science

Science
2:00 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

When Can You Say Something Causes Cancer?

Artificial turf has been in the news lately for suspicions that it could contribute to certain types of cancer.
Credit Flickr Photo/Lisa Parker (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Parveen Bhatti, environmental epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about how researchers determine causality.

Sewage Solutions
4:19 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Mercer Island Reminds Us Of The Miracle Of Clean Water

A kitty drinks clean water from the faucet.
Flickr Photo/Teresa Boardman (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with Steven Johnson, author of "How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World," about the technological innovations that led to widespread clean water in America, despite the E. coli in Mercer Island's drinking water this month.

The Two-Way
3:38 am
Tue October 7, 2014

3 Scientists Win Nobel In Physics For Development Of Blue LED

A screen shows the laureates of the Nobel Prize in physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Bertil Ericson EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 9:49 am

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

Read more
Radiolab
4:17 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Does Darkness Spur Creativity? A Conversation With Jad Abumrad

Jad Abumrad, host and producer of Radiolab spaking at PopTech in Camden, Maine 2010
Credit Flickr Photo/Kris Krug (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Jab Abumrad, creator and co-host of Radiolababout his work and creativity.

A New Type Of Style Guide
2:54 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

What Cognitive Science Teaches Us About Writing Well

Credit Steven Pinker's book "The Sense of Style."

Ross Reynolds speaks with cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, who is both a fan and critic of writing style guides. He’s now written his own: “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century!” He says many authors of style guides don’t understand the cognitive biases that lead to us write poorly.

Animals
3:32 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Dolphins: Adorable, Playful, Not As Smart As You Might Think

Some researchers have begun to question the notion that dolphins are the super-intelligent creatures they've been made out to be.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 6:26 am

Everyone loves dolphins. They're adorable, playful and super-intelligent, often called the geniuses of the ocean.

But recently some researchers have begun to question that last notion. When it comes to brainpower, dolphins might not be as special as you might think.

In a recent piece for New Scientist, Caroline Williams rounds up some of the dissenting opinions.

Read more
Noah's Ark
9:55 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Founders Of Idaho Creation Museum Urge Visitors To 'Think Critically'

Stan Lutz, left, and Doug Bennett stand with a mastodon skull in the Vision Center, a smaller version of what they hope to build.

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 8:48 am

A group in the Boise area is in the midst of fundraising for a new attraction in the Northwest. It'll be called the Northwest Science Museum.

Read more
Biotech News
3:09 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

In Rollercoaster Economy, Cancer Immunotherapy Does Well In Seattle

Marcie Sillman talks to biotech writer Luke Timmerman about the influx of money to cancer immunotherapy companies like VentriRx, which just received $50 million to increase their research efforts.

Hack-A-Thon
3:00 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

UW Researcher Helps Search For Better Breast Pump

Scenes from MIT's breast pump hack-a-thon.
Courtesy of Che-Wei Wang

Jeannie Yandel talks to Beth Kolko, a professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of Shift Labs, about MIT's "Make The Breast Pump Not Suck" hack-a-thon.

Astronomy
3:05 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

See Stars Sparkle At This Tiny Seattle-Area Observatory

Jonathan Fay designed his observatory based off of Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles.
Credit KUOW Photo/Jimmy Lovaas

Tonight is the first night in the new moon’s cycle, which means the moon is almost completely dark.

That’s great news if you want to look at the night sky through a telescope.

”Full moons are really disastrous for observing because they light up all the atmosphere, they’re very bright. It’s one of the worst light polluters,” said Jonathan Fay.

Read more
Brain Study
12:32 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Biology Of Altruism: Good Deeds May Be Rooted In The Brain

Rob Donnelly for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 7:55 am

Four years ago, Angela Stimpson agreed to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.

"The only thing I knew about my recipient was that she was a female and she lived in Bakersfield, Calif.," Stimpson says.

It was a true act of altruism — Stimpson risked pain and suffering to help another. So why did she do it? It involved major surgery, her donation was anonymous, and she wasn't paid.

"At that time in my life, I was 42 years old. I was single, I had no children," Stimpson says. "I loved my life, but I would often question what my purpose is."

Read more
Life With Machines
2:42 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Oxford Philosopher Says We’re Running Out of Time to Save Ourselves From The Machines

Flickr Photo/Alex Dixon (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Nick Bostrom, founder of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, about why we should be thinking – now – about how to avoid creating a superintelligent machine that accidentally destroys the world.

Science Funding
1:54 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

When Scientists Give Up

Randen Patterson left a research career in physiology at U.C. Davis when funding got too tight. He now owns a grocery store in Guinda, Calif.
Max Whittaker/Prime for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 12:29 pm

Ian Glomski thought he was going to make a difference in the fight to protect people from deadly anthrax germs. He had done everything right — attended one top university, landed an assistant professorship at another.

But Glomski ran head-on into an unpleasant reality: These days, the scramble for money to conduct research has become stultifying.

So, he's giving up on science.

Read more
Plastic Prosthetics
3:55 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

How To Print A Hand From Home

A boy learns to use a hand printed for him by Ivan Owen.
Credit e-NABLE

 Marcie Sillman speaks with Ivan Owen, co-creator of a 3D printed hand design that inspired a collaborative online community to make prosthetics for people on limited budgets.

Read more
Essay
4:21 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Hi! I'm A Nutria (That Pesky Rodent With Orange Teeth)

Credit Drew Christie

Olympia has developed a pesky problem. The Olympian reports that several dozen nutria are infesting Capitol Lake.

Wildlife agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture killed four of the beaver-sized rodents that had become a nuisance, and several more killings will be scheduled.

Nutria are considered an invasive species that destroy marshlands. But what brought them to Washington State in the first place?

Read more

Pages