This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. You've likely heard of the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark, but maybe not of the U.S. Army explorer Stephen Harriman Long, an engineer who led a scientific expedition through the Great Plaines 15 years after Lewis and Clark.
His expedition traveled through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. And what did his crew make of America's Breadbasket? A place wholly unfit for cultivation or agriculture, they said. On a map, the explorers labeled the Great Plains as the Great American Desert.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Last year, researchers reported a breakthrough in treating Alzheimer's disease. They'd found a drug that appeared to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's in mice. The drug was already on the market, approved by the FDA to treat a type of skin cancer, meaning Alzheimer's patients could ask their doctors for a prescription, and some did.
Smartphones, tablets and computers could help seniors stay connected to their communities and families. But a hefty price tag, steep learning curves, and designs meant for younger eyes and hands could keep some older adults from logging on. Guests discuss the best ways for seniors to tackle new technology, and how devices can be adapted to accommodate older users.
North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn and colleagues surveyed people's pillow cases, refrigerators, toilet seats, TV screens and other household spots, to learn about the microbes that dwell in our homes. Among the findings, reported in the journal PLoS One, homes with dogs had more diverse bacterial communities, and higher numbers of "dog-associated" bacteria.
Throughout Kobo Town's new album Jumbie in the Jukebox, frontman Drew Gonsalves declares his love for the past even as his feet are firmly planted in the present. The music of the Toronto band can drift between classic Caribbean pop styles and even verge on hip-hop, but the singer's perspective remains sharply focused, wry and witty. The song "Postcard Poverty," for example, ribs tourists for whom tropical slums become an exotic backdrop to fun-in-the-sun adventures.
The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music's tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors' distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."
When Methodist minister Reverend Thomas Ogletree officiated his son's same-sex marriage, he didn't think it would cause a stir. But now some New York United Methodist Church ministers are threatening to defrock him. He speaks with Host Michel Martin about the controversy and why he feels he's being singled out.
Leah Chase's restaurant in New Orleans has served the likes of Thurgood Marshall, Sarah Vaughn and Duke Ellington. Now the legendary chef has earned the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award. Host Michel Martin speaks with Chase about her latest accomplishment.
California just unveiled a wide array of choices for the 5.3 million people expected to qualify to buy coverage through its online marketplace established by the federal health overhaul.
It's the first disclosure of prices in the nation's most populous state for individual health insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act, and the menu of affordable options surprised some consumer advocates and analysts who had been expecting premiums to be much higher.