Science, technology, environment and health news and discussion with host Ira Flatow.
11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Friday
Science Friday Headlines
Dissecting America's $3 Trillion Medical Bill
In "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," a 26,000-word investigative piece in TIME magazine, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill catalogues the myriad reasons for America's skyrocketing healthcare costs, from extravagantly paid administrators at nonprofit hospitals to bloated bills for hospital care. And Obamacare, he argues, won't do much to solve the problem.
Speech Science: Tongue Twisters and Valley Girls
Drawing from research presented at this year's Acoustical Society of America conference, psycholinguist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel untangles tongue twisters to look at speech planning patterns, and professor Amalia Arvaniti discusses the "Valley Girl" dialect.
Would More Technology Mean Safer Trains?
In 2008, Congress passed a law requiring most rail networks to install "positive train control" collision technology by 2015. Engineering professor Christopher Barkan discusses train safety systems, how "positive train control" might prevent accidents, and whether railroads will be able to meet the deadline.
The Simpsons' Secret? It's Written by Math Geeks
For 25 seasons, The Simpsons writers have been smuggling math onto Americans' TV screens. Author Simon Singh helps Ira decode the show's numberplay, while former Simpsons writer David X. Cohen remembers how he helped Homer solve Fermat's Last Theorem (sort of).
China Shoots 'Jade Rabbit' Rover to the Moon
This week China launched its Chang'e-3 lunar lander, with the Jade Rabbit moon rover on board. BBC science editor David Shukman, who got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of China's secretive space program during a recent trip there, talks about the motivations behind the country's moonshot.
At STREB Action Lab, Dance and Physics Collide
Choreographer Elizabeth Streb pushes the boundaries of Newtonian physics--with dance. In her show Forces, dancers fly, fall, and collide in mid-air. No wonder the "action architect" has her share of scientist fans, among them, big-thinking particle physicist Lisa Randall.
Eating 'Wilder' Foods for a Healthier Diet
In Eating on the Wild Side, author Jo Robinson reveals how the nutrition and flavor has been bred out of supermarket fruits and vegetables. Robinson tells us what we can do to reclaim our wild roots and the nutrition from our foods.
Annual Prizes Honor the Stranger Side of Science
If you've ever wondered about opera's effects on mouse heart surgery, or pondered the timing of when cows are likely to get up or lie down, you're in luck. At the annual IgNobel Prize ceremony, awards go to scientific research that first makes you laugh, then makes you think.
Budget Cuts Leave Curiosity and Cassini in Limbo
Upcoming NASA budget cuts may force the agency to choose between two of its flagship planetary missions--the Mars Curiosity rover and the Cassini mission to Saturn. Wired reporter Adam Mann discuss how much it takes to run these missions and what discoveries we could miss out on.
Stores Are Snooping Into Your Smartphone
Retailers have used various techniques to analyze in-store buying behavior, such as surveys, video surveillance, and buyer reward programs. Some stores have been tapping into the technology in smartphones to track shoppers' actions. New York Times reporter Quentin Hardy discusses how they're doing this and what information they can gather.