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Staff Picks - April 12th, 2013

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

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This week in public broadcasting: laughing rats, the story of saliva, and why a prominent chin is universally attractive in men (except in Australia).

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Radiolab: Is Laughter Just a Human Thing?

Why are giggles contagious? And can we control them? One psychobiologist known as The Rat Tickler looks to the animal kingdom for answers. ( Video of a rat in the midst of a laughing fit is included).

Staff Picks - April 12th, 2013-funny_laughing_animals_2.jpg
The call of the Laughing Owl has been described as “a loud cry made up of a series of dismal shrieks frequently repeated”.

Science Friday: The Story of Saliva

Funny, insightful, and eye-opening book excerpt about drool.

NPR Science: Leading Man’s Chin

Everyone likes a man with a prominent chin. Except Australians. Here’s why.

NOVA: Australia: Awakening

Searching for clues to earth’s mysterious past hidden in the red hills of Australia. You can stream the entire episode in the link above.

PRI: Monitoring Infectious Diseases Online

Sick? Hash tagging your symptoms on Twitter can be helpful to public health officials. Know of someone who’s sick? Hash tagging Lindsey Lohan’s symptoms can create a false alarm. The ups and downs of viral #diseasetracking.

Secret Life: Creating A Language

Oh, this old web series. We profile Paul Frommer, the man who helped James Cameron to create a new language for Avatar .

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