week's top science news.

After three weeks of reading, the SciFri Book Club regroups to discuss Tracy Kidder’s 1981 true-tech tale, The Soul of a New Machine.

LEDs Could Light the Way to Future Networking

Engineers are researching how LEDs could help with the broadband “capacity crunch.”

Rooftop solar is booming. But as more homegrown energy comes online, utilities foresee an economic squeeze—which is leading to nasty fights over the future of utilities and the grid.

Out of 100 psychology studies, researchers were able to reproduce the original results in less than half.

Birds to Spot in Your Yard This Fall

Autumn is a good time to observe birds changing their plumage and behavior, and an opportunity to spot birds commuting south from their Arctic summer homes.

At a recent scientific meeting, physicist Stephen Hawking outlined a possible solution to a paradox about information in a black hole.


Aug. 21, 2015

Crowdsourcing Planetary Names, Female ‘Viagra,’ and a Vomit Machine BuzzFeed News science editor Virginia Hughes shares her top stories from this week in science, and Scientific American editor Lee Billings discusses crowdsourced planetary names.

Employee or Datapoint? The data employers are gathering on their employees aren't always a fair measure of efficiency or success, and in some cases, it's an invasion of privacy.

How to Be a Garden Whiz Could urine be the gold standard when it comes to fertilizing your garden?

Do You Understand the Richter Scale? Seismologist Lucy Jones explains what earthquake magnitude means and why we should measure earthquakes differently.

Museum Plays Art and Technology Matchmaker LACMA’s Art & Technology program brings together artists and tech companies to see what the two can create together.

A Play About Medical Ethics, Ripped From the Headlines Inspired by a real court case, the play Informed Consent explores the ethics of genetic research.

Aug. 14, 2015

El Niño Vs. the Blob, Yeast Painkillers, and a Butter Bummer This week’s news roundup takes us to San Francisco, where Ira is joined by KQED science and environment reporter Lauren Sommer.

How Big Blazes Shape Landscapes Scientists are closely monitoring how forest vegetation shifts after catastrophic fires, and discovering a few surprises.

The Strangely Social Life of the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus A new study reveals surprising mating, dwelling, and feeding behaviors in one rare species of octopus.

Pregnant Pause: Panda Pregnancy Is a Game of Wait and See When it comes to figuring out whether or not a giant panda is pregnant, there’s no clear clue.

Gold King, and Other Abandoned Mines Plague Colorado The EPA accidentally triggered a blowout at the Gold King mine in Colorado, releasing three million gallons of wastewater into the Animas River.

A Candidate's Voice Might Sway Your Vote Voters tend to prefer politicians with deeper voices—a sign of strength and competence, says political scientist Casey Klofstad.

App Chat: Assistive Technology In this episode of Science Friday’s “App Chat” series, we take a look at assistive technology.


Aug. 07, 2015

The SciFri Book Club Reads ‘The Soul of a New Machine’ This August, the SciFri Book Club reads Tracy Kidder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the creation of a new computer.

Venomous Frogs, a Polar Bear World Record, and Printing Pills A polar bear dives longer than ever before, and researchers in Brazil discover two venomous frogs.

A Climate Plan, and a Survey of the Changing Arctic A look at President Obama's Clean Power Plan, and a check-in on ongoing research around the Arctic.

Rats on the Job The average rat sleeps all day and eats garbage all night...but some of them have jobs to get to.

Keeping Cool (Without Making Global Warming Worse) The global demand for air conditioning isn't sustainable, so what other options do we have?

Can Babies Take a Joke? New research finds that children can distinguish between joking and pretending.

Video Pick: The Unlikely Tale of a Tenacious Snail For over 70 years, no one had seen the oblong rocksnail, until one spring day in 2011.









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