Science

Science
1:40 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Steven Hawking is one highlight at inaugural Seattle Science Festival

Professor Stephen Hawking shown in 2008 at George Washington University in Washington.
The Associated Press

Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Emerald City will host its first-ever Seattle Science Festival next month.

The festival has landed a major celebrity as one of it’s so-called “Luminaries.”  Steven Hawking, the British physicist known for writing about the history of the universe, will speak on June 16th, at the Paramount Theater. 

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Endangered animals
1:18 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Rare pygmy rabbits reproducing in Washington sagebrush

This undated file photo provided by Washington State University shows an endangered pygmy rabbit in the wild in eastern Washington state.
The Associated Press

EPHRATA, Wash. — Biologists went to check on endangered pygmy rabbits in a remote area of Columbia Basin sagebrush near Ephrata and found they've been reproducing like rabbits.

State Fish and Wildlife biologists told The Wenatchee World they 80 baby pygmy rabbits they found last week in the Sage Brush Flat Wildlife Area is more than they expected.

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NPR Science
1:03 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

MIT Engineers Solve An Everyday Problem: A Backed-Up Ketchup Bottle

Pouring ketchup out of a bottle is easy.
Screen Shot Fast Company

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 2:00 pm

We've all been there: Banging the back of a glass ketchup bottle, begging it to give you a dollop of the good stuff or battling with a plastic bottle coercing it into giving up the last of its contents.

Maybe that will be a thing of the past.

Six MIT researchers say they've solved that problem as part of an entrepreneurship competition. The result is a bottle coated with "LiquiGlide," a nontoxic material so slippery that the ketchup or for that matter mayonnaise just glides out when you turn it over.

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Whale science
10:00 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Mysterious sensory organ found in whale's chin

A new sensory organ, highlighted in a fin whale after lunging, coordinates their lunge-feeding strategy. At right, anatomy of the new sensory organ.
Smithsonian

If you came face to face with a great whale, you might find a few surprises in its chin: Like whiskers, if you look closely at the surface.

And, hidden inside the chin, lies a mysterious sensory organ, unknown to centuries of whalers and biologists.

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Japanese tsunami
8:53 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Oceanographer expects bones in Japanese tsunami debris

Feist, Michael Flickr

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — An oceanographer who tracks flotsam says West Coast beachcombers may find floating athletic shoes with human bones as more debris from the Japanese tsunami washes ashore. In a presentation Monday at a tsunami symposium in Port Angeles, Curt Ebbesmeyer told the audience he's expected 100 sneakers with bones in them.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Dangerous gut bacteria move outside hospitals, infect kids

Colonies of Clostridium difficile look awfully nice, but they're definitely something you'd be advised to keep at a safe distance.
CDC

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:55 am

Infections with the bacterium Clostridium difficile hit record numbers in recent years. Now there's evidence the hard-to-treat infections are becoming a problem for children.

The infections often strike the elderly, especially those who've been taking antibiotics that clear out competing bacteria in people's intestines. People sickened by the bug have persistent diarrhea that can, in severe cases, lead to dehydration.

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childhood immunization
6:10 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Vaccination rates reverse trend, with help from new law

The percentage of kindergartners in Washington who are fully vaccinated has gone up slightly, since a new law took effect making it harder to opt-out.

A change in state law took effect last July, requiring parents who want to exempt their kids from one or more vaccines to first hear from a doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits.

Michele Roberts, of the Washington Department of Health's immunization program, says some people doubted the law was strict enough to make a difference.  

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Zoos
2:11 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Snow leopard triplets at Woodland Park Zoo

One of the snow leopard triplets at Woodland Park
Woodland Park Zoo

Spring is in the air! First, it was a litter of endangered red wolf pups at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. Now, Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is announcing the arrival of three endangered, yet adorable, snow leopard cubs.

Zoo officials say the cubs were born May 2nd and are just now opening their eyes. This is the second litter for 7-year-old Helen and 6-year-old Tom. The cubs will stay secluded in their mother's den for now, but may go on public display in July.

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Zoos
2:03 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Endangered red wolf pups born at Point Defiance Zoo

Millie's pups began arriving on Mother's Day
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

At least 6 red wolf pups have been born at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA).

Millie, an 8-year-old, gave birth to the pups over a 30 hour period that began Sunday night. The father is 9-year-old Graham. The mother and pups are secluded in an out of view den area in the Red Wolf Woods exhibit.

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NPR Science
7:30 am
Fri May 11, 2012

What space miners will know: Flying over an asteroid

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:17 am

Thanks to Bad Astronomy for posting this beautiful fly-over of the asteroid Vesta via the Dawn space probe.

Pre-term babies
2:31 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Doctors: No elective deliveries, extra week in womb pays off

In the last weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s brain is getting dramatically bigger, and the child is adding a protective layer of fat.
The Associated Press

More babies in Washington are entering the world at full-term. An effort to end the practice of mothers scheduling an early delivery has led to a 65% drop since 2010.

Even doctors have been “really surprised” to see compelling research that babies born just two weeks early are more likely to have medical problems, all the way up through age five, says Dr. Tom Benedetti, an obstetrics professor at the University of Washington.

Until a couple years ago, if a baby was born at 37 weeks, it was still considered full-term. 

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Space flight
8:32 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Meet the finalists in the Space Needle's trip to space contest

The five finalists in a contest to be sent into space as part of Seattle Needle's 50th anniversary celebration are in Seattle this week.

The final phase of the contest begins Monday morning. The finalists will each face three challenges before the winner is announced on Wednesday. (Meet the finalists after the jump and pick whom you'd send into space.)

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NPR tech news
8:09 am
Sat May 5, 2012

A Panda's inseminal moment, tweet-by-tweet

"Here's Mei right now," tweeted the National Zoo just before the procedure. "Volunteers are watching her from our research station as we prepare."
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 4:37 am

You can't predict the turns new technology takes.

The Internet, originally developed for scientists in southern California to bandy information back and forth with scientists in northern California, has also become the prime means of sending naughty jokes instantaneously around the world.

This week Twitter, the social media service famed for carrying the messages of pro-democracy dissidents in Iran, Egypt and other places, featured something a little difficult to conceive: live tweeting of the artificial insemination of a giant panda at the National Zoo.

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Health
2:51 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Study: Chemicals In Great-Grandma’s Life May Promote Disease In You

Dr. Michael Skinner. Courtesy Washington State University.

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 9:56 pm

The chance of a woman getting ovarian disease may be tied to the toxic chemicals her great-grandmother was exposed to. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University. The study could help explain the role of environmental factors in inherited diseases.

Here’s how it works. Picture your great-grandmother. Now let’s say, while pregnant with your future grandparent, she was exposed to some toxic chemical. Pesticides, phthalates -- that stuff in plastic -- or maybe jet fuel. Those are some of the things the researchers looked at.

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Zoos
1:52 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Wild pigs are in hog heaven at the Woodland Park Zoo

Visayan Warty Pigs
Woodland Park Zoo

Wild pigs are making their debut at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo this weekend. Domestic pigs have long been a fixture at the zoo's Family Farm, but this is the first time wild pigs have been on display.

Three critically endangered Visayan warty pigs are moving into Elephant Forest exhibit near the elephant pool.

Two warthogs are taking up residence in the 4.5 acre African Savanna exhibit, which also includes giraffe, hippos, gazelles, zebras and monkeys. 

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