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Staff Picks - January 24th, 2013

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

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This week on Secret Life’s staff picks we wax philosophical, featuring stories that poke and prod at the question – how can science help us solve life’s greatest mysteries? Oh, and there’s a poop story.

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Radio Lab: Fate and Fortune

To many, fate is the stuff of romantic comedies, but scientists study the same concept under different names, like “genetic predisposition” and “prenatal diagnostic testing”. This piece presents some fascinating stories and eye-opening experiments, each providing surprising insight into just how much say we have in the outcome of our own lives.

Staff Picks - January 24th, 2013-the-thinker.jpg
Are you thinking about your mortality yet?

Science Friday: An Illustrated Guide to the Mysterious

Are you a naturally grumpy person? Do you have an uncontrollable urge to walk fast? Or a quirky taste for the smell of gasoline? Maybe you were born that way. Then again, maybe not. An excerpt form this book – which illustrates the mysterious of science – explores the role that genes play in determining human behavior. And their limitations. (Scroll to the bottom for the excerpt, but be sure to enjoy the illustrations on the way).

Radio Lab: Krulwich Wonders: Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It’s Time To Die

Why do humans live longer than, say, bugs? Or dogs? It turns out, a mathematical formula can tell us how long a species will live, with very little variation, based on its size. We hope our smaller readers take comfort in knowing that the formula only applies to an entire species, not the individual spiders or dogs or humans within.

NPR Science: Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

Who needs an external hard drive when you can back up your computer using the very building blocks of human life? In the future, “Save As: .DNA” could be a very real option for storing important information.

Radio Lab: Poop the Magic Gut Cure

You’ve heard of liver transplants, heart transplants, bone marrow transpolants. Ladies and gentleman, introducing – poop transplants. Check, please!

Secret Life: Jim Gates: Faith/Science Navigator

Which has the answers to life’s biggest questions: faith or science? Theoretical physicist Jim Gates argues that we need both.