Curiosity scooped its first sample of Martian soil on Oct. 7, but activities were halted after a small, bright object — which NASA now says is likely a piece of plastic from the rover — was spotted on the ground. Mike Watkins, Curiosity's mission manager, provides an update.
Artist Julian Hoeber's "Demon Hill," now on view at the Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York City, is modelled after a roadside attraction called a "gravitational mystery spot" — where water runs uphill and gravity doesn't behave as expected. Science Friday talked to cognitive scientist Michael Landy about what happens to our perceptual system inside the exhibition.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Fifty years ago this week, a team of researchers at General Electric created something new: a solid-state device that could emit visible red light without getting hot like a light bulb. Other groups have made light-emitting devices, but this was the first practical one that could make light that a person could see, rather than invisible infrared light.
For nearly a decade, scientists and Northwest tribes in Washington state fought bitterly over whether to bury or study the 9,500-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. Scientists won the battle, and now, after years of careful examination, they're releasing some of their findings.
For starters, Kennewick Man was buff. I mean, really beefcake. So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and the man who led the study of the ancient remains.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:59 pm
You may have noticed that the vice presidential debate took place on the same day as four crucial games in this year's baseball playoffs. In case you were distracted at all by the latter, here's some of what you may have missed:
A life well-worth noting has caught the attention of obituary writers:
-- "Andrew F. Brimmer, a Louisiana sharecropper's son who was the first black member of the Federal Reserve Board and who led efforts to to reverse the country's balance-of-payments deficit, died on Sunday in Washington. He was 86." (The New York Times)
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. The 2012 Nobel Prizes were announced this week in Stockholm, and groundbreaking research on stem cells, cloning, cell receptors and quantum optics, yeah, claimed the honors this year. The physics prize was awarded to French physicist Serge Haroche and American David Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado.
Ben Affleck's Argo is two-two-TWO movies in one, and while neither is especially original, by merging them Affleck pulls off a coup. First, he gives you espionage with the You Are There zing of a documentary. Then he serves up broad showbiz satire. For his final feat, he blends the two into a pulse-pounding nail-biter of a climax. And this all really happened. Most of it. Except for that climax.
"U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest in five years in October as consumers became more optimistic about the economy in a possible boost to President Obama's reelection hopes," Reuters reports.
Next Tuesday, marijuana will have its day in court because the United States Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments about the drug's therapeutic and medicinal effects. But some doctors, like one of my next guests, disagrees with the government's ban on medical use of marijuana, pointing to the drug's ability to suppress nausea, stimulate the appetite, relieve pain, improve sleep, even fight cancer cells, in test tubes at least.
Corning's Gorilla Glass isn't totally unbreakable, as anyone who's dropped a smartphone knows. But it's twice as durable as regular glass--at half the thickness. How do they do it? Dave Velasquez, director of marketing and commercial operations for Gorilla Glass, talks about the innovations that make this ultrastrong, ultralight glass possible.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. 21 years ago this week, way back in October of 1991 on the first-ever episode of SCIENCE FRIDAY, one of our show topics was the ozone hole, that bite out of the Earth's ozone layer caused by chemicals in our refrigerators, air conditioners, cans of hairspray. Our guest that day was the late Sherwood Rowland, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize for his work on the ozone hole.
This morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize and they chose the European Union.
THORBJORN JAGLAND: The European Union is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and (unintelligible) social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result, the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, President Obama honored late labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez earlier this week but a new book questions whether the full story of his life and legacy isn't perhaps more complicated. That's in a moment.
More states and cities are turning to casinos to generate revenue and plug budget holes.
The latest to try its luck is Maryland, where groups are waging an expensive campaign over a ballot question that will be put to voters next month. Proponents promise jackpots of jobs and funding for public schools, but analysts say the gamble doesn't always pay off at the levels promised for public coffers.
This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 11, 2011. The Viral Storm will be published in paperback on Oct. 16.
The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:14 am
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivered a policy speech that he said was a "clarion call" for Americans to take cyber security seriously. Attacks that can cripple a country, he said, are no longer theoretical.
Nerds, rejoice! It's Nobel season — the Oscars for lab rats, peacemakers and cognoscenti alike. Every fall, big thinkers around the world wait for a middle-of-the-night phone call from Sweden, dreaming of what they might do with the $1.2 million prize.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:14 am
In a dramatic reversal, Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted for the first time that if it had fixed known safety issues, Japan's nuclear disaster following the March 2011 tsunami could have been avoided.
The Associated Press says the utility company made the admission in a statement released Friday. The AP reports the company said it delayed implementing the safety measures because of political, economic and legal pressures.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The space shuttle Endeavor is on the road this morning here in L.A., traveling the streets from the airport to its new home at the California Science Center. Four hundred curbside trees were cut down so its massive wings could pass by. Hundreds of metal plates laid down to protect underground utilities from the shuttle's weight. And dozens of traffic signals removed to accommodate its height. Even for L.A., an epic commute. This is MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Last night's vice presidential debate offered a reminder about American politics. It can be infuriating, misleading and irrelevant, but at its best politics becomes a spectacle - a highly informative show - which is what the vice presidential candidates delivered last night in a debate in Kentucky.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 4:01 am
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has bestowed its prestigious Peace Prize upon the European Union for what it says is a six decade contribution "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe"
In its press conference, the committee said the union cemented peace between France and Germany and shows that "through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners."