This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Solar wind, geothermal - now there's a new renewable energy source to add to that list. It's free, completely reliable and totally unlimited: the force of gravity. Two British designers have invented a lamp that runs on gravity alone. Their GravityLight - yes, that's its name, aptly named - uses, you guessed it, the pull of gravity on a weight to generate up to 30 minutes of light.
In the Broadway play The Other Place actress Laurie Metcalf ("Jackie" on the TV show "Roseanne") plays a scientist suffering from the dementia she studies. Playwright Sharr White discusses the play and the challenge of presenting complicated science on a theater stage.
Astronomers have discovered a clump of 73 quasars that spans four billion light years at its widest point--that's like 40,000 Milky Way galaxies lined end-to-end. The only problem? Theory says the quasar cluster is too big to exist. Astronomer Gerard Williger and reporter Ron Cowen discuss this cosmological oddity, and other news about the cosmos.
Last weekend, air pollution in Beijing reached record highs, raising concerns about the cost of China's rapid industrialization. David Pettit, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, discusses the pollution problem in China's capital, and why severe smog can be deadly.
Aside from getting the flu shot, how do you outsmart the wily virus? Hoard hand sanitizer? Dodge door knobs? Or quietly slink away from coughing commuters? Dr. Nicole Bouvier, a flu researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, talks about what works--and what doesn't--in avoiding influenza.
Retirees flock to Florida — and the Sunshine State even has a retirement home for chimpanzees.
There, chimps live in small groups on a dozen man-made islands. Each 3-acre grassy island has palm trees and climbing structures, and is surrounded by a moat.
This is Save the Chimps, the world's biggest sanctuary for chimps formerly used in research experiments or the entertainment industry, or as pets. The chimps living here — 266 of them — range in age from 6 years old to over 50. And as sanctuary Director Jen Feuerstein drives around in a golf cart, she recognizes each one.
Much of the money from the Hurricane Sandy relief bill the House of Representatives passed will fund beach and infrastructure restoration projects in areas such as Mantoloking, N.J., seen on Oct. 31.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images
Hurricane Sandy exposed weaknesses in New York City's electricity grid. Experts say work can be done to revamp it so it's more tolerant to support backup solar power. Here, the New York City skyline, seen from the Brooklyn Bridge, on Nov. 3.
Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.
Credit Darlyne A. Murawski / Getty Images/National Geographic Creative
Researchers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are comparing modern flower blooming data with notes made by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. The sight of irises blooming during a Boston winter helped spur the research.
Modern scientists trying to understand climate change are engaged in an unlikely collaboration — with two beloved but long-dead nature writers: Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold.
The authors of Walden and A Sand County Almanac and last spring's bizarrely warm weather have helped today's scientists understand that the first flowers of spring can continue to bloom earlier, as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.