Henry Kissinger once joked at a press conference: Does anyone have any questions for my answers? If politicians had their way, they might just write their own questions for the press, but, of course, politicians can't write all the questions. So instead, they're coached on the art of question-dodging, taught how to segue from the question they're asked to the question they wish they had been asked and are prepared to answer.
In a few weeks, NASA's Curiosity rover may use its powerful drill for the first time on Mars, and that has been a cause of a concern - not because the drill may be malfunctioning, but because the drill bit might be contaminated with germs from Earth.
Last Monday, an amateur astronomer in Wisconsin, Dan Peterson, was gazing through his telescope when he caught sight of a flash of white light in Jupiter's gassy atmosphere. Lucky for him, someone else also had a scope trained on Jupiter that night. George Hall, an amateur astronomer in Dallas caught that flash on video, hard evidence that an explosion had indeed happened on the giant planet.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. How much of the world's energy needs could be met by wind power alone? Energy analysts are always quick to point out that the wind doesn't blow all the time, but it turns out that if you look worldwide, and you look up at the sky and not just at ground level, there's a lot of wind available, and that wind carries a lot of energy.
What happens at the Northeast Mycological Federation Foray? "Mushrooms only," according to attendee Gary Lincoff, an instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Science Friday stopped by the conference for mushroom talk, mushroom crafts, mushroom eats and a mushroom hunt.
Twice in all of history, humans have managed to eradicate a devastating disease. You've heard of the first one, I suspect: smallpox. But rinderpest?
That's a German word for "cattle plague" a feared companion of cattle throughout history. When outbreaks occurred, as in Europe of the 1700s or Africa in the 1880s, entire herds were wiped out and communities went hungry. Now the disease is gone, eliminated from the face of the earth.