Science

4:51pm

Mon August 12, 2013
Research News

Particle Physicists Want A New Collider To Study The Higgs

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:03 pm

This simulated image shows what information about a Higgs particle would look like in the proposed International Linear Collider.
Norman Graf interactions.org

"It's a very curious time in high-energy physics," says Michael Peskin, a researcher at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. On the one hand, researchers have just made the most significant discovery in decades: In July of last year, they announced they had found the Higgs particle at a collider in Switzerland. The Higgs is part of the mechanism that gives mass to everything. It is so fundamental that without it, we wouldn't exist.

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4:47pm

Mon August 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

Dementia Test Tweaked For Gen X: Hirohito Out, Oprah In

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:56 am

Is Oprah Winfrey a celebrity for the ages?
Surian Soosay Flickr

It's bad enough to have to be tested for dementia. It's even worse if the test isn't fair. Researchers in Chicago found they needed to update the screening test for a type of early onset dementia so that the measure would more accurately pick up symptoms among a new wave of patients — baby boomers and Gen Xers.

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3:03pm

Mon August 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

Brains Of Dying Rats Yield Clues About Near-Death Experiences

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:57 am

Could the images common in accounts of near-death experiences be explained by a rush of electrical activity in the brain?
Odina iStockphoto.com

A burst of brain activity just after the heart stops may be the cause of so-called near-death experiences, scientists say.

The insight comes from research involving nine lab rats whose brains were analyzed as they were being euthanized. Researchers discovered what appears to be a momentary increase in electrical activity in the brain associated with consciousness.

Although the experiment relied on animals, the results could apply to humans, too, the researchers say.

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12:00pm

Mon August 12, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

This Pulsing Earth

John Nelson IDV Solutions

It's breathing, he thought. "All of a sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat."

John Nelson is a designer, well known for tracing complex weather patterns or cultural information on maps, so considering what he usually does, this was easy. NASA's Visible Earth team publishes pictures of our planet every month of the year, so John thought, why not stitch them together, and see what the seasons look like from outer space?

So he stitched, and then looked.

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10:35am

Mon August 12, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is There Existential Meaning Beyond Religion?

A man reaches for a wooden cross in the sea during an Epiphany ceremony in the Greek port of Thessaloniki on January 6, 2011.
Sakis Mitrolidis AFP/Getty Images

Religious beliefs are often (though not always) comforting. The idea of an afterlife can be attractive. Ideas like fate and destiny — or simply things happen for a reason — can make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It's nice to think that humans have a purpose, that we were put here for some reason, that the natural world is meaningful.

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8:31am

Mon August 12, 2013
Monkey See

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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5:49pm

Sun August 11, 2013
Environment

The Algae Is Coming, But Its Impact Is Felt Far From Water

Chinese beachgoers walk by an algae-covered public beach in Qingdao, China, in July. The seas off China have been hit by their largest-ever growth of algae, ocean officials say, with waves of green growth washing onto the shores.
AFP/Getty Images

Algae blooms are green or red or brown, slimy, smelly and you don't want it coming soon to a waterfront near you.

Most of us don't give a lot of thought to algae until the furry-like monstrosity is spreading over beaches, rivers, lakes and bays, but gigantic algae blooms have become an increasing problem around the world.

The danger algae blooms pose is that they sap the body of water where they are growing of nutrients and oxygen; they then die, decompose and rot.

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7:10am

Sun August 11, 2013
Space

Sending Poetry To Mars

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, to a story I'll do entirely in haiku, so bear with me. And just in case you need a primmer: just three lines of verse. Syllables are what counts here - five, seven, then five. For the last few months, scientists have collected haikus meant for Mars. Thousands of poets, pros and amateurs alike, submitted their work. The public then picked their favorite Mars haikus. We are fans of these, by Anonymous.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Reading) Mars, oh. Do forgive. We never meant to obstruct Your view of Venus.

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7:10am

Sun August 11, 2013
Food

With Ice Cubes, The Larger The Better

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It is August. Chances are where you are it's hot. So, maybe you want a drink to cool off. Will it be fruity or fizzy, maybe boozy? Whatever it is, Dan Pashman, host of the Sporkful podcast, thinks you may be overlooking one key ingredient: the ice. He joins us now from our New York studios. Hey Dan.

DAN PASHMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, ice. This seems like a fairly forgettable part of a beverage experience. You say, no. Why?

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7:10am

Sun August 11, 2013
Science

An Engineer Beats The Physics Of Traffic

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ah, the road trip - one of the great American summer rituals. But sharing this great tradition with other road trippers can also be intensely frustrating. Perhaps you've found yourself wondering why traffic jams take so long to clear up or why they seem to last so much longer than a crash. Well, Bill Beaty is a research engineer at the University of Washington. He has a little advice about that.

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