°F September has started but the heat isn't leaving. Hear what this means for David the Times Square flyer guy.

Molly Webster

Molly Webster appears in the following:

Live Long and Starve

Friday, July 10, 2009

Scientists may have discovered the key to eternal youth: starving. A new report says that strict adherence to an extremely low-calorie diet can extend length of life. This has been shown to work on fruit flies, but now scientists have found the same results with primates. Joining us to explain the study and its implications for humans is Ricki Colman, associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, who helped conduct the low-calorie experiments.


More Unemployment, More Murders and Suicides

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A new study reveals a surprising cost of rising unemployment: during a recession, murder and suicide rates increase. The solution? Support groups. Here to tell us more is study co-author David Stuckler, a sociologist fellow at Oxford University. Stuckler is joined by American Chet Kaminski, currently an accountant who this past spring was compelled to join a social unemployment network after eight months without a job.

You can read the study about the public health affects of job loss by checking out the journal article in this week's issue of the medical journal, The Lancet.


Hackers vs. Your Social Security Number

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Your social security number is now a part of almost every form, including health insurance paperwork and the application for your library card. In fact, researchers reporting in this week's issue of the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used public data (hello, Facebook) to predict the first five digits of a person's social security number. And they got it right, on the first try, 44 percent of the time. With more on the dangers of our less-than-private individual identification system, The Takeaway is joined by privacy expert Peter Swire.

You can read more about the PNAS study by heading to the web site of our partners, The New York Times, and checking out today's article, Social Security Numbering System Vulnerable to Fraud, Experts Say.

"We have a known system that's leading to a lot of identity theft and will lead to a lot more identity theft. We probably have to suck it up as a society and get to a new system."
—Ohio State University professor Peter Swire

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The Secret (Love) Life of Fireflies

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer brings warm evenings dotted by the light of fireflies. The apparently serene scene is full of murder, deception, and secret trysts as the fireflies communicate with each other and try to mate. Joining The Takeaway with more on the passionate life of the firefly is science writer Carl Zimmer. You can read Zimmer's New York Times article on fireflies in today's Science Times, "Blink Twice if You Like Me".


Breaking Down the (Fire) Wall in Iran

Friday, June 26, 2009

Call it the Iranian two-step. The government has done its most to throw up an internet firewall, staring on the day of the election. Reports are that connections are slow, emails are slower, and in some cases the internet has shut down entirely. How were the Iranians able to throw up a firewall so quickly, and how are scores of people getting around it? Cyber Security Expert Rafal Rohozinski joins The Takeaway with answers.


Breaking Down the (Fire) Wall in Iran

Friday, June 26, 2009

In Iran, the day of the election, the internet was shut down completely. In the last two weeks, it has been slowed down, hacked, and carefully watched. How did the Iranians set up such a deliberate firewall so quickly? Here to tell us how is Rafal Rohozinski, he is the Principal Investigator with OpenNet Initiative, a university collaboration that aims to analyze internet filtering and surveillance practices. They have a new report out, looking at the Iranian firewall. He is also CEO of Siphon, a company that sells products to circumvent firewalls.


Iran, Health Care— and Smoking: Takeaway Roundtable

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When President Obama spoke to the nation yesterday he touched on everything from the ongoing political turmoil in Iran to health care here at home to his trouble quitting smoking. These are issues that affect communities all over the country, so we're checking in with some of our partner stations this morning to help us take the pulse of America. The Takeaway is joined by Jerome Vaughn, news director at WDET in Detroit, Joshua Johnson, anchor with WLRN Miami Herald News, and Marc Steiner who hosts the Marc Steiner show on WEAA in Baltimore.

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A New Look at Brain Injuries in Soldiers and Athletes

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the past, athletes involved in high-impact sports such as boxing or football would refer to the periods their brains went dim as "punch drunk." They'd find themselves thinking slowly, forgetting directions, suffering headaches. Now researchers think the symptoms may be indicative of a greater problem: the rare disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Athletes may not be the only victims— soldiers are also vulnerable. Joining The Takeaway with more is Chris Nowinski, director of the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit that has partnered with Boston University to study the long term affects of brain injuries like concussions on athletes and soldiers.

Read more about the repercussions of brain injuries in today's New York Times article, A Chance for Clues to Brain Injury in Combat Blasts.


A 'Corpse Flower' with the Smell of Death

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It has deep red flesh. It measures more than six feet high. It blooms only about once a decade. But the most memorable thing about the "Corpse Flower" at the Huntington Botanical Garden is that it gives off the stench of rotting flesh. The Takeaway is joined by Garden Director Jim Folsom, who's in San Marino, California, with the flower, Amorphophallus titanium.

Watch the crowds gather around a blooming corpse flower in this time-lapse video.

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South Africa: HIV Infections May Be Declining At Last

Friday, June 12, 2009

The news out of South Africa this week indicates there's something for the HIV-stricken country to celebrate. A new report says that HIV infections among young teens are down. In addition, the Western Cape is seeing fewer transmissions because more males are using condoms, and in the last three years the number of HIV infections has stabilized. Is the march of HIV slowing down?

The Takeaway is joined by Dr. Ernest Darkoh, a global health expert known for revolutionizing Botswana's HIV treatment program, to deconstruct the data. Click through for the full transcript of the interview.

Also, check out some intriguing data visualizations of HIV infection rates plotted against life expectancy, from


Doctors to Schools: It's Your Job to Prevent Bullying

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

In July, the American Academy of Pediatrics will come out with a new statement on how to prevent childhood bullying. They suggest that schools adopt a program in which children are encouraged to reach out to victims and isolate bullies. Can schools really make bullying uncool? Dr. Robert Sege, one of the lead authors on the policy, joins The Takeaway with his big ideas.

For parents and teachers looking for advice on how to deal with bullying, head to today's New York Times to read Perri Klass's article, At Last, Facing Down Bullies (and Their Enablers).

When you're done listening to Dr. Sege, check out The Takeaway's past coverage on childhood bullying and teen psychosis.

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Can Yogurt Slow the Spread of HIV?

Monday, June 08, 2009

HIV is sometimes referred to as a disease of the gut because of the voracity with which it attacks a victim's gastrointestinal tract. As researchers look at ways to limit the disease's affect on the body, a simple, stomach soothing solution came to mind: yogurt. More precisely, yogurt infused with friendly bacteria. Scientist Gregor Reid joins The Takeaway to talk about his work with HIV patients in Africa. There, in Tanzania, he has helped teach a group of "yogurt mamas" how they might serve up disease protection one cup at a time.

For more information, head to the pilot yogurt program's website, Western Heads East. Read more about the group, as well as other probiotic research, by checking out the article, A cultured response to HIV, in the June 2009 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

Photos from Gregor Reid's trip:

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We've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The skies are changing. Cloud enthusiasts in the United Kingdom believe they have found a new genus of cloud to put on the typical cloud list we all learn as children (you know: cirrus, nimbus, cumulus, stratus, and more). The enthusiasts are petitioning for the creation of a new cloud category. This kind of cloud appears to be thick and stormy; experts at the Royal Meteorological Society want to officially name it "Asperatus," after the Latin word meaning rough. Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society and author of The Cloudspotter's Guide joins The Takeaway to talk about cloud enthusiasts.

To view the different types of clouds, check out a photo gallery on the BBC's A New Kind of Cloud


Could Mosquitoes Bring Disease to Galapagos Reptiles?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Biologists have discovered that mosquitoes on the Galapagos have evolved to pierce the skin of reptiles, including iguanas and endangered tortoises. The mosquitoes daily reptilian snack brings a threat of transferring vector-borne disease to the animals. Leaving scientists to ask the question: how can we keep the Galapagos as pristine as when Darwin first found them? Evolutionary biologist Simon J. Goodman joins The Takeaway with more.

Goodman is co-author of the research article, "Natural colonization and adaptation of a mosquito species in Galapagos and its implications for disease threats to endemic wildlife," which was published in this week's issue of the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Here's a view of Galapagos Wildlife:


Teenage Wasteland? How Teen Texting Affects Behavior

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teenagers send thousands upon thousands of text messages each month (some as many as 24,000!). So researchers are beginning to wonder: what’s the effect of the furious finger work? Reporter Katie Hafner joins The Takeaway with answers.

For more, read Katie's piece on texting and teens in the Science Times section of today's New York Times, Texting may be taking a toll.

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How To Catch A Liar

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Duped. Tricked. Hornswoggled. Deceived. How can you tell if someone is fooling you? According to a new article out in today's Science Times, it's all in how they tell the story. The new focus on interview content grows in part out of a frustration with previous methods that studied behavior — averted eyes, fidgeting, or sweating—and a lack in helpful technological advances. The more important point: How much detail does someone give you when they tell their story? Joining The Takeaway with more on this story is New York Times science reporter Benedict Carey. Listen in, and then try the technique out on a con-artist (or first date) near you.

Benedict Carey's article is part of the Science Times' special Forensics section. Read his article, "Judging Honesty By Words, Not Fidgets," and check out the rest of The New Forensics issue.

Also, if lying appeals to you, listen to Radio Lab's show on Deception.

Beating a polygraph test may not get you in the clear if you're lying. But just in case, watch this video for pointers.


I Am The Virus

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ever since this whole "swine flu" thing erupted it's been nothing but talk about humans, humans, humans. But what's it been like to be a virus these last few weeks? Today, we shrink down to take a look at life from the point of view of one of the world's smallest biological toxins. How, really, do viruses get out of one organism and travel to another? (Warning: It's pretty gross.) What perils face a virus that ventures outside the human body? Our microscopic tour guide is The Takeaway's favorite virus hunter, Dr. Susan P. Fisher-Hoch, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas School of Public Health and co-author of Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC.

If you want to see the view of the body a virus sees, all you have to do is watch Fantastic Voyage, a 1966 classic in which "four men and a beautiful lady" were shrunk down and sent into the bloodstream on a submarine (it was not yellow):

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Hitting harder than a fist: Childhood bullying linked to teen psychosis

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bullying causes more than tears, according to new research. Scientists reporting in the May issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry say that childhood bullying can lead to teenage psychotic episodes such as delusions and paranoia. Here to tell us more is study co-author Dieter Wolke, a professor of developmental psychology and individual differences at the University of Warwick, England.
"If they're in a class they're going to pick on every child. Then they're going to hone in on the child that shows a reaction — for example cries or runs away — and has very little support."
—University of Warwick professor Dieter Wolke on bullying among children

To read the study for yourself, click here. To help someone you know is being bullied, check out the website Stop Bullying Now. Are you a target of workplace bullying? Here are some tips to stop bullying at work. For more on why bullies feel the need to target people, read Why Bullies Bully.

For more on the effects that childhood trauma has on our biological development, listen to The Takeaway's February 2009 conversation with Michael Meaney, Keep your hands to yourself: Child abuse affects our genes.

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Virus hunters chase down the swine flu

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The world has found a new strain of flu, so now what? Enter the virus hunters. This pack of epidemiologists, virologists, and infectious disease experts (sounds like a fun party) are fast on the bug's tail, looking for answers that may help us control its spread. What are they trying to figure out? How long will it take to rustle up some answers? And when you're an epidemiologist chasing down a flu virus, what do you do in your lab all day? The Takeaway is joined by Dr. Susan P. Fisher-Hoch, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas School of Public Health and co-author of the book, Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC. ,br/>
"It's a very bad idea just to go to the doctor's with a mild fever because that's the place to get infected because everybody will go there with their infected kids and their infected older people."
—Dr. Susan Fisher-Hoch on the spread of swine flu


Can we make a vaccine to stop swine flu?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu is continuing it's spread around the globe, and there's one word on everyone's lips: vaccine. Can researchers create a vaccine that will stop the virus with one quick jab of a needle? How quickly can a vaccine be created? And what can we do to prevent the spread of the flu before a vaccine is created? Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explains.

We were lucky enough to be able to nab Dr. Fauci by phone before he heads to Capitol Hill this afternoon, where he will testify at an emergency Senate meeting about the federal government's response to swine flu.

For more from Dr. Fauci, read his commentary on, Why there is no AIDS vaccine.

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