Science

6:51am

Tue January 7, 2014
Science

Can't Stand The Cold Snap? Don't Go To Antarctica

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And with much of the nation is in the middle of this brutal cold snap, let's take a moment to hear from scientists who study other planets or even the chilliest places on Earth. Those researchers commonly encounter temperatures that make this news-making cold seem downright balmy. We asked NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel to find out just how low it can go.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: I caught up with researcher Paul Mayewski yesterday just as he was headed out of town.

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5:02am

Tue January 7, 2014
Science

Polar Vortex Blamed For Dangerously Cold Weather

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. Here are the voices of some meteorologists around the country. This was in Indianapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is the coldest wind chill I've ever reported in on the Weather Channel. It's 41 below zero. The air temperature is 13. In fact, it has dropped eight degrees in four hours this morning, as that wind just eats right through you.

GREENE: And no surprise, it is also cold in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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4:36pm

Mon January 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

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4:27pm

Mon January 6, 2014
Environment

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

3:23pm

Mon January 6, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Equal Sign Named 'Symbol Of The Year' For 2013

iStockphoto

As an undergraduate major in the Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford University, I had amazing opportunities to interact with scholars from a variety of disciplines, and also plenty of awkward small talk ... of the in-flight variety.

On trips to and from Silicon Valley during school vacations, I inevitably found myself seated next to a well-meaning businessman who sensed my student status and asked the inevitable question:

Well-meaning businessman: What are you majoring in?

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3:22pm

Mon January 6, 2014
The Salt

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:16 pm

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

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8:01am

Sun January 5, 2014
Research News

Searching For The Science Behind Reincarnation

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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4:33am

Sun January 5, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute

Jon Batiste star-spangles our banner.
YouTube

Some things are so familiar, so fixed in our heads, that we stop noticing them. Buckle-your-seat-belt instructions in an airplane, for example. You don't have to listen. You know the drill.

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8:33am

Sat January 4, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 10:57 pm

YouTube

8:19am

Sat January 4, 2014
Research News

Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:13 am

Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch.
Klaus Frings AP

In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.

Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.

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