Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:03 pm
If Congress fails to act, some $15 billion will be cut from science funding in January 2013. Physics professor and Beltway insider Michael Lubell talks about how science can escape that "fiscal cliff," and what to expect for climate change, healthcare and space under four more years of President Obama.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. In his new book "Hallucinations," Oliver Sacks writes that you see with your brain, not with your eyes. And his book suggests our brains can play some bizarre tricks on is. Dr. Sacks describes a musician who sees intricate but unplayable sheet music superimposed on his field of vision.
Here's a big, giant question for you: Why do we believe what we believe? And how is it that two people can look at the exact same set of circumstances and see two completely different things? That philosophical question is at the center of a new book where, to put it another way, one person's beautiful miracle is another person's ecological crisis.
And one last salute to science before the weekend. Here are some news you can raise the glass to. Microbiologist Tomas Villa and colleagues report that they may be able to bioengineer better beer foam. That's right.
TOMAS G. VILLA: Beer foam. Foam is what you like the most in a beer. And a beer drinker wants foam to stay longer, right?
LICHTMAN: Of course. And the secret to long-lasting froth, proteins, produced by barley and yeast during fermentation.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow this week. Last week, when Hurricane Sandy sent a surge of salty water into cities and towns up and down the East Coast, among the casualties were thousands of research subjects: lab mice. A building at New York University's Medical Center flooded, and thousands of mice and rats that were being used to study cancer, heart disease and all kinds of other medical disorders died.