science

Oso Mudslide
3:03 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Geological Circumstances Behind Washington Mudslide

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 12:26 pm

As search efforts intensify around the site of Washington state’s devastating mudslide, geologists are looking into causes of the rapid collapse of the 1,500-foot-wide segment of hillside in Snohomish County that suddenly cut away and crushed the homes and roads below.

The chief culprit appears to have been the glacial composition of the hillside, which is made of silt, clay and soil, and very little rock, which tends to be very loose.

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Author Interview
3:15 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

How Private Funding For Science Is A Dangerous Trend

Philip Mirowski's book, "Science Mart."

David Hyde talks with Philip Mirowski, author of "Science Mart: Privatizing American Science," about why he thinks the move to privately funded science is undermining the quality of the research.

"The types of science that are being done are changing, and the way in which science is being done is changing," Mirowski said. "In fact, the quality of some of the science is being affected by it too."

Personal Identity
10:21 am
Thu March 20, 2014

‘The Science Of Self’ With Jennifer Ouellette

Jennifer Ouellette's book, "Me, Myself, and Why."

What defines us? What determines our identity?

Jennifer Ouellette explores how eye color, likes and dislikes, and even hatred of cilantro construct our individual identities. She underwent personality tests and genome sequencing to determine the slight variations that set us all apart.

Ouellette is a blogger for "Scientific American" and the author of “Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self.” She spoke at Town Hall on February 25, 2014.

Cocoa Flavanol
3:26 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Researchers Studying A 'Chocolate Pill' To Help Prevent Heart Disease

A new study is researching the health benefits in a cocoa flavanol pill - but will that take the fun out of eating chocolate?
Flickr Photo/Boz Bros

Marcie Sillman checks in with Garnet Andersen, director of Public Health Services at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about a new project to encapsulate the cocoa flavanol from chocolate and study its benefits on post-menopausal women.

Science & Technology
2:44 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

A Tour Of The Intellectual Ventures Lab In Bellevue

Pablos Holman is an inventor and futurist at Intellectual Ventures. Behind him are boxes of mosquitoes destined to be targets for the laser mosquito zapper.
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.

Crowdsourced Data
8:53 am
Tue March 11, 2014

NASA Offers $35,000 For Help In Tracking Asteroids

For helping to find asteroids, NASA has set up a contest with cash awards. In 2012, the agency said that "more potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are closely aligned with the plane of our solar system than previous models suggested."
NASA

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 8:58 am

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.

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Mud Room
10:05 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Why Do Earthworms Love To Come Out In The Rain?

Some experts think earthworms surface after the rain because a moist surface makes an easier commute.
Credit 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.

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Army Investigation
8:53 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Dated Methods Mean Slow Return For Fallen Soldiers — Or None At All

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:20 am

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

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Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Neanderthal Man: How All Humans Are Africans

Svante Pääbo's book "Neanderthal Man."

David Hyde talks with author Svante Pääbo about his book "Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes" and what it means to be part-Neanderthal.

Marketing Health
2:59 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Are You Buying Pseudoscience At The Grocery Store?

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."

History
2:44 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Can The Mammoth Walk Amongst Us Again?

Mammoth fossil at the Sam Noble Natural Museum in Oklahoma.
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.

Psychology
3:56 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

How Well Do We Understand How Others Think?

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.

Space
12:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

'Planet Bonanza' Indeed: NASA Unveils 715 New Worlds

This artist rendering provided by NASA, shows Kepler-11, a sunlike star around which six planets orbit.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:47 pm

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."

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Fossil Discovery
9:22 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Killers Were Tiny, Victims Were Huge At Chile's Whale Graveyard

The fossilized remains of a whale that washed up on a shore in what's now Chile more than 5 million years ago.
Vince Rossi Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:16 am

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."

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Prescription Approval
2:41 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Journey Of A Drug: The Long, Hard, Expensive Process Of A New Treatment

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.

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