Science and Technology

Communities along the upper Mississippi River have seen a major uptick in heavy rains and flooding in the last decade.

Residents, environmentalists, engineers and government agencies agree that they need a coordinated strategy to manage flooding. That could be particularly important in the coming years, as scientists predict that climate change will likely bring more heavy rain to the region.

The idea that people have different styles of learning — that the visually inclined do best by seeing new information, for example, or others by hearing it — has been around since the 1950s, and recent research suggests it’s still widely believed by teachers and laypeople alike. But is there scientific evidence that learning styles exist?

“The short answer is no,” says Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Bringing science and engineering stories to life for students

Sep 16, 2017

What does it take to bring science and engineering to life for students?

How about a little news?

That’s the idea behind the Science Friday Educator Collaborative, now in its second year. Seven teachers around the country are designing curiosity-provoking science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources for anyone to use, based on stories from Science Friday.

In July, a new law took effect in Florida, and it concerns what’s in the state’s schoolbooks.

HB 989 allows any Florida resident to “challenge the use or adoption of instructional materials,” and its supporters say the law gives Floridians a greater say in what students are taught. But some in the scientific community worry the new law will be used to target evolution and climate change in classrooms.

How Do We Study Ancient Americans?

Sep 16, 2017

According to current research, teenagers make bad decisions and take too many risks because the prefrontal cortex, the decision-making center, is still developing until around age 25. Now, new research suggests this may not be the case.

Dr. Dan Romer and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania took a look at the research and didn’t see sufficient evidence for the "structural deficit" theory in the literature. Yes, the brain’s not fully developed in teens, they say, but that’s not the problem behind bad decision making.

Peeking Under The Skin Of Aging Aircraft

Sep 9, 2017

Bad Plumbing? There Goes The Empire

Sep 9, 2017

'13 Reasons Why' suicide controversy continues

Sep 6, 2017

When the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" debuted last spring, it sparked widespread discussion about how TV and movies should handle the issue of teen suicide. Now that the show is scheduled to begin its second season in 2018, the controversy will likely continue.

From day one of the Oroville spillway crisis in February, the California Department of Water Resources has never wavered in its declarations that, despite the disintegration of the massive concrete flood control outlet — and a near-disaster caused by uncontrolled emergency reservoir flows down a rapidly eroding hillside — the stability of the massive dam itself was not and has never been threatened.

What the aye-aye and the woodpecker can tell us about how evolution works

Sep 3, 2017

Is the evolution of particular traits predictable or random? Or put it this way: If we rewound the tape on Earth’s history and started life over again from the very beginning, would the same animals — even humans — still emerge?

The sweet stories of fake fruit flavors

Sep 3, 2017

What do icy cherry popsicles, sweet grape sodas and sticky banana taffy have in common?

For one, we don’t expect them to taste much like the real fruits they’re meant to mimic — but their artificial flavors are familiar and intense, all the same. Where did these fake fruit flavors come from, and why, in 2017, do they still taste so little like the real thing?

How to make biometric technology more secure

Sep 2, 2017

Fingerprint scanners now come standard on most new smartphones, and some devices even feature iris scanners and 2-D facial recognition technology. But with every new step forward in biometrics, it seems a way to “spoof” the technology follows soon behind — from fingerprint replicas to high-resolution photographs of faces and eyes. So, what’s on the horizon in biometric security, and how can we make the technology more secure?

What happened to the moon’s magnetic field?

Sep 2, 2017

The moon doesn’t have a magnetosphere, unlike Earth. The protective bubble shields our upper atmosphere from solar wind — and, it's what makes compasses point north. But billions of years ago, scientists say, the moon did have its own magnetic field. 

Hurricane Harvey And The New Normal

Sep 2, 2017

Sweating is an essential and uniquely human function

Aug 28, 2017

Most furry mammals pant to regulate their body temperature. Other animals, like ectotherms — lizards, amphibians, and insects — have other behaviors that help keep them cool. Humans, however, are in a category of our own.

We are the only mammal that relies on secreting water onto the surface of our skin to stay cool: We call it sweating. But how did we develop this ability? When did we ditch the fur of our primate ancestors in favor of sweaty skin?

Don’t Throw Away Those Eclipse Glasses!

Aug 26, 2017

Your Teenager’s Brain Isn’t Deficient

Aug 26, 2017

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