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Covering everything about science and technology -- from the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies -- Science Friday is your source for entertaining and educational stories and activities. Each week, host Ira Flatow interviews scientists and inventors like Sylvia Earle, Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and more.
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The most wonderful time of the year has arrived: Cephalopod Week, Science Friday’s annual tradition of spotlighting all things octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. One of the many things that make cephalopods special is their ink. What’s it made of? Why do they shoot it at their predators? And why did they evolve this incredible skill? To talk all about…
  continue reading
 
The most wonderful time of the year has arrived: Cephalopod Week, Science Friday’s annual tradition of spotlighting all things octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. One of the many things that make cephalopods special is their ink. What’s it made of? Why do they shoot it at their predators? And why did they evolve this incredible skill? To talk all about…
  continue reading
 
In the 2015 film “Inside Out,” audiences met 11-year-old Riley and her team of emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger, each represented by a different character. They lived inside Riley’s mind to help guide her feelings and actions, and towards the end of the film, their emotional control center gets an upgrade with a puberty button. That…
  continue reading
 
In the 2015 film “Inside Out,” audiences met 11-year-old Riley and her team of emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger, each represented by a different character. They lived inside Riley’s mind to help guide her feelings and actions, and towards the end of the film, their emotional control center gets an upgrade with a puberty button. That…
  continue reading
 
A new study used machine learning to analyze elephant vocalizations and identified “contact rumbles” that appear to function as names. Also, on a hike in the Badlands, a family found a dinosaur bone sticking out of a rock. It joined the few teenage T. rex fossils ever discovered. Elephants Seem To Use Names For Each Other Scientists have long known…
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A new study used machine learning to analyze elephant vocalizations and identified “contact rumbles” that appear to function as names. Also, on a hike in the Badlands, a family found a dinosaur bone sticking out of a rock. It joined the few teenage T. rex fossils ever discovered. Elephants Seem To Use Names For Each Other Scientists have long known…
  continue reading
 
Many people think of the ocean as a quiet and serene place: Take a dip underwater and the cacophony of the world melts away. But the ocean is quite noisy, full of whale songs and echolocation, which whales and dolphins use to communicate. Cephalopods can make and hear sounds too, even without ears. Then, there’s human-made noise, including the gian…
  continue reading
 
Many people think of the ocean as a quiet and serene place: Take a dip underwater and the cacophony of the world melts away. But the ocean is quite noisy, full of whale songs and echolocation, which whales and dolphins use to communicate. Cephalopods can make and hear sounds too, even without ears. Then, there’s human-made noise, including the gian…
  continue reading
 
Plants called “hyperaccumulators” have evolved to absorb high levels of metals. Scientists want to harness them for greener metal mining. And, a little fern from New Caledonia is just a few inches tall, but its genome has 160.45 billion base pairs—50 times more DNA than a human. How Metal-Absorbing Plants Could Make Mining Greener Scientists are ex…
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Plants called “hyperaccumulators” have evolved to absorb high levels of metals. Scientists want to harness them for greener metal mining. And, a little fern from New Caledonia is just a few inches tall, but its genome has 160.45 billion base pairs—50 times more DNA than a human. How Metal-Absorbing Plants Could Make Mining Greener Scientists are ex…
  continue reading
 
When you think about connections between science and war, the obvious links are in technology—advanced radar, spy satellites, more powerful explosives—and in medical innovations that seek to heal the wounds caused by conflict. But in a new book, Stories are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind, author Annalee Newitz says that storie…
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When you think about connections between science and war, the obvious links are in technology—advanced radar, spy satellites, more powerful explosives—and in medical innovations that seek to heal the wounds caused by conflict. But in a new book, Stories are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind, author Annalee Newitz says that storie…
  continue reading
 
DNA has long been studied and understood as the genetic blueprint for life on Earth. And related scientific endeavors, like the Human Genome Project, have received enormous attention. But DNA’s lesser-known counterpart, RNA, which translates the instructions from those blueprints into proteins in our cells, has received far less focus. But a lot’s …
  continue reading
 
DNA has long been studied and understood as the genetic blueprint for life on Earth. And related scientific endeavors, like the Human Genome Project, have received enormous attention. But DNA’s lesser-known counterpart, RNA, which translates the instructions from those blueprints into proteins in our cells, has received far less focus. But a lot’s …
  continue reading
 
A Week Of Milestones For Spaceflight This has been a week of milestones for human spaceflight. After years of delays, Boeing’s Starliner capsule, carrying astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, successfully launched Wednesday on the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. On Thursday, it docked with the International Space Station. Also on Th…
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A Week Of Milestones For Spaceflight This has been a week of milestones for human spaceflight. After years of delays, Boeing’s Starliner capsule, carrying astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, successfully launched Wednesday on the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. On Thursday, it docked with the International Space Station. Also on Th…
  continue reading
 
Scientists are studying birds’ unique vocal organ, the syrinx, to better understand its evolutionary history. Also, the eerie calls of the common loon have been heard in songs by Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and more. The Organ That Gives Birds Their Voices Have you ever wondered how a bird sings? Or made some of their less melodic voc…
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Scientists are studying birds’ unique vocal organ, the syrinx, to better understand its evolutionary history. Also, the eerie calls of the common loon have been heard in songs by Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and more. The Organ That Gives Birds Their Voices Have you ever wondered how a bird sings? Or made some of their less melodic voc…
  continue reading
 
You might’ve heard this phrase before: data equals power. Because when you have data, you can decide how they’re used and who gets to use them. The history of research on Indigenous communities in the United States is full of stories of exploitation, power imbalances, and stolen knowledge. Be it through the iodine experiments of the 1950s in Alaska…
  continue reading
 
You might’ve heard this phrase before: data equals power. Because when you have data, you can decide how they’re used and who gets to use them. The history of research on Indigenous communities in the United States is full of stories of exploitation, power imbalances, and stolen knowledge. Be it through the iodine experiments of the 1950s in Alaska…
  continue reading
 
Are plants intelligent? Until recently, botanists were hesitant to ask that question, at least publicly. But that’s changing. In recent years researchers have learned more about how plants communicate with each other, respond to touch, store memories, and deceive animals for their own benefit: All bits of evidence that suggest plants possess a uniq…
  continue reading
 
Are plants intelligent? Until recently, botanists were hesitant to ask that question, at least publicly. But that’s changing. In recent years researchers have learned more about how plants communicate with each other, respond to touch, store memories, and deceive animals for their own benefit: All bits of evidence that suggest plants possess a uniq…
  continue reading
 
If you have a problem with your phone, like a bad battery or a cracked screen, you might decide to just buy a new one. That’s partly because we don’t have a lot of options to repair our devices: Manufacturers can make it extraordinarily difficult—or expensive—to do so. But for years now, the right-to-repair movement in the US has been pushing for l…
  continue reading
 
If you have a problem with your phone, like a bad battery or a cracked screen, you might decide to just buy a new one. That’s partly because we don’t have a lot of options to repair our devices: Manufacturers can make it extraordinarily difficult—or expensive—to do so. But for years now, the right-to-repair movement in the US has been pushing for l…
  continue reading
 
The much-delayed crewed test flight is back on the calendar, despite a helium leak. Also, researchers used data from the crowd-sourcing nature observation app iNaturalist to rank animals’ tolerance of urban environments. Starliner Crewed Test Flight Rescheduled For This Weekend A long-delayed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is back on …
  continue reading
 
The much-delayed crewed test flight is back on the calendar, despite a helium leak. Also, researchers used data from the crowd-sourcing nature observation app iNaturalist to rank animals’ tolerance of urban environments. Starliner Crewed Test Flight Rescheduled For This Weekend A long-delayed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is back on …
  continue reading
 
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