Science Friday

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


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Friday, April 25, 2014 Permalink

Science Friday: Thoreau, Chili Pepper, Science Club

 Tim Hettler / Flickr

Tim Hettler / Flickr

Thoreau, Climate Scientist

Scientists use Henry David Thoreau’s notes to study climate change at Walden Pond.

The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau took meticulous notes on the passing of the seasons at his beloved Walden Pond. In his new bookWalden Warming, biologist Richard Primack explains how his team used Thoreau’s 150-year-old observations to understand the local effects of climate change.

Serving Up the Origins of the Chicken and Chili Pepper

Scientists are combining genetics and linguistics to trace the origins of these staples of the modern-day menu.

Chickens and chili peppers are staples of the modern-day menu. Scientists are now combining genetics and linguistics to find out how these animals and plants were transformed to their current form. Evolutionary biologist Greger Larson and plant scientist Paul Gepts discuss the domestication process.

The Science Club Talks Art Machines

The Science Club meets to recap the month’s ‘Build an Art Machine’ project.

We asked you to build a machine that could make art, and you delivered, with dozens of projects that somehow direct or convert energy into something artistic. (See our gallery of #MachineArt projects here.) Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich of the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio, who helped design this project, join Science Club founding member Ariel Zych to talk about the creative process and the art of tinkering, and to recap this month’s Science Club project.

Is Aereo the Latest TV Technology Disruptor?

Is Aereo a high-tech TV game changer or a clever way to get around broadcast copyright law?

Aereo is a service that allows subscribers to stream and record broadcast TV programs via individual remote antennas. Technology reporter Cecilia Kang gives SciFri a tutorial on how Aereo works and discusses the debate over whether the service is a high-tech game changer or low-cost piracy.

Recording the Global Soundscape

Ecologist Bryan Pijanowski hopes to create a soundscape of every ecosystem on the planet.

What is the sound of your local environment? How does it make you feel? How will it sound in the future? Ecologist Bryan Pijanowski is looking to answer these questions and create a soundscape of every ecosystem on the planet through the Global Soundscapes project.  

Can We Game Our Way to Better Health?

Gamers and scientists join forces to develop “serious games” to improve health.

If you think the only health effect of gaming is a serious case of “couch potato,” you aren’t alone. But a few gamer-scientists are out to prove that games could actually make us healthier. Imagine a future where doctors prescribe games instead of pills and new drugs are developed through collaborative gameplay. We’ll talk to a few of the scientists and game developers working to add games to our medical tool-kit.