Diving Back To The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench

Robert Siegel talks to retired Navy Captain Don Walsh about the attempt by movie director James Cameron to take a submersible capsule to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the deepest spot on Earth. Walsh says the National Geographic and James Cameron expedition will be a combination of science and adventure, because Cameron is a storyteller and dedicated amateur explorer. Walsh made a 1960 dive to the same trench.

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Our Brains, Betrayed By Political Flip-Flops

The human brain craves predictability, according to neuroscientists, and when politicians appear to flip-flop, our brains don’t like it. Often, we feel betrayed. NPR science correspondents Jon Hamilton, Alix Spiegel and Shankar Vedantam talk about why we’re hard-wired to appreciate consistency.

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Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them

Every habit-forming activity follows the same behavioral and neurological patterns, says New York Times business writer Charles Duhigg. His new book The Power of Habit explores the science behind why we do what we do — and how companies are working to use our habits to market products to us.

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Tuberculosis’

When doctors autopsied tuberculosis patients, they described finding round, white swellings, especially in and around the lungs. Medical historian Howard Markel describes how those potato-like growths led to the disease being called tuberculosis, from the Latin tuber.

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Science Behind Avalanche ‘Air Bag’ Saves Skier

Three skiers died in an avalanche over the weekend in Washington state. A fourth skier was caught in the snow slide, but survived thanks to an airbag she deployed from her backpack. Audie Cornish speaks with Doug Abromeit, former director of and now consultant for the US Forest Service National Avalanche Center, about how the air bag works.

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Caregivers Press For Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug

A medical study published in Science finds that an FDA-approved skin cancer drug can reduce Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice. It is unclear if the drug, marketed as Targretin, will have the same effect on humans. Some researchers want to begin testing the drug for its efficacy in treating Alzheimer’s patients.

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Why Vinyl Sounds Better Than CD, Or Not

According to Rolling Stone magazine, sales of vinyl albums continue to grow, setting a new record in 2010. Does vinyl reproduce sound better, or is it just a trend? Two audio experts join guest host John Dankosky to talk about the science of audio, and how perceptions can shape the sound experience.

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Can Science Be Done Without Secrecy?

In his book, Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science, Physicist Michael Nielsen discusses why scientists jealously guard their data and are slow to adopt online tools for collaboration. Nielsen talks about why attempts to create science wikipedias have failed.

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Should Surgeons Recommend Vitamins Before Surgery?

Surgeons understand the science behind healing. Nutritional building blocks are necessary to rebuild and repair surgically traumatized tissue. As the surgeon, what do you to ensure your patients are nutritionally maximized at the time of surgery to have the best chance for an optimal recovery?

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Twins Data Reshaping Nature Versus Nurture Debate

Scientists have long pointed to identical twins to show that genes reign supreme in the battle of nature versus nurture. But a growing body of research suggests another factor, called epigenetics, may change how those genes are expressed. National Geographic‘s Peter Miller explains what science is learning from twins.

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Treating Stress, Speech Disorders With Music

More and more hospitals and clinics now offer music therapy as a supplementary treatment for everything from anxiety to Alzheimer’s, but its efficacy varies for different conditions. Neurologist Oliver Sacks and several music therapists discuss the science and practice of music therapy.

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Do Dilemmas Over DVT Prophylaxis Keep You Up At Night?

As physicians, we try to do everything in our powers to heal and improve our patients’ quality of life. Medicine and surgery are part science/part art and some problems have no definitive answers.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis and foot and ankle surgery is one of my top clinical dilemmas and one I actively discuss with colleagues, fellows and residents. I would love to hear the online community’s thoughts as well.

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Complaint Tests Rule Protecting Science From Politics

A 2009 White House memorandum protects federal scientists from political interference. But a watchdog group alleges that federal officials allowed politics to affect the design of a scientific study — exactly the sort of abuse the directive was designed to prevent.

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Complaint Tests Rule Protecting Science From Politics

A 2009 White House memorandum protects federal scientists from political interference. But a watchdog group alleges that federal officials allowed politics to affect the design of a scientific study — exactly the sort of abuse the directive was designed to prevent.

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Why Do We Give? Not Why Or How You Think

New findings in the science of charity reveals some counter-intuitive results. For instance, people will give more money to a single suffering person than to a population of suffering people, and also give more when some type of physical discomfort — for example, running a marathon — is involved.

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IgNobel Prizes Salute The Silly In Science

This year’s 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year’s festivities.

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Stethoscope’

The first stethoscope, invented by the French physician René Laennec, was simply a hollow wooden or ebony tube. Laennec named the device using the Greek roots stethos, or chest, and skopein, to look at or to observe. Medical historian Howard Markel discusses how Laennec came up with the invention. Unlike the stethoscope familiar to patients today, the original device was a simple tube.

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In Scott’s Race To The Pole, Science Beat Speed

A hundred years ago, two teams were racing to the South Pole. The Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen made it first, beating British explorer Robert Scott. But only Scott did pioneering science–and photography–along the way. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the achievements of the first Antarctic expeditions.

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