All Things Considered host Melissa Block talks with Nick Baumann of Mother Jones magazine about the belief at the core of Missouri state Rep. Todd Akin's furor-raising statement over the weekend: that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy. The belief that hormones or adrenaline protect women from conception during rape has been perpetuated for decades in American political discourse, without scientific basis. Studies have found approximately 5 percent of rapes result in pregnancy.
A neuroscientist claims that ignorance--not knowledge--is the true engine of science. He explains how scientists use ignorance to concentrate their research, and why "not knowing" is one of the greatest benefits to science.
There are many informational graphics demonstrating the environmental impact of beef consumption. But a lot of the numbers just don't match up. As it turns out, calculating what goes into (and comes out of) a cow is not an exact science.
People with extraordinary autobiographical memories also tend to have obsessive tendencies, researchers are learning. Brain scans reveal structural differences in the brains of these people, including a larger-than-normal caudate, a brain area linked to OCD.
The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge asked engineers to dream up a replacement for the antiquated flush toilet. Michael Hoffmann and his team at Caltech responded with a solar-powered toilet that disinfects waste and reuses wastewater to flush. Better yet, it pumps out hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells.
A typical American family uses 400 gallons of water a day. But the pipes that ferry that water are bursting faster than they can be replaced. George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, and environmental historian Martin Melosi discuss past and present issues with pumping water into cities.
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