science

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.

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.

How To Print A Hand From Home

Sep 8, 2014
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.

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

Sep 5, 2014
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?

Americans crave information about diets, even as our national weight keeps rising. New studies are highlighting that there is still a lot that we don't know.

Space is a dangerous place. That message resonated again on Monday, when the Russian Federal Space Agency — Roscosmos — announced that a team of experimental geckos tasked with copulating while in orbit did not survive their journey.

"All geckos, unfortunately, died," the space agency said in a terse statement.

Roscosmos is launching an investigation into the exact circumstances surrounding the geckos' deaths, but the mission seemed star-crossed from the start.

Flickr Photo/John Roling (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson about scientific innovation and how partisan bickering in America may be holding it back. Tyson will speak at Seattle's Paramount Theater on September 14 and 15.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Arwen Nicks gets book recommendations from authors Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter.

Alexie has recently become an unofficial ant expert after reading Mark W. Moffett's "Adventures Among Ants," saying that they are the only other species to go to war.

Walter's pick is a novel by Jenny Offil called "Dept. of Speculation."

Everyone points to the Wright Brothers as the inventors of human flight. But centuries earlier, it was Leonardo da Vinci who imagined human flight, recognizing how birds used concepts like lift and wing shape to glide high above us.

Buzzworthy Breeding To Bring Back Bumble Bees

Aug 10, 2014

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumble bee make a comeback.

Doctors and health workers in West Africa are especially vulnerable as they continue to battle to control the spread of Ebola, and dozens of them are dying.

The low for Sierra Leone came with the death of the country's campaigning "Ebola doctor," Dr. Sheik Humar Khan. Khan cared for dozens of patients before testing positive for Ebola and dying of the lethal virus late last month.

Flickr Photo/NASA Goddard Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with astrophysics professor Adam Frank about what a plasma cloud is, the chances of one hitting Earth and what that means for our civilization. Spoiler: All the answers are scary. 

Ross Reynolds talks to biotech reporter, Luke Timmerman, about what types of treatments biologist are studying for Ebola.

Sure, money can't buy you love, but it's hard to imagine that winning rewards won't make us happy.

It does, researchers say, but only if our immediate expectations aren't bigger than the size of the payoff. Disappointment squelches happiness.

"Your happiness increases only if you do better than you expected," says Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and senior research associate at University College London. "Just having a bigger salary isn't enough to make you happy."

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

More and more research suggests that healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood.

Childhood play is essential for brain development. As we've reported this week, time on the playground may be more important than time in the classroom.

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