Science & Health

History
3:21 pm
Sun April 28, 2013

First He Invented The Phone. Then, Bell Left A Voice Message

Though the quality of the sound recordings is poor, we know what Alexander Graham Bell was saying because he left transcripts.
Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 3:28 pm

As the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell is credited with bringing countless voices to our ears. And now, for the first time, here he is imploring us to hear his own voice:

The sound is scratchy. You have to strain to decipher it, but the words are clear. They're from Bell's lips, recorded in 1885 but unveiled just last week by the Smithsonian.

"It lets us know what the past was really like. It fills in a gap for people," says Shari Stout, collections manager at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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Science
5:41 am
Sun April 28, 2013

From Coast To Coast with The Power Of The Sun

Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 5:40 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Nobody Throws Balls Like Yu

Jeff Gross Getty Images

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Animals
3:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Navy Sonar Criticized For Harming Marine Mammals

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The U.S. Navy is planning to ramp up training activities off California and Hawaii. But that has rekindled a battle over Navy sonar, which is known to harm marine mammals. From member station KQED, Lauren Sommer reports.

LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: We humans are visual creatures and for good reason. If someone is far away, you can usually see them before you hear them. Underwater, it's the opposite.

BRANDON SOUTHALL: The physical environment of the ocean really favors the use of sound, and the animals have evolved accordingly.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Freaky Friday: Autonomous Tissue Grabbers Are On Their Way

A miniature ninja throwing star or a surgical device? The microgripper, shown here coming out of a catheter tube, is activated by body heat. The sharp appendages fold up when the device warms up.
Evin Gultepe, Gracias Lab, Johns Hopkins University.

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:54 am

When we first heard about researchers using tiny freely floating tools to grab tissue samples deep inside the body, we were scared.

But our fears quickly turned to fascination.

Johns Hopkins engineers are testing out what they call "untethered microgrippers" as a better way to investigate hard-to-reach places. They have launched hundreds of these things, which look like miniature ninja throwing stars, inside the body of animal to retrieve tiny pieces of tissue for biopsies.

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Shots - Health News
11:27 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Failure Of Latest HIV Vaccine Test: A 'Huge Disappointment'

The green dots are HIV virus particles on a human white blood cell.
CDC

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:14 pm

The largest current study of an AIDS vaccine, involving 2,500 people, is being stopped.

After an oversight committee took a preliminary peek at the results this past Monday, they concluded there was no way the study would show that the vaccine prevents HIV infection.

Nor would the vaccine suppress the wily virus among people who get infected despite being vaccinated.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Great Salt Lake Is No 'Dead Sea'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. We're broadcasting today from the Grand Theatre at Salt Lake Community College. And, of course, just up the road from Salt Lake City is the city's namesake, the Great Salt Lake. Parts of it are 10 times saltier than the ocean. But this is no Dead Sea. It's teeming with microbes which can turn the water bubblegum pink.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Studying Earth To Learn About Mars

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Fri April 26, 2013

The Bird That Struts Its Stuff

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, it's our Video Pick of The Week. And here with me, as always, is our managing editor and correspondent for video, Flora Litchman. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LITCHMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: You went on a...

(APPLAUSE)

FLATOW: You went on a local expedition for us.

LITCHMAN: I love Salt Lake City.

FLATOW: Yeah.

LITCHMAN: I just want to...

FLATOW: They love you, it sounds like. Tell us about your expedition.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Utah's Fossil Finds Describe an Ancient World

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:03 pm

Once upon a time, giants roamed the planet — many of them in what is now Utah. A panel of paleontology experts describes some of the state's ancient treasures, from massive long-necked sauropods to the Utahraptor, a predator that would put those in Jurassic Park to shame.

NPR Story
9:21 am
Fri April 26, 2013

James Webb Space Telescope Wings It

The James Webb Space Telescope will succeed Hubble in 2018, boasting modern computers and a mirror with seven times the viewing area. Bob Hellekson, ATK Program Manager for the telescope, discusses the telescope's newly constructed wings, designed to support the telescope's folding mirror, and astrophysicist Stacy Palen talks about what the telescope may reveal about the cosmos.

Space
2:03 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now? Cellphone Satellites Phone Home

Three PhoneSats, like the one seen here during a high-altitude balloon test, were launched into space on Sunday. The slightly modified cellphone satellites cost a few thousand dollars in parts.
NASA Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 5:59 pm

Smartphones can check e-mail, record videos and even stream NPR. Now NASA has discovered they make pretty decent satellites, too. Three smart phones launched into space this past Sunday are orbiting above us even now, transmitting data and images back to Earth. The PhoneSats, which cost just a few thousand dollars each, could usher in big changes for the satellite industry.

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The Salt
1:57 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Exploring Coffee's Past To Rescue Its Future

Eduardo Somarriba is a researcher at the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education in Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:47 pm

At the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica, you can touch the history of coffee — and also, if the optimists have their way, part of its future.

Here, spread across 25 acres, are coffee trees that take you back to coffee's origins.

"The story starts in Africa, no? East Africa," says Eduardo Somarriba, a researcher at CATIE, as we walk through long rows of small coffee trees.

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Researchers Find Hormone That Grows Insulin-Producing Cells

A microscopy image of a rat pancreas shows the insulin-making cells in green.
Masur Wikimedia.org

The work is only in mice so far, but it sure is intriguing.

A newly found hormone revs up production of cells that make insulin — the very kind that people with advanced diabetes lack.

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Environment
4:03 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

From Battle To Birds: Drones Get Second Life Counting Critters

Researchers are using small remote-controlled planes to survey the populations of the greater sage grouse.
Stephen J. Krasemann Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

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