Science

global health
6:25 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Melinda Gates claims pushing birth control isn't controversial

“We've made it controversial in the United States, and it doesn't need to be," Melinda Gates said on the Colbert Report.

Melinda Gates is promoting access to contraceptives around the world, and urging everyone to believe it's not a controversial step.

She's co-hosting a global summit on Wednesday in London, along with the British government.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to overcome religious and cultural resistance by saying birth control is simply one option that women want.

Read more
disease, diet and ethnicity
1:35 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Despite healthy image, Japanese-Americans' diabetes risk higher

Diabetes is on the rise, especially among ethnic minorities. Hispanics and blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to die of diabetes, and the rate is even higher for and Native Americans. Even Japanese Americans, despite their healthier image, have a higher than average risk of diabetes.

Read more
NPR Science
9:29 am
Wed July 4, 2012

New subatomic particle may be physics' 'missing link'

This graphic depicts a proton-proton collision from the search for the Higgs boson particle.
CERN AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:51 am

Scientists have discovered a new subatomic particle with profound implications for understanding our universe. On Wednesday, they announced they've found a particle believed to be the long-awaited Higgs boson. Nicknamed the "God particle," it represents the final piece in a theory that explains the basic nature of our universe.

Read more
Science
3:24 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Video: 'We've got the Higgs,' UW and CERN scientist declares

Screen grab from the video of Gordon Watts, University of Washington physics professor who helped announce to the world that the 'God particle' has likely been found.

In this video, shot just after results of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN were announced, University of Washington physics scientist Gordon Watts declares – "We've got the Higgs."

Read more
Search for the God Particle
12:01 am
Wed July 4, 2012

CERN finds Higgs-like (God) particle; UW scientists, up late, celebrate discovery

Gordon Watts, a physics professor at UW, shared the news of the likely discovery of the Higgs boson announced in the evidence presented by CERN tonight.
Jake Ellison KPLU

A University of Washington physics professor with connection to the experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider said a Higgs-like particle has been discovered.

"We have discovered something ... and quite frankly I can't see how it can be anything other than the Higgs but  we need scientific proof to close that door," said Gordon Watts, a physics professor at UW, at a tavern-based seminar tonight in lower Queen Anne with nearly 150 colleagues and science aficionados. "We just do not have the data yet to determine what the flavor of Higgs it is that we see.

"I am positive. My gut tells me that is what this is."

Read more
NPR diversions
1:04 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Sure it's sunny there, but great white sharks seen off Atlantic, Pacific beaches

It's eerie when thinking of "Jaws" which is about a killer great white shark off Long Island, New York (although the film was shot in Massachusetts) around the Fourth of July.
The Associated Press

Maybe you're planning your summer vacation and want something totally impractical to worry about (just to keep your mind off of real problems ... like money, say). And, we've still got more than a month to go to Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week', but ...

Great white sharks have been seen off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass; and on e off the coast near San Diego.

Read more
Diversions
8:03 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Bald Eagle: A Mighty Symbol, With A Not-So-Mighty Voice

The Bald Eagle's majestic call is ... not so majestic. Photo by USFWS

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 7:11 am

Few sounds symbolize American patriotism like the piercing shrill of a bald eagle. But just like George Washington and his cherry tree, that majestic call … is a myth. The screech associated with the bald eagle, in fact, belongs to a different bird.

Bird expert Connie Stanger blames Hollywood. You know the scene:

Stanger describes it: “You’ve got John Wayne riding through the sunset and you hear the jingle of spurs and often that piercing, loud cry.”

Read more
Science press release
10:52 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

'Strong indication of Higgs (God) particle' found, scientists report

The Tevatron typically produced about 10 million proton-antiproton collisions per second. Each collision produced hundreds of particles. The CDF and DZero experiments recorded about 200 collisions per second for further analysis.
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

(Press release from Fermilab)

After more than 10 years of gathering and analyzing data produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tevatron collider, scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations have found their strongest indication to date for the long-sought Higgs particle. Squeezing the last bit of information out of 500 trillion collisions produced by the Tevatron for each experiment since March 2001, the final analysis of the data does not settle the question of whether the Higgs particle exists, but gets closer to an answer.

The Tevatron scientists unveiled their latest results on July 2, two days before the highly anticipated announcement of the latest Higgs-search results from the Large Hadron Collider in Europe.

Read more
NPR Science
5:54 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Is the hunt for the 'God Particle' finally over?

This image, from a sensor at the particle accelerator at CERN, is an example of the data signature a Higgs particle might generate.
CERN

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 6:17 am

Before we get to the fireworks on the Fourth of July, we might see some pyrotechnics from a giant physics experiment near Geneva, Switzerland.

Scientists there are planning to gather that morning to hear the latest about the decades-long search for a subatomic particle that could help explain why objects in our universe actually weigh anything.

The buzz is that they're closing in on the elusive Higgs particle. That would be a major milestone in the quest to understand the most basic nature of the universe.

Read more
Science
4:30 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Seattle's space shuttle trainer getting new parts this weekend

The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy has a cargo compartment that is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and 111 feet long.
Photo by MilborneOne / Wikimedia Commons

NASA is making a special delivery to Seattle this weekend. If you go to the Museum of Flight on Saturday morning, you’ll see one of the world’s biggest cargo planes land in the parking lot. It’s carrying the cockpit and crew cabin of a full-sized space shuttle trainer.

Read more
Reacting to supreme court
7:14 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Hospitals, other providers welcome ruling, look forward to more paying customers

Health-care providers in Washington are in the midst of changes that will speed up now that the federal health law has been sustained. The ruling was welcome news to hospitals, doctors and many others in the medical field.

They're especially glad nearly everyone will have health insurance. That’s been one of the big challenges in the current health system. People get sick and go to the hospital, even if they can’t afford it.

By 2014, when subsidies for insurance kick-in, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler predicts about 80% of the uninsured will get coverage.  

Read more
NPR tech news
7:01 am
Sat June 23, 2012

'Baby' robot learns language like the real thing

Human baby Charlotte, the 13-month-old daughter of NPR producer Tom Bullock, tried the same tests that DeeChee, the robot, does for language-learning experiments. Dr. Caroline Lyons says human babies have an advantage: They spend every waking hour of the day in a speaking world.
Tom Bullock NPR

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 10:51 am

Read more
health insurance
3:36 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Health insurers must give rebates to 5,000 Washington residents

Nearly 5,000 Washington residents are getting rebates on their health insurance, courtesy of the new federal health law.

If you bought an individual health plan from an out-of-state company called Time Insurance, then you should be getting money back. The plans are sold under the brand, Assurant Health. The company sells primarily high-deductible health coverage.

Read more
NPR tech news
2:14 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

You know you want one, but personal robots not ready yet

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 8:06 pm

Read more
seismic surveys
2:40 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Endangered orcas cause delays for major earthquake research

The R/V Langseth uses sonar to study earthquake faults
Columbia University/Earth Institute

Updated 6/18/12, with comments and links from whale advocates.

An expensive science mission off the Washington and Oregon coasts has been scaled back, at least for now, out of concern for orca whales. A research ship is using blasts of sound to create maps of a major earthquake fault, which is considered the greatest tsunami risk along the U.S. Pacific coast.

Read more

Pages