A new report by the United Nations' nuclear agency claims that Iran has ramped up production of a purer form of enriched uranium over the past few months. The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency was obtained by The Associated Press and other news outlets and it's likely to further suspicions from Western countries that Iran might be working on a nuclear weapon.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:18 pm
The Obama administration is seeking to try a Lebanese man linked to Hezbollah in a military commission, expanding the reach of the military tribunal beyond al-Qaida and Taliban suspects for the first time.
The man at the center of the case is Ali Musa Daqduq. He was the last detainee held by American forces in Iraq and had been turned over to Iraqi custody when U.S. forces formally withdrew from Iraq in December.
Representatives from some 70 countries met in Tunis on Friday and issued an ultimatum to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, demanding an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian access to cities like Homs that have been under bombardment by the Syrian army. Audie Cornish talks to Michele Kelemen about the news.
The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial isn't the only monument in Washington, DC, that has grappled with how to make a correction. At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, there are more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall. More than 100 of them have been misspelled, but 62 have been fixed. Memorial fund president Jan Scruggs explains how they've made the corrections.
Another legal question: What do a urine test and FedEx have in common? Well, today at least, they both relate to one of Major League Baseball's best players, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, the National League MVP. Yesterday, an arbitrator overturned his 50-game suspension for violating the league's rules on performance-enhancing drugs. And today, Braun showed up for spring training in Phoenix and defended himself to the media.
In Syria, medics working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are evacuating the injured from a neighborhood of Homs. The area known as Baba Amr has been under a long and heavy bombardment from Syrian government forces. Melissa Block talks with Saleh Dabbakeh, a spokesman for the ICRC who is in Damascus.
We've all seen those bathtub refinishing ads that promise a glossy new surface on the dingy old tub.
But a solvent used to make that transformation has killed at least 13 people who used it to strip bathtubs from 2006 to 2011, according to a new study. The chemical, methylene chloride, is sold as a solvent and paint stripper both to professionals and in dozens of do-it-yourself products sold at home improvement stores.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 6:01 pm
Last night at midnight, Nike released a pair of expensive glow-in-the-dark basketball shoes. And as has happened before for big shoe releases, a melee broke out among the hundreds of people who waited outside of an Orlando, Fla. mall to buy them.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the release of the shoes was timed with Orlando's hosting of the NBA All-Star Game and by 9:45 p.m., police in riot gear were called in to control the crowd.
The standard picture of the moon is of a long-dead object, geologically speaking. But using observations from cameras on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Thomas Watters and colleagues say in the journal Nature Geosciencesthat there are signs of more recent tectonic activity on the moon, within the last 50 million years.
Photographer and videographer Edward Aites, of Seattle, submitted this time-lapse video to Science Friday. He looked at ice through a macro lens and cross-polarizing filters, and found a colorful, surprising landscape. This is ice like you've never seen it before.
Flu season usually peaks around February. But this year it's missing in action, with the CDC reporting the slowest start to the flu season on record. Peter Palese, a microbiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses whether unseasonably warm winter weather may be to thank.
Computer chip makers have long struggled to build ever-smaller transistors to allow faster, more powerful computers. Writing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team of scientists describes what may be the ultimate limit of that struggle — a transistor made of a single atom. Michelle Simmons, a physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia and leader of the project, discusses the work.
Bloomberg News reporter John Lauerman volunteered to have his DNA sequenced by Harvard researchers to demystify the process for the public. What he didn't expect to uncover was that he possessed two gene variants--one linked to rare blood disorders and the other to a higher risk of Alzheimer's.
Reporting in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers write of harvesting electricity from microbe-rich river sediments--enough to power a small LED bulb. Grant Burgess, a marine biotechnologist at Newcastle University, discusses the hunt for electron-burping bugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The alphabet has only 26 letters. With these 26 magic symbols, however, millions of words are written every day.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
And that music means it's time for Science Diction, where we talk about the origins of science words with my guest, Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. Welcome back to SCIENCE FRIDAY, Howard.
Web browser manufactures often market their products to consumers with an emphasis on privacy, assuring users that their products can better control how personal information is used online. Carnegie Mellon privacy researcher Lorrie Cranor explains that many companies have developed quiet ways to step around some of that privacy-protecting code.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:01 pm
Connie Johnson is not afraid to be outrageous. The Democratic state senator from Oklahoma has watched in frustration for several years now as colleagues have rammed through bills limiting women's reproductive rights.
She tried debating and making speeches. Finally, earlier this month, she thought of something that made her point more clearly, or at least more graphically.
She introduced an amendment that would define life as beginning not at conception, but at "ejaculation."
The Singing Detective is the story of a writer of pulp-fiction novels, hospitalized for a horrible skin condition that has his entire body flaking and raw, and his mind slipping in and out of fever dreams.
Some of those hallucinations have the people around him breaking into song, or shifting into other places and times and characters, or both. He tries to maintain his sanity by rewriting, in his head, one of his old novels into a Hollywood screenplay — and, in his mind, he's the healthy, good-looking protagonist — the singing detective.
The news that some rice-based foods are surprisingly high in arsenic has left rice lovers wondering how the heck we're to know what's safe to eat.
Since Dartmouth College researchers reported last week that a toddler formula and energy bars sweetened with organic brown rice syrup tested high for arsenic, readers of The Salt have had lots of questions about how one might find out the arsenic content of rice-based foods, and figure out what's safe.
A new case taking on affirmative action in higher education is set to be heard in the Supreme Court this fall. In 2003, the court ruled that universities could consider racial diversity in admissions. But today the make-up of the court is very different. Host Michel Martin discusses the case with two law school deans.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe filed a $500 million lawsuit against brewers and retailers, claiming they're responsible for the reservation's alcohol-related problems. The tribe lives on a dry reservation, but they claim nearby towns unlawfully sell alcohol to residents. Host Michel Martin speaks to a reporter and the tribe's attorney.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:45 pm
After the explosion of the rocket-propelled grenade on a road in Fallujah, Oscar Canon saw the white of his own thigh bone. At the medical unit, the young Marine sergeant grabbed the doctor by his collar and yelled, "Don't cut off my f***ing leg." That was in October of 2004 and the first of dozens of surgeries — 72 separate operations, by a family member's count — that saved his leg.
Last week, Staff Sgt. Oscar Canon, 29, died. A Marine Corps spokesman at Camp Pendleton says the death is still being investigated.
In sophisticated comedy, what's funny is the tension between proper manners and the nasty or sexy subtext. Whereas in low comedy, there are no manners, and the nasty or sexy subtext is right there on the surface.
And then there's Wanderlust, in which the subtext is blasted through megaphones — the characters say so insanely much you want to scream. The satire is as broad as a battleship and equally bombarding. But it takes guts to do a comedy this big without gross-out slapstick, and the writers and the actors are all in.
For patients in nursing homes, treatment with antipsychotic medicines is pretty much routine.
Though the drugs were developed to treat schizophrenia, they're also used to manage the dementia-related behavior of elderly patients. Up to a third of patients in nursing homes get the drugs, despite their risks.