Science Friday

Science, technology, environment and health news and discussion with host Ira Flatow.


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Friday, April 11, 2014 Permalink

Science Friday: Bill Nye and Drunk Vole Romance

Bill Nye Stops By Bill Nye is the Science Guy and CEO of the Planetary Society. He stops by to chat with Ira about his recent debate with creationist Ken Hamm, teaching science, his work at the Planetary Society to improve space literacy, and more.
Busting Bad Bacteria With Their Viral Enemies Bacteriophages are viruses that prey on bacteria. Reporting in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers write that phages might be a useful food additive to kill pathogenic E. coli bacteria in packaged beef or spinach. Study author Paul Ebner of Purdue University discusses the use of phages in food products, and whether they'd play nice with the friendly microbes in our guts.
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Transmission electron microscopy image of phages attached to a bacterial cell.  Dr. Graham Beards / Wikimedia Commons/{PD}
Up Close With the Lunar Eclipse In the early morning of Tuesday, April 15 (the night of Monday, April 14, for the West Coast), a lunar eclipse will be visible from all over the country. Astronomer Andrew Fraknoi shares tips for viewing the eclipse and tells us how the event might look if we were watching from the moon.
Scientists Study Vole Romance Under the Influence You don’t have to be a scientist to know that love and alcohol are a complex cocktail. But how do boozy romantic encounters work on a neurochemical level? To find out, scientists got male and female prairie voles a little tipsy.
Reawakening Limbs After Years of Paralysis Reporting in the journal Brain, researchers write of reawakening the legs of four men paralyzed from the waist down. They did so by implanting electronic devices in the men’s spines. The devices send out electrical stimulation that re-trains the nerves to listen more carefully for signals, allowing voluntary movements after years of paralysis. Study author Susan Harkema of the University of Louisville and Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering, discuss the device and the path towards commercially available treatments.
With Her Kids' Help, Jean Craighead George’s ‘Ice Whale’ Sees Print Jean Craighead George’s books—including My Side of the Mountain andJulie of the Wolves—taught generations of kids to love and respect nature. When she died in 2012, she left a new book, Ice Whale, unfinished. Her children talk about bringing this story of a 200-year-old bowhead whale to print. (Read an excerpt here.)