Science

12:05pm

Fri March 8, 2013
The Salt

We Like 'Em Big And Juicy: How Our Table Grapes Got So Fat

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:37 pm

Left to their own devices, many seedless grapes would be puny and soft. But these Thompson seedless got pleasingly plump after a little girdling and hormone treatment.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

It's no secret that many Americans have a fetish for big food. Whether it's a triple-decker cheeseburger or a 128-ounce Big Gulp, some portions in the U.S. have gotten freakishly large.

But not all of our supersizing is unhealthy.

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11:16am

Fri March 8, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

What Happened When Humans Met An Alien Intelligence? Sex Happened

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:50 pm

Courtesy of the Neanderthal Museum

10:06am

Fri March 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Coroner: Zoo Intern May Have Been Killed After Lion Lifted Cage Handle

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 12:19 pm

An undated photo of Dianna Hanson provided by her brother, Paul Hanson.
Paul Hanson Associated Press

A woman killed by a 550-pound male lion at a conservancy near Fresno, Calif., earlier this week may have been caught by surprise after the animal escaped its cage, investigators say.

According to a preliminary autopsy, Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern for Cat Haven, was killed Wednesday when the lion snapped her neck.

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10:00am

Fri March 8, 2013
TED Radio Hour

Are We Alone In The Universe?

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:24 am

"We should search because it tells us how to collaborate our place in the cosmos." — Jill Tarter
TED / James Duncan Davidson

About Jill Tarter's TED Talk

The SETI Institute's Jill Tarter wants to accelerate our search for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she and her team listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe.

About Jill Tarter

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10:00am

Fri March 8, 2013
TED Radio Hour

How Can We Defend Earth From Asteroids?

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:24 am

Phil Plait knows the secrets to avoiding a big asteroid catastrophe.
Courtesy of TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

About Phil Plait's TED Talk

What's six miles wide and can end civilization in an instant? An asteroid — and there are lots of them out there. With humor and great visuals, Phil Plait enthralls the TEDxBoulder audience with all the ways asteroids can kill, and what we must do to avoid them.

About Phil Plait

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10:00am

Fri March 8, 2013
TED Radio Hour

How Did A Mistake Unlock One Of Space's Mysteries?

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:50 am

Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter explains part of his research in astrophysics.
Kimberly White/Getty Images

Part 1 of TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

Physicist Brian Greene explains how the prevailing theories about the fabric of space changed dramatically in the last century — twice. The most recent shift in thinking came about from a strange mistake, and revealed hidden truths about the nature of our universe. Later in this episode, Greene talks more about why this discovery hints at the existence of other universes.

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10:00am

Fri March 8, 2013
TED Radio Hour

Is Our Universe The Only Universe?

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:50 am

"All these possibilities are out there. And we live in the one that is hospital to our form of life." — Brian Greene
James Duncan Davidson/TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

About Brian Greene's TED Talk

Is there more than one universe? Physicist Brian Greene shows how the unanswered questions of physics (starting with a big one: What caused the Big Bang?) have led to the theory that our own universe is just one of many in the "multiverse."

About Brian Greene

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2:23am

Fri March 8, 2013
Environment

Past Century's Global Temperature Change Is Fastest On Record

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:40 pm

Scientists say they have put together a record of global temperatures dating back to the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago. This historical artwork of the last ice age was made by Swiss geologist and naturalist Oswald Heer.
Oswald Heer Science Source

There's plenty of evidence that the climate has warmed up over the past century, and climate scientists know this has happened throughout the history of the planet. But they want to know more about how this warming is different.

Now a research team says it has some new answers. It has put together a record of global temperatures going back to the end of the last ice age — about 11,000 years ago — when mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed the planet. The study confirms that what we're seeing now is unprecedented.

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5:29pm

Thu March 7, 2013
The Salt

If Caffeine Can Boost The Memory Of Bees, Can It Help Us, Too?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:13 pm

Adam Cole/NPR iStockphoto.com

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

"It is surprising," says Geraldine Wright at Newcastle University in the the U.K., the lead researcher of a new honeybee study published in the journal Science.

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2:47pm

Thu March 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

To Make Mice Smarter, Add A Few Human Brain Cells

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:13 pm

These drawings by Santiago Ramon y Cajal, published in 1899, show cortex neurons.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal Wikimedia Commons

For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can't send electric signals, and so they've been mostly ignored.

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