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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
You’ve heard of liver transplants, heart transplants, bone marrow transpolants. Ladies and gentleman, introducing – poop transplants. Check, please!
Which has the answers to life’s biggest questions: faith or science? Theoretical physicist Jim Gates argues that we need both.