Let's take a walk on the wild side and assume, for the sake of argument, that our universe is not the only one; let's say there are many others, possibly infinitely many, "out there." The totality of this bizarre ensemble is what cosmologists call the "multiverse," a hypothesis that sounds more mythic than scientific, a conceptual troublemaker that inspires some and outrages others.
NASA is hoping to soon venture out farther into space than ever before. But these long journeys mean astronauts could face greater risks to their physical and mental health than the space agency currently allows.
Now, an independent group of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in on how NASA should make decisions about the kinds of risks that are acceptable for missions that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days.
The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria.
It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:
Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014?
Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.
Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.
A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.
What is it with stem cell research? Despite solid science from many corners, the scandals never seem to stop. In this case, after a lofty international announcement in January, it only took about two months for the other shoe to drop.
A scientific committee in Japan said Tuesday that the lead author of a recent "breakthrough study" fabricated data and is guilty of scientific misconduct.
Movies like Mean Girls have told us that the popular crowd rules, and the nerds and nonconformists get picked on.
But even the top rungs of high school social ladder aren't immune to bullying, researchers say. Becoming more popular can actually increase a teen's risk of getting bullied rather than making them immune to attack.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. The biggest extinction the Earth has ever seen took place 250 million years ago and it remains something of a mystery. Scientists suspected giant volcanoes or perhaps an asteroid caused it, but NPR's Christopher Joyce has seen new research suggesting the cause might not have been so cataclysmic - maybe something much more subtle.
We smile when we're happy. But how does a face strike the proper look to show, say, happy surprise? Or happy disgust, like when you're laughing at a really gross joke?
A new report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that we instinctively mix and match actions from the six basic emotions to stitch together more subtle expressions.