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Friday, April 25, 2008

Last month, a report came out detailing some of the ways in which expectations affect our responses to pain medications. And according to an article about this report in The Baltimore Sun, one factor that influences our expectations is price. The article goes on to explain that two groups of test volunteers were given placebos after receiving an electric shock. One group was told the placebo pills they were given cost 10 cents each. The other group was told each pill cost $2.50. 85% of the volunteers in the $2.50 group reported pain reduction with the placebo, while only 60% of the volunteers in the 10-cent group did.
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My kid the bioengineer

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In our show (So Called) Life, we interviewed undergrads at MIT giving bacteria genes to make them smell minty fresh. If you are at all disquieted that such young minds are given such profound tools, sorry, bioengineers are getting ever younger. As part of a program designed to help teachers in NYC schools run a DNA transformation lab, I've seen 5th graders engineer bacteria to glow like a certain species of jellyfish found off the coast of Washington State.

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Getting Older Every Year

Monday, April 21, 2008

In light of Jad's recent birthday, we thought we'd share this video. It's sort of like a video version of "Nancy Grows Up" from our Time episode.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAD!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Jad's birthday today.

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Panta Rei

Friday, April 18, 2008

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said 'Panta Rei', which means 'all things flow'. Rheology ('flow'-ology) is the study of viscoelastic materials like Jello that are a little bit liquid and a little bit solid. But even the most liquid of liquids have some solid character. And even the most solid of solids have some liquid character. Take those beautiful stained glass windows in gothic cathedrals. For a long time it was thought that these windows are thin at the top and thick at the bottom as a result of centuries of slow viscous flow. As it turns out, it would take much more than centuries for glass to flow (see comments below).

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Climate change and critical thinking

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NPR’s David Kestenbaum ran a piece yesterday on Morning Edition about a 16-year-old climate skeptic named Kristen Byrnes. This ambitious teenager has set up a website and dedicated huge chunks of her time to arguing that the rise of global temperature is part of a natural cycle and not, as most climate scientists agree, caused by human action.

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Sensing a lie from across the room

Monday, April 14, 2008

During the making of the show Deception, Radiolab explored the possibility of fMRI-based lie detectors. But what if we could detect lies remotely? What if we could know someone's lying without them knowing that we know they are... Well Britton Chance takes us one step closer to making science fiction a reality.

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Radiolab Takes The Capital

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Radiolab is coming to Washington, DC! Sorry all- this event is SOLD OUT

On April 24th we'll be coming to DC to share some of our stories of experimentation. We’re partnering with WAMU 88.5 to bring you a live event at the Koshland Science Museum.

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The mark of a dedicated scientist

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Not all scientists are the quiet, serious type. Science writer Carl Zimmer offers a unique peek under the lab coat on his site Science Tattoo Emporium.

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An Evolving Sense of Right and Wrong?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Remember that morality experiment about the oncoming train and the track workers dying? Dr. Joshua Greene explained how his neuroimaging research shows that making this kind of moral decision draws on a complex combination of emotional and “cognitive” processes in our brains. It seems that studying biology, as well as society, can help us understand how we decide what’s right and wrong.

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Swarming Robots

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Radiolab listener and electrical engineer, Mark Alexander, wrote in to let us know about a project that he's working on and we think it's just too cool not to show to yous guys.

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On the Road Again, in Latvia

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Soren here, one of Radio Lab's worker bees ... With our Pop Music show on the way (the podcast will be released next week), I thought I'd prime the pump with a little personal pop music story:

When I was a kid, my family drove across the country every summer - from Montana, where we lived, to New Hampshire, where my father grew up. There was only one kind of music that played in that ‘74 Pinto station wagon as the great plains rolled by: Willie Nelson. And the favorite song was, of course, “On the Road Again.”

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Can one see the shape of a lie?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Is this your card? Don't lie or neuroscientist Dan Langleben may catch you. In our recent show Deception, Radio Lab explores how Paul Ekman can see the truth 'leak out' through microexpressions in the face, but Langleben wants to go deeper.

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Scientist Profiles: Elias Cohen

Monday, March 31, 2008

Have you ever looked a red and blue barber's pole and wondered why the stripes seem to be traveling up, rather than around the pole? Or have you looked at a still-life painting where the vase looked so real you could almost pick it up, even though it was just a painting? These two examples raise some interesting questions about how we interpret the things we see.

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Perspective for Your Cell Phone

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earlier this month, a NASA satellite detected a stellar explosion so big that it could be seen by the naked eye...even though it happened halfway across the visible universe. The gamma ray burst actually occurred before Earth was even formed--the light from the blast traveled over 7 billion years before it reached Earth.

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Easter Chimera

Monday, March 24, 2008

Over the Easter weekend, a Catholic Church in Scotland found itself listening to a sermon that discussed some of the very same issues we raised in our So-Called Life show. Of course, the context was a bit different... but the questions raised were similar: Are we allowed to tinker with life?

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Hallucinating Sound

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hello everyone. Jad here. I wanna tell you real quick about my experience hallucinating the sound of bees. And Fleetwood Mac.

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Woof, WHERE am I?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For a disturbing, but thought-provoking video clip that investigates the brain-body connection, check out Jonah Lehrer's blog for an entry he calls "The Poetry of Decapitated Dogs." In our show "Where Am I?" we heard all sorts of stories about when the brain and body connection gets screwy... but we never thought to take it quite this far.

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Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, the author of the book '2001: A Space Odyssey,' which became a Stanely Kubrick movie, died yesterday. Clarke was a visionary science fiction writer who foresaw the use of satellites for communications and planted a seed of wonder and awe in the universe for many young kids, including me.

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Music Lab #1

Monday, March 17, 2008

Here's the first installment of 'Music Lab.' A place on the blog where Jad gets to play some of his favorite music and tell you why he likes it. Take a listen.

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