How do astronauts take a bath in space? What happens to their sense of smell in a weightless environment? Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station discuss the challenges of life in low Earth orbit and how their research is a stepping stone for future space exploration.
In a new book, To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, engineer Henry Petroski chronicles disasters from the sinking of the Titanic to the destruction of space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Petroski discusses why these accidents are often caused by factors other than a design flaw.
Up next, some improbable humor. If you're a loyal listener, you know my next guest. He's been a SCIENCE FRIDAY regular for, oh, 20 years. Wow. Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. You know that. We play the first annual Ig Nobel Awards. They awards given to science that makes you laugh and then makes you think. Marc Abrahams is the co-founder and the emcee of the Ig Nobels. He's also the editor and founder of the Annals of Improbable Research, and he writes a weekly column for The Guardian. Welcome, Marc.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's easy to assume that we humans rule the Earth. After all, we can clear-cut forests, we can chop the tops off mountains. We can harvest anything we want from the land or the sea. But before we get too cocky, let's not forget about those other titans of the Earth, the bugs.
Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 12:17 pm
Days after it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, reports have emerged that Instagram now has more than 40 million users in its photo-sharing community. The gain, which was derived from the service's API, represents a spike of 10 million Instagram users added in the past 10 days, according to Venture Beat.
Switching gears now, often, stories about politicians in their off hours take on kind of a scandalous turn. Not this one. When Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker went home last night, his neighbor's house was on fire. A woman who had escaped the inferno told him that her daughter was trapped inside and what happened next is something really out of an action movie, with Cory Booker in the starring role.
Here's Newark Fire Director Fateen Ziyad describing the scene to New York station WABC.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we will hear the latest entry in our Muses and Metaphor series for National Poetry Month. Those are our tweet-length poems. We'll have another one in just a few minutes.
But first, we turn to election news and a controversy that's keeping the battle for women voters in the spotlight. Polls show women voters strongly favor President Barack Obama over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
A makeshift latrine hangs over the water at the edge of Cite de Dieu, a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
A man walks along the bank of one of Port-au-Prince's main sewage canals. This area is the de-facto bathroom for most of the residents of Cite de Dieu.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
A truck discharges raw sewage from Port-au-Prince into a brand-new treatment plant outside the city. It's one of two that will soon handle the entire effluent from the Haitian capital, which has a population of 3 million.
The White House just posted word that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama filed 2011 tax returns showing an "adjusted gross income of $789,674" and that they paid "$162,074 in total [federal] tax." That works out to about 20.5 percent of the AGI.
About half of the first family's income was from the president's salary. The rest came from royalties generated by his books. According to the White House:
Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 8:41 am
One week from today, Chief Michael Maloney was due to retire from the Greenland, N.H., police department.
Thursday night, he was killed during a drug bust in which four officers were also wounded. The man authorities were trying to arrest, and a female acquaintance, were later found dead inside the home where the raid took place. Authorities believe they may have died in a murder-suicide.
<em>Girls</em> has been compared to <em>Sex and the City. </em>The characters, played by Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet, navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.
This Sunday, HBO premieres a new comedy series that's written and directed by Lena Dunham, who grabbed the media spotlight in 2010 with her film Tiny Furniture. She's 25 years old now, and stars in this new TV series as well.
A few years after her younger brother John died from AIDS-related complications in 1989, poet Marie Howe wrote him a poem in the form of a letter. Called "What the Living Do," the poem is an elegiac description of loss, and of living beyond loss.
This photo provided by the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management shows Potter County firefighter Matt Dryden standing next to a wall of hail on Wednesday near Amarillo, Texas. The hail was pushed into drifts of up to 4-feet.
In this photo taken Wednesday and provided by the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management a motorist sits in a truck partially buried in slushy hail near Amarillo, Texas.
Boudin is a Cajun specialty — sausage filled with rice, pork and herbs. And since Scott, La., is starting a Boudin festival, the state legislature crowned it the "Boudin Capital of the World." Nevermind there are two other Boudin capitals of the world. But Jennings, La., trumps them all. Years ago, it was crowned the "Boudin Capital of the Universe."
Throughout the GOP primary season, Mitt Romney struggled among voters who make up many of the party's key constituencies, including Southerners, evangelicals, those living in rural areas and members of the white working class.
Now that he has the Republican presidential nomination all but sewn up, such voters are the least of Romney's worries.
In fact, the type of Republican voters who were most skeptical about the former Massachusetts governor may end up being among his most certain supporters.
A scandal in China has led to the ouster of a powerful political player, who was once a rising star in the Communist Party. Richard MacGregor, a former China bureau chief for the Financial Times, talks to Renee Montagne about the scandal. MacGregor also authored The Party, a book about China's political system.
Got a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi habit? Lots of Americans do. Consumption of all types of diet soft drinks has been on the rise. And as a nation, we drink an estimated 20 percent more of diet drinks now than we did 15 years ago.
So, is it good for us? A new study finds the answer to that question may depend a lot on, well, what you eat.
Mohamed Fellag, an Algerian comedian and humor writer, plays the title character in the Oscar-nominated <em>Monsieur Lazhar, </em>who steps in to teach a class of middle school students at exactly the right time.
At the start of a bright, sunny day that seems otherwise like any other day, a popular teacher is found dead in her classroom. It was suicide.
The school is traumatized, especially that teacher's students. By the next day, the principal is at her wits' end trying to find someone willing to take the class. So when Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) offers to teach, it comes at just the right moment.