Science

4:01pm

Tue May 21, 2013
The Salt

Vertical 'Pinkhouses:' The Future Of Urban Farming?

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 5:58 pm

This "pinkhouse" at Caliber Biotherapeutics in Bryan, Texas, grows 2.2 million plants under the glow of blue and red LEDs.
Courtesy of Caliber Therapeutics

The idea of vertical farming is all the rage right now. Architects and engineers have come up with spectacular concepts for lofty buildings that could function as urban food centers of the future.

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2:56pm

Tue May 21, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Let's Get Creative And Redefine The Meaning Of Religion

Must religion be embodied in a god or gods, such as Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

We all know how the battle lines shake out: evangelical vs. scientist, believer vs. atheist. The culture war defined as science vs. religion is so overheated that it seems to be more of a caricature than a coherent, useful discussion. Unless, that is, someone is trying to stretch beyond the usual polarities.

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1:22pm

Tue May 21, 2013
The Picture Show

'Nanogardens' Sprout Up On The Surface Of A Penny

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 5:36 pm

Nanoflowers, each smaller than the thickness of a dollar bill, sprout up spontaneously on a surface dipped in salts and silicon.
Courtesy of Wim Noorduin/Harvard University

April showers bring May flowers. But in this case, the blossoms are too small for even a bumblebee to see.

Engineers at Harvard University have figured out a way to make microscopic sculptures of roses, tulips and violets, each smaller than a strand of hair.

To get a sense of just how small these flower sculptures are, grab a penny and flip it on its back. Right in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial, you'll see a faint impression of Abraham Lincoln. These roses would make a perfect corsage for the president's jacket lapel.

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7:02pm

Mon May 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Measuring The Power Of Deadly Tornadoes

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 4:59 am

John Warner surveys the damage near a friend's mobile home in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, destroyed in Sunday's tornado, near Shawnee, Okla., on Monday.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Damaging tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma on Sunday and Monday, causing widespread damage that is still being assessed, and additional severe weather is expected.

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2:04pm

Mon May 20, 2013

11:19am

Mon May 20, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

'Cheating' Can Be An Effective Learning Strategy

Paul Morton iStockphoto.com

It's the end of the semester here at UC Berkeley, and I've got testing on my mind. I'm not the only one; across campus, instructors are engaged in the arduous task of grading quickly and fairly while students sigh with relief as they exit their final, final exams.

We most often think of tests as being about assessment. They tell us something about how successfully an individual has mastered the material being tested, and this assessment can in turn help us to assign grades, make determinations about placement or identify areas that would benefit from further study.

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11:01am

Mon May 20, 2013
The Salt

Can A Piece of Hair Reveal How Much Coke Or Pepsi You Drink?

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 12:00 pm

Carbon isotope analysis: a scientific way to know just how much soda kids are drinking behind parents' backs?
iStockphoto.com

One way to know how much soda people drink is to ask them.

The problem? We tend to underestimate, lie or forget what we've consumed.

And this is a challenge for researchers who study the links between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity.

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3:04am

Mon May 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

If Your Shrink Is A Bot, How Do You Respond?

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 5:19 pm

Ellie is a computer simulation designed to engage real people in meaningful conversation and take their measure. The computer system looks for subtle patterns in body language and vocal inflections that might be clues to underlying depression or other emotional distress.
YouTube

Her hair is brown and tied back into a professional-looking ponytail. She wears a blue shirt, tan sweater and delicate gold chain. It's the first time she has met the man sitting across from her, and she looks out at him, her eyes curious.

"So how are you doing today?" she asks cautiously, trying to build rapport.

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3:03am

Mon May 20, 2013
Health

Bans Of Same-Sex Marriage Can Take A Psychological Toll

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 9:25 am

Opponents of same-sex marriage participate in the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., on March 26, as the Supreme Court hears arguments on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

As the country awaits two important Supreme Court decisions involving state laws on same-sex marriage, a small but consistent body of research suggests that laws that ban gay marriage — or approve it — can affect the mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans.

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4:58pm

Sun May 19, 2013
Science

The Unsuccessful Quest For A Universal Language

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 6:18 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Communications barriers have long vexed us, as showcased in the movie "Rush Hour."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "RUSH HOUR")

CHRIS TUCKER: (As Carter) Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

LYDEN: Scientists in the 17th century were working hard to understand; mainly, the secrets of the universe but also, each other. With Latin on the decline, they were seeking a whole new way of communicating that would defy barriers and borders - a universal language.

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