science

Sheryl Rich-Kern

A team of Nashua High School students is trying to create a bacteria-powered battery that runs off a composter. The team is one of 16 around the country that received up to 10-thousand-dollars in seed money from the Lemelson-MIT Program.

Leo Reynods via Flickr Creative Commons

Our niftiest and spiffiest content, all in one great show. This week, a look at the shifting human condition. Holocaust survivors being turned into holograms, a Russian "Swiss Family Robinson" that missed most of the 20th Century, corporate anthropologists, transplant "tourism," the nasty effect of internet comments, and a former professor pens a memoir about being stalked by an ex- student online.

Logan Shannon via Rob Fleischman's Brain

Want to keep your home as signal-secure as the Sistine Chapel will be during the Conclave? 

Today's segment on Faraday Cages really inspired my inner maker-bot so I asked Rob Fleischman to give me instructions on exactly how to make one. It really does seem surprisingly easy to create one out of a few relatively inexpensive materials easily acquired from your local hardware store.

Marco Mayer via flickr Creative Commons

The internet is a technological forum for public conversation, debate and cross-cultural interaction and their very opposites. Reader comments often take on characteristics more like the roman forum…it’s in the comments section where sniping, shaming and mean-spirited insults are pelted like rotten tomatoes onto a stage. A study published in the journal of computer-mediated communication measured the influence of reader comments on the articles they describe.   Dietram Scheufele, John E. Ross Professor in Science Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison discusses reader comments and their influence on the articles they cling to. He recently co-authored an article on the subject for the New York Times with Dominique Brossaard, "This Story Stinks"; the comments section for the article closed with 400 comments.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Our shiniest and sparkliest content, all in one show-tacular program. This week, a Salon writer contemplates the history of "white Southern defeat," a foremost expert on gluten explores the hype around the latest food trend, New Hampshire author Ben Nugent talks about his new novel, "Good Kids," and illustrator Danny Gregory explains how grief was overcome with art. Oh, and Sean Hurley contemplates the danger of skating on thick ice.

You can also hear the show on SoundCloud:

Two years ago, a press conference was held at NASA headquarters, where it was declared that an alien life form had been discovered in Earth’s backyard. It wasn’t green and it didn’t say “take me to your leader”.  But still, this tiny microbe dubbed “arsenic-life” caused quite a ruckus in the scientific community. Dan Vergano is a science correspondent for USA Today and he joins us to discuss his investigation into the study.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth's weekly show that wraps up the best of our content in one great-to-listen-to package.

The Kraken Lives!

Jan 16, 2013
massdistraction via Flickr Creative Commons

Last summer, a team of scientists and filmmakers from Japan’s National Museum and the Discovery Channel captured the first-ever video of a giant squid in its natural habitat off the coast of Japan. The team recently released a clip of the video, which has gone viral on Facebook.

As long as humans have navigated the seas, the idea that these fierce and slippery creatures are lurking just beneath us has evoked fascination and fear. Their elusiveness plays into our love of the chase, which probably explains why every development in the world of giant squid science is big news.

High Heels Are Sexy and Other "No Duh" Research

Jan 7, 2013
pixieclipx via Flickr Creative Commons

The high heel—ever the fashion accessory—has always attracted attention. Turns out (insert astonishment here) that they make the wearer more attractive and more feminine. 

In honor of this not quite surprising research, here are our top scientific no-brainers inspired by the Ig Nobel prizes for thoughtful, humorous and sometimes absurd research.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A study finds that the very act of holding a gun (even a wii gun!) prompts subjects to identify an object held by another person as a firearm...even when it's just a shoe.

We talk to the researcher behind this work, Jessica Witt of Colorado State University.

Sterin via Flickr Creative Commons

TED is the world-wide home for “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and the non-profit organization’s event videos are watched by an eager audience of millions.  People wanted their own local TED experience, and the TEDx phenomenon grew quickly with over 5700 events since starting in 2009.

Wikimedia Commons

Imagine trying to learn astrophysics without using the word “light-year”. Or study biology without being able to say “photosynthesis”.  That’s the dilemma facing deaf students hoping to pursue careers in the sciences—where new terminology is being coined and communicated on a daily basis. 

Brian_Kellett via Flickr Creative Commons

Recent studies out of Duke University have discovered that everyone’s favorite lab rat, the humble mouse, has a penchant for singing – and more importantly, singing in tune...in a way.  Producer Taylor Quimby is Word of Mouth’s always willing investigator of strange science, and he has the story.

Check out Cinderella's singing mice. They are true heroes:

gryhrt via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s not often that we stumbled across a story like the one we found in the latest edition of one of our favorite magazines, Mental Floss. It’s a profile of Alexandra Horowitz, who earned her PH.D. in cognitive science and teaches psychology at Barnard College.

me'nthedogs via Flickr Creative Commons

Since 2006, Colony Collapse Disorder has drastically reduced honey bee populations across North America. In California, there’s another emerging threat to the hive that’s straight out of a B-horror film (see what we did there?), a parasite that’s turning honey bees into mindless automatons, or as they’re being called by some, “zom-bees." 

Virginia Guard Public Affairs via Flickr Creative Commons

If you break a 30-second drug  commercial into parts, you’d hear about 7 seconds of why you should be taking a product, followed by a breathless lists of potential side effects and “ask your doctor today!” That list of potential side effects satisfy legal obligations, but doesn’t stop millions of people from making pharmaceuticals a multi-billion dollar business.  Still, the mind is a powerful thing – and new research shows that informing patients about possible side-effects makes them more likely to experience them.  It’s a phenomenon called “the nocebo effect”.  Chris Berdik is a

sameold2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: The Bad Science of the Left/Tweeting Political Poems

Think the right has cornered the market on denying science? No way, says Alex Berezow. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is co-author of the book Science Left Behind: Feel Good Falacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left. 

and

Unicorns, Nessie, Big Foot...Oh My!

Sep 26, 2012
VeniceVandal via Flickr Creative Commons

A replica of Bigfoot, a display case dedicated to lake monsters, and the “mystery cat corner” are a few of the sights to see at Portland, Maine’s International Cryptozoology Museum. A little bit oddity, a little bit kitsch, it’s the type of place you might find by walking down a random alley... lucky for us, our adventurous producer Zach Nugent took that walk, and brings us this audio field trip.

The famous Patterson-Gimlin film:

SpiritualHerbs via Flickr Creative Commons

Last spring, we heard a series of stories of bizarre and violent crimes attributed to people high on the street drug “bath salts.” in Florida, police shot a man who was cannibalizing another man’s face – and a mother tore off her clothes and assaulted her three-year-old son.  Although neither crime has been definitively linked to the deceptively-named street drug, they ignited conversations about the production and complicated legal status of ‘bath salts'.

Endeavor's Final Voyage

Sep 24, 2012
Marcus Teply

Space shuttle Endeavor took a final victory lap over California landmarks Friday, piggybacked on top of a NASA 747 on its way to retirement at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Endeavor is the last of the four space shuttles to be relegated to a museum, and its final flight brought crowds of thousands out to streets, rooftops, and even freeways, looking to the sky for a glimpse of history. Valerie Hamilton sends this audio postcard from the Los Angeles International Airport.

Check out a video of Endeavour's epic piggy-back ride:

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

At the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye, visitors learn about the science and beauty of marine life and the Gulf of Maine. Myra Sallet is a 13-year-old volunteer who particularly likes working with younger kids who come to explore.

Living with Lyme

Sep 17, 2012
fairfaxcounty via flickr creative commons

Recently, we learned on this program about the other tick-borne pathogens we should be worrying about beyond Lyme Disease. In the meantime, more and more people in New Hampshire are contracting Lyme. It’s a trend we’ve noticed even on Facebook, where many of our friends are posting about their positive test results, including Word of Mouth contributor Adam McCune…so we asked him to share his story.

sameold2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

Think the right has cornered the market on denying science? No way, says Alex Berezow. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is co-author of the book Science Left Behind: Feel Good Falacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

Powerplantop via Flickr Creative Commons

Since spring of this year, our Shifting the Balance series has explored how environmental and social factors affect the way people eat…and how those factors play in to America’s obesity epidemic.  A recently published study in Pyschology reports demonstrates how setting the right mood at meal time can help diners cap their calories. 

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Chasing Lightning/Birth Photography

From the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus. / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, a construction worker in Brazil suffered a strange and grisly construction accident - an iron rod fell from the fifth floor of the building on which he was working. The bar broke through the worker's helmet -- and his skull, eventually exiting through one of his eyes.

Fake Science 101

Aug 30, 2012
Horia Varlan via Flickr Creative Commons

Science is one of those topics it seems you either get or you don’t. If you fall in the latter category, you might have wished at some point – maybe during a high school physics test – that you could just make up the answers and get credit for being clever.   Well, our next guest makes his living doing exactly that. Phil Edwards is the author behind the Fake Science blog, and a new sort of textbook called Fake Science 101.

Peter O via Flickr Creative Commons

Ever wonder whether hard facts play a part in changing a person's mind? Turns out, not so much. Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote about the real influences on choice for The New York Times Magazine.

OK. Maybe you're in your desk chair. You're in your office. You're in New York, or Detroit, or Timbuktu. You're on planet Earth. But where are you, really? This hour, Radiolab tries to find out.

the_exploratorium via Flickr Creative Commons

Produced with Phoebe Axtman and Zach Nugent

Mounting research has shown that the most important factor in a child’s successful education is not his or her socioeconomic status, class size, or even the design of the curriculum…. it’s the teacher.  But teacher dropout rate is high and the highly talented teachers are too few, especially in Science and Math.

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