This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Now that President Obama's been re-elected, it's clear that at least the president won't try to repeal Obamacare. But with all the political mud-slinging about the Affordable Care Act, the details sort of got lost, didn't they? Do you actually know what the law does for you, and just as importantly what it doesn't do, what changes to your health care kick in on January 1, what major changes kick in in 2014 and thereafter?
This month the book club takes to the skies with the Tom Wolfe classic The Right Stuff, a behind-the-curtain look at the 20th century's most famous test pilots--including Chuck Yeager. Yeager joins the club to talk about his long career, and what he considers "the right stuff."
Photographer James Balog on Climate Change and 'Chasing Ice' — In the new documentary "Chasing Ice," photographer James Balog attempts to capture how the world's glaciers are being affected by climate change. As the film debuts across the country, Balog discusses the project, and what needs to be done to save Earth's shrinking glaciers.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 10:19 am
We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing...
...a very big thing, but I won't tell you what, not yet.
Instead, let's take a detour. We'll be back to the cornfield in a minute, but just to make things interesting, I'm going to leap halfway around the world to a public park near Cape Town, South Africa, where you will notice a cube, a metal cube, lying there in the grass.
Credit Hillel Aviezer / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Can You Tell Emotion From Faces Alone? A new study suggests that when people evaluated just facial expressions — without cues from the rest of the body — they couldn't tell if the face was showing a positive or negative emotion. Enlarge this photo to see the answers.
Photos of athletes in their moment of victory or defeat usually show faces contorted with intense emotion. But a new study suggests that people actually don't use those kinds of extreme facial expressions to judge how a person is feeling.
Instead, surprisingly, people rely on body cues.
Hillel Aviezer, a psychology researcher at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, wanted to see how accurately people can read intense, real-world facial expressions — instead of the standardized, posed images of facial expressions that are usually used in lab tests.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:22 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to make it a little harder for police to read people's old emails. It's something privacy groups and tech companies have wanted for years, but law enforcement groups are less pleased.
The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.
This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.
Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to make old emails a little more private on Thursday. The legislation also applies to old Facebook posts, Google documents and anything else you might be hiding online behind a password.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:44 pm
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.