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science

This past year, 2017, was among the warmest years on record, according to new data released by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The planet's global surface temperature last year was the second highest since 1880, NASA says. NOAA calls it the third warmest year on record, because of slight variations in the ways that they analyze temperatures.

Both put 2017 behind 2016's record temperatures. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010," NASA said in a press release.

An Ode To Ink

Jan 17, 2018
Cranberries / Flickr

From ancient scrolls to modern toner cartridges, ink (in one form or another) has been around for millennia. And while we may take it for granted now, it was for much of that time a precious and coveted substance.

Kyle Taylor / Creative Commons

Some would say we're living in a golden age of awkwardness. We recognize it in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, and Silicon Valley. It's in Buzzfeed gif-ticles, and those old reruns of Seinfeld. Let's not forget Holden Caulfield, Owen Meany and Winnie the Pooh

Arthur Caranta / Flickr

They may not look like R2D2 or BB8, but in 2018, robots are an important part of our world.

This hour we talk about ​automation—new advances in “smart” technology during a period of time that’s been dubbed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Old Rollei / Creative Commons

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night, looked at the clock, and noticed that it's the same time you woke up the night before - and the night before that? How does your body know what time it is?  You're not sure but the passage of minutes makes you worry that if you don't get back to sleep, you'll be too tired in the morning to get your work done on time. You can't get back to sleep. The minutes are ticking. You feel the pressure of the clock bearing down on you. 

Frontiers Conferences / flickr

Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. These are just the beginning of what experts believe will be a future filled with verbally interactive, digital and robotic assistants. And as we become more accustomed to interacting with machines, the machines are becoming more life-like.

Aequorea victoria
Sierra Blakely / Wikimedia Commons

Did you know 75 percent of animals in the ocean glow?

Sandy Cole / Wikimedia

The Argus Pheasant is a lifelong bachelor. He mates with multiple females but has no further contact with his mates or the baby pheasants he sires. By human terms, not much of a feminist.

The Battle For Butter

Dec 19, 2017
Creative Commons

We tend not to think much about that pat of butter we put on our morning toast, including how the store-bought sweet cream butter we're eating likely pales in comparison to the rich, nutty flavor of  the cultured butter not found in many stores.

David Tipling / Yale University Press

Yes we’ve gotten a few inches of snow already, but winter officially starts next week.

For animals, preparing for the season means undertaking major lifestyle changes in order to survive.

This week, the skywatchers will experience a flashy double feature: The Geminid meteor shower — one of the year's best — will coincide with an unusually close encounter by an asteroid.

That asteroid? It's called 3200 Phaethon, discovered by a NASA satellite in 1983. With a diameter of about 3 miles, it's the third-largest near-Earth asteroid classified by the space agency as "potentially hazardous."

C Watts / flickr creative commons

In 1959, Soviet geneticist Dmitri Belyaev started an ambitious experiment to study the origins of domestication -- he would attempt to breed domesticated wild foxes by selecting on their behavior alone, a process he imagined our ancestors carried out with dogs thousands of years before.

NASA/Crew of STS-129

The International Space Station is the most expensive thing ever built. It's about the size of a football field, it weighs a million pounds, and it's up there flying around in the sky at 17,000 mph, but... we don't really ever hear much about it, do we?

Well, so, this hour we hear about it.

Bob Beklan / flickr

There are few monsters more iconic or enduring than Frankenstein's. From Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, to the 1931 Hollywood film, to the countless plays, comics and other adaptations that have followed, Frankenstein continues to resonate with fans around the world.

Fronteiras do Pensamento / flickr creative commons

Richard Dawkins is probably the best-known ethologist and evolutionary biologist in the world. And he's maybe the best-known atheist and secularist -- he would say "rationalist" -- in the world.

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