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Science Friday

A weekly Science and Astronomy podcast featuring Ira Flatow
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Episodes of Science Friday

Sperm Swim Together To Help Each Other Reach The Egg New research is complicating our understanding of how, exactly, sperm are able to reach eggs. The predominant theory is that sperm compete against each other, with the strongest swimmer ferti
Biden Declares The COVID-19 Pandemic Over. Is It? During an interview with 60 minutes last weekend, President Joe Biden said “the pandemic is over.” “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with covid, we’re still doing a lot of work on i
Pulling Water From Thin Air? It’s Materials Science, Not Magic. You’ve probably seen a magic trick in which a performer makes a playing card, coin, or even a rabbit appear out of thin air. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researche
Why The Owner of Patagonia Gave Away The Whole Company Earlier this week, the founder and owner of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard—the company known for their famous puffer jackets and outdoor gear—gave away the whole company. Who’d he give it to? The
COVID-19’s Lingering Toll On The Heart As new omicron-specific boosters against COVID-19 unroll in cities around the US, research is revealing more about the longterm consequences of even one infection with the SARS-CoV2 virus. Writing this wee
The Hot And Cold Past Of The Air Conditioner In the Northeast, the leaves have started changing colors, heralding the season of pumpkins, sweaters, and the smell of woodsmoke. But in some parts of the country, the heat hasn’t let up. In cities
New, Extra Protective COVID Vaccines Are On The Way Earlier this week, the FDA approved brand new COVID-19 vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that are designed to better protect people from the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants. At
Why Is It So Hard To Agree On When Human Life Starts? After decades of deliberations involving physicians, bioethicists, attorneys, and theologians, a U.S. presidential commission in 1981 settled on a scientifically derived dividing line betwee
California Accelerates Its Push For Electric Cars This week, air pollution regulators in California voted to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles, with a complete ban on gas car sales by 2035. The decision could have a larger impact
Attracting Birds To Prime Habitat By Playing Recordings Of Their Calls How do you know a restaurant is good? If the parking lot is full of cars, that’s a pretty good indication. If it’s empty, you probably won’t bother stopping. In this case, t
Will A Colorado River Drought Dry Up Energy Supplies? This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a federal agency that manages water in the Western U.S., started the process of cutting water use allotments along the Colorado River after seven s
Teen Innovator’s New AI Tool Helps Create Affordable Drugs The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, which can push patients into bankruptcy over medications they cannot afford. More than three in four American adu
Some Grasses Can Stop Lead From Spreading In Soil Lead left behind in soil from mining and smelting poses a major health risk to people who live nearby. Researchers in Nebraska and Kansas believe plant life and organic material can limit lead’s
A Plan to Cap Insulin Prices May Not Be Helpful 30 million people in the U.S. live with diabetes, and access to insulin can be expensive. More than 1 in 5 people with private insurance pay more than $35 a month for this necessary medication. Th
What’s Inside A Sudden, Second Chance At A Climate Bill Last week, climate activists received a surprise gift from Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin. It turns out they had been in secret negotiations to put out a spending packag
White House Declares Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday. Earlier in the week the White House appointed Robert Fenton, regional administrato
Decades Of Alzheimer’s Research Could Be Based On Fraudulent Data Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating brain disorder that slowly affects memory and thinking skills. For many people who worry that loved ones may succumb to this disorder, the po
For The Love Of Volcanoes A new documentary, “Fire of Love,” tells the story of French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft. The married couple spent two decades chasing volcanic eruptions across the world. Katia was a geochemist and Maurice
When Times Get Tough, These Toads Make Hybrid Babies Scientists have long thought that when two animals from two different species mate, it’s a colossal error and the end of the road for the mismatched couple. It’s called interspecies breeding,
Earth Faces A Global Heat Wave Temperatures are higher than normal for much of the planet this week—and while the heat wave in Europe has had much of the attention, over 100 million Americans in 28 states were under extreme heat advisories this
Stunning JWST Images Show New Details Of The Universe After many delays, a Christmas launch, and a months-long period of travel and testing, the first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were unveiled this week. The JWST h
1,000 Acres Of Ancestral Land Returned To Onondaga Nation Earlier this month, more than 1,000 acres of land in central New York were returned to the Onondaga Nation, the original steward of the land. This decision stems from a 2018 settlement b
A Debate Over How The Universe Began Even though it’s commonly accepted today, the Big Bang theory was not always the universally accepted scientific explanation for how our universe began. In fact, the term ‘Big Bang’ was coined by a prominent
We Need To Talk About Bird Poop Seabird poop—sometimes called guano—was the “white gold” of fertilizers for humans for millennia. Rich in nitrogen and phosphorus from birds’ fish-based diets, the substance shaped trade routes and powered econom
How Will Doctors Train For A Post-Roe World? It’s been one week since Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. Many people are still wrapping their heads around what this overturn means for their states— and for their lives. For physici
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