science

KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds goes on a tour of the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory in Bellevue with inventor and futurist Pablos Holman.

Holman's team projects include a laser that can quickly detect if a person has malaria, a cooler that can keep vaccines from going bad and the high tech kitchen — more like a science lab actually — used to produce Nathan Myrhvold's 51 pound, multi-volume "Modernist Cuisine" books.

Cash prizes await "citizen scientists" who can improve algorithms that help NASA find and identify asteroids in our solar system, the agency says. A contest to find more asteroids begins next week, in what NASA calls an attempt to crowdsource innovation.

Flickr Photo/Allan Henderson (CC By 2.0)

This week when I’ve asked my kids about their school day, their answers have been all about worms. Their recess playgrounds have been lively with earthworms surfacing, as they typically do during a rainy week like we had. When I was a kid, they told us worms surfaced so they wouldn't drown.

The agency charged with bringing home and identifying American war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods, according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Flickr Photo/greggavedon.com (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with freelance journalist Michael Schulson about his Daily Beast article, "Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience."

Flickr Photo/Ted of DGAR (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Harvard geneticist George Church about reviving extinct species.

Rather than trying to clone mammoths, scientists are taking their DNA and analyzing them in hopes of producing an Asian elephant that looks and behaves just like its extinct ancestor.

Nicholas Epley's book "Mindwise."

Ross Reynolds speaks with University of Chicago psychologist Nicholas Epley about his new book "Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel and Want." Epley's research suggests we have insight into what others are thinking but only up to a point.

The job of NASA's Kepler mission is to peek at the far reaches of space in the hopes of finding potentially habitable planets. The space agency announced a stunning success, saying that Kepler had identified 715 new planets that orbit 305 stars. The discovery boosts the number of verified planets by around 70 percent.

"Four of the planets are about twice the size of Earth and orbit in their star's so-called habitable zone," NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for our Newscast unit, "where temperatures might be suitable for liquid water."

Since construction workers discovered dozens of fossils along a highway in Chile in 2011, one question has preoccupied researchers:

What killed the whales, seals and other creatures that ended up there more than 5 million years ago?

Writing in Proceedings of The Royal Society B, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and universities in the U.S. and Chile say the culprits were among the smallest possible killers: "Algal toxins."

Flickr Photo/Erin DeMay (CC BY-NC-ND)

From Seattle’s South Lake Union to larger areas like Bothell, biotechnology is a ubiquitous part of the local economy. But moving a drug from research to testing, to market, to patients is an arduous undertaking.

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

Right before a volcano erupts, molten rock, known as magma, is moving around underneath the surface. New research suggests this liquid magma is very rare. That’s an important finding for researchers trying to predict when a volcano may erupt.

Geologists from University of Califonia, Davis, and Oregon State University studied Mount Hood and have found that magma is often too cold to move around so much. And cold, here, is a relative term.

Flickr Photo/Kristie Wells (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Dr. Julie Gralow, medical oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, about a new study on mammograms.

Alex “Sandy” Pentland's book "Social Physics."

David Hyde talks with Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a professor and data scientist at MIT, about his new book "Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread — The Lessons From A New Science."

Diseases That 'Spill' From Animals To Humans

Feb 3, 2014
David Quammen's book "Spillover."

Steve Scher talks with author David Quammen about his book "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic."

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