science

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."

Courtesy of Daniela Witten

Marcie Sillman speaks with Daniela Witten, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington, about why she is teaching machines to read the data inside human bodies. 

Science Check: Don't Trust Everything You Read

Jan 27, 2014
Flickr Photo/International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Steve Scher talks with New York Times' Raw Data columnist George Johnson about the trouble of irreproducible studies.

Our four-legged friends suffer from many of the same cancers that we do. But one type of dog tumor acts like no other: It's contagious.

The tumor spreads from one pooch to another when the dogs have sex or even just touch or lick each other.

"It's a common disease in street dogs all around the world," says geneticist Elizabeth Murchison at the University of Cambridge. "People in the U.S. and U.K. haven't heard of it because it's found mostly in free-roaming dogs in developing countries."

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.

Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.

A 26-part series on genetically modified food was not Nathanael Johnson's idea. And he didn't realize it would take six months, either.

Last year, Johnson was hired as the new food writer for Grist, a website for environmental news and opinion. Grist's editor, Scott Rosenberg, was waiting with an assignment: Dig into the controversy over GMOs.

Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.

But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of disappearing. That's creating ripple effects throughout the natural world that scientists are still trying to figure out.

What they're exploring is ecology — the interplay of animals and plants in nature. It's not rocket science. It's harder.

A new cable reality show features rugged Northwesterners tromping through the region’s beautiful landscapes. They’re searching for a Northwest icon -- Sasquatch.

Ross Reynolds talks with double-RFID implantee and self-described DIY biohacker Amal Graafstra who runs a business called Dangerous Things that helps people implant RFID chips into their body to open doors, start motorcycles and log onto computers. 

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