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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.