Science

3:45am

Mon July 6, 2015
The Two-Way

Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Nears Its Quarry

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 5:01 am

NASA's New Horizons mission will be the first ever to visit Pluto and its moons. This artist's conception shows the probe as it passes the dwarf planet.
JHUAPL/SwRI

It's taken nearly a decade and three billion miles to get there, but scientists are about to get their first look at Pluto.

The New Horizons spacecraft is closing fast on the tiny world once thought to be at the edge of our solar system. On Tuesday the probe will begin an intensive nine-day scientific study of Pluto and its moons.

Read more

3:44am

Mon July 6, 2015
Television

After Sketchy Science, Shark Week Promises To Turn Over A New Fin

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 5:01 am

It's been called the "Super Bowl of the ocean."

Shark Week is a ratings bonanza for the Discovery Channel with more than 40 million people tuning in last year. Shark Week kicked off this weekend with the most hours of programming ever in its 28-year history But many scientists think the huge audiences β€” and the hype β€” have come at the expense of real science.

A generation of shark scientists cut their teeth on Shark Week.

Read more

9:42am

Sun July 5, 2015
The Two-Way

Russian Supply Capsule Successfully Docks With Space Station

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 1:18 pm

The Soyuz-U space launch vehicle rocket carrying the Russian cargo ship Progress M-28M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday. The Progress resupply capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station on Sunday.
Sergai Savostyanov ITAR-TASS/Landov

The International Space Station has just received a much-needed delivery, including some groceries, aboard a Russian capsule that successfully docked after three previous attempts to resupply the orbiting laboratory had failed.

Read more

8:29am

Sun July 5, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Awkward Synthesis That Is 'Inside Out'

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 2:49 pm

Lewis Black, who voices "Anger," attends the Los Angeles premiere of "Inside Out" at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles.
Dan Steinberg AP

The new Pixar animation Inside Out, directed by Pete Doctor (Monster's Inc., Up), is the playful and ambitious story of the emotional life of a young girl, Riley, who is uprooted when her parents move to a new city so that her father can take up a job. Like a lot of science fiction, however, the fiction drags because the science never really makes any sense.

Read more

7:57am

Sun July 5, 2015
Around the Nation

Don't Blame The Sharks For 'Perfect Storm' Of Attacks In North Carolina

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 2:58 pm

The recent spate of attacks β€” seven since June in North Carolina alone β€” has little to do with the shark population off American coastlines. Shark attack, George Burgess says, "is driven by the number of humans in the water more than the number of sharks."
Carol Buchanan iStockphoto

Those who spend much time on the Carolina beaches know that many shark species, and even whales, are frequent visitors during the summer. And, though it's extremely rare, those sharks have been known to attack humans.

But this year, there have already been seven shark attacks off the North Carolina coast since June. It's a number that has surprised even the most seasoned of shark-watchers.

Read more

5:06pm

Sat July 4, 2015
Strange News

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Found In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 6:57 pm

Researchers discovered ancient animal mummies piled up in heaps inside a catacomb. Many of the mummies were in poor condition.
Courtesy of Paul Nicholson

In catacombs south of Cairo, researchers have discovered burial sites filled with huge numbers of mummified animals β€” nearly 8 million of them, mostly dogs.

Read more

5:06pm

Sat July 4, 2015
The Salt

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 6:33 pm

The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, depicts the goddess of love floating on a giant scallop shell. The word aphrodisiac derives from her Greek name, Aphrodite.
Sandro Botticelli Wikimedia

What do we know about the power of food to rev up sex drive? Not much.

"Really, science has not figured out what determines sexual motivation and sexual attraction. If we knew the answer to that, we'd probably be richer than Pfizer after they invented Viagra," says Dolores Lamb, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

She hasn't seen any compelling evidence that any particular food can intensify desire.

Read more

7:54am

Sat July 4, 2015
Science

Strontium Nitrate And Barium Nitrate, The Fuel In Fireworks

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 11:04 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

Ladies and gentlemen, light your fuses.

(SOUNDBITE OF FIREWORKS)

Read more

7:54am

Sat July 4, 2015
Space

A Rock Band And A Moon, United In Name

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 11:04 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

A classic rock band and a bunch of NASA scientists met in a lab in Maryland this week, all because of a name - Styx.

(SOUNDBITE OF STYX SONG, "COME SAIL AWAY")

Read more

1:44pm

Fri July 3, 2015
The Two-Way

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 3:58 pm

A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot AndrΓ© Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

Read more

Pages