Joe Palca http://www.kplu.org en To Make A Spacecraft That Folds And Unfolds, Try Origami http://www.kplu.org/post/make-spacecraft-folds-and-unfolds-try-origami Scientists and engineers at NASA are using <a href="http://www.origami-resource-center.com/">origami techniques</a> to help solve a fundamental dilemma facing spacecraft designers: How do you take a big object, pack it into a small container for rocket launch, and then unpack it again once it arrives in space — making sure nothing breaks in the process.<p>Brian Trease, an engineer at NASA's <a href="http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/">Jet Propulsion Laboratory</a>, says one way is to use something called the <a href="http://www.ijpam.eu/contents/2012-79-2/8/8.pdf">Miura fold</a>, named for its inventor, Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:38:03 +0000 Joe Palca 17792 at http://www.kplu.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick http://www.kplu.org/post/clean-drinking-water-all-you-need-stick Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.<p>The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.<p>Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.<p>MIT's <a href="http://meche.mit.edu/people/?id=279">Rohit Karnik</a> is a mechanical engineer who works on water technologies. He says it's relatively easy to make membranes that can filter the bacteria out of water. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:11:31 +0000 Joe Palca 14484 at http://www.kplu.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives http://www.kplu.org/post/inexpensive-aquarium-bubbler-saves-preemies-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:31:44 +0000 Joe Palca 13173 at http://www.kplu.org Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer http://www.kplu.org/post/how-pictures-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer Bryan Shaw never expected to write a research paper about a rare eye cancer.<p>He's a <a href="http://www.baylor.edu/chemistry/index.php?id=75907">chemist</a> who works on how <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24066782">metals and proteins interact</a>. But life has a funny way of interrupting the best-laid plans, and now Shaw may be on to a powerful new way to detect <a href="http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/retinoblastoma/blastoma.asp">retinoblastoma</a> in newborns. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:28:58 +0000 Joe Palca 10861 at http://www.kplu.org How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope http://www.kplu.org/post/treating-kids-cancer-science-and-pocket-full-hope Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what <a href="https://www.fhcrc.org/en/diseases/featured-researchers/olson-jim.html">Jim Olson</a> is like.<p>He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 20:09:53 +0000 Joe Palca 10008 at http://www.kplu.org Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better http://www.kplu.org/post/why-painting-tumors-could-make-brain-surgeons-better-0 Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.<p>Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 16:52:32 +0000 Joe Palca 9981 at http://www.kplu.org Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better http://www.kplu.org/post/why-painting-tumors-could-make-brain-surgeons-better Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.<p>Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 16:52:31 +0000 Joe Palca 9980 at http://www.kplu.org Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes http://www.kplu.org/post/inside-story-fear-holes Trypophobia may be moving out of the urban dictionary and into the <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/23/0956797613484937.abstract">scientific literature</a>.<p>A recent study in the peer-review journal <em>Psychological Science</em> takes a first crack at explaining why some people may suffer from a fear of holes.<p>Trypophobia may be hard to find in textbooks and diagnostic manuals, but a brief Web search will show that plenty of people appear to have it.<p>There's even a website, <a href="http://trypophobia.com/">trypophobia.com</a>, that explains the problem like this:<p Wed, 04 Sep 2013 20:48:39 +0000 Joe Palca 9880 at http://www.kplu.org The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? http://www.kplu.org/post/year-mars-whats-curiosity-been Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.<p>Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. Mon, 05 Aug 2013 16:17:48 +0000 Joe Palca 9520 at http://www.kplu.org A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? Small Meals, Big Payoff: Keeping Hunger And Calories In Check http://www.kplu.org/post/small-meals-big-payoff-keeping-hunger-and-calories-check When presented with a tempting buffet of French food, not overeating can be a challenge. But a new study by researchers in Lyon suggests there are strategies that will help people resist temptation.<p>People trying to keep off excess weight are frequently told that it's better to eat small amounts of food frequently during the day, rather than the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:07:01 +0000 Joe Palca 7628 at http://www.kplu.org Small Meals, Big Payoff: Keeping Hunger And Calories In Check NASA Scientists 'Very Careful' With New Mars Data http://www.kplu.org/post/nasa-very-careful-mars-data-its-all-so-exciting NASA is finally receiving data on Martian soil samples from <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html">Curiosity</a>, its rover currently traversing the red planet. The results from the soil samples hint at something exciting, but rover scientists are making very sure not to raise expectations.<p>NASA had always planned to present early results from the mission this week at a press conference. Tue, 04 Dec 2012 04:52:01 +0000 Joe Palca 7275 at http://www.kplu.org NASA Scientists 'Very Careful' With New Mars Data Space probe finds ice in Mercury's craters http://www.kplu.org/post/space-probe-finds-ice-mercurys-craters Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.<p>But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal <em>Science</em> suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.<p>The evidence comes from an instrument on NASA's Messenger spacecraft called Mercury Laser Altimeter. Thu, 29 Nov 2012 19:12:03 +0000 Joe Palca 7234 at http://www.kplu.org Space probe finds ice in Mercury's craters Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now http://www.kplu.org/post/curiositys-tasting-soil-mars-may-have-big-news Scientists working on NASA's six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it's a good problem.<p>They have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.<p>It's a bind scientists frequently find themselves in, because by their nature, scientists like to share their results. Tue, 20 Nov 2012 14:29:16 +0000 Joe Palca 7169 at http://www.kplu.org Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs http://www.kplu.org/post/fun-physics-how-make-tiny-medicine-nanoballs For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.<p>These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard-to-reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.<p>"With micro- or nanoparticles, you cannot just touch them with a finger and put them together and stick them together. Wed, 10 Oct 2012 07:37:20 +0000 Joe Palca 6663 at http://www.kplu.org Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs Pinky DNA Points To Clues About Ancient Humans http://www.kplu.org/post/pinky-dna-points-clues-about-ancient-humans Scientists in Germany have been able to get enough DNA from a fossilized pinky to produce a high-quality DNA sequence of the pinky's owner.<p>"It's a really amazing-quality genome," says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It's as good as modern human genome sequences, from a lot of ways of measuring it."<p>The pinky belonged to a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists aren't sure about the exact age. She is a member of an extinct group of humans called Denisovans. Fri, 31 Aug 2012 00:28:19 +0000 Joe Palca 6161 at http://www.kplu.org Pinky DNA Points To Clues About Ancient Humans