Corruption is usually thought to be a bad thing. But in China, the answer is no longer crystal clear.
For decades, the country's Communist Party has declared that corruption threatens its very survival. But there are signs that this is changing. Recently, the state-run media have begun arguing that corruption can't be stamped out, so it should be contained to acceptable levels. And some corruption appears to be tacitly condoned.
How many contemporary political figures have a piano prize named after them? Here's one: Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A gold medal will be awarded in her honor at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Playing the piano was one of her coping mechanisms during 15 years of house arrest.
By a vote of 373-52, the House passed a massive bill that among other things keeps the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.
"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive bill on Friday combining funding for transportation programs, low-interest student loans, and the National Flood Insurance Program," the Reuters reports.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This weekend, three members of the crew onboard the International Space Station will be returning to Earth after over six months in orbit. Flora Lichtman had a chance to chat with some of them, and she's here with us. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. That's right, just another day at SCIENCE FRIDAY, calling space.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's not often that people pay tribute, even eulogize, an animal, unless it's a famous film star like Lassie or maybe Trigger. But this week, they are remembering Lonesome George, the famous giant Galapagos tortoise thought to be over 100 years old and the last known member of his subspecies.
When it comes to climate change, you've heard of melting icecaps and rising sea levels, but just how high will the sea levels rise in 20, 30 or 100 years? Will it be enough to notice the difference? New research now says the oceans will swallow up more and more of our coastline, rising not just inches but feet according to two new reports released by the National Research Council and the U.S. Geological Survey.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Imagine walking through Times Square, and every step you take it converted into a tiny electric current by the special pavement underfoot. Now multiply by the third of a million people who walk through Times Square on any given day. Wow, it could be a pretty awesome source of renewable energy, right, perhaps enough to power all those neon lights and flashing billboards.
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy hit the big screen again next week. The new movie "The Amazing Spider-Man" opens on July 3rd. And once you accept the premise that a man can get super spidey skills from a radioactive - sorry to laugh - spider bite, well, you know, just like Johnny Carson used to say, you buy the premise, you buy the bit.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your telephone is a computer, really. Your microwave, it's got a computer in it. Your television, it's got a computer there. Even, of course, your computer has a computer. Your iPhone, your cellphone. Everything - just about everything in electronics these days has a computer, and they all work the same way like a Turing machine. Decades before your PC, your Mac or your Commodore, Alan Turing was designing a machine which could calculate almost anything: a universal computer.