Science

Science
1:39 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Mystery solved: Who the 'Kennewick Man' really was

Final Kennewick Man facial reconstruction.
Brittney Tatchell

For one thing, Kennewick Man – the 9,500-year-old remains found in the shallows of the Columbia River more than 16 years ago – was buff. We’re talking beefcake.

So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Owsley led the study of the ancient remains.

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NPR Science
12:39 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Scientists detail a diamond encrusted super-Earth

Illustration of the interior of 55 Cancri e — an extremely hot planet with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, below which is a layer of silicon-based minerals and a molten iron core at the center.
Haven Giguere via Yale University

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:39 pm

Scientists have discovered a world much fancier than our homely, little Earth.

New research that will published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters details a planet that is eight times heavier than Earth and with twice its radius. But instead of being covered in water and granite, it is encrusted in graphite and diamond.

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Science
4:35 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Scientist: 'Kennewick Man' lived on coast, not southeast Washington

Final Kennewick Man facial reconstruction. Photo by Brittney Tatchell

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:33 pm

MATTAWA, Wash. – Kennewick Man spent most of his life on the coast, not in the region on the Columbia River where he was found. So says the federal scientist who fought for nearly 10 years to study the 9,500 year old bones. The scientist released some of his findings at a conference this week with Northwest tribes

Kennewick Man’s bones give an indication of what he ate, and how he lived. The research shows he wasn’t fond of oysters or clams but instead his menu included big sea creatures like seals.

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Troubles in space
4:18 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Space is full of junk; Boeing files plan to fix that

This is a computer-generated image provided by the European Space Agency showing an artist’s impression of catalogued objects in low-Earth orbit viewed over the Equator. (Scale not to size)
The Associated Press

Here’s a solution for space junk – gas it.

A Boeing engineer from Seattle, Michael Dunn, has filed a patent for a method of dragging parts, pieces and defunct satellites into the atmosphere where they will burn up.

Geek speak: “… the method comprising hastening orbital decay of the debris by creating a transient gaseous cloud at an altitude of at least 100 km above Earth, the cloud having a density sufficient to slow the debris so the debris falls into Earth's atmosphere,” according to the document.

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If it's legal ...
7:09 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Dueling messages call marijuana 'benign' and 'risky'

A glossy, full-page ad for marijuana products look like something you would see from a pharmaceutical company. Does it signal the future of advertising for marijuana ... if it's legal?
Justin Steyer KPLU

Even if you never smoke marijuana, Initiative-502 could make it much more a part of our society, like alcohol. In our series “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” we consider some ways things could change for all of us. Today, we look at what sort of advertising and public messages we might expect to see.

If you turn on the TV today, beer and wine are everywhere. A typical commercial for Corona Light, for example, features a guy whose life improves with girls, dancing, lively music, a great time – all thanks to a frosty beer.

This sort of commercial is what Denise Walker was imagining, when she started thinking about the possibility of marijuana advertising in the future.

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NPR science
12:37 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs

Álvaro Marín

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 6:20 am

For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.

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.

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NPR tech news
4:02 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

For Nobel winner's agency, precision is the only way to operate

NIST physicist and Nobel Prize-winner David Wineland adjusts an ultraviolet laser beam used to manipulate ions in a high-vacuum apparatus containing an "ion trap." These devices have been used to demonstrate the basic operations required for a quantum computer.
Copyright Geoffrey Wheeler National Institute of Standards and Technology

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:46 am

David Wineland is the American half of the scientific duo celebrating the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics today.

Wineland and French scientist Serge Haroche developed new ways for scientists to observe individual quantum particles without damaging them. This may not sound so impressive, but the work opens a world of possibilities— including the development of a quantum computer and super-precise clock.

But who needs a better clock? Don't we have pretty good ones already?

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NPR science
6:19 am
Tue October 9, 2012

French and American scientists share physics Nobel Prize

The medal for the Nobel in Physics. According to the Nobel committee, the inscription reads: " 'Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes' loosely translated 'And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery.' "
NobelPrize.org

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:07 am

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States for their work on the "fundamental interactions between light particles and matter."

"The Nobel laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

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NPR Science
7:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Nobel Winners Unlocked Cells' Unlimited Potential

Shinya Yamanaka from Kyoto University was named the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how mature, adult cells can be reprogrammed into immature stem cells.
Shizuo Kambayashi Associated Press

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 12:28 pm

The two scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine discovered that cells in our body have the remarkable ability to reinvent themselves. They found that every cell in the human body, from our skin and bones to our heart and brain, can be coaxed into forming any other cell.

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NPR science
7:02 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out, Columbus: A Sailing Ship That Travels On Sunshine

Emmanuel Leutze Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:29 am

Columbus, they say, crossed the Atlantic at a speed of roughly four knots. That's four-plus miles an hour. When the wind gusted, he could hit 9.2 mph. In 1492, that was speedy.

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Science
10:12 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Animals who love to rub themselves with ants. Is this addictive?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 8:28 am

This is how we do it.

This is how they do it.

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NPR Science
4:55 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Scientists create fertile eggs from mouse stem cells

Each of these mouse pups was born from an egg scientists created using embryonic stem cells. It's possible the technology could change future treatment for human infertility.
Katsuhiko Hayashi

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:45 pm

Scientists in Japan report they have created eggs from stem cells in a mammal for the first time. And the researchers went on to breed healthy offspring from the eggs they created.

While the experiments involved mice, the work is being met with excitement — and questions — about doing the same thing for humans someday.

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NPR science
10:54 am
Wed October 3, 2012

New, house-cat-sized dinosaur (note massive fangs!) is identified

With jaws only 1 inch in length, the plant-eating Pegomastax ("thick jaw") was one of the smallest dinosaurs ever discovered. The photo above is of a close relative of the Pegomastax.
Tyler Keillor The University of Chicago

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 2:09 pm

What we learn about dinosaurs keeps surprising us. Today in the journal ZooKeys we get a peek into an odd, new kind of dinosaur that was lighter than a house cat and just as small but had a terrifying set of teeth and a short, birdlike beak.

The fossil used to re-create the creature was actually discovered in southern Africa in the 1960s, but it is described for the first time today by Paul Sereno, paleontologist and professor at the University of Chicago.

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NPR science
8:08 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Are those spidery black things on Mars dangerous? (Yup.)

Michael Benson NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Kinetikon Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:43 pm

You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?

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Earthquake science
1:38 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

The earth's shaking a record amount in the Northwest

The range and path of the current episodic tremor and slip event still going on. You can interact with this map at http://www.pnsn.org/tremor.
Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

The Puget Sound region is experiencing a record “episodic tremor and slip” event, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

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