NPR science correspondent and award-winning journalist Ira Flatow is the host of Science Friday. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing listeners a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space and the environment.

Flatow's interest in things scientific began in boyhood — he almost burned down his mother's bathroom trying to recreate a biology class experiment. "I was the proverbial kid who spent hours in the basement experimenting with electronic gizmos, and then entering them in high school science fairs," Flatow says.

Humans
2:12 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Pitch-Perfect: Why Our Shoulders Are Key To Throwing

Harry Kaplan practices pitching during Home Run Baseball Camp at Friendship Recreation Center in June. Kaplan's arm is stretched long and toward the ground as his hips are faced away from the catcher. A chimp, in contrast, could never throw a fastball.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 2:01 pm

The ability to throw a baseball or any object with speed and precision is unique to us humans. And that ability depends on certain features of our anatomy that arose in our ancestors over 2 million years ago, according to a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

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Music Reviews
1:50 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'My Ellington': A Pianist Gives Duke Her Personal Touch

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) at the piano at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, during a British tour on Feb. 10, 1963.
John Pratt Getty Images

At the keys, Duke Ellington abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Her new solo piano album is My Ellington, on which she plays some stride bass herself, as in "In a Mellow Tone."

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Health
1:50 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'The Lyme Wars' That Tiny Ticks Have Wrought

In the current New Yorker, Michael Specter explores the conflict among some people who suffer from Lyme disease, and the doctors who study it.
aanton iStockphoto.com

Until 1977, Lyme disease was almost unknown. But in the decades since a Yale rheumatologist first described an unusual cluster of arthritis cases in Lyme, Conn., the disease has become the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the country. Acute symptoms of Lyme disease commonly include a bull's-eye rash followed by flu-like symptoms.

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Parallels
12:37 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Thanks, But No: Social Media Refuses To Share With Turkey

An anti-government protester wearing a gas mask uses a cellphone to read the news on social media as demonstrators gather at midnight in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park on June 13.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Turkey's battle with the Internet took a new twist on Wednesday.

A Turkish government minister said Twitter has refused to cooperate with the government, but that Facebook had responded "positively" and was "in cooperation with the state."

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 12:59 pm

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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Government & Politics
12:20 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Attorney General Harris Urges Fast Action on Same-Sex Marriage

California Attorney General Kamala Harris (file photo)
Credit The Aspen Institute / Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively overturning California’s Proposition 8 isn’t the last word on the case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals must act before same-sex marriages can resume in the state.

The Supreme Court ruling won’t officially make it to the Ninth Circuit for 25 days. But state Attorney General Kamala Harris says the Appeals Court can act immediately and it should.

“We cannot delay or deny individuals their civil rights. And for that reason I urge the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay as early as possible,” says Harris.

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The Salt
12:11 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Can You Be Addicted To Carbs? Scientists Are Checking That Out

Eating refined carbohydrates like bagels may stimulate brain regions involved in reward and cravings, research suggests.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 6:33 pm

Fresh research adds weight to the notion that certain foods (think empty carbs like bagels and sweet treats) can lead to more intense hunger and overeating.

Fast-digesting carbohydrates can stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Shots - Health News
12:08 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

NIH Takes Another Step Toward Retirement Of Research Chimps

Chimpanzees play at Chimp Haven, a retirement home for former research animals, in Keithville, La.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 6:32 am

The National Institutes of Health says it will retire hundreds of chimpanzees that the agency had been using for research. Animal rights activists see the move as a big step towards ending the use of chimps in research, but it will be awhile before any of the research chimps find their way into retirement homes.

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Parallels
11:44 am
Wed June 26, 2013

The U.S. Wants Snowden. Why Won't The World Cooperate?

Journalists show passengers arriving at Russia's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday an image of Edward Snowden.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 5:53 pm

China appeared perfectly happy to let Edward Snowden slip away despite a U.S. request for his arrest. Russia appears to enjoy thumbing its nose at Washington as Snowden cools his heels at a Moscow airport. Ecuador is toying with the notion of granting him asylum.

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