Science

4:40pm

Wed October 30, 2013
Environment

In Sandy's Wake, Flood Zones And Insurance Rates Re-Examined

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 6:00 pm

An emergency responder helps evacuate two people with a boat after their neighborhood in Little Ferry, N.J., was flooded.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

When Sandy blew into East Coast communities a year ago, it was flooding that did the most damage.

That's in part because the average sea level has risen over the past century — about a foot along the mid-Atlantic coast. That made it easier for the storm to push the ocean onto the land.

And scientists say there will be many more Sandy-style storms — that is, torrential rain and wind that create heavy coastal flooding — and they'll be more frequent than in the past. But preparing people for that means changing the way they live, and that's proving politically difficult.

Read more

11:09am

Wed October 30, 2013
The Salt

How Much Water Actually Goes Into Making A Bottle Of Water?

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:22 pm

The amount of water to make the bottle could be up to six or seven times what's inside the bottle, according to the Water Footprint Network.
Steven Depolo Flickr

Environmental activists have long claimed that bottled water is wasteful. Usually, they point to the roughly 50 billion (mostly plastic) bottles we throw away every year.

Read more

10:29am

Wed October 30, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Putting On Einstein's Glasses

Vimeo

Whenever you look at the teeming, rich and oh-so-various world, if you've got the right eyes, if you've got the eyes of a mathematician, you will find patterns — simple, elegant forms hiding in everything you see. Those patterns explain why sugar dissolves in a cup of coffee, why clouds release rain, why a heavy plane can climb into the sky.

Read more

1:57pm

Tue October 29, 2013
The Salt

A Japanese iPhone Gadget Teases The Tummy With Food Smells

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:35 pm

Simply plug the Scentee device into your iPhone jack and let the scent of grilled meat waft your way.
YouTube

Have you ever wished that your iPhone could bring you the smell of coffee, curry or steak?

No? Well, there's a gadget for that.

Read more

10:44am

Tue October 29, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Eternity: How To See Forever On Your Dirty Car

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 1:56 pm

Your direct connection with the stars and all of the space in between them.
iStockphoto.com

Carl Sagan, an astronomer with the soul of a poet, liked to remind us that we were all "star stuff." It was, without a doubt, one of his most beautiful images. But what, really, was Sagan talking about?

Well, there are two answers to this question. The first is remarkable, the second is crazy-remarkable and, if we pay attention, both can open a hidden doorway for us to the depths of time we swim in everyday without ever noticing.

Let's unpack the remarkable answer first.

Read more

6:28pm

Mon October 28, 2013
Science

Science On Shaky Ground As Automatic Budget Cutbacks Drag On

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:15 pm

Budget cutbacks threaten a planned upgrade of the massive Titan supercomputer, seen here, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Charles Brooks Oak Ridge National Laboratory

At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists use a powerful computer known as Titan to simulate everything from the inner workings of a nuclear reactor to the complicated effects of climate change on human populations — on a global scale. Until recently, Titan was the most powerful supercomputer on the planet, but now there's a new No. 1.

Read more

5:21pm

Mon October 28, 2013
Science

How To See Forever On Your Dirty Car

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

When you're in love with science, ordinary everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. At least that's how NPR blogger and astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it, even down to the dust on his car.

ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Carl Sagan, an astronomer with the soul of a poet, liked to remind us that we are all star stuff. It was without a doubt one of his most beautiful images. But what really was Carl Sagan talking about? Well, there are two answers to this question.

Read more

4:36pm

Mon October 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

Read more

1:47pm

Mon October 28, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How Real Is The Candy Witch? Pretty Real, By Some Measures

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 3:58 pm

iStockphoto.com

Halloween is a time for creativity and imagination. Children and adults alike are given free rein to carve pumpkins, decorate wildly, conceive novel costumes and entertain witches and goblins and ghosts in their myriad forms.

For adults, the boundary between fantasy and reality is typically a clear one, at least when it comes to Halloween beasties. Flying witches are fantasy, but the 3-foot-tall "ghost" demanding candy on your doorstep on Oct. 31 is an all-too-real child beneath that white sheet.

Read more

12:47pm

Mon October 28, 2013
All Tech Considered

What You Need To Know About Babies, Toddlers And Screen Time

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:15 pm

Eva Hu-Stiles virtually interacts with her grandmother. iPad assist by Elise Hu-Stiles.
John W. Poole NPR

This week, we're exploring the tech frontier through the eyes of our children. So we're starting with the littlest ones — babies. Can certain kinds of screen time help babies learn?

To find some answers, I employed the help of my 1-year-old daughter, Eva. She's still a wobbly walker and the sum total of her speaking skills sound like gibberish. But she has no problem activating Siri, the virtual assistant on my iPhone. Her 16-month-old friend, Lily, is even savvier with the gadgets.

Read more

Pages