This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Early this morning...
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FLATOW: You heard it, a meteor exploded over Central Russia. It rattled buildings, shattered glass over a wide area, causing hundreds of injuries estimated at 900 or more at this hour. And at this very moment another asteroid, half the size of a football field, is speeding towards our planet. But there's no need to panic. This one is not raining space rocks, say scientists.
As a journalist, I've known Katherine Bouton for over 30 years. I first met her on a trip to Antarctica in 1979. A famous picture of me interviewing penguins was taken by Ms. Bouton. But I was never fully aware of the extent of the private battle she has been fighting, an invisible condition that affects 50 million Americans, I'm talking about hearing loss.
Scientists have made an important discovery, and not really a scientific one. They've learned they can raise money for their research simply by going on the Internet and asking people for support. We heard yesterday how that worked for one researcher. Still, scientists have no idea why this approach is working or how much money they can raise this way. Here's NPR's Joe Palca with the next installment of his project Joe's Big Idea.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:57 am
Credit Bill Rhodes/Flickr
When it comes to treating a lazy eye, there's evidence that turning the lights off may help — if you're a kitten.
A study in the latest issue of Current Biology reports that kittens with a type of visual impairment known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, were able to regain normal eyesight after being plunged into total darkness for 10 days.
On this Valentine's Day, we bring you a story from the California coast, where love is in the air. It sounds something like this:
That's a male northern elephant seal. It's the peak of their mating season right now. Elephant seals spend of the most of the year alone, out in the Pacific Ocean. So you can probably guess what happens when they get together every winter.
Naturalist Lisa Wolfklain is leading a public tour at Ano Nuevo State Reserve, two hours south of San Francisco, where hundreds of elephant seals are packed together on a narrow strip of beach.
Many of the drugs we take aren't actually digested — they pass through our bodies, and down through the sewer pipes. Traces of those drugs end up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife. Nobody's sure what effect they have.
Now, a paper being published in Science magazine finds that drugs for anxiety drugs — even at these very low levels — can affect the behavior of fish.
Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 2:08 pm
By Grant Gerlock
Credit Courtesy Steve Young
A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.
Judy Van der Veer is an American author (1912-1982) who wrote books that are too little remembered now. In her works of fiction and non-fiction, Van der Veer beautifully brings alive small California worlds close to nature.
When the X-ray was invented, people clamored to get one. Not for any medical reason, but just to see what was typically hidden inside their bodies.
Something like that seems to be happening with DNA sequencing technology. First it was companies offering to sequence people's genomes. Now it's learning all about your microbiome, the collection of microorganisms living on and in your body.