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Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines.

We all have an inkling of how our food is grown these days, but increasingly we don't really know what it looks like. You'd probably recognize a tomato plant or a cornfield — but these photos offer a perspective that a lot of us haven't seen.

Get The Most Bang From Your Bubbly

Dec 28, 2012

In time for New Year's Eve, Science Friday examines the chemical reactions that transpire in fluted glassware. Ira Flatow and Richard Zare, a chemist at Stanford University, pore over the science of bubbles — from how to keep that open champagne fizzy (forget the cork) to why beer tastes better from a glass rather than a bottle.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Chefs are like, a little bit like golfers: They're always looking for tips to improve their game. So as you prepare for the last big party of 2012 or the first one of 2013, we have some gastronomical tips to improve your cooking and baking skills and the reasons behind why they actually work.

The Renaissance Man Who Got It All Wrong

Dec 28, 2012

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. You've heard of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton, maybe even Pascal and Hooke, all Renaissance men who, between them, innovated in painting, sculpture, physics, math, chemistry, astronomy, architecture, philosophy, the list goes on. But how about Athanasius Kircher? Yeah, have you heard of him? Not ringing - no bells are ringing?

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Making Resolutions That Stick

Dec 28, 2012

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Got milk? Ancient European farmers who made cheese thousands of years ago certainly had it. But at that time, they lacked a genetic mutation that would have allowed them to digest raw milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood.

Today, however, 35 percent of the global population — mostly people with European ancestry — can digest lactose in adulthood without a hitch.

For the Druids, mistletoe was sacred. For us, it's a cute ornament and maybe an excuse to steal a kiss. And of course it's a Christmas tradition.

But for a forest, mistletoe might be much more important. It's a parasite, shows up on tree branches and looks like an out-of-place evergreen bush hanging in the air.

Opinion polls show 2012's extreme weather — producing wildfires, floods and drought — has more people making a connection with climate change. For Marti Andrews in southern New Jersey, a turning point was the summer's hurricane-like derecho.

"I don't want to say I freaked out about it, but holy crap, it scared me," she says. It packed winds up to 90 miles per hour and nonstop lightning, which Andrews says looked like some wild disco display in the sky.

"I've never seen anything like that," she says. "I sat there on the couch thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die!' "

The Mars Rover Takes A Selfie

Dec 27, 2012

Who hasn't turned a camera around at arm's length to snap a picture to send to friends or family? It always seems like it takes a few tries to frame the shot just right to capture both you and that awesome mountain summit behind you.

Random Acts Of Kindness Can Make Kids More Popular

Dec 27, 2012

In the aftermath of Christmas, a parent could be forgiven for thinking that materialism has trumped human kindness.

Take heart. Children can easily become kinder and more helpful. And that behavior makes them more positive, more accepting and more popular.

At least that's how it worked for fourth- and fifth-graders in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers there have been studying empathy and altruism in schoolchildren for decades.

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

It's been a mixed year for Alzheimer's research. Some promising drugs failed to stop or even slow the disease. But researchers also found reasons to think that treatments can work if they just start sooner.

Scientists who study Alzheimer's say they aren't discouraged by the drug failures. "I actually think it was a phenomenal year for research," says Bill Rebeck, a brain scientist at Georgetown University.

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