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.
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.
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.