All Science

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Current Event August 15, 2019

Puppy Dog Eyes

Psychology Animals Evolution Biology Diversity Neuroscience Adaptation

Has a dog ever given you “puppy eyes”? If so, you probably did whatever your furry friend wanted. According to a recent study, “puppy eyes” result from thousands of years of evolution impacted by the relationship between humans and dogs. This distinctive expression comes from a specific muscle and creates unique effects that help dogs become “man’s best friend.” Listen to learn more about why “puppy eyes” are so powerful and how studying dogs can help humans learn more about themselves.

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Current Event August 14, 2019

Working on a Trash Mountain in Delhi

Health Environment Human Impacts Industry International Entrepeneur

As India produces more and more garbage, giant mountains of trash are growing around its cities. The mountain of waste in New Delhi is nearly as tall as the world famous Taj Mahal. This creates an awful smell and a variety of safety issues, but some poorer Indians have also used it as an opportunity to create their own waste-based businesses. Listen to learn more about how these entrepreneurs turn trash into treasure and the risks they take in mining these man-made garbage mountains.

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Spiral stars

Current Event July 24, 2019

Star Gazing Parties

Technology Environment Space Systems Human Impacts Light Astronomy

Far from the bright lights of cities and suburbs, amateur astronomers gather to stargaze in the dark at events known as “star parties.” Stargazers enjoy sharing the experience with others who are passionate about dark skies and the faraway places they make visible. Listen to hear about what happens at star parties and what amateur astronomers are viewing in the dark night sky.

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Big fireworks

Current Event July 22, 2019

The Science of Fireworks

Technology Entertainment Chemistry

One of the world’s favorite holiday traditions has a long history. Fireworks started in ancient China where people used explosives because they were believed to ward away evil spirits. From their beginnings as simple noise makers to the dazzling aerial displays that light up our night skies today, fireworks have relied on chemistry to create the sounds and colors that provide excitement and enjoyment. Listen to hear a chemist explain the history and science behind a worldwide celebratory tradition.

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Houston downtown

Current Event August 21, 2018

Concrete Heats Up Cities

KERA Reform conservation

According to a recent study, Dallas is getting hotter faster than most other cities in America. A few surprising factors make this city an especially bad “urban heat island,” but there are certain, simple things the city can do to combat this effect. Listen to learn more about Dallas’ heat and find out what can cool it down.

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Firefighting

Current Event August 20, 2018

Fighting Massive Wildfires

Politics Reform conservation

The largest fire in California history is currently burning, breaking a record that another devastating fire set a mere eight months ago. Scientists, politicians, and firefighters are currently searching for a better way to handle these increasingly intense natural disasters. Listen to learn about some of their surprising solutions for wildfires.

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Stone tools

Current Event August 16, 2018

Stone Age Tools

Technology

Scientists recently discovered a variety of million-year-old stone tools in Kenya. These discoveries allow archaeologists to better understand our early human ancestors’ lives and how they developed more sophisticated tools as time went on. As it turns out, there are some important parallels between ancient stone tools and modern technologies. Listen to learn more about this exciting find and hear how it relates to life today.

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Netanyahu

Current Event August 14, 2018

New Israeli Law Seen as Discriminatory

Politics Religion Law Protest

Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israeli religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians, feel that this law discriminates against them and fails to recognize their contributions. Some have even begun to protest it, gaining support from important and surprising allies. Listen to find out more about the controversy surrounding the Nation State law.

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Tech stuff

Current Event August 10, 2018

Debate: Should Tech Companies Stop Doing Business with the Government?

Politics Technology Protest Ethics

Recently, tech workers have been protesting some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. They’ve urged their employers not to work with certain segments of the U.S. government. This is a very unusual request for employees to make of their companies, but it isn’t completely unheard of. Listen to learn more about these protests and what they could mean for the future of technology.

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Plastic straws

Current Event August 9, 2018

How a Teenager Influenced the Straw Debate

Journalism conservation

Newspapers and magazines around the world have reported on a stunning statistic about how many plastic straws Americans throw away every day. Unfortunately, that number isn’t quite right. As it turns out, a teenager calculated that statistic years ago. Since then, it’s spread far and wide, affecting the way we use plastic straws throughout the country.. Listen to hear the story of how a teenager changed the plastic straw debate forever.

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Pretty parks

Current Event August 8, 2018

Parks Can Improve Your Mental Health

Culture conservation Class

Transforming a vacant lot into a small community garden in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood seems to have made its residents happier. Inspired by this example, a professor recently did a study to see what kinds of effects creating green spaces out of empty lots has on people’s mental wellbeing. Listen to find out what she learned from her research on community gardens.

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Chocolate beauty

Current Event August 7, 2018

Why We Eat Based on our Emotions

Culture KERA Entertainment

Scientists recently conducted a study to see how emotions affect the way children eat. Using key scenes from “The Lion King” and a couple of snack options, the researchers observed how kids’ feelings influenced their food choices. Listen to find out what the study discovered about children’s emotional eating.

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Horseshoe magnets

Current Event August 1, 2018

Malaria and Magnets

Technology Education

The malaria parasite kills more than 500,000 people every year. An engineering professor recently decided to make a difference in this issue by working with her students to find a solution. The answer she and one student came up with is surprising, but genius: magnets. Listen to learn more about the professor’s project and find out how magnets could help people suffering from malaria all around the world.

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Ticky the dude

Current Event July 18, 2018

Ticks Can Cause Red Meat Allergies

Health conservation

Getting bitten by a tick is never fun, but recent research shows that it can also cause you to become allergic to red meat. As ticks spread, more and more people across the US and even around the globe are becoming allergic to red meat. Scientists believe it may have something to do with alpha-gal, a special sugar only animals produce. Listen to find out more about this increasingly common allergy.

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Current Event July 11, 2018

How Birds Got Their Beaks

Technology conservation

Birds evolved from dinosaurs, but scientists still don’t know exactly how. The species Ichthyornis is a creature that falls directly between a dinosaur and a bird. A recently discovered fossil of this ancient seagull-like animal revealed some fascinating information. Its characteristics are helping scientists solve the mystery of how ancient dinosaurs became modern birds, complete with beaks and large brains. Listen to this audio story to learn more about the Ichthryornis.

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Current Event July 5, 2018

Popular Succulents Inspire Thieves

conservation law

Most often, poachers illegally hunt wild animals like elephants for their tusks, but a recent case proves that plants can also fall victim to this crime. Succulents have become the target of poachers. Succulents are drought-resistant plants like cactus that retain water in their leaves. They are very popular now as house plants and that’s causing an underground trade of stolen succulents. Listen to learn more about this strange crime.

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World cup ball

Current Event June 27, 2018

World Cup's High Tech Soccer Ball

Technology Sports

Every four years, Adidas designs a custom soccer ball for the World Cup, and the 2018 event in Russia is no different. In past years, the style and structure of the balls have actually interfered with how they move, making the games unpredictable for athletes. That’s why this year, scientists tested the new Telstar 18 ball to make sure it works properly. Experts explain how this new ball compares to past years’ and the real reason Adidas creates a new ball design for every World Cup. Listen to learn more about this high-tech soccer ball.

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Electron microscope

Current Event September 27, 2018

Predatory Bacteria Could Save Antibiotics

Life Science Health biology Cells Human Body

Some tiny, microscopic bacteria hunt and attack other bacteria, including those that make people sick. Scientists are now researching possible uses of these predatory bacteria in treating infections. They are also interested in whether these germ-eating germs might be useful in the event of germ warfare. Listen to hear how this exciting research could impact people’s lives.

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Monarch butterfly

Current Event September 20, 2018

Creating Urban Habitats for Monarch Butterflies

Life Science Environment Elementary Ecosystems

Monarch butterflies are in danger. In addition to their beauty, monarchs contribute to the ecosystem by pollinating wildflowers and by providing food for birds, small mammals, and insects. However, their life cycle depends on the milkweed plant, and its availability is shrinking. Listen to hear what conservation ecologists recommend as a solution to this environmental problem that many people can help to put into action.

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Old schoolroom

Current Event September 14, 2018

Debate: Should Schools Be Redesigned?

Education Design

The design of schools and classroom spaces can have a big impact on students’ learning experiences. This story follows an architecture critic’s tour of a 90-year-old New York City school building and her commentary on the history of school design. Listen to learn about the relationship between classroom design and educational goals, and then debate whether schools should be redesigned for today’s students and teachers.

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