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When researcher Josh Santarpia stands at the foot of a bed, taking measurements with a device that can detect tiny, invisible particles of mucus or saliva that come out of someone's mouth and move through the air, he can tell whether the bedridden person is speaking or not just by looking at the read-out on his instrument.

KERA News

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science brought together a panel of North Texas medical experts Sunday. KERA’s Syeda Hasan moderated the livestream discussion. It’s clear there are a few things these experts want you to know — beyond how to wash your hands. Watch the panel here.

A construction worker rests at the site of the Huoshenshan temporary field hospital being built
Chinatopix via Associated Press

World health officials expressed “great concern” Wednesday that a dangerous new virus is starting to spread between people outside of China, a troubling development as China and the world frantically work to contain the outbreak. For a second day, the number of infections grew dramatically.

There's new evidence that girls start out with the same math abilities as boys.

A study of 104 children from ages 3 to 10 found similar patterns of brain activity in boys and girls as they engaged in basic math tasks, researchers reported Friday in the journal Science of Learning.

"They are indistinguishable," says Jessica Cantlon, an author of the study and professor of developmental neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Medical school is draining. It’s a mix of sleepless nights spent studying, a lot of student debt, massive pressure to succeed, and learning to treat difficult patients over long hours at the hospital. This recipe for mastering medicine been used to train generations of physicians, but it appears to bake in a problem: Over the course of their studies, medical students tend to become less empathetic over the course of their training.

How Do Clouds Form, And What Are Some Identification Tips?

Aug 23, 2019
Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio

As we approach the end of monsoon season in West Texas, now’s a good time to step outside and take a moment to appreciate the dramatic summer storm clouds that bring the majority of our region’s annual rainfall, from May through September.

But no matter the time of year, the cloud show is always pretty spectacular out here in Big Bend country.

The rare bones of two ancient human relatives are leaving their home in South Africa for the first time for public display, and they're headed to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. 

NPS/CA Hoyt / Facebook

Experts say fossil remains discovered in the 1980s at a park in southwest Texas have been identified as a new genus and species of duckbilled dinosaur.

The warnings come with unsettling regularity:

Climate change threatens 1 million plant and animal species.

Warmer oceans could lose one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century.

The Department of Defense is funding research in San Antonio to see if a new vaccine can prevent birth defects in babies of women exposed to the Zika virus during pregnancy. 

 


If civilizations are remembered for what they leave behind, our time might be labeled the Plastic Age. Plastic can endure for centuries. It's everywhere, even in our clothes, from polyester leisure suits to fleece jackets.

A Silicon Valley startup is trying to get the plastic out of clothing and put something else in: biopolymers.

The U.S. government is juicing up its weather forecasting power.

This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it has upgraded its main weather forecasting model, called the Global Forecast System.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding its first public hearing on CBD, the cannabis extract that has quickly grown into a billion-dollar industry. Today's hearing will help officials determine how to regulate CBD products.

The compound can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. It's promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation – and it doesn't get people high because it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Agatha Christie: From Pharmacist's Apprentice to Poison Expert

Apr 19, 2019

The following is an excerpt from A is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup. Listen to SciFri on September 24, 2015 to hear Harkup talk more about the influence of Agatha Christie and her novels.

Picture of the Week: DNA Bunny

Mar 12, 2019

The candy-colored bunny above looks good enough to eat, but it’s no Easter leftover. This is a 3-D-printed model of a microscopic, rabbit-shaped structure made entirely out of DNA. An enlarged picture of that tiny structure (which is 50 nanometers long) appears at left. Can you make out its cottontail shape? 

Ray and Tom Magliozzi, better known as "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers," stopped recording new episodes of NPR's Car Talk in 2012.

Tom passed away shortly thereafter, in 2014. But the spirit of the show lives on. And if you visit a doctor's office, you just might benefit from it.

Gitanjali Rao is already on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and she hasn't even made it to high school yet.

In 2017, the then 11-year-old from Lone Tree, Colo. was named 'America's Top Young Scientist' for the design of a small, mobile device that tests for lead in drinking water.

According to calculations, Only 2016, 2017 and 2015 were warmer than last year, with only small differences among them.
Associated Press

While Earth was a tad cooler last year than the last couple of years, it still was the fourth warmest on record, a new analysis shows.

With the partial U.S. government shutdown, federal agency calculations for last year's temperatures are delayed. But independent scientists at Berkeley Earth calculate that last year's average temperature was 58.93 degrees.

The following is an excerpt from Brain Storms, by Jon Palfreman. Listen to SciFri on September 18, 2015, to hear Palfreman talk more about Parkinson's disease.

The Octopus Whisperer

Jan 24, 2019

This article is part of a Science Friday spotlight about cephalopods. Get involved using the hashtag  #CephalopodWeek.

Target grades: 4th +

Content Areas: General Science, Mathematics

Topics: Experimental design, variation, variables

Time required: 60 minutes, including lollipop-licking time

Standards:

NGSS: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Picture of the Week: Cock-Eyed Squid

Jan 24, 2019

This activity is part of a Science Friday spotlight about cephalopods. Get involved using the hashtag #CephalopodWeek.

In the midst of “the twilight zone”—the ocean realm ranging from 200-1,000 meters below the surface—roams this small cephalopod.

Does Sound Affect the Way We Taste?

Jan 24, 2019

The next time you eat out in a restaurant, consider the sounds around you. Is there music playing? Just the gentle hum of other people’s conversations? Maybe it’s loud and booming, maybe it’s relatively quiet.

Whatever the acoustic atmosphere, it could be affecting how you experience the flavor of the food and drink you’re consuming, according to a growing body of research.

Jet-setting Cephalopods

Jan 24, 2019

This activity is part of a Science Friday spotlight about cephalopods. Get involved using the hashtag #CephalopodWeek.

 

 

 

Target Grades: 4th-8thEstimated time: 30 minutes to 1 hour with options to extendSubjects: Marine Biology, Engineering and TechnologyTopics: Animal Locomotion, Biomimicry, Jet-Propulsion, Activity Type:  Engineering design challenge.

The Ritual of Straws

Jan 24, 2019

The following is an excerpt from Neurotribes, by Steve Silberman. Listen to SciFri on September 4, 2015, to hear Silberman talk more about the book.

A Peek Inside the Mind of Elon Musk

Jan 24, 2019

The following is an excerpt from Elon Musk, a biography by Ashlee Vance. Listen to SciFri on June 26, 2015, to hear Vance talk more about Musk's life.

“Do you think I’m insane?”

Dissect a Silkworm Cocoon

Jan 24, 2019

Most of us are familiar with silk as a fine fabric that is made into neckties and dresses. As a textile, silk is highly valued because it is shiny and smooth, strong yet lightweight, and it can be easily dyed or treated to take on the color or chemical properties of other substances. These well-known properties led scientists to develop new products from silk, including important medical materials such as replacement cartilage, surgical sutures, and small spheres that can be used to deliver drugs to certain parts of the body (not all of these are available yet on the market).

Write Your Name in Binary Code

Jan 24, 2019

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100001

Those ones and zeros might not look like anything to you, but in binary code the numbers are actually saying “Hello!”

In 2018, Americans watched as California towns were incinerated by fires, hurricanes devastated coastal communities and a government report sounded the alarm about the impacts of a changing climate.

All those factors contributed to significant changes in perceptions of global warming in the U.S., according to the authors of a new public opinion survey.

The proportion of Americans who said global warming is "personally important" to them jumped from 63 percent to 72 percent from March to December of last year.

Friday, while millions of Americans recovered at home from Turkey-induced torpors, the Trump administration released a report on climate change that forecasts a grim future for Texas. 

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