Science

2:03pm

Thu June 26, 2014
Science

A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 12:39 pm

A 6-foot-long electric eel is basically a 6-inch fish attached to a 5-1/2-foot cattle prod, researchers say. The long tail is packed with special cells that pump electricity without shocking the fish.
Mark Newman Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

The electric eel's powerful ability to deliver deadly shocks — up to 600 volts — makes it the most famous electric fish, but hundreds of other species produce weaker electric fields. Now, a new genetic study of electric fish has revealed the surprising way they got electrified.

Read more

1:48pm

Thu June 26, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:07 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see previous post). On to lunch!

This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?

Read more

7:10am

Thu June 26, 2014
Research News

How To Sell Green Products To The Self-Regarding Consumer

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When consumers think about green products, they often face a dilemma - that car that uses less gasoline or a more efficient refrigerator tends to cost more. Buyers have to choose whether money is more important to them than public good. Now new research shows there might be a way to boost interest in these products, at least among a core group of consumers. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to talk with us about that. Hi Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi Steve.

INSKEEP: What consumers?

Read more

11:59am

Wed June 25, 2014
The Salt

Kandinsky On A Plate: Art-Inspired Salad Just Tastes Better

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:35 am

Kandinsky's Painting No. 201, on the left, was the inspiration for the salad on the right, which was used to test diners' appreciation of the dish.
Museum of Modern Art; Crossmodal Research Laboratory

We eat first with our eyes. When strawberries are perfectly red, they seem to taste sweeter. When chicken is painted blue, it's disturbing. The ancient Romans understood that, and certainly today's top chefs exploit it when they plate their food.

Read more

11:21am

Wed June 25, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Two Glorious Science Experiments: One About Sex, The Other About Lunch

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 4:19 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

Done right, a good science experiment is simple, clear and revealing. Done splendidly, it's a tale you don't forget. Let's do the sex one first. It took place in Italy, in the 1760s, when a Catholic priest and scholar, Lazzaro Spallanzani, was thinking about sperm — which is why he decided to dress frogs in pants, like this ...

Read more

11:01am

Wed June 25, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Cosmic Confusion: It's How Science Gets Done

The sun rises behind the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation telescopes at the National Science Foundation'€™s South Pole Station.
Steffen Richter Harvard University

The reader may remember the news from around mid-March: a dramatic discovery made by scientists from the BICEP2 experiment, measuring what could be a signal from the very earliest times after the Big Bang, the closest we could hope to get to "creation" itself.

Read more

5:25pm

Tue June 24, 2014
Education

To 'Immunize' Kids Against Illiteracy, Break Out A Book In Infancy

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Read to your children. This isn't the first time you've heard that advice. But now parents with infants will start hearing it officially from pediatricians starting from birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced new guidance today for parents to quote, "immunize their children against illiteracy."

Read more

1:56pm

Tue June 24, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What We Need Is A Moon With Rings

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:22 pm

Composite video showing what the Earth's sky would look like if Saturn orbited our planet at the same distance as our moon.
Screenshot/Yeti Dynamics YouTube

4:24pm

Mon June 23, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why We Aren't The Parents We Know We Could Be

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 12:30 pm

I'm trying to create circumstances for better parenting, and to pat myself on the back when I pull it off.
iStockphoto

Most parents I know suffer from occasional — or constant — eruptions of parental self-judgment: moments when they feel they fall short of being the parents they could be. There's a gap between what they know about effective parenting (in the abstract) and what actually happens in everyday practice — in the car, in the supermarket, in the living room.

Read more

11:06am

Mon June 23, 2014
The Two-Way

Spineless, And Now Homeless: National Zoo Closes Animal Exhibit

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:17 pm

A curious cuttlefish stares back at the camera from inside The Smithsonian's National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit. The exhibit, home to dozens of small aquatic and terrestrial species without backbones, closed on Sunday.
Meghan Murphy Smithsonian's National Zoo

Invertebrates make up about 99 percent of all species. But they're no longer being featured at the National Zoo due to budget problems. The Invertebrate Exhibit was shut down Sunday, less than a week after the closure was publicly announced.

Read more

Pages