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Staff Picks - January 18th, 2013

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

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The Centers for Disease Control predicted that the 2012-2013 flu season would be one of the worst in decades, and they weren’t kidding around. With all of the coughing and sneezing going on, the Secret Life headquarters has been completely void of handshakes, hugs and basically human contact for the better part of the past three months.

Luckily, this week’s “Staff Picks” is full of great reporting on the subject, featuring work that clarifies facts, debunks myths and offers advice on how to stay healthy (and happy) during the coldest winter months.

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Staff Picks - January 18th, 2013-screen_shot_2013-01-18_at_5.31.04_pm.png
A disgusting photo of yours truly sneezing.

Science Friday: How Do You Fend Off The Flu?

Are you the type that runs for cover when a coworker so much as sneezes? If so, this piece will give you all kinds of excuses for avoiding handshakes, from how long a flu droplet hangs in the air, to how likely you are to get the flu from a subway pole.

NPR Science: Scientists Try To Thwart Flu Virus By Resetting Its Clock

It turns out, viruses have an internal clock – complete with alarms that alert the body to produce important proteins that force the virus to exit. If researchers can adjust the internal clock, they might be able to slow down the spreading of the flu.

Radio Lab: Bliss

January and February are notoriously un-blissful months. Add the flu, and you’re lucky to find a passing moment of happiness or even contentment. Not willing to settle for these lesser joys, Radio Lab produced an hour of reporting on all out “Bliss,” which may just be enough to knock you out of your winter funk.

Secret Life: Ian Lipkin

Speaking of the flu, we recently featured the world’s foremost expert on viruses. In his lab, Dr. Ian Lipkin not only battles viruses like SARS, AIDS and you guessed it, the flu – he also created the virus for the film “Contagion” starring Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon.

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