Science

The Salt
11:52 am
Thu January 24, 2013

In Order To Live With People, Canines Evolved To Love Carbs

Got spaghetti? Dogs digest starch more efficiently than their wolf ancestors, which may have been an important step during dog domestication.
Lauren Solomon/iStockphoto.com/Nicholas Moore Courtesy of Nature

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:42 am

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These days, a trip down the dog food aisle of your local pet store or supermarket can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands out there, catering to – let's be honest – every dog owner's taste: everything from generic kibble to organic nuggets.

There are even dog food cookbooks and specialty gourmet shops for people who want their pets to eat as well – or better – than they do.

How did we get here? The first step happened thousands of years ago, when meat-eating wolves evolved to tolerate people – and their more starchy, plant-based diet.

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Shots - Health News
10:38 am
Thu January 24, 2013

If You Think You're Good At Multitasking, You Probably Aren't

Take it easy, fella.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:54 pm

Everybody complains that people shouldn't talk on cellphones while driving. And yet it seems pretty much everybody does it.

That may be because so many of us think we're multitasking ninjas, while the rest of the people nattering away while driving are idiots.

But scientists say that the better people think they are at multitasking, the worse they really are at juggling.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:34 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Wile E. Coyote Teaches Math (And Despair) To Lucky Students In New Zealand

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 9:07 am

There's something about being upside down (from all of us in the Northern Hemisphere) that makes New Zealanders a little melancholy. At least that's my theory.

My evidence? Well, the other day, I was looking at a curriculum guide for math teachers ("maths" teachers, they would say) on the New Zealand Ministry of Education's site, where the text on top says, We want to equip "all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century."

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NPR Story
3:52 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Wolves Starchy Diet Led To Domesticated Dogs

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It took a very long time for this...

(SOUNDBITE OF WOLF HOWLING)

MONTAGNE: ...to evolve into this:

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

MONTAGNE: But the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs, including that Jack Russell terrier we just heard. Just how wolves came to live with people isn't really known. But as NPR's Veronique LaCapra reports, a new study suggests that food may have played a role.

VERONIQUE LACAPRA, BYLINE: Most dogs will eat just about anything.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG EATING)

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Research News
2:37 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:19 pm

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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