Science

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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Shots - Health Blog
12:11 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Lack of sleep, genes can get sleepwalkers up and about

Though scientists have identified sleepwalking triggers, the condition is still a bit of a mystery.
Victoria Alexandrova iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 11:44 am

Miranda Kelly, a 14-year-old from Sykesville, Md., says she's been sleepwalking since she was 6 or 7. The first time, she says, "I woke up on the couch on a school day. And I'd gone to bed in my bed."

Since that first episode, Kelly now sleepwalks every couple of months. "I wake up in weird places, randomly. I have once woken up in the kitchen, and on the floor of the bathroom wrapped in my sheet," she says.

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space exploration
11:24 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Forget robots on Mars -- how about an elevator to space?

One concept has the space elevator tied to a platform in the ocean, near the equator
Liftport

It might seem like a space-age fantasy, but there will be a lot of a serious talk in Seattle this weekend about a “space elevator.”

You might think of it as a space railroad. In theory, the technology could make going into orbit as cheap and easy as buying a first-class airline ticket.

The idea calls for a cable that stretches from a spot on the equator out to an anchor orbiting thousands of miles in space. On that cable, a remote-controlled cabin or elevator zips up and down.

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NPR science
9:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Rovers Are From Mars: How Curiosity Is Killing It On Twitter

This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Mars Rover, Curiosity.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:00 am

Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.

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radio
9:40 am
Thu August 23, 2012

How do you make a Radiolab?

The Radiolab crew getting ready for Seattle.

One of public radios most creative storytelling teams is in Seattle this weekend – turning radio into a live theater performance.

Radiolab calls itself a show about curiosity. KPLU science reporter Keith Seinfeld talked with the show’s two hosts about how they make science come alive, and then turn it into live theater.

(Listen to the interview ... and for serious Jad & Robert fans, we've added an extra 3 minute excerpt that didn't fit into the edited interview.)

(For information about the shows on Friday and Saturday, visit the KPLU calendar page.)

NPR Science
7:56 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From politics to pestilence: Everything is earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:17 pm

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

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