How Tears Go 'Pac-Man' To Beat Bacteria

Jan 20, 2012

The mystical healing properties of tears are invoked in fairy tales and fantasies from Rapunzel to Harry Potter. So it may surprise you to hear that tears really are pretty powerful, on the microbial level at least.

We wouldn't want to say that $7,922,500 isn't an awful lot to pay for one set of four books.

But we do have to point out that it's not a record.

Thursday, we previewed the Christie's New York auction of a rare set of John James Audubon's Birds of America. As we reported, there was talk that it might fetch more than the record $11.5 million paid for another full set of the books in 2010.

A judge in New Zealand today ordered that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz) and three others remain in custody at least until a bail hearing on Monday as the legal process of possibly extraditing them to the U.S. to face copyright infringement and conspiracy charges got underway.

Surgeons in Sweden replaced an American patient's cancerous windpipe with a scaffold built from nanofibers and seeded with the patient's stem cells. Lead surgeon Dr. Paolo Macchiarini discusses the procedure and the benefits of tissue-engineered synthetic organs.

Seeing Super-Fast Animals

Jan 20, 2012



With us here now is Flora Lichtman and our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.


FLATOW: What you got for us this week?

LICHTMAN: This week, we are taking a look at the secret speed demons of the animal kingdom. Forget, you know, forget the cheetahs.

FLATOW: That was immediately the one comes to mind, right?

LICHTMAN: Me, too.

FLATOW: Cheetahs.

LICHTMAN: I think speedy ones, I think cheetah, I think gazelle...


LICHTMAN: ...something. No.

Science historian Howard Markel discusses the origins of the word moon and some of the lore surrounding it, including a 1638 book by the English bishop Francis Godwin entitled The Man in the Moone, which recounts a science fiction-style voyage to the moon.

How Large Ships Use Navigation Systems

Jan 20, 2012

The International Maritime Organization has decreed that by 2015, all large deep sea ships will be required to carry the latest in electronic navigation equipment. But does state-of-the-art navigation technology prevent shipwrecks like last week's off the Italian coast? University of Southern Mississippi hydrographer Max van Norden talks about the technology.



You're listening to Science Friday. I'm Ira Flatow.

We here at Science Friday are constantly on the lookout for cool, innovative, renewable energy ideas. And when we came across these next two, we knew - I just knew I had to share them with you.

Scientists have confirmed that rocks collected recently in the Moroccan desert came from the Red Planet. University of Alberta meteorite expert Chris Herd, who has acquired one of the chunks, talks about how scientists analyze space rocks, and whether organic compounds might be found inside.



Up next, mindfulness. Ever find yourself going through day stuck in autopilot mode, waking up at 7:15, wolfing down your usual hot cereal, really, without really tasting it, while you read the paper, your emails, your Facebook feed.