Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 1:59 pm
You may have noticed that the vice presidential debate took place on the same day as four crucial games in this year's baseball playoffs. In case you were distracted at all by the latter, here's some of what you may have missed:
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Fifty years ago this week, a team of researchers at General Electric created something new: a solid-state device that could emit visible red light without getting hot like a light bulb. Other groups have made light-emitting devices, but this was the first practical one that could make light that a person could see, rather than invisible infrared light.
For nearly a decade, scientists and Northwest tribes in Washington state fought bitterly over whether to bury or study the 9,500-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. Scientists won the battle, and now, after years of careful examination, they're releasing some of their findings.
For starters, Kennewick Man was buff. I mean, really beefcake. So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and the man who led the study of the ancient remains.
A life well-worth noting has caught the attention of obituary writers:
-- "Andrew F. Brimmer, a Louisiana sharecropper's son who was the first black member of the Federal Reserve Board and who led efforts to to reverse the country's balance-of-payments deficit, died on Sunday in Washington. He was 86." (The New York Times)
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. The 2012 Nobel Prizes were announced this week in Stockholm, and groundbreaking research on stem cells, cloning, cell receptors and quantum optics, yeah, claimed the honors this year. The physics prize was awarded to French physicist Serge Haroche and American David Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado.
"U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest in five years in October as consumers became more optimistic about the economy in a possible boost to President Obama's reelection hopes," Reuters reports.
Next Tuesday, marijuana will have its day in court because the United States Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments about the drug's therapeutic and medicinal effects. But some doctors, like one of my next guests, disagrees with the government's ban on medical use of marijuana, pointing to the drug's ability to suppress nausea, stimulate the appetite, relieve pain, improve sleep, even fight cancer cells, in test tubes at least.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. 21 years ago this week, way back in October of 1991 on the first-ever episode of SCIENCE FRIDAY, one of our show topics was the ozone hole, that bite out of the Earth's ozone layer caused by chemicals in our refrigerators, air conditioners, cans of hairspray. Our guest that day was the late Sherwood Rowland, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize for his work on the ozone hole.