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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Mild Winter May Be Keeping Flu Bugs At Bay

Flu season usually peaks around February. But this year it's missing in action, with the CDC reporting the slowest start to the flu season on record. Peter Palese, a microbiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses whether unseasonably warm winter weather may be to thank.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Secret Life Of Ice

Photographer and videographer Edward Aites, of Seattle, submitted this time-lapse video to Science Friday. He looked at ice through a macro lens and cross-polarizing filters, and found a colorful, surprising landscape. This is ice like you've never seen it before.

Technology
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Reaching For The Limits of Tiny Transistors

Computer chip makers have long struggled to build ever-smaller transistors to allow faster, more powerful computers. Writing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team of scientists describes what may be the ultimate limit of that struggle — a transistor made of a single atom. Michelle Simmons, a physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia and leader of the project, discusses the work.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Weaving Around Web Privacy Controls

Web browser manufactures often market their products to consumers with an emphasis on privacy, assuring users that their products can better control how personal information is used online. Carnegie Mellon privacy researcher Lorrie Cranor explains that many companies have developed quiet ways to step around some of that privacy-protecting code.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Science Diction: The Origin Of 'Tuberculosis'

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:12 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The alphabet has only 26 letters. With these 26 magic symbols, however, millions of words are written every day.

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

And that music means it's time for Science Diction, where we talk about the origins of science words with my guest, Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. Welcome back to SCIENCE FRIDAY, Howard.

DR. HOWARD MARKEL: Hi, Ira, how are you?

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Powering Up...With A Microbial Fuel Cell

Reporting in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers write of harvesting electricity from microbe-rich river sediments--enough to power a small LED bulb. Grant Burgess, a marine biotechnologist at Newcastle University, discusses the hunt for electron-burping bugs.

News
10:57 am
Fri February 24, 2012

How Lawmakers Lost Their Sense Of Shame

Outside the state Capitol in Annapolis, Md., last year: Someone who'd had enough of what has been going on.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Connie Johnson is not afraid to be outrageous. The Democratic state senator from Oklahoma has watched in frustration for several years now as colleagues have rammed through bills limiting women's reproductive rights.

She tried debating and making speeches. Finally, earlier this month, she thought of something that made her point more clearly, or at least more graphically.

She introduced an amendment that would define life as beginning not at conception, but at "ejaculation."

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Television
10:24 am
Fri February 24, 2012

25 Years Later, 'The Singing Detective' Still Shines

Gambon's character slips in and out of feverish dreams in which his doctors and nurses start to sing and dance.
BBC

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:15 pm

The Singing Detective is the story of a writer of pulp-fiction novels, hospitalized for a horrible skin condition that has his entire body flaking and raw, and his mind slipping in and out of fever dreams.

Some of those hallucinations have the people around him breaking into song, or shifting into other places and times and characters, or both. He tries to maintain his sanity by rewriting, in his head, one of his old novels into a Hollywood screenplay — and, in his mind, he's the healthy, good-looking protagonist — the singing detective.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Endorse Philly Conference

Occupy Wall Street tells The Associated Press that a national conference being planned in Philadelphia this summer was not approved by its General Assembly, meaning the group does not endorse it.

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The Salt
10:19 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In Rice, How Much Arsenic Is Too Much?

Brown rice syrup, which can be high in arsenic, is sometimes used in vegan recipes like this caramel corn.
iStockphoto.com

The news that some rice-based foods are surprisingly high in arsenic has left rice lovers wondering how the heck we're to know what's safe to eat.

Since Dartmouth College researchers reported last week that a toddler formula and energy bars sweetened with organic brown rice syrup tested high for arsenic, readers of The Salt have had lots of questions about how one might find out the arsenic content of rice-based foods, and figure out what's safe.

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