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Biology

The Takeaway

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".

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Eggs for Sale

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Empire State Stem Cell Board recently announced that stem cell researchers in New York can use public money to pay women who donate their eggs for research. Brooke Ellison, 2006 state senate candidate, quadriplegic and advisory board member to the Genetics Policy Institute and Fr. ...

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WNYC News

Tree Inspectors on Trail of Asian Beetle in Prospect Park

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Asian Longhorned Beetle is chomping its way through the forests of the northeast, destroying maples and other trees. Jackie Beebe is a tree inspector for the U.S Department of Agriculture. We caught up with her, as she got ready to climb one of them ...

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WNYC News

NYC to Host Climate Week

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Move over, Fashion Week! This fall, the city will be hosting Climate Week, in support of a summit on climate change at the United Nations. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon hopes the September 22 meeting of world leaders will pave the way for a ...

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WNYC News

Give Bees a Chance

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Give bees a chance -- so says a group of renegade beekeepers. They want the city to legalize beekeeping instead of fining people up to $2,000 for tending a hive.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer declared his support for beekeeping, which he says is a step ...

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Radiolab

Random Rules

Monday, June 15, 2009

The business of life is the business of taking the disorder of the world, little bits of matter scattered here and there, and giving them shape, regularity, order. Or so we all thought. Science journalist Carl Zimmer claims that at a microscopic level, in the inner workings of cells, ...

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Radiolab

Stochasticity

Monday, June 15, 2009

How stochasticity -- a wonderfully smarty-pants word for randomness -- drives our lives, and the patterns we see around us.

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WNYC News

City to Trap and Kill Thousands of Canada Geese

Friday, June 12, 2009

The city will start trapping and killing up to two thousand Canada geese next week, in an effort to reduce the number of times airplanes strike birds.

REPORTEr: Carbon dioxide gas will be used to euthanize geese within a 5-mile radius of JFK and Laguardia airports. ...

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WNYC News

Multi-State Group to Protect Sea Waters

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Five states, including New York and New Jersey, have formed a working group to protect the waters between Montauk and the Chesapeake. Governors Paterson and Corzine inked a pledge today to cooperate on issues like conservation and fisheries. Governor Corzine says the new multi-state group ...

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WNYC News

2 More New Yorkers Dead With Swine Flu

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Two more city residents who had the swine flu have died, bringing the total to seven. And health officials are providing a first glimpse of the “underlying conditions” that can turn swine flu from a mild illness into a severe or fatal one. WNYC’s Fred ...

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Radiolab

Stayin' Alive

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A look at four unconventional ways to stay alive.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Swine Flu Update

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beth Fertig, WNYC reporter, and Tom Skinner, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks about school closures and the latest swine flu news in New York City and the rest of the country. Then, we go live to Geneva, where World Health ...

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WNYC News

The Urban Composter

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Most people who collect and compost food scraps have a backyard or a garden to dump them in. But in New York City residents without a pinch of earth are taking extreme measures to compost. As part of a collaboration with northeast stations, WNYC’s Amy ...

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WNYC News

The University of Trash

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Composting could be a class at the University of Trash. The experimental university, an art project at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, relies on the public to propose its curriculum. The University of Trash is what artists Michael Cataldi and Nils Norman call ...

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WNYC News

Gillibrand Wants EPA Study on Drugs in Drinking Water

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to study how trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs in drinking water affect human health. Regulators and drug-makers say the amounts are too small to have an impact. But Gillibrand and some scientists say the long-term effects ...

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The Takeaway

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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The Brian Lehrer Show

Better, Faster, Stronger, Smarter

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot explores the world of neuro-enhancing drugs.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Poisoned Waters

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

30 years after the Clean Water Act, large amounts of industrial and agricultural pollutants are winding up America’s waterways. PBS Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith looks at the perilous environmental condition of the US's most productive coastal estuaries--Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound--in the new documentary "Poisoned Waters." It airs on PBS ...

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WNYC News

Whale Migration Season Brings Leviathans to NYC

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A whale spotted near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge this morning has headed towards more open waters near Coney Island. Spokeswoman Terry Frady with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this is whale migration season and it's not unusual to see them in New York. ...

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The Takeaway

Why does scratching stop us from itching?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

When we drag our nails across a chalkboard, it's not pleasant. But dragging our nails across our skin often provides us nothing but relief from a prickly, tickly sensation know as The Itch. Just what is it about scratching an itch that causes the itchy sensation to go away? New research out this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience provides an answer. And we're itchin' to tell you about it: Glenn Geisler, one of the scientists involved with the work, joins The Takeaway with more.

Read Geisler's Nature Neuroscience paper here .

And have you ever wondered how deep into the skin a person can scratch? Read Atul Gawande's New Yorker article The Itch to find out. We won't spoil the ending for you, but it's pretty darn deep.

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