science

Word of Mouth
4:18 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

High Heels Are Sexy and Other "No Duh" Research

Credit 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.

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Word of Mouth
10:13 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Does Holding a Gun Make You See a Gun?

Credit 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.

Word of Mouth
11:15 am
Wed December 19, 2012

TED's Fight Against Bad Science

Credit 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.

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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Sign Language for Science

Credit 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. 


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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

The Discovery of Singing Mice

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:

Word of Mouth
11:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

What Is Your Dog Thinking About?

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.

Word of Mouth
10:20 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Flight of the Living Dead

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." 

Word of Mouth
5:25 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

The Placebo Effect's Evil Twin: The Nocebo Effect

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

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Word of Mouth
4:45 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Word of Mouth 09.29.2012

Credit 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

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Word of Mouth
11:14 am
Wed September 26, 2012

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

The Fur Bearing Trout
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:

Word of Mouth
1:51 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

The Science Behind Bath Salts

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'.

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Word of Mouth
1:36 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Endeavor's Final Voyage

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:

Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Seacoast Science Center

Myra (right) shows a young visitor the wonders of the Touch Tank. (Cheryl Senter, NHPR)
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.

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Word of Mouth
10:12 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Living with Lyme

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.

Word of Mouth
10:44 am
Mon September 10, 2012

The Science Ignored by Liberals

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.

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