This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Five years ago this month, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, sending a full load of rush-hour traffic into the Mississippi River. The disaster injured nearly 150 people, killed 13. The bridge was literally falling apart.
How a cucumber creates its curling tendril has stumped scientists for centuries, including Charles Darwin and Asa Gray. With the help of time-lapse photography and prosthetic tendril fabricated in the lab, physicist Sharon Gerbode, biologist Joshua Puzey and colleagues figured out why tendrils twist, according to a new study in Science.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 4:16 pm
The Tryon area has been known as "Horse Country" for almost a century. People here take their equine economy seriously, it's a major source of jobs. Drought conditions and the economy have forced many horse owners into a predicament of how to feed their families and their horses.
So the Hay Pledge was born. Horse owners and hay growers "pledge" 10 bales of hay if asked — unless their supplies are too low to share. Calls for assistance are confidential. Some 500 bales have been delivered in 2012, but winter is coming and that number will go up significantly.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you might want to pay attention to this story because last week a jury in California reached a verdict in a major patent battle case between electronics makers Apple and Samsung, a fight over the way their mobile devices worked and looked.
NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin discuss highlights of the Republican National Convention — the speeches, the delegates, and what it all means for this year's election. In other news, Rep. Ben Quayle loses the GOP congressional primary in Arizona. Does that signal the end of his political career?
And borrowing from the Republican convention slogan that grew out of a statement from President Obama on the campaign trail, it's the "We Built It" edition of the "It's All Politics" podcast.
Up next, the brains behind "Bones." If you go to the beach this weekend and check out what the other sunbathers are reading, there's a good chance you'll come across someone deep into a Temperance Brennan crime novel. Brennan is a forensic anthropologist, the person the police call when they find human remains that are, well, past their prime, if we say.
If you headed outside this Labor Day weekend, besides seeing that second blue moon of the month, just look up at the sky, would you believe that about half of those stars you see are actually two stars or more, the kind of double star system that's quite common? And this week, astronomers reported on the discovery of a planetary system orbiting such a binary star, two planets orbiting two suns. It's called Kepler-47 after the Kepler planet-hunting mission that spotted it.
On March 16, 1966, a potentially fatal problem gripped the Gemini 8 space capsule. Orbiting high above the Earth, it began spinning out of control. Spiraling towards unconsciousness and, perhaps, death, Neil Armstrong shut down the malfunctioning thrusters and wrestled Gemini back to stability. This was neither the first nor the last time that Neil Armstrong had escaped disaster. As an Naval pilot in Korea, he managed to guide a bullet-ridden aircraft, missing three feet of wing, back to friendly territory.
Sen. Joe Lieberman appears at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 2008, just eight years after he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. His appearance is just one of several notable oddities at recent political conventions.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 12:51 pm
From one angle, Clint Eastwood's dialogue with an imaginary President Obama — using a tall chair as a prop — at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday night was sharp-pointed and youthful and edgy and film-schoolish.
From another angle, it could be construed as the meanderings of an older man who is disenchanted by a shaky economy, an ongoing war and the perception of broken promises, but somehow can't put his disgruntlement into words.