Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 1:51 pm
Credit Daniel M.N. Turner / NPR
Brits and Americans may have split less than amicably a couple of centuries ago, but we can still find cultural common ground when it comes to life's pleasures: The Beatles, Downton Abbey and dunking cookies.
Of course, the Brits call them "biscuits" and dip primarily in tea, while we are more promiscuous and are willing to plunge our treats into coffee, hot chocolate or even milk.
But does immersing a cookie into a warm beverage really make it taste better? And if so, why?
NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 3: Waiting for a boat to the next island, Richard meets some rowdy birds.
Weeds are not a true category of plant. A weed is simply a plant that's growing where a person wishes it weren't.
For vegetable lovers, the start of spring can be a cruel tease, hinting of a feast of just-picked peas and spinach and beets, but delivering instead tired iceberg and romaine shipped from distant climes.
"It's zero here right now," Terry Nennich reported Wednesday morning, the first official day of spring, from Grand Rapids, Minn. So much for spring. Not only was it well below freezing, but the ground remained blanketed by 2 feet of snow.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 11:52 am
By Barbara J. King
Credit Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images
In a book coming out next week called The Bonobo and the Atheist, primatologist Frans de Waal argues that morality is built into our species. Rather than coming to us top-down from God, or any other external source, morality for de Waal springs bottom-up from our emotions and our day-to-day social interactions, which themselves evolved from foundations in animal societies.
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.
Today I'd like to start a discussion on the ways certain kinds of questions present formidable challenges to the conventional scientific method of explanation, based on hypotheses and empirical validation. Given that the topic is vast and space short, I will divide the discussion into three parts (at least). Although there may be many questions that pose a challenge to the scientific method (for example, the much-debated questions of morality and altruism), I am interested in a trio that can be grouped as the "three origins questions": cosmos, life, and mind.
NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 2: The good news is life could get better for seaweed.
Picture a coral reef and the first things likely to come to mind are brilliantly colored fish swimming among stout branches of coral. Let your mind wander a bit more and you might imagine some sea turtles, stingrays and sharks.
The future doesn't look so bright for China-based Suntech, one of the world's largest makers of solar panels: On Wednesday, it was forced into bankruptcy after missing a $541 million payment to bondholders.