Science & Health

All Tech Considered
3:14 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Popular Science' Shuts Comments, Citing Internet 'Trolls'

PopularScience.com says it will no longer accept comments on new stories because of the negative impact of "trolls and spambots."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 4:59 pm

The online content director for PopularScience.com announced Tuesday that the website will no longer accept comments on new articles, saying a small but vocal minority of "shrill, boorish specimens of the lower Internet phyla" were ruining it for everyone else.

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Environment
3:01 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 9:53 am

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Raising Tastier Sea Urchins For Foodies And The Environment

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy, but supply can't keep up with demand.
Aizat Faiz Flickr

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 6:09 pm

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly — so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.

But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.

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Science
4:17 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Don't Try To Clean That Messy Desk

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 7:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.

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Shots - Health News
4:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:30 pm

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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The Picture Show
9:51 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Bee-Holder

Osmia chalybea, Male, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:55 pm

For a lot of people, the sight of a bee or wasp is enough to elicit some kind of visceral reaction. But a bee at 1:1 magnification becomes something a little more awe-inspiring.

"We know the average American reaction to insects," says Sam Droege, head of the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. But, he says, "At this scale, none of them are ugly."

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Monkey See
2:34 am
Mon September 23, 2013

The Man Who Gets The Science Right On 'The Big Bang Theory'

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David Saltzberg (right) hosts his "Geek of the Week," UCLA student Andrew Peck, on the set of The Big Bang Theory.
Michael Yarish Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:02 am

Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.

Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.

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Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

In Life, Man Immune To HIV Helped Scientists Fight Virus

Stephen Crohn, a New York artist and editor, carried a genetic mutation that protected him against HIV. He died last month at age 66. The cause was suicide.
Facebook.com

Stephen Crohn, a man best known for staying alive during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, died Aug. 23 at age 66. Throughout his lifetime, the New York artist helped researchers uncover vital clues about HIV and how to stop it.

Crohn's partner was one of the first people to die from AIDS in 1978. Over the years, Crohn watched boyfriends and acquaintances die from the disease. But he never got sick.

Knowing that there was something unique about himself, Crohn volunteered to be studied.

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Science
4:03 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Black Widow Spider Fan Gets Dangerously Close To His Subject

Nature writer Jackson Landers kept a black widow alive in a jar on his desk for months.
Courtesy Jackson Landers

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 7:07 pm

The first time Jackson Landers spotted a black widow spider on his front porch, he was transfixed. The nature writer grew curious about the poisonous arachnids and even kept one as a pet in a jar for months.

"When you're confronted by this deadly, venomous thing day after day, you can't help but become interested in it," Landers tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Powerful Typhoon Has Hong Kong In Its Sights

In this NASA image released Thursday, Typhoon Usagi is seen nearing Taiwan and the Philippines.
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 2:47 pm

Super-typhoon Usagi — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph — is expected to skirt the Philippines and Taiwan before slamming into the Chinese coast near Hong Kong over the weekend.

The storm is forecast to skirt the coast of Luzon in the northern Philippines on Friday and brush the southern tip of Taiwan on Saturday. Although it is expected to be downgraded in strength by the time it hits Hong Kong on Sunday evening, Typhoon Usagi could still do considerable damage.

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Science
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Science Fairs 2.0

The science fair is a nearly century-old right of passage for students. What role does the traditional science fair play in the digital age? How can these competitions be reworked to include broader participation and encourage students, and teachers, to explore hands-on learning?

Digital Life
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

These Smartphone Apps Track Every Step of Your Day

"Quantified self" apps know where you are, how you got there (by foot, bike, or train), who you're with — even how well you slept last night. Ellis Hamburger, a reporter at The Verge, reviews a handful of apps that track your daily movements, such as "Human" and "Moves."

Science
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Can Mass Transit Solve City Sprawl?

Commuters in Los Angeles spend some 60 hours a year stuck in traffic. But that could change, some experts say, as the city ramps up its mass transit. Guest host John Dankosky talks with a panel of city planners about how to add mass transit to L.A. and other urban areas — and get people to ride it.

Environment
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Why Climate Change Ups the Odds of Fires, Floods

Colorado's record-breaking flood was caused, in part, by a blocking pattern parked over western North America. That same pattern also led to extreme drought in the West, worsening California's Rim Fire. Rutgers atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis talks about possible connections between climate change and severe events like these.

Animals
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

A Chronicle of a Whale's Life, Captured in Earwax

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

Now you've probably seen a cutaway section of a tree trunk, those rings inside? Well, they tell a story about the conditions the tree faced year after year. It turns out that whales contain a similar record inside their ears. Joining me now to talk about it are two researchers looking into this record. Stephen Trumble is an assistant professor of biology. Sascha Usenko is an assistant professor of environmental science. They're both at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Welcome to SCIENCE FRIDAY.

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