Science Friday

Saturday 12 p.m.

Science Friday is your trusted source for news and entertaining stories about science. We started as a radio show, created in 1991 by host and executive producer Ira Flatow. Since then, we’ve grown into much more: We produce award-winning digital videos and publish original web content covering everything from octopus camouflage to cooking on Mars. SciFri is brain fun, for curious people. The radio show is broadcast on many public radio stations Fridays from 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time. You can join the conversation by calling 1-844-724-8255 or tweeting us your questions @scifri.

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Sea Spray’s Tie To The Sky

May 13, 2017

The star-nosed mole may take the prize for the most extreme adaptation. Its eponymous nose, which looks like a fleshy pink starfish sticking out of its face, is the most sensitive organ of any mammal's on Earth.

For privacy wonks and internet companies alike, April was a bellwether month: President Donald Trump signed Senate Joint Resolution 34 into law, rolling back internet privacy rules issued last December by the Federal Communications Commission.

From oral history, a 14,000-year-old archaeological discovery

May 7, 2017

In their oral history, the Heiltsuk people describe how the area around Triquet Island, on the western coast of their territory in British Columbia, remained open land during the ice age.

“People flocked there for survival because everywhere else was being covered by ice, and all the ocean was freezing and all of the food resources were dwindling,” says Heiltsuk Nation member William Housty.

And late last year, archaeologists excavating an ancient Heiltsuk village on Triquet Island uncovered the physical evidence: a few flakes of charcoal from a long-ago hearth.

New research from NASA’s Cassini mission has all eyes on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon. The research, recently published in Science magazine, indicates that plumes of vapor escaping from cracks in the moon’s icy shell are full of molecular hydrogen, the fuel for microbial life.

The House That Snot Built

May 6, 2017

Borne To Be Wild

May 6, 2017

Last year, rescue workers began using a vessel called Emily to pull stranded refugees from rough waters near the Greek island of Lesbos. Part buoy and part life raft, Emily helped more than 240 asylum seekers to safety in its first 10 days of use.

This pressurized, skirt-like machine helps keep astronauts fit

Apr 29, 2017

Many engineers spend their entire careers focused on a single area of research — say, the design of airplane components. Then there's Christine Dailey: Put simply, she's not your average engineer. 

Dailey has explored everything from fluids to electronics and has built an exercise machine for astronauts. She has designed autonomous vehicles and much more (some of which she's not allowed to talk about), all while finishing her PhD at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and working as a mechanical engineer for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

Modern smartphones are full of sensors that can make the devices more intuitive — counting your steps, for example, or detecting when you’ve tilted your screen. But according to a new study published in the International Journal of Information Security, those features could come at a price: your security.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/6871113503/">Tim Donovan/FWC</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">CC BY-ND 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

It's been seven years this month since a drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico (April 20, 2010), releasing millions of barrels of oil into the ocean from its damaged wellhead. It’s thought to be the worst offshore oil spill in US history; even months later, hot oil continued to gush from the well, while oil-covered birds and tar balls washed up on beaches. 

How to hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence

Apr 23, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jiuguangw/8129557462/">Jiuguang Wang</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence — known as SETI — got a boost in 2015, when philanthropist Yuri Milner announced plans to inject up to $100 million into the field over the next decade.

It was a rainy day in Washington, DC — but that didn’t stop thousands from gathering on the National Mall to voice their support for science.

The March for Science in Washington was one of nearly 500 marches around the world scheduled on April 22, 2017—Earth Day. Science Friday‘s Danielle Dana, Otherhood's Catherine Whelan and Lauren Owens Lambert from the GroundTruth Project were all on the ground to get a sense of what it was like.

Here are a few of their photos:

Studying splashes to learn more about how disease spreads

Apr 22, 2017

Lydia Bourouiba, an applied mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies sneezes at a level of detail most of us have never imagined — under bright lights, using advanced imaging technology.

“When you zoom in, parts of the clouds look like snowflakes,” she explains in Science Friday’s new video, “Breakthrough: Connecting the Drops.”

“It’s really beautiful.”

Tick season has begun. How much do you know about Lyme disease?

Apr 22, 2017

Spring is here, so here’s a quick test: How much do you know about Lyme disease, that tick-borne scourge?

Transmitted in the United States by tiny blacklegged ticks, Lyme can initially cause fatigue and flulike symptoms — and later on, even arthritis or short-term memory loss. But if you think that Lyme always arrives with a bull's-eye rash, read on.

“Actually, the majority of the skin lesions are uniformly round and red,” says John Aucott, director of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Bringing Rigor Back To Health Research

Apr 22, 2017

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