science

Even if you can't keep a beat, your brain can. "The brain absolutely has rhythm," says Nathan Urban, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

When you concentrate, Urban says, your brain produces rapid, rhythmic electrical impulses called gamma waves. When you relax, it generates much slower alpha waves.

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The International Space Station is getting a real coffee maker. Not surprisingly, this first-ever, zero-gravity espresso machine is Italian, developed by the coffee company Lavazza. Up until now, astronauts made do with the instant stuff. The brewer should be there in time for the arrival this fall of Italy's first woman astronaut. She tweeted her excitement - I'll get to operate the first space espresso machine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, there's a vast, warehouse-like room that's filled with metal cabinets painted a drab institutional green. Inside the cabinets are more than a half-million birds — and these birds are not drab. Their colorful feathers make them seem to almost glow.

Blame Your Brain: The Fault Lies Somewhere Within

Jun 17, 2014

Science doesn't just further technology and help us predict and control our environment. It also changes the way we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world. This understanding can inspire awe and a sense of grandeur.

Baltimore's seaport is a world of big, noisy steel machines: giant cargo ships, cranes and roaring trucks.

In the middle of this hubbub, David Ng, an agricultural specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, tries to find things that are small and alive: snails, moths and weed seeds of all sorts.

Science teachers may have to add a whole new layer to the water cycle.

Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast reservoir of water hiding up to 400 miles beneath the surface.

The discovery could transform our understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that Earth's water may have come from within, rather than from collisions with large, icy comets.

How Trauma Affects The Brain Of A Learner

Jun 15, 2014

Our public media colleagues over at KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, have a fascinating two-part report on the efforts of schools in the Los Angeles area to address the effects of "toxic stress" on student learning.

Flickr Photo/Giulia Forsythe/Cathy N Davidson (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with cognitive scientist-turned-science-writer, Christian Jarrett, about brain science research and why consumers need to bring a skeptical eye to the neuroscience headlines.

Thalma Lobel's book "Sensation."

Marcie Sillman talks with psychologist Thalma Lobel about her new book, "Sensation: The New Science Of Physical Intelligence."

John Robinson is a leading researcher on the use of time. In fact, his colleagues at the University of Maryland call him Father Time. He recently published findings that Americans have more leisure time these days, which shocked many people who feel more stressed out.

An engineering company based in Salem, Oregon, says it is close to deploying the first submerged wave power generator on the West Coast. M3 Wave Energy Systems plans a temporary deployment late this summer in shallow water off the northern Oregon Coast.

Science is always churning out weird, funny and fascinating findings. What did we miss this week? NPR's Rachel Martin checks in with science writer Rose Eveleth.

Flickr Photo/MDMA (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher speaks with Susan Collins, a researcher in the University of Washington's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, about a new intervention which combines an anti-craving drug with goal-setting talk therapy to reduce the negative consequences experienced by chronically homeless and alcohol-dependent adults, without necessarily requiring sobriety.

'Mischievous Responders' Confound Research On Teens

May 22, 2014

Teenagers face some serious issues: drugs, bullying, sexual violence, depression, gangs. They don't always like to talk about these things with adults.

One way that researchers and educators can get around that is to give teens a survey — a simple, anonymous questionnaire they can fill out by themselves without any grown-ups hovering over them. Hundreds of thousands of students take such surveys every year. School districts use them to gather data; so do the federal government, states and independent researchers.

Pages