Science

Science
10:08 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

WSU researchers patent longer battery life technology

WSU's Grant Norton says using tin in lithium ion batteries could keep many electronic devices running much longer. Photo courtesy WSU

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:05 pm

Researchers at Washington State University say they've found a way to keep lithium batteries charged three times longer. These are the batteries used in laptops, cell phones and electric vehicles.

The key ingredient in the new battery design is tin, as a replacement for carbon, which is more common.

The research is lead by engineering professor Grant Norton. He says the improvements could keep many electronic devices running much longer.

Read more
Whale science
10:00 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Mysterious sensory organ found in whale's chin

A new sensory organ, highlighted in a fin whale after lunging, coordinates their lunge-feeding strategy. At right, anatomy of the new sensory organ.
Smithsonian

If you came face to face with a great whale, you might find a few surprises in its chin: Like whiskers, if you look closely at the surface.

And, hidden inside the chin, lies a mysterious sensory organ, unknown to centuries of whalers and biologists.

Read more
Health
2:51 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Study: Chemicals In Great-Grandma’s Life May Promote Disease In You

Dr. Michael Skinner. Courtesy Washington State University.

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:56 pm

The chance of a woman getting ovarian disease may be tied to the toxic chemicals her great-grandmother was exposed to. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University. The study could help explain the role of environmental factors in inherited diseases.

Here’s how it works. Picture your great-grandmother. Now let’s say, while pregnant with your future grandparent, she was exposed to some toxic chemical. Pesticides, phthalates -- that stuff in plastic -- or maybe jet fuel. Those are some of the things the researchers looked at.

Read more
Science
9:57 am
Thu March 8, 2012

WSU studying bear hibernation in hunt for diabetes cure

A group of Washington State University scientists performing an echocardiogram on an adult female grizzly bear named Kio during the hibernation period. Photo courtesy Mike Madel

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 12:00 am

WSU Researchers Studying Bears’ Hibernation To Narrow Down A Cure For Diabetes

030712AK_Bears.wav :57 Wrap 3/7/12 Anna King/CF

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hibernating bears do things that doctors tell humans not to do. They eat fatty foods, lay around for months on end and get high cholesterol. Yet they don’t suffer the same ill effects we would.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
8:59 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Stem-cells show promise as blindness treatment in early study

Sue Freeman, 78, checks her e-mail at her home in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Saturday. An experimental stem-cell procedure last July led to a marked improvement in her eyesight.
Melissa Forsyth for NPR

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 8:46 am

Two women losing their sight to progressive forms of blindness may have regained some vision while participating in an experiment testing a treatment made from human embryonic stem cells, researchers reported today.

The report marks the first time that scientists have produced direct evidence that human embryonic stem cells may have helped a patient. The cells had only previously been tested in the laboratory or in animals.

Read more
Simon Says
10:07 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Should the 'leap second' be abolished? Could you repeat that?

Every few years, official clocks around the world repeat a second. It's not much, but in an age of atomic clocks, it's time enough to give the matter a second thought.
Uwe Merkel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 6:57 am

Let me take a second here.

Not very long, was it?

But a second tied up delegates to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, who postponed a decision this week on whether to abolish the extra second that's added to clocks every few years to compensate for the earth's natural doddering.

The earth slows down slightly as we spin through space. No one falls off, but earthquakes and tides routinely slow the earth by a fraction of a fraction of a second, which makes clocks minutely wrong. If not corrected, it could make a minute of difference a century.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Scientists watch comet plunge into the sun

The comet C/2011 N3 (SOHO) diving toward the sun in July 2011.
NASA

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 4:03 pm

For the first time ever, scientists have been able to watch a comet perform a deadly dive into the sun. Back in July, a Kreutz sungrazer known as C/2011 N3 passed so close to the sun that the icy body was vaporized.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
9:13 am
Tue January 10, 2012

NPR science: Nicotine patches improve early memory loss in study

Franck Camhi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 8:25 am

Slapping on a nicotine patch may not just be for smokers trying to kick the habit.

In an intriguing test, researchers tried nicotine patches as a memory booster for nonsmokers with mild declines in their thinking ability, a precursor to dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Read more
Science
1:11 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Catch Saturday’s lunar eclipse from a hilltop

In this Thursday June 16, 2011 file photo, the moon exhibits a deep orange glow as the Earth casts its shadow in a total lunar eclipse as seen in Manila, Philippines, before dawn. The last total lunar eclipse of the year is Saturday, Dec.
Associated Press

If you’re an early riser, you may get to see a total eclipse of the moon on Saturday. The full moon will fall into a dark shadow in the hours just before dawn.

The northwestern U.S. gets a better view of this eclipse than the rest of the mainland states – that is, if you’re not fogged in.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Cool photo: Scientists present 'lightest material on Earth'

Researchers created a "micro-lattice" structure of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness of 100 nanometers, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.
Dan Little HRL Laboratories

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 3:43 pm

We were stunned when we saw this image:

According to HRL Laboratories that is an "ultralight metallic microlattice" sitting atop a dandelion. The material was developed by scientists at HRL, The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine.

The material is 99.99 percent air and 100 times lighter than styrofoam.

Read more
Environment
10:40 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Science behind Hanford treatment tanks questioned

RICHLAND, Wash. - A federal nuclear watchdog agency is questioning some of the science behind a massive treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. In a letter released Thursday, federal examiners say key treatment tanks could pose risks.

Read more
Climate Research
2:47 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Coastal fog not following climate change script

A fog shrouds a Washington coast highway in 2008.
Flickr/Ravenelle

Ever had a summer beach vacation chilled by dense fog? Then you might be interested in new research at the University of Washington. A scientist there is looking at how fogginess along the coast has changed over time. 

Read more
Watching the Sky
2:30 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Lunar eclipse tonight

This is a photo of a total lunar eclipse in 2007, as viewed from the nation of Macedonia. North and Central America will be in the best position to view tonight's total eclipse.
AP

Western Washington can look forward to an added gift of the Winter Solstice: a total eclipse of the moon. The heavenly event begins at 10:32 pm tonight, with the moon in full eclipse from 11:41 pm to 12:53 am, according to NASA.

Read more
Global Health & Development
12:04 pm
Tue September 14, 2010

Humanosphere: Prevented Malaria Deaths Made Visible

In Niger, distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets.
Photo courtesty Voice of America

One of the problems with saving lives is it’s hard to identify a death averted. Success in disease prevention is often invisible.

You typically can’t say, for example, that 380 cases of malaria, and one death, were prevented in African children for every $1,025 spent on insecticide-treated bed nets last year.

Except now you can.

Read more

Pages