According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of food allergies in the US has more than doubled over the past decade. The New York Times recently estimated that there are now about 5.9 million children in the United States with food allergies, not to mention another 2.3 million adults. So what’s new in food allergy research? Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Dave Naimi, board certified in pediatrics and allergies and immunology. Dr. Naimi treats patients in the Everett branch of the Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center.
Advances in forensic technology are showing that what used to be considered clear-cut proof of guilt may be nothing of the kind. A California case highlights a growing problem facing courts: what to do when an expert witness changes his mind because of better science and technology.
William Richards was convicted of brutally murdering his wife and is serving 25 years to life. The evidence against him was mostly circumstantial and two different juries were unable to reach a verdict. A third trial was aborted because the judge recused himself.
Is science sexy? Public radio and TV journalist Ira Flatow thinks so. Every week, he turns scientific discoveries into conversation pieces on his radio programScience Friday. In his talk “Science is Sexy,” he argues that museums, zoos, TV shows and films have overtaken formal education as the main ways people learn about science. Whether it’s the Mars rover or the Large Hadron Collider, scientific research is a hot commodity. Is popular science good for scienceas a whole?
How is biotechnology changing our pets, our livestock and other wild things? Ross Reynolds talks with Emily Anthes, the author of "Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts," about how biotech will change our pets and livestock.
Illustration of the High Arctic camel on Ellesmere Island during the Pliocene warm period, aboutthree-and-a-half million years ago. The camels lived in a boreal-type forest. The habitat includeslarch trees and the depiction is based on records of plant fossils found at nearby fossil deposits.
What does the future hold for America’s space program? Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that space exploration is vital for our economy, our security — and our morale. "Audacious visions... have the power to change assumptions about what is possible," he says. In his most recent book, "Space Chronicles," Tyson challenges lawmakers to invest in NASA and once again put a priority on the nation's space program. Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk meteors, aliens and thinking big about exploring the universe.
Does competition make us perform better? What does the science say? Ross Reynolds sits down with New York Times best-selling authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman to discuss the science of winning and losing, and what it takes to become the "Top Dog."
Later this year, Washington state voters may get the chance to weigh in on whether genetically modified foods should be labeled as such. Supporters of proposed Initiative 522 say consumers are owed the information about what's in their food. I-522's opponents say there are no known risks to GMOs, so why label them? We look at the science of genetically modified organisms and how I-522 would affect consumers with professor Toby Bradshaw of the University of Washington and Dr. Michael Hansen of Consumers Union.
It’s not news that government can get bogged down by layers of bureaucracy. The solution to cutting the red tape, says California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, is technology. He joins us to talk about his new book "Citizenville," and how to put technology to use to take citizens from observers to collaborators.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed a massive scientific endeavor to map the human brain. It's a multi-billion dollar, multi-year project that's meant to do for neuroscience what the Human Genome Project did for DNA. How will scientists actually achieve it? We talk with Dr. Christof Koch from the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Dr. Patricia Kuhl from the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Science.
Researchers who studied pieces of the meteor collected near Lake Cherbarkul say it was a common chondrite meteor. The largest of the 53 fragments was one centimeter in diameter. Photo provided by the Urals Federal University Press Service.
The meteor that caused at least 1,000 injuries in Russia after a startling and powerful daytime explosion one week ago has been identified as a chondrite. Russian scientists who analyzed fragments of the meteor, whose large size and well-documented impact made it a rarity, say that its composition makes it the most common type of meteor we encounter here on Earth.
Ultraviolet (false color). Bees and other pollinators can see the ultraviolet end of the spectrum. They are guided by patterns on flowers that are invisible to humans.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
Fragrance plume (artist's depiction). Bees follow specific odors to locate flowers and, once they arrive, use scent maps to move toward the center of the flower. Fragrance that clings to a bee provides information for other bees back at the hive.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
Electric field (artist's depiction). Flowers have a weak negative electric charge relative to the air around them. Different flowers have different electric fields, often with charge concentrated at the tips of the petals.
Credit Kevin Collins
Visible spectrum. Certain bright colors and petal shapes attract certain pollinators.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.