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Science

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.

Dan McKay / flickr creative commons

When I hear the word "diorama," the first thing I think of is Mr. Mack’s fifth grade class and painting hills and grass and clouds and a fence into a shoebox and making little cardboard cut outs of Lassie and the boy she loved. God, I hated that stuff.

The second thing I think of is a place like the Peabody Museum in New Haven and their incredibly, obsessively, over-the-toply detailed dioramas of the plant and wildlife of Connecticut.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

If there's one thing that unites us all (literally, ALL of us) it's gravity. Gravity attracts every bit of matter in the universe to every other bit of matter in the universe, no exceptions! But for something (a warping of space-time, to be precise) so universally present, it remains one of the least understood forces in physics.

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR


Drug-resistant typhoid is sweeping Pakistan, while drug resistant gonorrhea has shown up in England. They’re the latest in a growing list of superbugs that are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Spartacon3000 / Wikimedia Commons

The USDA recently proposed recommendations that would require foodmakers to label their products if they contain genetically modified ingredients.

Genetically modified crops have been portrayed as everything from a dangerous health risk to a miracle solution to tackle world food shortages. But among all this debate, many of us may not really know what a “genetically modified organism” (GMO) even is.

This hour, we ask: what does it actually mean for food to be genetically modified, and should we care if it is?

NASA's InSight lander is on its way to Mars, after a successful launch on Saturday morning.

The lander was launched by an Atlas V rocket taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 4 a.m. local time. It successfully separated from the upper stage more than an hour later.

The lander is in contact with mission control as it heads off on its six-month trip to the Red Planet.

Patrick Comins / Connecticut Audubon Society

It finally feels like spring, and that means you may be seeing some visitors around your home because peak bird migration season is almost here! This hour, we ask the State Ornithologist what to be on the look for. And we talk with the Connecticut Audubon Society about ways you can get involved in bird conservation here in our state. UConn and DEEP have teamed up to create a new Connecticut Bird Atlas a project that relies on volunteer citizen scientists like you.

What birds have you seen in your backyard?

Nik / Creative Commons

I find great joy in walking in the dead of winter along the river trail near my house. Everything leaves my mind as I watch the Canadian geese take flight, their wings flapping together as they lift and swoop over my head. I'm in awe of their beauty.

Jellaluna / flickr creative commons

In 2016, a Swedish brewery offered for sale artisanally-prepared potato chips. $59 for five chips in what looks like a jeweler's box. They sold out. Crazy, right?

But be honest: Have you gone to more than one place looking for just the right coffee bean or golden beet or ...something? Meanwhile, behind all this posturing, what do Americans really cook and eat?

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

Highly drug resistant gonorrhea has been reported in England. It’s the latest in a growing list of superbugs that are becoming resistant to last-resort antibiotics.

For much of the last century, doctors have been able to cure many once-fatal bacterial infections with a simple course of meds. But over the years, diseases have evolved and even the best drugs aren’t enough to combat the deadly bacteria.

This hour, we ask an infectious disease specialist--how worried should we be?

Brett Streutker / Flickr

As secular attitudes increase around the world and beliefs in the supernatural decline, how is it that the demand for exorcisms has never been higher?

In America and across Europe, the Catholic Church is struggling to keep up. And as the Vatican is busy teaching courses to train new exorcists, the question remains: Why now?

This hour we speak with a historian, a psychiatrist, and an officially sanctioned exorcist to unravel the mystery behind the twenty-first-century resurgence of this age-old Catholic practice.

GUESTS:

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Thumb on the scale, loading the dice -- the English language is full of idioms for people who cheat the system.

If you’ve ever wondered why so many of those expressions invoke images of weights and measures, a good “rule of thumb” is to look back at New England’s colonial history, when standardizing the way we define our world today was a priority.

Christina Carolus

For over a century, Americans have looked to National Geographic to learn about other people and cultures around the world.

Now for the first time ever, the magazine has acknowledged its “exotic” portrayals of other cultures, which it was known for during much of its history, were based on racist ideas.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

K Kendall / Creative Commons

For most of time, microbes ruled the planet alone. Microbes have been around for billions of years - long before people ever began to inhabit the earth.  Am I giving you a good picture of how small humans are in this grander view of life? 

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