This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We all know the phrase a dog is a man's best friend. But how did they become such loyal companions? Scientists agree that dogs descended from wolves, eventually evolving into the first domesticated animals, but that's where the consensus ends.
Researchers have been using archaeological records and genetic studies to tease out clues about how dogs and humans came to live together, but they seem to tell different stories of how it happened.
Unusual activity in the atmosphere over the Arctic Circle is triggering snow and frigid temperatures across Canada, the U.S. and parts of Europe. Climatologist Jeff Weber, of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research, explains why this winter could pack a punch.
On a recent day in the Rockaways, a neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., hazmat-suited volunteers far outnumber anyone else on the streets. They are "mucking and gutting" — stripping homes to the studs to remove mold. Many residents are concerned about the health effects of mold exposure, according to community organizer Peter Corless. Mycologist Joan Bennett has been sampling fungi in homes damaged by Sandy to determine which species are present.
Hurricane Sandy battered the coastline here in New York and New Jersey. Take the city of Long Beach on Long Island. In 2006, the city council unanimously rejected a plan to construct 15-foot-high dunes on the beach there, saying that the 15-foot-high dunes would block ocean views, lower property values, affect surfers' waves.
How much information do you think exists in the entire world? Take a guess. Forget megabytes and gigabytes and terabytes and petabytes, even exobytes. We're talking zetabytes here or 10 to the 21st bytes. Take the number 10, put 21 zeroes after it, that's what you've got because one recent estimate says there may be around three zetabytes of digital information out there. That's over one trillion gigabytes. Just imagine all those hard drives piled up, and then imagine them not starting up when you plug them in.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:47 pm
When sickle cell patients arrive at emergency rooms, they often have difficulty getting proper treatment. Paula Tanabe, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, is working to change that.
Sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder most common among people of African descent, affects 100,000 Americans. It causes normally disk-shaped red blood cells to take the form of pointed crescents or sickles.
These days, a trip down the dog food aisle of your local pet store or supermarket can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands out there, catering to – let's be honest – every dogowner's taste: everything from generic kibble to organic nuggets.
There are even dog food cookbooks and specialty gourmet shops for people who want their pets to eat as well – or better – than they do.
How did we get here? The first step happened thousands of years ago, when meat-eating wolves evolved to tolerate people – and their more starchy, plant-based diet.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 9:07 am
There's something about being upside down (from all of us in the Northern Hemisphere) that makes New Zealanders a little melancholy. At least that's my theory.
My evidence? Well, the other day, I was looking at a curriculum guide for math teachers ("maths" teachers, they would say) on the New Zealand Ministry of Education's site, where the text on top says, We want to equip "all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century."
MONTAGNE: But the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs, including that Jack Russell terrier we just heard. Just how wolves came to live with people isn't really known. But as NPR's Veronique LaCapra reports, a new study suggests that food may have played a role.
VERONIQUE LACAPRA, BYLINE: Most dogs will eat just about anything.
English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.
It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.
Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.
The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.