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Science

Radio Rewind: Monty Hall

Friday, September 06, 2013

In 1993, Monty Hall, host of the game show Let's Make a Deal, joined us on the program to discuss how contestants used risk and probability to win big prizes.

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Alzheimer's Potential Missing Link

Friday, September 06, 2013

Reporting in Neuron, researchers write that a protein called mGlu5 may play a role in nerve cell death in Alzheimer's disease. They found that blocking the protein with an existing drug restored memory in mice. Lead author Stephen Strittmatter discusses what this means for future Alzheimer's treatments.

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Radiolab

What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits?

Friday, September 06, 2013

If we had enough time, enough brain power, the right computers, the occasional genius, is there any limit to what we can know about the universe? Or is nature designed to keep its own secrets, no matter how hard we try to crack the code? What can we never know?

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What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits?

Friday, September 06, 2013

If we had enough time, enough brain power, the right computers, the occasional genius, is there any limit to what we can know about the universe? Or is nature designed to keep its own secrets, no matter how hard we try to crack the code? What can we never know?

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Scientists Put A 'Sixth Sense' For Numbers On Brain Map

Friday, September 06, 2013

Ever wondered how Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man quickly counted all those toothpicks on the floor? Scientists have found a region of the brain that allows us to estimate quantities at a glance. Unlike Hoffman's Ray, though, most people are accurate up to only about five toothpicks.

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Communications Gear Hitches Ride With Lunar Probe

Friday, September 06, 2013

A satellite is scheduled to take off for the Moon Friday — carrying an instrument that could represent the future of deep space communication. Instead of sending data back to earth using radio waves, the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration will use pulsed light waves.

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Scientists Look Into Reasons For 2012's Dramatic Weather

Friday, September 06, 2013

Scientists looking back on last year's extreme weather events conclude that human-induced climate change didn't cause any of the events, but appears to have made some of them worse. The results are published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It'll Soon Be Hard To Know

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The USDA has quietly ended a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The products won't require a country-of-origin label — which means there's no way to know whether those chicken nuggets in the freezer aisle came from a country with a spotty food safety reputation.

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Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Scientists aren't sure exactly why holes form in the hot and glowing outermost layer of gas surrounding the sun. But one theory is that the dark blotches we see on images of the sun could be the remnants of the (relatively) cool splotches called sunspots.

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When Did Human Speech Evolve?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A new study that relies on brain-imaging of cerebral blood flows suggests that human speech and complex tool-making skills emerged together almost two million years ago. Commentator Barbara J. King digs through the evidence and offers her own take on this age-old question.

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Tuberculosis Hitched A Ride When Early Humans Left Africa

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Tuberculosis is one of the oldest diseases in human history. Signs of the bacteria have even been seen in Egyptian mummies. Now scientists find evidence that TB is much more ancient than we thought. The bacteria may have started infecting people more than 70,000 years ago, long before farming began.

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What's Mittens Thinking? Make 'Sense' Of Your Cat's Behavior

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Kitties don't play — they hunt. And their aloof appearance has evolutionary roots. In a new book, anthrozoologist John Bradshaw explains cats' mysterious nature and looks at how the cat's relationship with humans has changed over the years.

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Parents' Harsh Words Might Make Teen Behaviors Worse

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Lots of parents yell at their teenagers, but harsh verbal punishment is associated with more bad behavior on the part of the kid. Research shows that yelling is ineffective for changing behavior. A step back and a deep breath may be better options.

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Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees

Thursday, September 05, 2013

There was a spruce tree in Stanley's garden, and when September rolled around, a family of garden snakes used it to sunbathe. They'd squiggle out on a branch, flop down and warm themselves in the sunshine — sometimes dangling in braided pairs. Stanley, envious, decided to join in ... and here's what happened next.

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Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Writing in Nature, a team of scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the infrastructure needed for such a system.

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The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Images that evoke a phobic reaction to holes have unique characteristics in terms of contrast and fine detail. Researchers found they were similar in some respects to features of venomous animals.

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Fixing Stove Hoods To Keep Pollution Out Of The Kitchen

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Range hoods are designed to capture the pollutants from your stove, but many models are not effective and it's hard for consumers to know how good a hood is. But researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are developing a new standardized test that manufacturers can use to rate their range hoods.

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Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The aging brain may be more flexible than we thought, a study of older adults now suggests. After playing a racing car video game an hour a day, thrice weekly for a month, adults age 60 and over were better at multitasking than untrained 20-year-olds.

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Lights Out In Venezuela; President Blames Opposition Saboteurs

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Nicholas Maduro says a "low-level war" was the cause of an electricity outage that affected 70 percent of the country, including the capital, Caracas.

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A Greener Way To Cool Your Foods On The Way To The Grocery Store

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Most of the trucks that haul your fruits, vegetables and frozen foods to the store are currently cooled by diesel engines, not the cleanest of technologies. But researchers are working on a cooling system based on fuel cells to keep your food cool while it travels.

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