The human brain craves predictability, according to neuroscientists, and when politicians appear to flip-flop, our brains don't like it. Often, we feel betrayed. NPR science correspondents Jon Hamilton, Alix Spiegel and Shankar Vedantam talk about why we're hard-wired to appreciate consistency.
After the recent controversy over birth control, health coverage and the Catholic Church, writer Soraya Chemaly declared: "I'm No Longer a Catholic. Why Are You?" in a piece for The Huffington Post. Chemaly explains what made her walk away from the church.
Popular movements during the Arab Spring paved the way for democratic elections in Egypt and Tunisia. In Egypt, Islamists are assuming powerful roles. Many women's rights activists fear that a shift toward democratically-elected Islamist rulers will limit personal and political freedom for women.
On stage, Teller, half of the magician team of Penn & Teller, rarely says a word.
But now he's talking, explaining how magicians harness scientific research on deception to trick audiences into falling for their illusions. And their work, in turn, makes them interesting to brain researchers.
In Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson writes of how space exploration--especially human voyages--can profoundly inspire scientists and technologists of the future, and charts the path for missions to Mars and beyond.
Proteus Biomedical has developed chip-in-a-pill technology that transmits patient data directly to a smartphone. Novartis has partnered with Proteus to investigate applications of this technology. C&EN senior editor Rick Mullin discusses how the nontraditional partnership is part of a larger trend.
In his book The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars, Michael Mann discusses what he calls a well-funded campaign to discredit climate change. He describes efforts by opponents with ties to the fossil fuel industry to harass climate scientists and create doubt about climate change.
F. Murray Abraham stars in a new off-Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht's classic "Galileo." Brian Kulick, artistic director of the Classic Stage Company and the director of the play, discusses Galileo, (the scientist and the play) and tells why he thinks the themes in the work are still relevant today.
In Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, And Heeding The Voice of Conscience In Dark Times, journalist Eyal Press writes about "unexceptional people who took great risks" to help others.
The book profiles four individuals — a Serbian solider, a financial whistle blower, a Swiss police officer and an Israeli soldier — all unlikely resisters who end up going to great lengths to challenge authority.
Press talks with NPR's John Donvan about the things that inspire ordinary people to take a stand.