Science Friday-logo

Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Conversations, Baby Teeth, Tasmanian Tiger. March 5, 2021, Part 2

3/5/2021
When Is It Time To Say Goodbye? Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone. You may get the sense that they have somewhere else to be. Or you might start feeling restless, and use an excuse to cut the conversation short. Sometimes, you feel like you could talk for HOURS. Chances are you’re wrong every time. In a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Adam Mastroianni and colleagues tried to figure out how good humans are at judging the...

Duration:00:48:44

Implementing Oregon’s Drug Policy, Wisconsin Wolf Hunt, Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. March 5, 2021, Part 1

3/5/2021
Oregon Just Decriminalized Small Amounts of All Drugs. Now What? On February 1, a big experiment began in Oregon: The state has decriminalized small amounts of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. In the November election, voters passed ballot Measure 110 by a 16-point margin. Now, if you’re caught with one or two grams of what some refer to as “hard drugs”, you won’t be charged. Instead, you’ll either pay a maximum $100 dollar fine, or complete a health assessment...

Duration:00:49:57

Texas Storm, NASA Climate Advisor, Mars Sounds. Feb 26, 2021, Part 1

2/26/2021
Does A Vaccine Help You If You’ve Already Had COVID-19? Vaccines doses have started to rollout and are getting into the arms of people. We know that if you already had COVID-19, you build up antibodies against the virus. So do the vaccines affect you if you’ve already had COVID-19? Science writer Roxanne Khamsi talks about recent studies showing that a single dose of vaccine could boost immunity for former COVID-19 patients. She also discusses a study that found over 140,000 viral species...

Duration:00:49:11

Lucid Dreaming, Sex As A Biological Variable, Parachute Science, Global Vaccine Access. Feb 26, 2021, Part 2

2/26/2021
Memory And The Dreaming Mind If you’ve ever stayed up too late studying for a test, you know that sleep impacts memory—you need that precious shut-eye in order to encode and recall all that information. But what is it about sleep that aids memory? Researchers have pinpointed a specific stage of sleep, REM sleep, as an area of interest for studying memory consolidation. REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, is the same stage in which dreams occur. So researchers at Northwestern University...

Duration:00:46:09

Tech Unions, Color Perception, Fish Vs Birds. Feb 19, 2021, Part 2

2/19/2021
Reprogramming Labor In Tech More than 6,000 warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama are midway through voting on whether they should unionize. If the ‘yes’ votes win, it would be unprecedented for the company: The last time a unionization vote was held by Amazon’s United States employees, back in 2014, a group of 30 technicians ultimately voted not to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers. Meanwhile, at Google, a group of more than 800 have recently joined...

Duration:00:49:23

Fauci On Vaccines and Variants, Mummy Mystery, Texas Power Grid Failure. Feb 19, 2021, Part 1

2/19/2021
Fauci Says Majority Of U.S. Adults Likely To Be Vaccinated By Late Summer We’re about a month shy of a big anniversary: one year since the World Health Organization officially labeled COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, a lot has changed—and a lot has not. We have more information than ever about COVID-19, but there are still a lot of unknowns about the illness. While about 40 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a vaccine, it’s unclear when we can expect to return to...

Duration:00:50:14

Fish Eye Secrets, Human Genome Project, Science Diction 'Mesmerize.' Feb 12, 2021, Part 2

2/12/2021
Seeing The World Through Salmon Eyes The saying goes, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” But for fish, the eyes are the window to the stomach. As one California biologist recently learned, the eyes of Chinook salmon are like a tiny diet journal of everything it ate. But to read that journal, you have to peel back the layers of the eye, like it’s the world’s tiniest onion. Miranda Tilcock, assistant research specialist at the Center for Watershed Science at the University of...

Duration:00:51:07

The Effectiveness Of Double-Masking, Mars Landing Preview. Feb 12, 2021, Part 1

2/12/2021
Two Masks Are Better Than One Masks have been a big issue throughout the pandemic, from supply shortages to debates about when they should be required to be used. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out research and guidance on the effectiveness of double masking—wearing one mask over another. Engineer and aerosol scientist Linsey Marr talks about how a face mask traps a virus, the effectiveness of double masking, and other other questions about face...

Duration:00:48:32

Four Lost Cities, Sourdough Microbiome, Queen Bees, Bison. Feb 5, 2021, Part 2

2/5/2021
National Bison Range Returns To Indigenous Management Hundreds of years ago, tens of millions of bison roamed North America. They were an essential resource and cultural foundation for many Native American tribes. And by 1890, European colonists had hunted them nearly to extinction. When President Theodore Roosevelt moved to conserve the remaining bison in 1908, he established the National Bison Range, an 18,800-acre reserve that the government took directly from the tribes of the Flathead...

Duration:00:47:17

COVID Variants And Vaccines, U.S. Energy Justice. Feb 5, 2021, Part 1

2/5/2021
Will Vaccines Work Against New Variants Of The Coronavirus? The rollout of COVID-19 vaccination programs around the world has been anything but smooth. Complicating the effort is the virus itself. The original coronavirus genome that the current vaccines were based on has mutated. Now, there are three virus variants, and experts are somewhat concerned. How will the vaccines scientists have worked so hard to make fare against these three variants, and future ones? Stephen Goldstein,...

Duration:00:48:13

Medieval Bones, Vaccine Rollout, Florida Panthers. Jan 29, 2021, Part 2

1/29/2021
A Skeletal Record Of Medieval England Society If you’ve ever fractured a bone, that skeletal trauma stays with you forever, even after it heals. So researchers across the pond are using bones from medieval times to put together a picture of what life was like. The bones in the study came from ordinary people in medieval Cambridge in the United Kingdom, from between the 10th and 14th century. The researchers found that you can often guess who was working class, and who had more money based...

Duration:00:48:04

Your Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines Answered, Placenta Science. Jan 29, 2021, Part 1

1/29/2021
Everything You Want To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines The U.S. has been vaccinating people against COVID-19 for a little over a month. While there have been plenty of hiccups, over 20 million people in the country have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna shots. For the past few weeks, Science Friday has been collecting your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines on the SciFri VoxPop App—and we heard from a lot of listeners. The questions and concerns ranged...

Duration:00:48:15

Orange Bat, Greenland Bacteria, COVID Anniversary, Alien Argument. Jan 22, 2021, Part 2

1/22/2021
Orange Is The New Black—For Bats For a newly-described bat from West Africa, dubbed Myotis nimbaensis (mouse-eared bat from the Nimba Mountains), scientists are reaching for a different part of the color wheel. While Myotis does have some black on its body, the overwhelming majority of the bat’s fur is bright orange. A team of scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International stumbled on the new species while surveying populations of another...

Duration:00:47:28

Finding Lead Pipes Through Algorithm, How Soil Could Save The Planet. Jan 22, 2021, Part 1

1/22/2021
After Flint’s Crisis, An Algorithm Helps Citizens Find Lead Pipes It’s been nearly seven years since the beginning of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, when high levels of lead from corroded lead pipes led to water shortages and health issues for city residents. Since then, many other cities around the country have had their own problems with lead. Researchers estimate that millions of Americans are living with pipes that need to be replaced. As Wired reported earlier this month, Toledo,...

Duration:00:48:20

Valley Fever And COVID-19, Structure of Conspiracy Theories, New Climate Wars. Jan 15, 2021, Part 2

1/15/2021
How The West Is Battling COVID-19 And Valley Fever For the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has taken up much of our attention. But the pandemic can come with complications: Some states face an onslaught of pre-existing diseases. In the American West, doctors, scientists, and patients continue to battle valley fever, a respiratory illness caused by breathing in the fungus Coccidioides. In desert hot spots, communities are now facing what doctors at Kern Medical’s Valley Fever Institute in...

Duration:00:47:27

How The COVID-19 Vaccine Was Developed And Is Being Distributed. Jan 15, 2021, Part 1

1/15/2021
How Did A Vaccine Get Developed In Less Than A Year? From the first discovery of a strange new respiratory virus in Wuhan, China, in January of 2020, it took less than a year to get a vaccine into the arms of frontline healthcare workers. More than two dozen vaccine candidates have made it from basic safety trials to Phase 3, where efficacy against COVID-19 is tested. That’s particularly remarkable as before the pandemic, it was rare for a vaccine to take fewer than 5 years from start to...

Duration:00:47:34

COVID Fact Check, Aging Cells, News Roundup. Jan 8, 2021, Part 1

1/8/2021
Fact Check My Feed: What’s Up With These COVID-19 Mutations? It’s a new year, and that means there’s a whole slew of new COVID-19 news to dive into, including an overwhelming amount of new information about vaccines and mutations. The U.S. has now administered roughly five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, far behind the nation’s goal of vaccinating 20 million by the end of 2020. The two approved COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, are intended to be given over the...

Duration:00:48:32

Fundamentals of Physics, Giant Ancient Birds, 2021 Space Outlook. Jan 8, 2021, Part 2

1/8/2021
Finding New Particles On The Frontier of Physics As a theoretical physicist, Frank Wilczek has made a career out of dreaming up new ways to understand our physical universe—and he’s usually right. In the early 1980’s, he predicted the existence of a new quasiparticle, called the anyon—which was confirmed in experiments last summer. In 2004, Wilczek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution decades earlier to the theory of quantum chromodynamics. And in addition to the...

Duration:00:47:47

They Might Be Giants, Animal Sounds Quiz, Luxury Ostrich Eggs. Jan 1, 2021, Part 2

1/1/2021
They Might Be Giants With A Timely Reminder: “Science Is Real” Fans of the band They Might Be Giants are likely to be familiar with the band’s version of the 1959 Tom Glazer song “Why Does The Sun Shine?” As they sing, “The sun is a mass / of incandescent gas / a gigantic nuclear furnace.” In their album “Here Comes Science,” the band revisits that song, and follows it with a fact-checking track titled “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” In the lyrics, they describe the science of plasma. The...

Duration:00:46:28

Christmas Bird Count, Black Birders Week, Science Diction: Vaccine. Jan 1, 2021, Part 1

1/1/2021
Where Did The Word ‘Vaccine’ Come From? As we head into 2021, there’s one word on all of our minds: Vaccine. It may be in headlines right and left these days, but the word was actually coined more than a century ago. In the 1700s, smallpox seemed unbeatable. People tried all sorts of things to protect themselves, from taking herbal remedies to tossing back 12 bottles of beer a day. Nothing worked. Then Edward Jenner, an English doctor, heard a rumor about a possible solution. It wasn’t a...

Duration:00:47:10