Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 11:46 am
Thanksgiving is a traditional time for American families to come together and share a festive meal. But if my family is any indication, they aren't always sharing the same food. I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with assorted omnivores, an aunt who doesn't eat red meat, a pescatarian, a vegetarian toddler and a mostly-vegan Australian. (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out which of these food categories also describes me.)
It is with great pleasure that we welcome our newest blogger to the 13.7 community. You have, no doubt, already been enjoying Tania Lombrozo's insights via her guest posts for the blog with posts such as "Would You Vote For An Atheist?"
Just over a couple of decades ago, there were fewer than 100 otters remaining in the state of Illinois. Today, there are at least 15,000. They're furry and cute and a nuisance to some, often called the raccoons of Illinois waterways. What's wrong with raccoons? Anyway. So for the first time in almost 90 years, Illinois has reinstated otter trapping season. We called Bob Bluett, a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Host Scott Simon talks with University of Edinburgh professor Alex Weiss about his new study on ape well-being. He found that apes, like humans, experience a U-shaped pattern of life satisfaction that dips in middle-age, commonly known as a mid-life crisis.
Up next, some food for thought as you chomp your Thanksgiving leftovers. Recycling paper and plastic, as you know, is an effective way to save money and energy. So why not recycle all the uneaten food that goes to waste? And there is an awful lot of it. Forty percent of the food in the U.S. today goes uneaten, which means Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion worth of food each year. But that's not all. Food waste, as it decays in landfills, also produces methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
Get out a pencil and paper and your graphic calculator because it's time for a little math review. And we'll warm up with some algebra, move on to imaginary numbers, then the quadratic formula, and we're going to finish up with a bit of vector calculus, how about some probability theory thrown in. No, no, no, I'm just joking. Don't turn off the radio just yet.
Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 2:49 pm
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor scientific research that, in the words of Master of Ceremonies Marc Abrahams, "first makes you laugh, and then makes you think." This year's prizes, awarded in late September, include citations for research into mysteriously green hair, potentially explosive colonoscopies, and the creation of equations that model the back-and-forth swing of a ponytail in motion.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:00 pm
Pathologist Thomas Harvey took dozens of photos of Einstein's brain. This one shows that Einstein's prefrontal cortex (associated with higher cognition and memory) is unusually convoluted. On the right side of the brain there are four large ridges, where most people have only three.
Credit Brain(2012)/National Museum of Health and Medicine
Albert Einstein was a smart guy. Everybody knows that. But was there something about the structure of his brain that made it special?
Scientists have been trying to answer that question ever since his death. Previously unpublished photographs of Einstein's brain taken soon after he died were analyzed last week in the journal Brain. The images and the paper provide a more complete anatomical picture and may help shed light on his genius.