<strong>Ultraviolet (false color).</strong> 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 Kevin Collins
<strong>Fragrance plume (artist's depiction).</strong> 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
<strong>Electric field (artist's depiction).</strong> 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 Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Visible spectrum.</strong> 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.
An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the search for the Higgs boson.
The United States doesn't currently have a plan for dealing with the problem of climate change. But President Obama is expected to bring it up in his State of the Union address tomorrow night. What is he expected to say? What’s he likely to do? David S. Roberts of the Seattle-based environmental magazine Grist talks with David Hyde about his predictions on how the president will attempt to tackle climate change.
Both state and federal lawmakers have been debating over how to approach immigration reform. Immigrants themselves tend to favor paths to citizenship and educational opportunities for their children. But how do non-immigrants formulate their opinions on the subject? A recent academic study says that maybe our genes play a key role in shaping our political views. According to the research, people with a predisposition to social anxiety and fear are more likely to be critical of the unfamiliar and therefore more likely to support things like anti-immigration policy. David Hyde talks to lead author and political science professor Pete Hatemi to get the details.
State toxicologist Fiona Couper recently stated that violations for driving under the influence of marijuana have not gone up since the passage of Initiative-502. But marijuana legalization is still in its early stages and to be charged with a DUI the driver has to get caught with 5 nanograms per milliliter of active THC in their bloodstream. David Hyde talks with Dr. Marilyn Huestis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and tries to make sense of the science of marijuana intoxication.
Some 66 million years ago, about 75 percent of species on Earth disappeared. It wasn't just dinosaurs but most large mammals, fish, birds and plankton. Scientists have known this for a long time just from looking at the fossil record. If you dig deep enough, you find lots of dinosaur bones. And then a few layers up, they're gone.
But scientists couldn't figure out exactly what had caused this phenomenon. Of course, there were lots of theories.
What can physics teach us about finance? A great deal according to physicist and mathematician James Owen Weatherall. He says markets can be understood, and to a degree even predicted, by using principles of physics. Ross Reynolds talks to professor Weatherall about what physics can teach us about Wall Street.
Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil thinks we’re headed for a future where machines will become more like people, people will integrate computers and machines into their bodies, and we will live longer — much longer. Ross Reynolds talks with Ray Kurzweil about his latest book, "How to Create a Mind."
The Clean Water Act turned 40 this year. What has it accomplished? Where would we be without it? And what will the next 40 years look like for clean water in this country? Weekday presents a special broadcast produced by KUOW's EarthFix and Living On Earth from Public Radio International.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:29 pm
GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. - It goes without saying that the Pacific Ocean is vast. So it may come as a surprise to hear the sea described as "crowded." Perhaps even too crowded to make room for the nascent industry of wave and tidal energy. Taxpayers and investors have pumped tens of millions of dollars into finding ways to turn the ocean's power into electricity. In recent weeks, high stakes negotiations to identify wave energy sites on the Oregon Coast are finally getting somewhere.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 7:24 pm
RICHLAND, Wash. -- President Barack Obama has been publicly warning Syria’s leaders not to use chemical weapons against their own people. The news is unexpectedly relevant in southeast Washington. Researchers at at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing new scientific techniques to trace chemical agents back to their sources.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:22 pm
LONG BEACH, Wash. – It’s been more than four months since the last confirmed piece of Japanese tsunami debris washed ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast. Even sightings of suspected disaster debris have tapered way off in recent months. Does that mean we’re just in a lull or past the worst of it?
Marine microbes are not as cute as sea otters, but they do produce about half the oxygen on the planet. Meaning you have microscopic marine microbes to thank for every other breath you take. And University of Washington oceanographer Ginger Armbrust just received a multi-million dollar grant to study marine microbial ecology from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Ross Reynolds talks with Professor Armbrust about the latest science on the microbes that we can thank for every other breath.
Marty Wingate, Greg Rabourn and Willi Galloway join us to answer your flower, vegetable and native plant questions. Things are getting wetter and colder. Our gardening panel takes a winter break after today, so this is your last chance until spring to have your questions answered. Call us at 206.543.5869 or email email@example.com.