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science

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

The goal is simple: a drug that can relieve chronic pain without causing addiction.

But achieving that goal has proved difficult, says Edward Bilsky, a pharmacologist who serves as the provost and chief academic officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Wash.

"We know a lot more about pain and addiction than we used to," says Bilsky, "But it's been hard to get a practical drug."

Astronomers have spotted some kind of outer space rock that's the first visitor from outside of our solar system that they've ever observed.

The discovery has set off a mad scramble to point telescopes at this fast-moving object to try to learn as much as possible before it zips out of sight.

Here's something that may sound like a contradiction in terms: low-fat pigs.

But that's exactly what Chinese scientists have created using new genetic engineering techniques.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report that they have created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs.

The Jane Goodall Institute/Michael Neugebauer

Dr. Jane Goodall hasn’t been in one place for more than three weeks since October 1986. That’s when she says she went from being a scientist to an activist for the welfare of wild and captive chimpanzees. She now travels nearly 300 days a year.

When the drinking water in Flint, Mich., became contaminated with lead, causing a major public health crisis, 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao took notice.

NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

Bill Radke talks with astrophysicist Michael Landry about an historic collision of two neutron stars, known as a kilonova.

It's the first time scientists have observed this type of cosmic event both through electromagnetic and gravitational waves. Landry is head of the LIGO Hanford Observatory.

People who have obsessive-compulsive disorder can get trapped inside a thought. It repeats itself, like a stuck song. Did I lock the door? Is that doorknob clean enough to touch? I better wash my hands again — and again.

The biology underpinning this loop remains murky to scientists, but scientists are beginning to sniff out potential genetic factors behind OCD and shed light on how the disorder affects the brain.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

The bond between humans and dogs isn't just psychological or the common love of bacon.

It's also genetic.

For about 15,000 years, dogs have migrated in lockstep with humans around the globe. They have followed us from Asia into Europe, North America and back to Africa — all the while hunting, protecting and snuggling us.

Now it looks as though dog DNA has evolved in lockstep with our DNA.

Scientists in China have found evidence that dogs developed protection against malaria in the same way that people in West Africa have.

The Oregon and Washington Cascades are getting their first significant snowfall of the season at mountain pass level Thursday. It's a possible harbinger of a cool and snowy winter.

It's not often you'll find these 24 names in the same place. They are historians and musicians, computer scientists and social activists, writers and architects. But whatever it may read on their business cards (if they've even got business cards), they now all have a single title in common: 2017 MacArthur Fellow.

Jane Goodall at a Seattle Foundation event in October, 2017.
KUOW PHOTO/KATE WALTERS

Dr. Jane Goodall is a giant in her field. But in person she’s a slight woman with a quiet voice and a commanding presence.

She’s also full of surprises. Goodall, famous for her research into the social structures of wild chimpanzees, says she’s open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists.

Some very special search dogs have been getting a workout in the Northwest. They’re trained to sniff out the remains of people buried as long as 9,000 years ago. This past week, their assignment was to find burials from the early Oregon Trail days.

Sure, it's been known to rain cats and dogs during some heavy thunderstorms. And if we're to believe The Weather Girls — and who wouldn't? — it was even raining men that one time in 1982.

But fish? That feels like a new one.

T-rex teeth being unearthed at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo /Casey Martin

Last year paleontologists from the Burke Museum discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex in eastern Montana. The fossil pieces include a complete skull -- one of only 15 ever discovered in the world.

Now you can watch as the skull is being unearthed at an exhibit at the Burke called T-rex Live.

Jean Primozich is one of the volunteers removing dirt and rock from the 3,000 pound skull.

For years, the government has been trying to reduce the risk that legitimate biological research could be misused to threaten the public's health, but those efforts have serious shortcomings.

That's the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined existing practices and policies on so-called dual-use biological research.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET Sept. 14

The Cassini spacecraft's final moments are a few hours away. Early Friday morning, it will slam itself into Saturn's atmosphere.

Hunting for good medical advice for your ailing kitty or pup? You'll find no shortage of ardent testimonials and ads for sketchy or unproven treatments on the Web.

Silicon Valley veterinarian Brennen McKenzie worries that some of the same pseudoscience that is rampant in human medicine is leading pet owners astray.

There is a lifesaving drug that owes its existence to moldy hay, sick cows and rat poison.

The colors the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its weather map couldn't represent the deluge in southeastern Texas, so the NWS added two more purple shades to its map. The old scale topped out at more than 15 inches; the new limit tops 30 inches.

Dan Fabbio was 25 and working on a master's degree in music education when he stopped being able to hear music in stereo. Music no longer felt the same to him.

It's not just what you say that matters. It's how you say it.

Take the phrase, "Here's Johnny." When Ed McMahon used it to introduce Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, the words were an enthusiastic greeting. But in The Shining, Jack Nicholson used the same two words to convey murderous intent.

Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jeannie Yandel talks to University of Washington associate professor Joe Janes about the Golden Records, a NASA project that compiled sounds and images from earth to send up with NASA's Voyager spacecraft in the hopes of it reaching extraterrestrial life.

Less than an hour after the Great American Eclipse completed its coast-to-coast show on Monday, people's fascination with the sun and the moon quickly turned to concern about their eyes.

We're hoping all you Shots readers heeded our words of caution and wore eclipse glasses or enjoyed the show indirectly.

The solar eclipse is in the books, but the scientific analysis goes on. Teams of high school and college students scrambled Monday afternoon to locate and recover cameras and experimental payloads they launched to the edge of space during the eclipse.

Museum goers test out their eclipse glasses on Monday, August 21, 2017, at the Pacific Science Center before the start of the solar eclipse, in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Jeannie Yandel talks to KUOW producer Matt Martin about his experience viewing the total solar eclipse in Oregon. We also hear from Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's chief scientist, about what it was like to view the eclipse from the air in a plane. 

Eclipse revelers whooped and hollered as the sun went black at a major encampment in the remote town of Durkee on the Burnt River Ranch in eastern Oregon.

As the sun slipped more and more behind the moon, the revelers whooped and screamed. A black shadow zoomed across the deep valley and people exclaimed as they took off their glasses.

Ayush Jakhotia, 7, left, watches the solar eclipse with his grandmother, Radha Jakhotia, right, on Monday, August 21, 2017, from Gas Works Park, in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Even the cynical couldn't resist the eclipse on Monday morning. 

The temperature dropped precipitously here in Seattle, and the light turned the colors rich and dark — like an Instagram filter IRL. 

The solar eclipse on May 21, 2012, Yokohama, Japan.
Flickr Photo/Jeff Lippold (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/c2xvgh

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

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