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Staff Picks - February 22nd, 2013

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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Last week, planet earth narrowly escaped being hit by an office-building-sized meteor, and we suspect that this had some kind of psychological impact on the good people creating science content in the public broadcasting space. The best stories of the week are fascinating, insightful – and a bit grim.

But we get it. Everyone is just a little bit more aware of their mortality these days. So check out these stories about death, and then go live your life this weekend. LIVE!

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Radio Lab: When Am I Dead?

Got death on the mind? Well, then do we have a story for you. This Radio Lab piece explores questions like – how much does the human soul weigh? And can the dead play tennis? Listen with your kids. Or a therapist.

Staff Picks - February 22nd, 2013-asteroid.jpg
The Meteor That Launched A Thousand Stories About Death

NOVA scienceNOW: The Asteroid That Hit L.A.

Check out this neat “catastrophe calculator,” which allows the more morose among us to choose the size of an asteroid, and then imagine its impact were it to hit Los Angeles. This way, you’ll know the size of the crater that replaces Disney Land.

Science Friday: Russia Meteor Renews Focus on Asteroid Threats

Not yet ready for death? Release your anxiety. Astronomers are thinking super-hard about ways to keep the planet safe should another meteor threaten our planet. Let go, and let NASA.

NPR’s Krulwich Wonders: “The Filibuster Solution, Or ‘What If Honeybees Ran The U.S. Senate?'”

Listen up, politicos. When it comes to politics, we humans have been known to fight to the death for what we believe in. But honey bees, which run their hives as democracies, take a different approach. Can they teach us something about our own political processes?

NPR Science: Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?

Enough about the end of life, what about its beginnings? Should we be allowed to make our babies taller or smarter using genetic engineering? Or will toying with fate be the end of us? Listen to the debate, and then decide for yourselves.

Original funding for "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.