Science

Technology
12:03 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Is It Possible To Create A Mind?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, what is intelligence? What is thought? What does it really mean to have a mind? And if we can answer those questions, is it possible for people to reverse-engineer the process and build an artificial mind? Sure, there are things like Siri, which can understand enough of your question to pull up directions to the restaurant, and there's IBM's Watson, which took on human contestants in a game of "Jeopardy!" and won. But how to jump the gap from those to something everyone would agree is truly intelligent?

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The Salt
11:03 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Brewers Prepare Beer For The End Of Time, Mayan Or Otherwise

Great Basin's Mayan Maybe? beer has been a fast seller, the company's brewmaster says.
Jazz Aldrich Great Basin Brewing Company

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:50 pm

The world isn't going to end next Friday, but Dec. 21, 2012, has come to be known as the Mayan apocalypse because that's when the Mayan calendar ends. As scientists have told us repeatedly, the end of the calendar year was actually a time for celebration and renewal — the equivalent of an ancient New Year's Eve. So breweries around the country have decided to celebrate with — what else? — beer.

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NPR Story
10:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Using Science to Care for Your Christmas Tree

Nothing beats the smell of a live Christmas tree in your home, but how can you keep the needles on your tree and off your carpet? Rick Bates, professor of horticulture at Penn State University, offers tips for how to properly care for your Christmas tree this holiday season.

NPR Story
10:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Ask A Quantum Mechanic

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:03 pm

Did you know plants use quantum mechanics every day? That quantum computers can hack the encryption used in online commerce? Or that a 'quantum internet' could someday teleport your emails? MIT's Seth Lloyd discusses those and other quantum mysteries in this episode of "Ask a quantum mechanic."

NPR Story
10:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Alan Alda's Challenge to Scientists: What is Time?

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Of course we'll be keeping you up to date this hour on the shooting spree that's been going on in Newtown, Connecticut. But first something different. When Alan Alda was 11, he asked one of his teachers: What is a flame? The answer he got back was oxidation. Accurate, yeah, but not very helpful.

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NPR Story
10:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

'Instant' Looks At Polaroid's Land

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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The Salt
8:24 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Sowing The Seeds For A Great American Chestnut Comeback

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:02 pm

Though we hear about them every holiday season in that famous song, chestnuts – whether roasting on an open fire or otherwise – have been noticeably absent from many American tables for decades, thanks to a deadly fungus that decimated the species near half a century ago. But a small army of determined growers have been on a seemingly quixotic quest to put chestnuts back on the American table, and they're just starting to see results.

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Research News
2:19 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Counting Bugs In Panama? Get Out Your Tree Raft

Arachnoscelis magnifica
Maurice Leponce AAAS

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 2:22 pm

There are more species of insects than pretty much anything else in the world. And scientists know there are millions they haven't even identified yet. Now, in a tropical rainforest in Panama, a multinational team of scientists has just completed the first ever insect census.

Scott Miller, an entomologist at the Smithsonian who worked on the Panama, shows off one of the species from the survey that's at the National Museum of Natural History's insect zoo in Washington, D.C.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

This picture received from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows an orbit image of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, being monitored on a large screen at a satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:51 pm

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

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Shots - Health News
2:50 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Maybe you can find that creative spark out in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Jeff Turner Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

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