Science

Shots - Health Blog
12:11 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Lack of sleep, genes can get sleepwalkers up and about

Though scientists have identified sleepwalking triggers, the condition is still a bit of a mystery.
Victoria Alexandrova iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 11:44 am

Miranda Kelly, a 14-year-old from Sykesville, Md., says she's been sleepwalking since she was 6 or 7. The first time, she says, "I woke up on the couch on a school day. And I'd gone to bed in my bed."

Since that first episode, Kelly now sleepwalks every couple of months. "I wake up in weird places, randomly. I have once woken up in the kitchen, and on the floor of the bathroom wrapped in my sheet," she says.

Read more
space exploration
11:24 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Forget robots on Mars -- how about an elevator to space?

One concept has the space elevator tied to a platform in the ocean, near the equator
Liftport

It might seem like a space-age fantasy, but there will be a lot of a serious talk in Seattle this weekend about a “space elevator.”

You might think of it as a space railroad. In theory, the technology could make going into orbit as cheap and easy as buying a first-class airline ticket.

The idea calls for a cable that stretches from a spot on the equator out to an anchor orbiting thousands of miles in space. On that cable, a remote-controlled cabin or elevator zips up and down.

Read more
NPR science
9:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Rovers Are From Mars: How Curiosity Is Killing It On Twitter

This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Mars Rover, Curiosity.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:00 am

Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.

Read more
radio
9:40 am
Thu August 23, 2012

How do you make a Radiolab?

The Radiolab crew getting ready for Seattle.

One of public radios most creative storytelling teams is in Seattle this weekend – turning radio into a live theater performance.

Radiolab calls itself a show about curiosity. KPLU science reporter Keith Seinfeld talked with the show’s two hosts about how they make science come alive, and then turn it into live theater.

(Listen to the interview ... and for serious Jad & Robert fans, we've added an extra 3 minute excerpt that didn't fit into the edited interview.)

(For information about the shows on Friday and Saturday, visit the KPLU calendar page.)

NPR Science
7:56 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From politics to pestilence: Everything is earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:17 pm

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

Read more
NPR science
7:59 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Sky sighting: Is that a thread of dark matter I spy?

A tenuous thread of dark matter is seen connecting the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and 223.
Courtesy Jörg Dietrich/Universitäts-Sternwarte München

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:33 am

When astronomers survey the universe, the landmarks are galaxies, those gigantic agglomerates of stars and interstellar gas spread across the immensity of space. A typical spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, boasts hundreds of billions of stars grouped along hundreds of thousands of light-years. That means that it takes a beam of light all that time to go from one extreme of the galaxy to the other, traveling, as light does in a vacuum, at 186,282 miles per second.

Read more
Climate change
3:00 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Dash of salt in clouds may fight global warming, UW scientist says

John McNeill, via UW News

By Todd Bishop of Geekwire

A group of scientists, including a University of Washington atmospheric physicist, wants to test the theory that pumping sea salt into the sky over the ocean would combat global warming by creating clouds that reflect more sunlight back into space.

Read more
NPR Science
7:03 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Why can some people recall every day of their lives?

Researchers are using MRI scans to learn more about the brains of people with extraordinary memory.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 10:50 am

Six years ago, we told you about a woman, identified as A.J., who could remember the details of nearly every day of her life. At the time, researchers thought she was unique. But since then, a handful of such individuals have been identified. And now, researchers are trying to understand how their extraordinary memories work.

Read more
Health Research
5:01 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Understanding infertility in cows could shed light on humans' too

One of the herd at Washington State University's Beef Center. Is understanding its fertility the key to knowing ours?
Courtesy of Washington State University

It turns out humans and cattle have some of the same fertility issues.

Researchers at Washington State University have received more than a million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to look into what causes lost pregnancies in beef cattle - and also what that can teach us about miscarriages in humans.

Read more
Health
12:37 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Dallas Deploys Old Weapon In New Mosquito Fight

Mike Stuart of Dynamic Aviation speaks to the media this week about the type of plane used for aerial spraying in Dallas. The city and county are conducting aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed at least 10 people and sickened about 200.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 11:01 am

The recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area has led to a new round of large-scale spraying for mosquitoes — a method of treating outbreaks that has generations of success, and even nostalgia, behind it.

Although the overall mosquito-killing strategy has changed little since the days when it was pioneered during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago, the chemicals used have become much safer for everything and everyone involved, save the mosquitoes, experts say.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Hypersonic 'WaveRider' Failed

An artist's rendition of an X-51A WaveRider (in white) attached to the wing of a B-52.
Pratt & Whitney

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 11:58 am

An experimental aircraft that designers hoped would hit 3,600 mph in a test flight over the Pacific on Tuesday "suffered a control failure" and failed in its attempt to go hypersonic, The Associated Press writes.

Its report follows earlier word from Wired magazine's Danger Room blog that it had been told by an "insider familiar with the test" that:

Read more
NPR science
6:08 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

From Curiosity, another Martian landscape

This image of the crater wall is north of the landing site, or behind the rover. Here, a network of valleys believed to have formed by water erosion enters Gale Crater from the outside. This is the first view scientists have had of a fluvial system - one relating to a river or stream — from the surface of Mars.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 2:26 pm

NASA has released two more pictures from the Curiosity Mars rover.

One is a color image that shows that wall of the Gale Crater and the other is a close up shot of the area excavated by the rover's descent stage rocket engines.

We've posted the white-balanced version of the photos. In theory those should appear more like what Mars would look like if you were using your eyes.

Read more
The Torch
9:13 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Michael Phelps Exits The Olympics, And Enters Retirement At 27

Phelps dives into the pool for his last Olympic race. He says that his plans for post-Olympic life include finally seeing the cities he's competed in.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 7:36 am

When Michael Phelps came to London for the 2012 Summer Games, he had 14 Olympic gold medals. He's leaving with 18 and a record 22 overall. And now he's retiring at 27, leaving the sport in which he always said he wanted to do things that had never been done before.

Read more
The Torch
9:12 am
Mon August 13, 2012

At Olympics' End, USA Finishes First In Medal Race

In an iconic moment, Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 7:43 pm

The last medals of the London Games were just presented at the end of the women's modern pentathlon.

Like it did in the last three Olympics, the United States dominated. Last time around in Beijing, China outdid the States in total gold medals but this year, the U.S. climbed back proving itself in pretty much every category.

Here's a look at the final medal tally:

USA: 46 gold; 29 silver; 29 bronze; 104 total.

China: 38 gold; 27 silver; 22 bronze; 87 total.

Russia: 24 gold; 25 silver; 33 bronze; 82 total

Read more
NPR tech news
8:31 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Key Test Tuesday For Hypersonic Flight

An artist's rendition of an X-51A WaveRider (in white) attached to the wing of a B-52.
Pratt & Whitney

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:04 am

Imagine being able to fly from Los Angeles to New York City in less time than it takes to commute from most of Long Island into Manhattan.

Read more

Pages