Science Friday

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


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Friday, January 2, 2015 Permalink

Science Friday: Health Apps, Birding And Keeping Resolutions


An App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Ear infections are one common reason kids end up at the doctor's office. But now parents might be able to avoid that doctor's visit by popping a small device on their smartphones—the CellScope Oto. The device turns the smartphone camera into an otoscope, allowing parents to transmit video of their child's ear to CellScope's on-call docs, who then dispense a prescription if needed. That's just one of the medical innovations cardiologist Eric Topol surveys in his new book, The Patient Will See You Now. He argues that technology will save patients time and money—and put healthcare back in their hands. (Read an excerpt from Topol's book here.)

Birding Into the New Year

For 115 years, citizen scientists across the country have surveyed the skies for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Geoff LeBaron, Director of the Christmas Bird Count, and naturalist and author Kenn Kaufman guide us through the species that have made an appearance so far this winter and how you can participate in the count.


Don’t Stress! How to (Hopefully) Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Starting out 2015 by choosing a cup of blueberry yogurt instead of some perfectly buttered blueberry pancakes probably feels like a test of willpower. But as you try to keep your new year’s resolutions, willpower is only part of the equation. What could end up undermining your goals is not your lack of discipline but your abundance of stress. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Amit Sood explains the effect stress can have on willpower. Plus, New York Timescolumnist Kit Eaton suggests apps to help you stick to your resolutions.


Could an ‘Ocean’ of Water Be Trapped Within the Earth?

Water covers 75 percent of the earth’s surface, but scientists are still trying to unravel its origin. One hypothesis suggests that crashing comets could have delivered the liquid, but some scientists say we should look under our feet rather than up towards the skies. Geophysicist Wendy Panero discusses how rocks deep within the earth’s mantle can trap water, and how this can enhance our understanding of the water cycle.


Families Geek Out! Try These DIY Experiments at Home

For science-savvy moms and geek dads, scientific experimentation isn’t a once-a-year-during-the-science-fair endeavor. It’s something to do with the kids all year round, using everyday materials you already have lying around your junk drawer. This hour, Bill Nye the Science Guy writer Lynn Brunelle andDad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments author Mike Adamick join Ira to share simple and fun science experiments that parents and kids can do at home.