Science

6:34am

Sat November 24, 2012
Animals

Apes, Humans Share A Happiness Dip Mid-Life

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 10:30 am

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.

4:13pm

Fri November 23, 2012
Science

Experiments That Keep Going And Going And Going

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 10:00 pm

William Beal, standing at center, started a long-term study on seed germination in 1879. He buried 20 bottles with seeds in them for later researchers to unearth and plant.
Michigan State University

A biologist who has been watching a dozen bottles of bacteria evolve for nearly a quarter of a century is hoping he can find someone to keep his lab experiment going long after he dies.

Meanwhile, just by coincidence, a botanist who works across campus is carefully tending an experiment that started before he was born, all the way back in 1879.

These two researchers, both at Michigan State University in East Lansing, represent different sides of an unusual phenomenon in science: experiments that outlive the people who started them.

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2:36pm

Fri November 23, 2012
Food

NPR: The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 8:17 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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.

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2:18pm

Fri November 23, 2012
Science

Steven Strogatz: The Joy Of X

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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.

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2:07pm

Fri November 23, 2012
NPR Story

Ig Nobel Prizes Celebrate Somewhat Suspect Science

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.

7:32am

Fri November 23, 2012
Shots - Health News

Scientists Get A New Look At Einstein's Brain

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.
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.

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6:53am

Fri November 23, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What Is The Smell Of White?

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 9:37 am

If there's white color and white noise, is there white smell, too?
Janek Skarzynski AFP/Getty Images

As the delicious smells of Thanksgiving in my house slowly fade from the air, I'm intrigued by a new discovery: Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel say they have created the scent of white.

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4:35am

Fri November 23, 2012
Science

Can Shellfish Adapt to More Acidic Water?

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 1:53 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The shellfish industry on the West Coast has had a bumpy few years and increasingly, it is pointing to climate change as the cause. Scientists believe the oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the air, and they are not sure if oysters and other shellfish will be able to adapt to this change. Lauren Sommer, from member station KQED, has this report.

LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: Terry Sawyer does a brisk business in oysters.

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3:18am

Fri November 23, 2012
Environment

An Arbor Embolism? Why Trees Die In Drought

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 1:53 pm

A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Andrea Nardini Nature

Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.

It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.

When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.

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3:42pm

Thu November 22, 2012
Environment

'Erin Brockovich' Town Faces New Threat

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 5:20 pm

Hinkley, Calif., may soon become a ghost town as residents move away from contaminated water.
Gloria Hillard for NPR

Hinkley, Calif., is the small town that battled toxic groundwater and inspired the 2000 film Erin Brockovich. Now residents say they are experiencing a sequel to their story.

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