The Pulse – Jan. 30 2015


    Tax season has an added wrinkle this year—the Affordable Care Act. As a result of the mandate to carry health coverage, those who went without health care in 2014 will owe a penalty, and others, who got insurance through the Obamacare exchanges may owe the IRS more, while others might get money back. Simply put, it’s complicated, and even tax preparers are feeling the pressure to get it right. Elana Gordon takes the pulse of the tax prep industry.

    Snowmageddon turned out to be a mere dusting in the Philly region, despite the near panic from weather folks, predicting an historic storm. So what exactly happened here? We asked Tom Thunstrom, editor and co-publisher of, to join us for a conversation about the challenges of predicting the weather.

    A thousand meters below the ocean’s surface is a layer of water that conducts sound in unusual ways. At this depth, sound waves don’t behave the same way they do on land or even in other parts of the ocean. And this strange acoustical phenomenon that played a secretive role in the nation’s military history and discovered the identity of a sea monster. Todd Bookman dives in.

    Ants are famous collaborators, carrying pine needles or bread crumbs into their nests to feed their queen. But did you know that inside each ant, more collaboration happens on a micro-level? In this edition of our series “So What Do You Do,” writer Adrienne Simpson talks to Drexel University biologist Jake Russel about his fascination with the organisms inside of ants.

    As you watch the Patriots and the Seahawks compete in Super Bowl 49, you should say a big “thank you” to science. Today’s star athletes get a lot of their skills, strength, endurance and gear through refined techniques developed by scientists. To discuss this revelation, we’re joined by Mark McClusky, Editor of and author of a recent book “Faster Higher Stronger: How sports science is creating a new generation of super athletes, and what we can learn from them.”

    If you get hurt on the job, your life can turn into an odyssey of doctors, insurance claims, and lawyers. It can make the injured feel like they’re little more than their case file. A local law firm specializing in worker’s compensation cases has turned case files back into people. Peter Crimmins has the story of turning painful bureaucracy into art.

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