Science

History
5:15 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Secrets of 9,000-year-old 'Kennewick Man' subject of new book

Doug Owsley (far left) will reveal key findings about "Kennewick Man" from a nine-year study. Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 5:12 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Kennewick Man is coming back into the news. A new book includes some of the key findings about the 9,000-year-old skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996. And next month, the book’s author and the lead researcher on Kennewick Man plans to share the results of years of study.

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Zoos
2:11 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Point Defiance Sumatran tiger cub needs a name

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's 3-week old Sumatran tiger cub is now on public display. The 8 pound feline has been moved into the cub den at the zoo's Asian Forest Sanctuary. Visitors can watch him interact with zookeepers at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily.

You can help name the cub. Zoo staffers have proposed 6 names for the little guy, and you can vote for your favorite at www.pdza.org.

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NPR science
7:43 am
Thu September 13, 2012

For How Long Have We Been Human?

A piece of red ochre with a deliberately engraved design is pictured here at Cape Town's Iziko/South African Museum in 2002. The piece was discovered in Blombos Cave near Stilbaai, about 300 kilometers from Cape Town.
Anna Ziemenski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 7:04 am

This year I greeted my new Biological Anthropology students with a chalked timeline of some human-evolution highlights:

6-7 million years ago: Start of the human lineage, following a split with the lineage containing chimpanzees and gorillas

2.6 mya: Onset of large-scale making and use of stone tool technology

2.5 mya: First human ancestors in our own genus, Homo

200,000 years ago: First modern humans, Homo sapiens

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money and health
7:06 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Gaining health insurance nationally, not in Washington

Young adults were given the right to join their parents plans back in 2007, so there was no sudden boost in 2011.
Tedeytan Flickr

Despite the difficult economy, more Americans have health insurance than a year ago, according to newly released census data. One reason: the new “Obamacare” law allows young adults, up to age 26, to stay on their parents’ insurance. Many others qualified for government programs in 2011, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

The pattern is different, though, in Washington state.

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NPR Science
1:12 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

The 'miracle' of the levitating slinky (cooler than it seems)

Veritasium/YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 5:43 am

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NPR science
10:27 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Volcano shoots geyser of water up into space

Michael Benson

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:53 am

What we have here is a moon — a small one (slightly wider than the state of Arizona) — circling Saturn.

If you look closely, you will see a small splay of light at its top, looking like a circular fountain.

That's because it is a fountain — of sorts. A bunch of volcano-like jets are sending fantastically high geysers of water vapor up into the sky, so high that you can see them in this remarkable print by Michael Benson, back lit by light bouncing off of Saturn.

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NPR science
8:59 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Do Birds Hold Funerals?

Jessica Merz Flickr

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 3:17 pm

Here's a journal-paper title that grabbed my eye: Western scrub-jay funerals: cacophonous aggregations in response to dead conspecifics.

OK, there's some jargon included — "cacophonous aggregations" refers to birds called in by other birds' vocalizations, and "conspecifics" just means other individuals of the same species. But it's the "f" word — funeral — that caught my attention.

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NPR science
8:32 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

After 35 Years, Voyager Nears Edge Of Solar System

In addition to surveying the planets, the Voyager mission also spent time studying the planets' satellites, or moons. This mosaic image, taken in 1989, shows Neptune's largest satellite, Triton. Triton has the coldest surface temperature known anywhere in the solar system.
NASA/JPL

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:33 pm

The Voyager 1 spacecraft's 35th anniversary is proving to be unexpectedly exciting, as scientists gathered this week to examine new hints that the spacecraft is on the verge of leaving our solar system.

Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles away from Earth. It blasted off in September 1977, on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. But it also carried a Golden Record filled with music and the sounds of our planet, in case it encountered intelligent life as it moved out toward the stars.

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Science
6:29 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Seattle team has big role in Human Genome 2.0

DNA molecule unwinding from inside the nucleus of a cell.
NHGRI

It's not officially called Human Genome 2.0. But, key scientists say the research results published Wednesday should re-kindle some of the promise of the Human Genome Project.

One of those key scientists is John Stamatoyannopoloulos of the University of Washington, along with his team of about 40 researchers.

"One of the important hopes here is that this will reinvigorate drug development that’s built around the genome," he says.

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NPR science
10:57 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Scientists unveil 'Google Maps' for human genome

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:56 pm

Scientists unveiled the results of a massive international project Wednesday that they say debunks the notion that most of our genetic code is made up of so-called junk DNA.

The ENCODE project, which involved hundreds of researchers in dozens of labs, also produced what some scientists are saying is like Google Maps for the human genome.

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NPR science
7:34 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Wow! NASA video shows 'mind-bogglingly gorgeous' solar eruption

That's quite an eruption.
nasa.gov

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:23 am

Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."

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food and nutrition
2:15 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Schools rush to reform lunches; more whole grains and veggies required

Trish Gossage serves up the new and federally approved lunch at Cascade Middle School in White Center.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

The rush is on, to get healthier lunches into public school cafeterias. But administrators say you almost need an advanced degree to comply with the latest rules.

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NPR science
5:28 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Pinky DNA Points To Clues About Ancient Humans

A replica of the pinky bone fragment found in a Siberian cave. Researchers used the bone bit to extract and sequence the genome of a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago.
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 3:09 pm

Scientists in Germany have been able to get enough DNA from a fossilized pinky to produce a high-quality DNA sequence of the pinky's owner.

"It's a really amazing-quality genome," says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It's as good as modern human genome sequences, from a lot of ways of measuring it."

The pinky belonged to a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists aren't sure about the exact age. She is a member of an extinct group of humans called Denisovans. The name comes from Denisova cave in Siberia, where the pinky was found.

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NPR science
1:46 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Scientists uncover millions of black holes

With its all-sky infrared survey, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has identified millions of quasar candidates. This image zooms in on one small region of the WISE sky, covering an area about three times larger than the moon. The WISE quasar candidates are highlighted with yellow circles.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:35 pm

This paragraph from NASA worried us:

"In one study, astronomers used WISE to identify about 2.5 million actively feeding supermassive black holes across the full sky, stretching back to distances more than 10 billion light-years away. About two-thirds of these objects never had been detected before because dust blocks their visible light. WISE easily sees these monsters because their powerful, accreting black holes warm the dust, causing it to glow in infrared light."

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Zoos
1:58 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Point Defiance tiger cub is being bottle-fed

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Officials at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have decided to take a newborn Sumatran tiger cub from its mother and rear it by hand.

The cub, born August 22nd, is losing weight and not getting enough milk from its mother, Jaya.

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