Cities like Houston are dotted with air-sniffing monitors that measure levels of benzene and other potentially unhealthy air pollutants. But those monitors can't answer the question we care about most: Is the air safe?
That's because there's no simple relationship between toxic air pollutants and health risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are trying to get a leg up on that problem. They are building an instrument that uses human lung cells to measure health hazards in the air more directly.
The book club regulars gather to chat about the best-sellingA Walk in the Woods, writer Bill Bryson's 1998 account of a hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail. Plus, journalist Deborah Blum joins the club to talk about the best science books to stash in your beach bag (or backpack).
There's ADHD, OCD, DMDD, PTSD, along with hoarding disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and dissociative identity disorder. You will find all of them in the DSM, that's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called Bible of psychiatry. The fifth edition of the manual just came out after 14 years in the making, but instead of a round of applause, psychiatrists, psychologists, ethicists, even columnist are panning the book, saying it has outlived its usefulness.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It sounds like something from the movies, but it's true: Researchers unearth an organism frozen inside a glacier, take it back to the lab and discover it's still alive. In this case it's a plant called a bryophyte, a moss that survives being frozen in a glacier in the dark for some 400 years. Wow.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. In 2011, a group of researchers in Japan made a surprising discovery: With the right process, they could turn cement, in fact a component of the Portland cement you can find in the hardware store, they can turn that into a metal, and in its metallic state they could coax the cement to act as a semiconductor.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll head into the Barber Shop to get the buzz on some hot topics in the news. But first we want to hear about another place to hang out to find out about what's going on in the world. That would be the Internet. And while a lot of people might think that that's the domain of the younger set, it turns out that there is a thriving online world catering to 40 and 50-somethings.
An asteroid nine times the size of a cruise ship is dropping by Earth on Friday, and it's not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles from our planet at its closest approach. And its proximity has already given scientists a surprise: It has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in "crazy love" — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the harrowing story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence.