This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's not often that people pay tribute, even eulogize, an animal, unless it's a famous film star like Lassie or maybe Trigger. But this week, they are remembering Lonesome George, the famous giant Galapagos tortoise thought to be over 100 years old and the last known member of his subspecies.
When it comes to climate change, you've heard of melting icecaps and rising sea levels, but just how high will the sea levels rise in 20, 30 or 100 years? Will it be enough to notice the difference? New research now says the oceans will swallow up more and more of our coastline, rising not just inches but feet according to two new reports released by the National Research Council and the U.S. Geological Survey.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your telephone is a computer, really. Your microwave, it's got a computer in it. Your television, it's got a computer there. Even, of course, your computer has a computer. Your iPhone, your cellphone. Everything - just about everything in electronics these days has a computer, and they all work the same way like a Turing machine. Decades before your PC, your Mac or your Commodore, Alan Turing was designing a machine which could calculate almost anything: a universal computer.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Imagine walking through Times Square, and every step you take it converted into a tiny electric current by the special pavement underfoot. Now multiply by the third of a million people who walk through Times Square on any given day. Wow, it could be a pretty awesome source of renewable energy, right, perhaps enough to power all those neon lights and flashing billboards.
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy hit the big screen again next week. The new movie "The Amazing Spider-Man" opens on July 3rd. And once you accept the premise that a man can get super spidey skills from a radioactive - sorry to laugh - spider bite, well, you know, just like Johnny Carson used to say, you buy the premise, you buy the bit.
Julian Assange will defy a British Police notice to surrender. A member of his defense fund said the WikiLeaks founder will remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London because asylum law take precedence over an extradition order.
Saying he was afraid of persecution from the United States government and that his extradition to Sweden could hasten that, Assange has sought refuge and asylum from Ecuador.
Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Nay Myo Zin is a former captain in the Myanmar army who now runs a charity and is a political activist. He says he quit the army because soldiers were "always made to do bad things," and thus preventing him from properly practicing his Buddhist religion.
Credit Reuters /Landov
A monk waves his alms bowl upside down in defiance of a threat to send troops to end anti-junta protests in Yangon on Sept. 25, 2007, during the country's monk-led Saffron Revolution.
In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.
But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.
Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 11:53 am
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts surprised the country yesterday by siding with the liberal wing of the court in the health care decision.
Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush and has reliably taken conservative positions. But after yesterday's decision, you can bet his welcome from conservatives who saw him as a hero has chilled.
Speaking to a conference of judges and lawyers outside of Pittsburg, Roberts acknowledged his predicament.
"We had to unveil an Africa that wasn't that well known to ... a number of audiences." -- Emeka Okafor
There are many stereotypes about Africa: that it's a place of conflict, of disease, war and famine. Or that it's a single place rather than a continent of 54 distinct countries. We'll engage with thinkers and doers who are constructing new realities for their respective countries — and for the African continent a whole.
We want to get another angle on yesterday's Supreme Court decision on health care. The health care law would not have survived without the support of Chief Justice John Roberts. That support was surprising to many people, perhaps even shocking. He'd been seen as a solid conservative vote in the court but this week two opinions are making people rethink that: yesterday's health care decision and one earlier this week striking down much of Arizona's immigration enforcement law.