Science

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Curiosity 2.0? NASA Announces New Mars Rover Plans

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, more spacey news.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

All right.

All right. Can't get enough?

Mm-hmm.

LICHTMAN: Earlier this week, NASA announced plans to launch another rover to Mars in the year 2020. And there's some buzz, there's some speculation that this one could have a wheel up on Curiosity. Maybe it wouldn't just analyze samples there but could shift them back to Earth.

FLATOW: You know, I've heard that before.

LICHTMAN: Don't be downer, Ira.

(LAUGHTER)

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

'Escape Fire' Exposes Flaws Of American Healthcare

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

And I'm Ira Flatow. Last week on the show, we talked about the Affordable Care Act - you know, Obamacare - and how it gave millions more Americans access to health care.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Ask an Astronaut: NASA Spaceflyers Open Up

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Next up, who didn't, at one time or another, now think about it, who didn't want to be an astronaut when they were growing up, especially those of us, the children of the space-age space race? Well, for those of us whose lives are a bit more Earthbound, we've got a fun edition to our Ask an Expert series. How about Ask an Astronaut? Everything you wanted to ever ask an astronaut, Flora.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

No Joke

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm

Why Even Tragedy Gets A Laugh — When comedian Tig Notaro found out she had breast cancer, she incorporated the grim news into her stand-up routine--and got quite a few laughs from the audience. Notaro and neuroscientist Robert Provine discuss the origins of laughter, what separates the amusing from the truly funny, and why even tragedy sometimes gets a laugh.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

(for scifri) Unlocking A Lake's Bacterial Secrets, Beneath 20 Meters Of Ice

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm

What does life truly need to survive? Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Alison Murray and colleagues describe a community of unusual bacteria that survive under 20 meters of ice in the dark, salty, sub-freezing waters of Lake Vida, Antarctica.

The Salt
10:49 am
Fri December 7, 2012

When It Comes To Boxed Wine, The Cooler, The Better

If you're picking a boxed wine for your party this season, be aware that temperature is everything.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:22 pm

Bag-in-the-box wine doesn't have the classiest of reputations. It's usually cheap and in the past at least, has been aimed at less sophisticated consumers. But in recent years, boxed wine has tried to buck the stereotype, whether by gussying up the product packaging or simply putting higher-quality wine in the box.

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Environment
3:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

World Bank Issues Alarming Climate Report

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:20 am

Countries attending U.N. climate talks were not able to come up with any major agreements on reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. This comes after the World Bank issued a report predicting global temperatures could rise by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century — possibly sooner if current promises to curb emission are not kept. Renee Montagne talks about this with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

Space
1:49 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Is Another Moon Mission Written In The Stars?

Apollo 17 was the sixth and final Apollo mission to the moon. Here, lunar module pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Cmdr. Eugene Cernan and command module pilot Ron Evans pose in the lunar vehicle.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:23 am

On Dec. 7, 1972, NASA launched its final human mission to the moon. Forty years later, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan says he'd love to give up his claim to fame as "the last man on the moon."

"I'd like to be able to shake the hand of that young man or young woman who replaces me in that category," Cernan told NPR. "But unfortunately, the way things have gone and the way things are looking for the future, at least the near-term future, that won't happen in my lifetime. And that truly is disappointing."

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Shots - Health News
2:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:19 pm

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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The Salt
11:29 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Fruitfly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food, Human Nose Not So Reliable

Now we know why we'll never see a common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) sitting on a beet.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:10 pm

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

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