science

What About That Little Bag of Crackers?
5:22 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

That Clam In Your Chowder Might Be Hundreds Of Years Old

Mike Cardew MCT/Landov

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 5:25 pm

First we heard on Morning Edition that a clam scientists had opened up turned out to have been 507 years old.

That led us to stories with headlines like this: "Scientists accidentally kill world's oldest animal at age 507."

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Polarity Fields
5:36 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Sun's Magnetic Field Poised to Flip

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare in the early hours of Nov. 10, 2013. The northern hemisphere has already changed polarity. Scientists say the southern could flip in the coming days.
Solar Dynamics Observatory / NASA

It started several months ago -- sunspots flickered, more and more solar flares arched out into space, and a ripple of changing current made its way past Pluto to the outer reaches of our solar system.

The sun was flipping its magnetic polarity -- an event that happens every 11 years. 

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Audible Math
9:11 am
Thu November 14, 2013

The Sound of Sorting

Credit panthema.net

Ever wonder what an algorithm sounds like when it's being sorted? Wonder no more. A demo program called "The Sound of Sorting" visualizes algorithms and provides interesting sound effects, too -- low notes for smaller values, and high notes for higher values.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Are We Born Moral?

Shanell Smith is an ordained minister and assistant professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Hartford Seminary
Chion Wolf

In 1965, the Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, spread stamped and addressed but un-mailed letters around public locations in New Haven. Most of the letters were picked up and mailed by strangers who could not possibly derive any material reward for doing the right thing. The strangers also lived out their values based on the address.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:17 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You

Can science inspire the same level of passion as religion?
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:01 pm

I was once invited to give a live interview on a radio station in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The interview took place at rush hour in the city's very busy bus terminal, where poor workers come in from rural areas to perform all sorts of jobs in town, from cleaning the streets to working in factories and private homes.

The experience would mark me for the rest of my life and set a new professional goal that I had not anticipated early in my career: to bring science to the largest number of people possible.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:00 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Do Dogs Love Us the Way We Love Them?

Credit saxcubano/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: A neuroscientist has been working on decoding the canine brain, to answer the question of what dogs are thinking and feeling. So, do they love us the way we love them? Does a rescued dog understand you have rescued it, and feel grateful in a specific sense?

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Buggin'
7:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

New Species of 17-Year Cicada Discovered in Connecticut

A new species of 17-year cicada, dubbed "magicicada septendecula" was discovered in North Branford this summer.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new species of 17-year cicada has been discovered in Connecticut. According to a report in The Hartford Courant, credit for the discovery goes to Chris Maier of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The bug, dubbed magicicada septendecula, was found in North Branford. It's smaller than Connecticut's other 17-year cicada species, magicicada septendecim, which gained fame this summer for its emergence (or lack of emergence) around the state.

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Connecticut Law Pending
11:41 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

Cars in Tacoma, Wash., promote a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:58 pm

Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an insurmountable lead with 54 percent of votes.

The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:46 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Can The Humanities Be Saved?

Credit Wikimedia Commons

This show originally aired on July 2nd, 2013. When considering what show we wanted to re-run, we found this recent article from the New York Times, As Interest Fades in the Humanities, Colleges Worry. The debate is still being discussed and on this show, it gets heated!

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:52 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Neuroscience: How Mindfulness Increases Well-Being

Credit Toshimasa Ishibashi/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Neuroscientists are verifying that practicing mindful awareness promotes neuroplasticity in the human brain, activating the “resonance” circuit that leads to a greater sense of well-being.

Renowned mindfulness teacher Dr. Jack Kornfield explains how mindfulness works quickly to transform neural circuits, enhance inner and interpersonal attunement, and deepen the capacity for empathy and lovingkindness.

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Nice Carotenoids, Bro
7:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Why Do Leaves Change Color and Fall Off Trees?

New England's red and yellow leaves are a great opportunity to talk about carotenoids, anthocyanins, and the chemistry in your backyard.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, jerry mercier

If you're driving through Connecticut, you've probably noticed a lot of colors on your commute. Fall foliage has been on full display these last few weeks, with reds, oranges, and yellows covering trees all over New England. You may even have spent your weekend raking leaves up. But have you ever stopped to consider why leaves change color? Or how they fall off trees? 

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New Haven
1:52 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Skeletons Unearthed During Superstorm Sandy Reveal Some Historical Details

Credit Des Colhoun / Creative Commons

One year ago on Halloween eve, there was a surprising discovery on the New Haven green. It was just days after Superstorm Sandy, and trees had blown down all around town. A giant oak tree toppled over on the green, and there, tangled in its roots, were centuries-old human bones.

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Survival
3:48 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

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Where We Live
7:03 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

GUESTS: 

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Brain Science
2:11 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Oreos as Addictive as Cocaine, in Lab Rats

Rats were found to prefer the middle part of an Oreo, just like many humans.
Credit BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

News has been pretty rough lately, between the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. Now comes word that America’s favorite cookie can produce similar effects on the brain as addictive drugs. New research from Connecticut College finds that the Oreo cookie is just as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

The Science of Skinny

Credit D. Sharon Pruitt/flickr creative commons

With scientific research, her own chemistry background, and the traditional diets of our not-so-distant ancestors as her guide, Dee McCaffrey casts new light on an age-old wisdom: Eating foods in their closest-to-natural form is the true path to sustained weight loss and, in fact, the remedy for almost any health problem. We are so far removed from foods in their natural state that we now call them “health foods,” a sad admission that we’ve compromised our health for the sake of convenience.

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Sports Science
10:37 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Chinese Olympic Coaches and Trainers Visit UConn

Chinese coaches, trainers, and physicians will spend the next few days learning about the latest innovations in sports science.
Shawn Kornegay UConn

A delegation of Chinese Olympic coaches, trainers, and physicians will spend the next few days at the University of Connecticut's Kinesiology Department, learning about the latest research in sports science. The department is regarded as one of the best in the country. UConn professors will speak to the delegation about research on injury rehabilitation, sports nutrition, training, hydration, and particular concerns facing female athletes.

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Everyday We're Doodling
10:58 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Do You Doodle?

Some of the visual artifacts from our show on doodling.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on Where We Live, we re-aired one of our favorite shows in recent memory. It was about the age-old tradition of doodling!

Not only were our in-studio guests doodling during the show, but so were listeners. During the live broadcast of the show, we did a Storify with some of our favorite doodles, links about doodles, and quotes on doodling.

Keep the doodle revolution going!

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Where We Live
7:37 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Just Doodle It...Again

Where We Doodle! Where do you doodle?
Chion Wolf WNPR

Ever been caught doodling during a meeting a work? A boring class? You’re not alone. Did you get yelled at? “Get your head in the game! You’re distracted! You're not serious!" 

Our guest Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, says doodling involves a lot of the senses... movement, sound, and visuals… and, far from being a distraction, it actually can enhance learning.

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Animal Studies
6:14 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Shutdown Imperils Costly Lab Mice, Years Of Research

Bob Adams is a lab animal veterinarian at Johns Hopkins University.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

The government shutdown is likely to mean an early death for thousands of mice used in research on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Federal research centers including the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, researchers say. Others will die because it is impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring by scientists. And most federal scientists have been banned from their own labs since Oct. 1.

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Brain Science
1:44 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Want To Feel 5 Years Older? Just Take A Memory Test

Playing this game won't make you feel older, unless you're already getting up there in age.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 4:11 pm

Researchers in a memory lab at Texas A&M University noticed that all the older people coming in as volunteers were really worried about how they'd do.

So the scientists decided to measure how taking a memory test affects a person's subjective sense of age.

Before the test, the 22 participants felt pretty darned good. Even though their average age was 75, they said they felt about 58.

Then they were given a list of 30 nouns, told to study them for two minutes, and then asked to recall as many of them as they could in three minutes.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:40 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Slash Your Risk of Disease by 80 Percent

Credit Miranda Granche/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

Yale University Preventive Medicine expert Dr. David Katz says he has a four-step approach to keep disease away. His technique involves a change in diet, exercise, no smoking, and weight-control. Master the skill-set to bring these areas in line, and we'll have longer and healthier lives. If you believe genes play the leading roll, or that environmental factors mean we're probably going to die younger than we thought, Dr. Katz says he has data to show you otherwise.

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Environment
9:16 am
Tue October 8, 2013

From Population Bomb to Inconvenient Truth

A stranded ship in the former Aral Sea, near Aral, Kazakhstan, in 2003.
Credit Staecker / Wikimedia Commons

If I were to tell you a story about the long-term outlook for the world -- our people, our resources, our air, water and food -- and what we should do about it, you might expect that the story would start with climate change. It has become the lead issue of the environmental movement, and according to many, the most important issue of our time.

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Genius Among Us
8:06 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Yale Professor Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

James Rothman
Credit Yale University

There is a brand-new Nobel Laureate in the Nutmeg State. Yale University professor James Rothman is one of three researchers to win the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on how hormones, enzymes and other key substances are transported within cells.

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Start 'em young
10:50 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Connecticut Invention Convention Expands to Create Next Gen Innovators

Mallory Kievman, 10th grade, Loomis Chaffee, invented a lollipop that she says will cure hiccups.
Sujata Srinivasan

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves....” For kids in the Connecticut Invention Convention program, now poised to expand through corporate grants, becoming inventors and entrepreneurs seems to be all in a day’s work.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
5:39 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Breaking Bad and the Chemistry Classroom

Credit Starmanseries, Flickr Creative Commons

Now that we're reeling at the prospect of life after "Breaking Bad," let's find out about the real lives of chemistry teachers! Hear from Dr. Donna Nelson, the consultant "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan hired to make sure the on-screen science was correct, and then go beyond the test tubes, and meet some chemistry teachers to hear about what actually goes on in the classroom.

What did you learn in the chemistry classroom? What's the future of understanding and harnessing the power of chemistry? Remember to wear your safety goggles for this Colin McEnroe Show.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:54 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Leaning Left

Dr. Brendan Killory is the Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery at Hartford Healthcare Medical Group.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

David Wolman visited a Scottish castle designed for left-handed sword fights, and a Paris museum to inspect 19th century brains. He observed chimps with a primatologist who may help unravel the mysteries of handedness. He met with a left-handed satanist, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. He's part of a left-handed episode of The Colin McEnroe Show

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Food
7:03 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Birch For Breakfast? Meet Maple Syrup's Long-Lost Cousins

Beyond maple: Sap drips from a pine tree. Around the nation, producers are making syrup from the sap of pine, birch, even black walnut trees.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:17 pm

Americans have a longstanding love affair with maple syrup. According to the USDA, production of the sticky stuff in the United States totaled 3.25 million gallons this year. However, it isn't the only tree syrup that's available to drizzle on your short stack or sweeten your latte.

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Climate Change
7:08 am
Fri September 27, 2013

It's Clear Humans Are Changing World's Climate, Panel Says

The Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, which is among the places where such ice has been breaking off.
Mariano Caravaca Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:56 am

Declaring that "human influence on the climate system is clear," a U.N.-assembled panel of scientists reported Friday that "it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

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Math
9:20 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Ever Wondered What's Bigger Than Infinity?

In this version of "epic maths" we'll walk you through a five-part introduction to the concept infinity. Thankfully, we have some muppets and a lot of charts to help us along the way.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, Rainbow Lyf

Spoiler! The answer's not infinity plus one. Heck, it's not even infinity times infinity. (Yes, I'm sad to say that ad with the guy in the suit sitting with the kids is lying to you.) 

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