Science

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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5:04am

Fri May 10, 2013
Research News

What Does 'Sexual Coercion' Say About A Society?

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 11:46 am

One contemporary analysis links the increase in gender equality in a society with increased sexual empowerment of women and less sexual coercion. But there's more to it than that.
iStockphoto.com

Anthropologists, sociologists and biologists have explored over several decades many factors that shape the likelihood of sexual coercion of women by men.

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5:11pm

Thu May 9, 2013
The Salt

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops.

And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land.

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4:34pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Science

Could You Talk To A Caveman? Scientists Say It's Possible

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

Would Mel Brooks' famous 2,000-Year-Old Man have understood modern language? Researchers say there's a possibility.
ABC/Photofest

In 1961, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner came up with some basic theories of caveman linguistics in their 2,000-Year-Old Man skit. Most of them had to do with rocks, as in, "What are you doing with that rock there?"

Now, a professor in England has questioned the validity of the famous caveman's rock-centric theories. And Mark Pagel of the University of Reading is reaching even further back, to the time of the 15,000-year-old man.

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