It seems to be part of human nature to want to belong to a group. People constantly form groups, in all kinds of situations, and high-stakes negotiations on climate change are no exception.

Ever heard of the Umbrella Group? Or the Like-Minded Developing Countries? How about the Group of 77? (Here's a hint — it doesn't actually have 77 countries.)

Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and best-selling author of books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died of cancer today in New York City at the age of 82, a longtime friend and colleague has confirmed.

The London-born academic's 1973 memoir Awakenings, about his efforts to use the drug L-Dopa to bring patients who survived the 1917-1928 encephalitis epidemic out of their persistent catatonic state, was turned into a 1990 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He was the author of a dozen other books.

There's a new candidate in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness.

I encountered it at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, a combination of Super Bowl, Mecca, and Disneyland for the folks who put the processing in processed food.

I'm driving through a frozen world, where the roads are paved in ice. As I swerve left to avoid a miniature iceberg, a red fish flashes at the top of my screen. I'm supposed to tap all the red fish that pop up, but not the green fish or the blue. And I have to do this without crashing the car.

An unidentifiable, omnipresent game-meister says: "Doing one thing at a time is easy, but doing them both at the same time is where the magic happens!"

Wild Yeast Can Transform Wine - With Some Risk

Aug 16, 2015

Winemaking is about more than just grapes. They need something else to ferment into alcohol: a microscopic fungus, yeast. People have been fermenting grapes for thousands of years using wild yeasts that grow in the vineyard. Researchers at Washington State University want to know more about these species.

Lightning over Lakeview, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Emily Neef (CC BY NC 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks to state climatologist Nick Bond about thunder patterns in Washington state. 

A historically strong El Niño is taking shape according to climatologists watching the Pacific Ocean. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said during a briefing Thursday that the current El Niño has the potential to develop into one of the most potent on record by late fall or early winter.

Zackery Lystedt sustained a permanent brain injury as a result of a football concussion he shook off at age 13. That was almost 10 years ago. Today, he's a spokesperson for concussion safety and the inspiration for the new UW institute.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Concussions are a big topic in sports these days. This year, the NFL has new rules that will let medical staff stop the game if they think they see a head injury. Now, the National Football League has given $2.5 million so the University of Washington can start up a new institute to study concussions.

You don't have to be at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain National Park to check out the Perseid meteor shower.
Flickr Photo/Dave Dugdale (CC BY SA 2.0)

David Hyde speaks with Alice Enevoldsen, local NASA Solar System Ambassador, about where in town Seattleites might be able to catch the once-a-year stellar display known as the Perseid Meteor Shower.

'The Blog' is indicated by dark orange on the West Coast of the U.S. The Blob is a patch of warm water that was detected by a University of Washington climatologist in 2013.
Courtesy of Nick Bond

Call it “The Blob.”

It’s an unusually warm patch of water off the West Coast that has flummoxed climatologists.

“It’s still rearing its ugly head,” said Nick Bond, Washington state climatologist and regular contributor to KUOW. He first detected The Blob in 2013. 

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, center, and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, right, get a tour of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network from Paul Bodin, left, and John Vidale, rear.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

The alert comes in on your cell phone: “Earthquake! Earthquake! Moderate shaking expected in 31 seconds.”

That could be just enough warning to let you take action that could save your life, say scientists building an earthquake emergency warning system on the West Coast.

In southwestern Idaho, biologists are purposefully making a racket this summer to study the value of natural quiet. A Boise State University research team is testing how wildlife and humans respond to noise pollution.

You're probably at least a little bit racist and sexist and homophobic. Most of us are.

Marcie Sillman talks to Luke Timmerman, founder and editor of the Timmerman Report, about Juno Therapeutics and other biotech startups like Just Biotherapeutics that came out of the closure of Amgen's Seattle offices last year. 

Over the years, scientists have mostly interpreted the world through what they can see. But in the past few decades, a culture of listening has blossomed, especially among biologists who seek to understand how animals communicate. This week Morning Edition embarks on a weekly summer series called Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound. We begin with an innovation that transformed medicine by searching sounds for clues to illness and health.