Science

2:03am

Tue August 20, 2013
Music News

How To Win That Music Competition? Send A Video

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:13 am

If someone like Lang Lang were starting out now, the energetic concert pianist could nail every piano competition without the judges ever hearing a note, according to a new study.
China Photos Getty Images

Chia-Jung Tsay was something of a piano prodigy. By age 12, she was performing Mendelssohn in concert. At 16, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall. Soon, she was on her way to some of the best music schools in the country — Juilliard and the Peabody Conservatory. And she was throwing her hat in the ring for different competitions.

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5:27pm

Mon August 19, 2013
Shots - Health News

Lyme Disease Far More Common Than Previously Known

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 6:58 pm

Black-legged ticks like this can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 300,000 Americans are getting Lyme disease every year, and the toll is growing.

"It confirms what we've thought for a long time: This is a large problem," Dr. Paul Mead tells Shots. "The bottom line is that by defining how big the problem is we make it easier for everyone to figure out what kind of resources we have to use to address it."

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3:43pm

Mon August 19, 2013
The Salt

Incredibly Shrinking Avocados: Why This Year's Fruit Are So Tiny

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:40 pm

We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.
Alastair Bland for NPR

What's thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?

No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.

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10:49am

Mon August 19, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Stop Multitasking! It's Distracting Me (And You)

iStockphoto.com

As a university professor, I've had the opportunity to view lectures from multiple vantage points. From the front of the room you see a sea of students — some attentive, a handful asleep and a good share semi-obstructed by the crisp plane of an open laptop.

The view is quite different From the back of the room. The eager-looking student near the door, keenly typing away, is on Facebook. The dozing student near the back might just have an earbud subtly snaking its way to his smartphone. Another student flits back and forth between a PDF of the lecture slides and her email.

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10:00am

Mon August 19, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

How One Plus One Became Everything: A Puzzle of Life

Courtesy of Paolo Ceric

It's one of life's great mysteries ...

Four billion years ago, or thereabouts, organic chemicals in the sea somehow spun themselves into little homes, with insides and outsides. We call them cells.

They did this in different ways, but always keeping their insides in, protected from the outside world ...

... surrounded by walls or skins of different types ...

... but letting in essentials, nutrients. Some even learned to eat sunshine, capturing energy ...

... which gave them a pulse of their own ...

... so they could move ...

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2:29am

Mon August 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Has Voyager 1 Left The Solar System?

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 2:52 pm

This artist rendering provided by NASA shows Voyager 1 at the edge of the solar system.
AP

The Voyager 1 spacecraft launched in 1977 on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. It kept on going. Today it's billions of miles from Earth, and scientists have been predicting it will soon leave the solar system.

NPR has been on Voyager watch since at least 2003, when longtime science correspondent Richard Harris provided this warning of Voyager's impending departure.

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2:47pm

Sun August 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

What's My Real Cancer Risk? When Online Calculators Don't Compute

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 11:31 am

Whether or not you'll someday get cancer or any disease can feel like a roll of hundreds of dice. Calculating the odds --€” and knowing what they mean --€” is tricky.
Katie Harbath Flickr

Online risk calculators are all the rage these days among public health groups trying to get us to change our unhealthful ways. The World Health Organization developed an online tool that lets you estimate your personal risk of cracking a hip in the next 10 years, for example. You just plug in data about yourself, your lifestyle, and your family medical history.

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11:37am

Sat August 17, 2013
The Two-Way

Mid-Atlantic Dolphin Die-Off Leaves Scientists Puzzled

Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 7:25 pm

An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key in Marathon, Fla., in July.
Wilfredo Lee Associated Press

Dead dolphins have been washing up in alarming numbers on mid-Atlantic beaches since July as scientists struggle to find a cause for the largest such die-off in a quarter-century.

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9:22am

Sat August 17, 2013
The Two-Way

NASA: Meteor In Russia Threw Up Globe-Girdling Plume Of Debris

Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 8:19 pm

A meteor trail is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15.
AFP/Getty Images

The bus-sized meteor that slammed into Russia in February, causing a massive shock-wave and injuring hundreds of people, sent a plume of dust into the stratosphere that circled the globe in just four days and lingered for months, NASA says.

The Feb. 15 meteor at Chelyabinsk near Russia's southern border with Kazakhstan measured 60 feet across and weighed 12,000 tons. It detonated 15 miles above the city.

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7:55am

Sat August 17, 2013
Environment

Dolphin Deaths Alarm Scientists

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 7:35 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dolphins are washing ashore in alarming numbers in the Mid-Atlantic states this summer. More than 160 deaths of dolphins have been reported since early July and that's the worst fate in 26 years. Response teams from New York to Virginia are trying to determine just what's killing all these dolphins. Charlie Potter is working with one of those teams at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

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