Linguist David Harrison has travelled to remote corners of the world seeking the last speakers of endangered languages. Now, he's using digital tools to to record and revitalize these dying languages. At the AAAS meeting this week, Harrison unveiled 'talking dictionaries' for eight languages.
In his book Concrete Planet, author Robert Courland discusses why the concrete first used by the Romans is more durable than the concrete used in most present day buildings. Plus, mineralogist Peter Stemmerman tells us about his invention, Celitement and why it is greener than Portland cement.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Some good news for the nuclear industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensed the construction, issued licenses for the construction, of two nuclear reactors at a plant in eastern Georgia. Until last week, the NRC hadn't approved the construction of any new reactors in the U.S. since 1978. That was a year before the partial reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
Duke biologist Sarah Zylinski wants to better understand how cuttlefish see the world. Like their relatives octopus and squid, cuttlefish are master camouflagers--and Zylinski says you can learn something about how they process visual information by testing how they change their skin patterns in relation to different backgrounds.
Writing in the journal Nature, UCSF pediatrician Robert Lustig and colleagues suggest regulating sugar just like alcohol and tobacco--with taxes and age limits, for example--due to what they call the "toxic" effects of too much sweet stuff. Education, they say, is not enough.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Last week, the government approved the first new nuclear reactor power plants in over 30 years, but in the meantime, the Department of Defense has been investigating a different energy source for its military bases: solar.
My next guest says the military could install seven gigawatts of solar power on its bases. That's roughly equivalent to the output of seven nuclear power plants, and that's all without interfering with bombing ranges or rocket tests and of course the desert tortoise.
Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:04 pm
If you've been in New Orleans for carnival season, or if you're lucky enough to taste a cake from there that has arrived in the mail, there's a pretty good chance that yes, there is a plastic baby that comes with your cake.
The baby, meant to represent Jesus, has become a fixture of the king cake (galette des rois in France or rosca de reyes as it's called in Mexico). It's a frosted yeast dough cake that New Orleans bakeries churn out between King's Day, January 6th, and Fat Tuesday, the last day of indulgence before Lent.
While pretty much any corner of Benghazi is a fine place to celebrate this week, the heart of the celebrations are taking place at the courthouse and its public square, where some of the revolution's first protests took place.