Science

3:09pm

Fri May 10, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Fresh Answer To Vermeer's Mystery

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 9:43 am

The Procuress, painted by Johannes Vermeer in 1656, hangs in a Dresden, Germany, museum in 2004. While this particular work is not in question, Benjamin Binstock argues that other pieces attributed to the Dutch master are by an apprentice and a member of his household.
Norbert Millauer AFP/Getty Images

There are two excellent ideas at the heart of art historian Benjamin Binstock's beautiful and strange new book Vermeer's Family Secrets. The first is taken from a Nietzsche quote:

"We have learned to love all things that we now love."

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2:46pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Environment

Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:22 pm

Researchers use the 120-foot tower atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii to collect air samples and measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Mauna Kea looms in the distance.
Forrest M. Mims III forrestmims.org

Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO2 concentrations.

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1:22pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Food

Experts Percolate on How To Brew Coffee

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

And Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi. It's multitasking's - you know, what goes best with multitasking? A big cup of coffee.

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: That's what our video is about this week. Our continuing coverage of this hard-hitting serious issue: What is the science in your morning Joe? So our video this week was put together by video producer Jenny Woodward. And this one goes into the gear.

FLATOW: The gear?

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12:54pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:37 am

Did you see that?
iStockphoto.com

Children with autism see simple movements twice as fast as other children their age, a new study finds.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Rochester were looking to test a common theory about autism which holds that overwhelming sensory stimulation inhibits other brain functions. The researchers figured they could check that by studying how kids with autism process moving images.

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12:27pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Environment

'Dangerous Territory:' Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Iconic High

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 7:26 pm

Carbon dioxide readings at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii have reached what atmospheric scientist Ralph Keeling calls a "psychological threshold" of 400 parts per million. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing since near-constant measurements began at the observatory in 1958.
Jonathan Kingston National Geographic/Getty Images

Earth's atmosphere is entering a new era. A mountaintop research station that has been tracking carbon dioxide for more than 50 years says the level of that gas in our air has reached a milestone: 400 parts per million.

That number is one of the clearest measures of how human beings are changing the planet. It shows how much carbon we have put into the air from burning fossil fuels — and that carbon dioxide drives global warming.

This measurement comes from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, a remote volcano where the air is largely free of local influences.

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12:25pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Space

Hello....Is There Anybody Out There?

The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's Jill Tarter has spent decades searching for the signals that would tell us we aren't alone in the cosmos. Tarter discusses the hunt, and what the presence of intelligent life elsewhere might tell us about our own future on Earth.

11:22am

Fri May 10, 2013
NPR Story

Microexpressions: More Than Meets The Eye

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:23 pm

David Matsumoto, a psychology professor at San Francisco State University, trains national security officials and police officers to recognize "microexpressions"--fleeting, split-second flashes of emotion across someone's face. Matsumoto says those subtle cues may reveal how an interview subject is feeling, helping officials to hone their line of questioning.

11:22am

Fri May 10, 2013
NPR Story

The Myth Of Multitasking

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:23 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, we'll be focusing on you and your true love - your smartphone. Think about it. Are you lost without it? Inconsolable if the two of you are separated? Willing to walk into a lamppost rather than look up while texting? Is it the object of your desire? Isn't it?

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11:22am

Fri May 10, 2013
NPR Story

Exploring An Ever-Expanding Universe

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:23 pm

Saul Perlmutter shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate. Perlmutter explains how supernovae and other astronomical artifacts are used to measure the expansion rate, and explains what physicists are learning about "dark energy" — the mysterious entity thought to be driving the acceleration.

8:03am

Fri May 10, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Music, Inside Out

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 11:40 am

Daniel Sierra Oscillate/Vimeo

What would it be like to be a string that made music? Not anything simple, like a guitar string or a cello string, but a magical string, a sine curve that's taut then loose, that doubles then doubles again, that sheds then dissolves into showers of notes — a flaming, sighing, looping, dissolving string. Curious?

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