Speaking Multiple Languages Changes The Way You Think
Science Friday
by Shoshannah Buxbaum, John Dankosky, Ira Flatow
17h ago
Have you ever wondered how the language you speak shapes your understanding of the world around you? And if you speak two or more languages, how might that change the way you process information? Is your brain always thinking in multiple languages or are you toggling back and forth? In many parts of the world, multilingualism is the norm. And in the United States, the number of people who speak a language other than English has doubled in the past two decades, from just about 11% to about 22%. Dr. Viorica Marian has spent her career studying multilingual and bilingual people to better understa ..read more
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Social Connections Keep Us Physically and Mentally Healthy As We Age
Science Friday
by Shoshannah Buxbaum, Ira Flatow
2d ago
As people age, health often becomes a larger focus in their lives—their joints become a little more achy, or their vision less sharp. Some might even be dealing with a new diagnosis. To handle these ailments, doctors might prescribe medications, or diet and lifestyle changes. But there’s often one big factor missing from these conversations: a patient’s social well-being. Sociology researcher Dr. Linda Waite has been tracking the social health of thousands of research participants ranging in age from 50 to over 100, for 15 years. The study is ongoing, and so far she’s found that the social asp ..read more
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Women Were Also Skilled Hunters In Ancient Times
Science Friday
by D. Peterschmidt, Ira Flatow
3d ago
There’s a long-standing narrative about hunter-gatherers in ancient times: Men ventured out for meat, while women largely stayed closer to home, foraging for plants and tending to children. As with most things, it almost certainly wasn’t that black and white. Recent analyses of physiological and archaeological evidence, published in American Anthropologist, suggest that females hunted just as much as males did during the Paleolithic era. In fact, they were well-suited to long-distance hunting, largely thanks to the benefits of estrogen. Additionally, Neanderthal remains show a sex-equal distri ..read more
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An AI Leader’s Human-Centered Approach To Artificial Intelligence
Science Friday
by Ira Flatow, Shoshannah Buxbaum
4d ago
Just about every day there’s a new headline about artificial intelligence. OpenAI Founder and CEO Sam Altman was forced out, and then dramatically returned to his post—all in the span of a week. Then there’s the recent speculation about a revolutionary new model from the company, called Q*, which can solve basic math problems. Beyond the inner workings of AI’s most high profile startup are stories about AI upending just about every part of society—healthcare, entertainment, the military, and the arts. AI is even being touted as a way to help solve the climate crisis. How did we get to this mom ..read more
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COP28 Host Had Plans to Promote Oil and Gas | Researchers Detected Cicada Emergence With Fiber-Optics
Science Friday
by Kathleen Davis, Ira Flatow, Charles Bergquist
1w ago
COP28 Host Had Plans to Promote Oil and Gas, Documents Show The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, began this week in Dubai. This is an annual event, where leaders and delegates from around the world come together to discuss how to collaboratively reach important milestones for the future of the planet. Goals like slowing the rise of temperatures on Earth will require buy-in from all major players to be successful. But this week, a document leaked that showed the United Arab Emirates planned something at odds with the event: promotion of the oil and gas industries. This has led t ..read more
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Ralph Nader Reflects On His Auto Safety Campaign, 55 Years Later
Science Friday
by Kathleen Davis, John Dankosky
1w ago
It’s hard to imagine a world without seatbelts or airbags. But five decades ago, it was the norm for car manufacturers to put glamour over safety. “It was stylistic pornography over engineering integrity,” Ralph Nader, prolific consumer advocate and several-time presidential candidate, tells Science Friday. This winter marks the 55th anniversary of Nader’s groundbreaking investigation, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” a damning look at how little auto safety technology was in vehicles back in the 1960s. The book had a massive effect on auto safety in the U.S., setting the groundwork for laws about seatb ..read more
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What’s That Smell? An AI Nose Knows
Science Friday
by Charles Bergquist, Ira Flatow
1w ago
If you want to predict the color of something, you can talk about wavelengths of light. Light with a wavelength of around 460 nanometers is going to look blue. If you want to predict what something sounds like, frequencies can be a guide—a frequency of around 261 Hertz should sound like the musical note middle C.  Predicting smells is more difficult. While we know that many sulfur-containing molecules tend to fall somewhere in the ‘rotten egg’ or ‘skunky’ category, predicting other aromas based solely on a chemical structure is hard. Molecules with a similar chemical structure may smell q ..read more
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Jane Goodall On Life Among Chimpanzees
Science Friday
by Charles Bergquist, Ira Flatow
1w ago
Few living scientists are as iconic as Dr. Jane Goodall. The legendary primatologist spent decades working with chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. More recently, Goodall has devoted her time to advocating for conservation, not just in Africa, but worldwide. Ira spoke with Goodall in 2002, after she had published her book The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals, and an IMAX film about her work with chimpanzees had just been released.  To stay updated on all things science, sign up for Science Friday's newsletters. Transcripts for each segment will be availa ..read more
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The ‘Wet-Dog Shake’ And Other Physics Mysteries
Science Friday
by Christopher Intagliata
1w ago
Ever wondered why your dog’s back-and-forth shaking is so effective at getting you soaked? Or how bugs, birds, and lizards can run across water—but we can’t? Or how about why cockroaches are so darn good at navigating in the dark? Those are just a few of the day-to-day mysteries answered in the new book How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future, by Georgia Tech mathematician David Hu. The book answers questions you probably won’t realize you even had, but they’re questions with serious answers that span the worlds of physics, fluid mechanics, and bio ..read more
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Ig Nobel Prizes | Stop Flushing Your Health Data Down The Toilet
Science Friday
by Charles Bergquist, Rasha Aridi, Ira Flatow
2w ago
Saluting Science's Silly Side, Virtually In science, there are some traditions: Every October, the Nobel Prize committee announces the winners of that year’s awards, which are presented in Sweden in December. And every September for the past 33 years, a different committee has awarded the Ig Nobel Prizes in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, Science Friday plays highlights from the awards ceremony.  The Ig Nobel awards are a salute to achievements that, in the words of the organizers, “make people laugh, then think.” They are presented by the editors ..read more
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