Science

Word of Mouth - Segment
11:55 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Sand that can form ITSELF into objects? YES!!!

Photo by deanspic, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers from MIT will present a paper on a breakthrough in a dynamic new approach to useful robotics. Here with a preview of the material they call “Smart-Sand” is Daniela Rus - a professor at MIT and a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory there, also known as C-SAIL, along with her PHD student Kyle Gilpin.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:40 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Green People

Photo by SorbyRock, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Many climate scientists argue we’ve passed the point of being able to slow down Co2 emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses. A few advocates for mammoth scale geo-engineering to alter the earth’s climate.

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Friday Journal - April 20
12:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Episode 805: Fate and Fortune

What decides the trajectory of our lives, our successes or failures, our steps and stumbles? Do we achieve what we achieve through force of will, or does fate have us by the throat? This hour, Radiolab explores the tug of war between will and fate from birth to death - from a kid reaching for a marshmallow to hints of dementia in the words of a 20-year-old.

For more information, visit http://www.radiolab.org/.

Radiolab - April 13
11:59 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Episode 804: Cities

Over 50% of the planet now lives in cities. This hour, Radiolab looks at what makes them tick. We talk to a couple physicists who think they can fit every city into a tidy mathematical formula, and we take to the streets to test their idea. We explore the water tunnels 700 feet below Manhattan and question whether cities are the source of, or the solution for, our growing global appetite.

For more information, visit http://www.radiolab.org/.

Radiolab - April 6
12:00 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Episode 803: Falling

There are so many ways to fall - falling in love, falling asleep, even falling flat on your face. In an episode full of falling music, Radiolab plunges into a black hole, takes a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and debunks some myths about falling cats.

For more information, visit http://www.radiolab.org/.

Word of Mouth - Segment
12:20 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Is food addiction a myth?

(Photo by Adam Kuban via Flickr Creative Commons)

Bet you can’t eat just one. The Lays potato chip campaign plays on the idea of snacking out of control. From Oprah to "The Biggest Loser," people describe themselves like addicts, needing one more bite of fatty, salty, sugary foods, knowing full well that remorse will follow their mouthful of pleasure.

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Space
3:05 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Earth Has Just One Moon, Right? Think Again

The last lunar eclipse of 2011 as seen from the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles on Dec 10, 2011.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 2:01 pm

Everybody knows that there's just one moon orbiting the Earth. But a new study by an international team of astronomers concludes that everybody is dead wrong about that.

"At any time, there are one or two 1-meter diameter asteroids in orbit around the Earth," says Robert Jedicke, an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii.

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NPR News
4:15 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Gold Miners Dig Deep — To The Ocean Floor

A robotic arm breaks off a chunk of mineral-rich rock deep underwater. Nautilus Minerals of Australia hopes to develop and expand undersea mining by extracting copper, gold, silver and zinc from the seafloor.
Nautilus Minerals

Filmmaker James Cameron recently reminded us of the wonders of the sea by diving solo in a submarine to the deepest spot in the ocean. Next year, if all goes as planned, a rather different expedition will take place 1,000 miles south of that dive: An Australian company will start mining for copper, gold, silver and zinc on the seafloor off the shore of Papua New Guinea.

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Research News
10:34 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Raindrops In Rock: Clues To A Perplexing Paradox

Researchers have analyzed the fossil imprints of of raindrops, like the ones shown here, to study the atmosphere of the Earth, as it was 2.7 billion years ago. The rule at the top is 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches, long.
W. Alterman University of Pretoria

The late astronomer Carl Sagan presented this paradox to his colleagues: We know the sun was a lot fainter two billion years ago. So why wasn't the Earth frozen solid?

We know it wasn't because there's plenty of evidence for warm seas and flowing water way back then. The question is still puzzling scientists.

But new clues to that paradox come from an unlikely source: fossilized raindrops, from 2.7 billion years ago. Back then, the Earth had no trees or flowers or animals birds or fish. But it did have volcanoes. And it did rain.

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Space
5:09 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Spacecraft's Wild Ride To Mercury Yields Surprises

The Messenger spacecraft is depicted over the Calvino Crater on Mercury in this enhanced-color image of the planet's surface.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:40 pm

There's a small spacecraft called Messenger that's been orbiting the planet Mercury for a year. Today, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, astronomers revealed what they've learned about the innermost planet in our solar system, and some of the new knowledge is puzzling.

Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied a large crater 900 miles across called Caloris.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Brilliant Idea: More Than 80,000 Of Einstein's Documents Going Online

A detail from what is thought to be one of only three existing manuscripts containing Einstein's most famous formula about the relationship between energy, mass and the speed of light — in his handwriting.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 12:04 am

More than 80,000 of Albert Einstein's papers, including his most famous formula — E=mc² — and letters to and from his former mistresses, are going online at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro says on All Things Considered, "what the trove uncovers is a picture of complex man who was concerned about the human condition" as well as the mysteries of science.

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Science
4:58 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Tornado Tech: What If Dorothy Had A Smartphone?

This May 3, 1999, funnel became the F-5 storm that damaged thousands of buildings in central Okahoma. University of Oklahoma storm chasers and observers are anticipating the annual tornado season as it approaches the central part of the country.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 1:44 pm

For many, the only way they learn a tornado is approaching are sirens. In the spring and summer, tornado sirens go off a lot more when twisters roar across Alabama, which has been hit by 900 since 2000, accounting for a quarter of all U.S. tornado deaths.

"I am still surprised that so many people rely on just one source of getting warned, and that has to change," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.

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Remembrances
1:11 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

F. Sherwood Rowland, Warned Of Aerosol's Danger

F. Sherwood Rowland, pictured here in 1989, was one of three chemists who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for work on discovering chemicals that deplete the Earth's ozone layer.
University of California AP

The man who warned us that aerosol spray-cans could destroy the earth's protective ozone layer has died.

F. Sherwood Rowland, better known as Sherry Rowland, was a Nobel-prize winning chemist at the University of California, Irvine. And he didn't just keep to the laboratory: He successfully advocated for a ban on ozone-destroying chemicals called CFCs.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
3:50 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Scientific Ingenuity from the American Garage

Photo by laimagendelmundo, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Forget garage bands. It’s all about garage science. DIY tinkerers working on shoe-string budgets are producing some mind-blowing advancements:  think mud-generated power and home-made lightening. Indie-science isn’t just about impressing us, though we are impressed. Serious work like finding a cure for cancer is also happening in basements across America.  

Judy Dutton wrote about the topic for Mental Floss magazine. She joins us with more about the latest in garage science.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:23 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Superhero Gadgets for the Rest of Us

Click Here for an awesome slide show of some amazing superhero stuff!
Photo by Bloke_with_camera, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Superheroes are heavy on the summer blockbuster schedule. A reunion of Marvel Comics “The Avengers” hits theaters in May, followed by the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. In July, we get a reboot of the Spiderman epic. The new film adaptations promise new gadgets and CGI effects to stir moviegoers fantasies of and aspirations of superpowers. 

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