Robert Krulwich http://kplu.org en Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing http://kplu.org/post/neil-whosis-what-you-dont-know-about-1969-moon-landing Forty-five years ago, this week, 123 million of us watched Neil and Buzz step onto the moon. In 1969, we numbered about 200 million, so more than half of America was in the audience that day. Neil Armstrong instantly became a household name, an icon, a hero. And then — and this, I bet, you didn't know — just as quickly, he faded away.<p>"Whatever Happened to Neil Whosis?" asked the <em>Chicago Tribune</em><strong> </strong>in 1974.<strong> </strong><p>This is a missing chapter in the space exploration story. We like to think that after Apollo 11, the first duo on the moon became legendary. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:56:29 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17749 at http://kplu.org Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around http://kplu.org/post/tough-little-droplet-fights-stick-around <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbGz1njqhxU</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtlgI34y3Wc</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:01:49 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17633 at http://kplu.org A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds http://kplu.org/post/watch-it-swallow-entire-tree-seconds <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYKg0gbRFns</p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:29:33 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17523 at http://kplu.org Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment http://kplu.org/post/what-not-serve-buzzards-lunch-glorious-science-experiment OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2014/06/25/325200399/two-glorious-science-experiments-one-about-sex-the-other-about-lunch">previous post</a>). On to lunch!<p>This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?<p>In America, back in the 1820s, everybody knew the answer. Vultures are scavengers. They eat dead things. Dead things smell. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:56:07 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17417 at http://kplu.org What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector http://kplu.org/post/lights-lights-lights-action-crazy-new-light-projector What can you do with a spotlight?<p>You can light a spot.<p>But what if you give yourself more options and invent a tool that lets light spill, splash or tighten into a beam as thin as a pencil line — a beam of light that can draw!<p>Draw what? Oh my God, so many things: a galloping unicorn, a friendly girl, a guy who kicks you in the face, a wormhole, a ball that splashes into a fluid, a cube, a spiral, a rabbit, a squid, a scribble.<p>There's a performer in New York who calls himself <a href="http://www.adandypunk.com/#!ego/c10fk">a dandypunk</a>. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 16:26:24 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17167 at http://kplu.org Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector How We Learned That Frogs Fly http://kplu.org/post/how-we-learned-frogs-fly There are places where frogs could be — but aren't.<p>And places where frogs could be — and are.<p>Ninety years ago, scientists were debating the question of animal dispersal. How come there are kangaroos in Australia, and none in southern Africa --which seems, environmentally, very kangaroo-friendly? Certain frogs show up in warm ponds in one part of the world, but warm ponds a thousand miles away have none. Why?<p>Scientists in the 1930s hadn't yet come up with the notion of plate tectonics (that continents break up and move, carrying animals with them). Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:45:53 +0000 Robert Krulwich 17071 at http://kplu.org How We Learned That Frogs Fly How Chocolate Might Save The Planet http://kplu.org/post/how-chocolate-might-save-planet When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist <a href="http://www.markmiodownik.net/Mark_Miodownik/Index-Page.html">Mark Miodownik</a>, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."<p>True, it begins with a <a href="http://www.icco.org/about-cocoa/growing-cocoa.html">cocoa bean</a> plucked from a tree. But no one would eat a raw cocoa bean. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:16:46 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16943 at http://kplu.org How Chocolate Might Save The Planet Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair http://kplu.org/post/jupiters-dot-and-mine-why-life-unfair When I was 9, my dad drew this picture of me. You will notice something on my left cheek — a little brown spot.<p>That's a mole. The doctor called it "a birthmark." My mom called it "a beauty mark." I was born with it. Having grown up before supermodel Cindy Crawford became famous, I was not familiar with the allure of beauty marks and, anyway, I'm a guy. My mom said it was hardly noticeable. I didn't believe her.<p>It didn't go away. Worse, in my mind it was growing bigger. In grade school, I worried that the mark on my cheek was the first thing people saw when they looked at me. Thu, 22 May 2014 19:04:26 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16779 at http://kplu.org Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ... http://kplu.org/post/so-what-if-its-ugly-it-just-keeps-going Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called <em>Welwitschia mirabilis</em> (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.<p><a href="http://www.conifers.org/we/Welwitschiaceae.php">Welwitschia</a>, when you finally get to see one, sits apart. It's very alone. All its relatives, its cousins, nieces, nephews have died away. Wed, 21 May 2014 16:55:44 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16724 at http://kplu.org So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ... When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data http://kplu.org/post/when-numbers-bleed-freeze-starve-and-die-battlefield-dark-poetry-data <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T7jMcstxY0</p> Fri, 16 May 2014 17:17:31 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16617 at http://kplu.org When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution http://kplu.org/post/how-marry-right-girl-mathematical-solution Poor Johannes Kepler. One of the <a href="http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/JohannesKepler/">greatest astronomers</a> ever, the man who figured out the laws of planetary motion, a genius, scholar and mathematician — in 1611, he needed a wife. The previous Mrs. Kepler had died of Hungarian spotted fever, so, with kids to raise and a household to manage, he decided to line up some candidates — but it wasn't going very well.<p>Being an orderly man, he decided to interview 11 women. Thu, 15 May 2014 16:23:23 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16583 at http://kplu.org How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution Draw My Left! No, No, My Other Left! A Hidden Bias In Art History Revealed http://kplu.org/post/draw-my-left-no-no-my-other-left-hidden-bias-art-history-revealed Look at this guy.<p>He is half-smiley, half-frowny. I drew the mouth carefully to make it equal parts sad and happy.<p>But when you look at him — take him in whole — would you say he's having a good day or a bad day?<p>Most people would say: good day. Wed, 07 May 2014 18:23:55 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16437 at http://kplu.org Draw My Left! No, No, My Other Left! A Hidden Bias In Art History Revealed Come Dance With Me http://kplu.org/post/come-dance-me <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_bX0T76X8U</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvY7Nw1i6Kw</p> Sat, 26 Apr 2014 18:11:51 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16286 at http://kplu.org Come Dance With Me 'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The U.S.A. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart http://kplu.org/post/dont-touch-me-said-canada-i-wont-said-usa-so-they-moved-20-feet-apart <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkYlIA7mgw</p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:49:25 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16273 at http://kplu.org 'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The U.S.A. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? http://kplu.org/post/introducing-divorce-rate-birds-and-guess-which-bird-never-ever-divorces There is love. And then there's albatross love.<p>In his new book, <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/292015411/the-thing-with-feathers-the-surprising-lives-of-birds-and-what-they-reveal-about" target="_blank">The Thing With Feathers</a>, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. "These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet," he writes.<p>Noah knows "love" is a word normally reserved for humans. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:52:03 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16196 at http://kplu.org Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces?