science

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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Climate Change
4:01 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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Science
5:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:30 pm

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:40 am
Thu September 19, 2013

A Crash Course On How Infinity Works

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, Rainbow Lyf

Infinity is weird. It's neither even nor odd. It's not a number. Really, it's just a concept we use to summarize that which we can't understand.

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Longevity
12:39 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Healthful Living May Lengthen Telomeres And Lifespans

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Scientists claim they have evidence that explains why lifestyle changes known to be good for you — low-fat diets, exercise, reducing stress — can lengthen your life.

Based on a small, exploratory study, researchers say these good habits work by preventing chromosomes in our cells from unraveling. Basically, they assert that healthy living can reverse the effects of aging at a genetic level.

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Ocean Life
7:52 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Earwax From Whales Keeps Record Of Ocean Contaminants

A blue whale (and human diver) swimming off the coast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in April 2011.
Amos Nachoun Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 8:07 am

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their earwax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of earwax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

The study used the earwax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

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What's in the Water?
8:02 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Deadly Amoeba Found For First Time In Municipal Water Supply

Kali Hardig, 12, was released from a hospital in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 11 after surviving a brain infection caused by amoebas.
Danny Johnston Associated Press

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 10:32 am

A 4-year-old child who died of a rare brain infection in early August has led Louisiana health officials to discover that the cause is lurking in the water pipes of St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans.

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Color
5:27 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Read The Rainbow: 'Roy G. Biv' Puts New Spin On Color Wheel

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:50 am

There are a lot of fascinating details hiding below the surface in the world of color. For instance, scientists once thought the average color of the entire universe was turquoise — until they recalculated and realized it was beige.

In Japan, you wait at a stoplight until it turns from red to blue, even though it's the same green color as American stoplights.

And in World War II, the British painted a whole flotilla of warships pinkish-purple so they'd blend in with the sky at dusk and confuse the Germans. That's right — pink warships.

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Weather
6:04 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Spy Drones Turning Up New Data About Hurricanes And Weather

A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft comes in for a landing at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 7, 2012, after studying Hurricane Leslie. The remotely controlled planes can stay in the air for as long as 28 hours and fly over hurricanes at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet.
NASA

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:57 pm

For several weeks now, two unmanned spy planes have been flying over the Atlantic on an unusual mission: gathering intelligence about tropical storms and hurricanes.

The two Global Hawk drones are a central part of NASA's five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission investigating why certain weather patterns become hurricanes, and why some hurricanes grow into monster storms.

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Pangea
1:24 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

A Most Delightful Map

Courtesy of Massimo Pietrobon

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:07 pm

Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.

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Where We Live
12:42 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

What's In A Name?

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

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Technology
4:56 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Traffic Radar And Its Connecticut Roots

Credit Greg Dolittle / Creative Commons

We've all had the experience of cruising along the highway only to come upon a police cruiser nestled behind some trees with the officer holding a radar gun. Even if you're driving the speed limit, your first reaction may be to slam on the brakes.

That technology is about 70 years old, and got its start right here in Connecticut.

Pagan Kennedy recently wrote about the origins of traffic radar in the The New York Times Magazine.

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Where We Live
10:36 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Just Doodle It

Constanza Segovia
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.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
12:27 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Time Reborn, Revisited, and Reconsidered

Credit Ben Grantham/flickr creative commons

What is time?

This deceptively simple question is the single most important problem facing science as we probe more deeply into the fundamentals of the universe. All of the mysteries physicists and cosmologists face—from the Big Bang to the future of the universe, from the puzzles of quantum physics to the unification of forces and particles—come down to the nature of time. The fact that time is real may seem obvious. You experience it passing every day when you watch clocks tick, bread toast, and children grow. But most physicists, from Newton to Einstein to today’s quantum theorists, have seen things differently. The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable. That is why the consequences of adopting the view that time is real are revolutionary.

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