When you last visited your local science museum, what did you see? Those cavernous dark halls, the dinosaurs, a bone frozen into place. The dioramas of stuffed big-horn sheep in a painted habitat. We all know of those. At least that might be how you remember it. But museum directors today are reimagining that Victorian-era museum, reimagining it for the 21st century. They envision using everything from smartphone apps to walk-through labs and meet and greet with actual scientists.
Imagine a robotic lab that can sample ocean organisms on its own and perform DNA analysis of what it finds. William Ussler, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, describes how a prototypical robotic explorer is helping study the life around undersea thermal vents.
The ailing Kepler planet-hunting telescope cannot be fixed, the victim of failed reaction wheels required to aim the instrument. However, researchers still have reams of data to sift through. William Borucki of NASA and Joshua Winn of MIT discuss the search for distant planets.
Musical performances may not be a completely auditory experience, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Study author Chia-Jung Tsay discusses how visual cues can influence our judgments about music and other social settings.
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write of a possible link between copper in drinking water and Alzheimer's disease in mice. Lead author Rashid Deane discusses the potential mechanism.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:27 pm
Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 2:35 pm
When you see them on the beach, spinach-like plops of green sprawled on the sand, you'd never guess their teeny nervous systems are imprinted with beach-ness. They are the ultimate Beach Boys. For them it's always summer.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Many thousands of people are expected to attend a commemoration of the March on Washington this weekend. It's the 50th anniversary of the iconic moment in civil rights history when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Coming up, we'll talk to one writer who explains how Asian-Americans have benefited from the struggle for civil rights of African-Americans.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:09 am
For the second time in four months, the consumer group Public Citizen is alleging that a large, federally funded study of premature infants is ethically flawed.
Both complaints raise a big issue that's certain to get more attention beyond these particular studies: What's the ethically right way to do research on the validity of the usual care that doctors provide every day.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host an unusual forum on that question next Wednesday — stimulated by the sharp questions raised by Public Citizen.