Joe Palca http://kcur.org en A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes http://kcur.org/post/crispr-way-fix-faulty-genes Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.<p>"It's really powerful, it's a really exciting development," says <a href="http://profiles.umassmed.edu/profiles/display/129741">Craig Mello</a> of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:19:00 +0000 Joe Palca 58006 at http://kcur.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder http://kcur.org/post/phone-app-might-predict-manic-episodes-bipolar-disorder There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. Sat, 31 May 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Joe Palca 56611 at http://kcur.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder The First American Teenager, Millennia-Old And Underwater http://kcur.org/post/first-american-teenager-millennia-old-and-underwater Transcript <p>TESS VIGELAND, HOST: <p>From the studios of NPR West in Culver City, California it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'M Tess Vigeland. Let us contemplate the American teenage girl, perhaps the very first one. Apparently, there's been some scientific debate about who she is and whether she hails from the same gene sequence as what we think of as the first Americans, American Indians. And when I say gene sequence, we're not talking about Skinnies from Urban Outfitters. Sun, 18 May 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Joe Palca 55933 at http://kcur.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer http://kcur.org/post/faith-drives-father-create-test-childhood-cancer When Bryan and Elizabeth Shaw learned that their son Noah had a potentially deadly eye cancer, like a lot of people, they turned to their religious faith to help sustain them. But faith is also impelling Bryan Shaw to create software to detect eye cancer in children as soon after birth as possible.<p>The Shaws are Christians, and their faith is extremely important to them. When they were at their bleakest, "Bryan would pull out the Psalms and say, 'This is how King David suffered in the Psalms, and we're going through this," says Elizabeth. Wed, 07 May 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 55340 at http://kcur.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis http://kcur.org/post/chemist-turns-software-developer-after-sons-cancer-diagnosis A scientist's ambitious plan to create an early detection system for eye cancer using people's home cameras is coming along.<p>Last fall, we told you about Bryan Shaw's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/05/243189819/how-pictures-of-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer">scheme</a>. He believes parents' cameras can reveal whether their baby has <a href="http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/67">leukocoria</a>, a white glow coming from the pupil when you shine a light in their eyes. Tue, 06 May 2014 07:37:00 +0000 Joe Palca 55278 at http://kcur.org Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick http://kcur.org/post/clean-drinking-water-all-you-need-stick Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.<p>The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.<p>Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.<p>MIT's <a href="http://meche.mit.edu/people/?id=279">Rohit Karnik</a> is a mechanical engineer who works on water technologies. He says it's relatively easy to make membranes that can filter the bacteria out of water. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:14:00 +0000 Joe Palca 52203 at http://kcur.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives http://kcur.org/post/inexpensive-aquarium-bubbler-saves-preemies-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 50703 at http://kcur.org Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives Scientists Come Close To Finding True Magnetic Monopole http://kcur.org/post/scientists-come-close-finding-true-magnetic-monopole Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Scientists may have filled in a gap in one the fundamental theories of physics. We've always been told that magnets have two poles, north and south. But theory suggests there should be something called a magnetic monopole, a magnet that has either a north pole or a south pole but not both of them. So far no one has found this elusive magnetic monopole.<p>As part of his project, Joe's Big Idea, NPR's Joe Palca brings us the story of scientists at Amherst College in Massachusetts. They have created a synthetic magnetic monopole. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 10:04:00 +0000 Joe Palca 50555 at http://kcur.org After Hibernation, Rosetta Seeks Its Stone http://kcur.org/post/after-hibernation-rosetta-seeks-its-stone Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is back in business. For the past 31 months, the spacecraft has effectively been asleep. Most of its instruments were shut off to save energy, including the radio for communicating with Earth. Mission managers can now start preparing Rosetta for a rendezvous with a comet later this year. NPR's Joe Palca has more.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Rosetta went into hibernation in June 2011. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Joe Palca 50077 at http://kcur.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity http://kcur.org/post/saving-babies-lives-starts-aquarium-pumps-and-ingenuity <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:52:00 +0000 Joe Palca 49270 at http://kcur.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives http://kcur.org/post/coolest-thing-ever-how-robotic-arm-changed-4-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jbEvhFzQM</p> Thu, 28 Nov 2013 08:05:00 +0000 Joe Palca 47528 at http://kcur.org 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer http://kcur.org/post/how-pictures-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer Bryan Shaw never expected to write a research paper about a rare eye cancer.<p>He's a <a href="http://www.baylor.edu/chemistry/index.php?id=75907">chemist</a> who works on how <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24066782">metals and proteins interact</a>. But life has a funny way of interrupting the best-laid plans, and now Shaw may be on to a powerful new way to detect <a href="http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/retinoblastoma/blastoma.asp">retinoblastoma</a> in newborns. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:48:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46402 at http://kcur.org How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer Jupiter Or Bust, But First A Quick Fly-By Of Home http://kcur.org/post/jupiter-or-bust-first-quick-fly-home After traveling for more than two years and some 1 billion miles, NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter is back where it started. Almost. At 3:21 p.m. ET Wednesday, the Juno space probe will be 347 miles away from Earth, just above the southern tip of Africa.<p>(As an aside, at around 11:30 a.m. ET, it was more than 90,000 miles away.)<p>It's not that Juno got homesick — the return to Earth was a necessity. To send it on a direct path to Jupiter would have required a more powerful rocket than the United Launch Alliance Atlas V-551. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:30:00 +0000 Joe Palca 44936 at http://kcur.org Jupiter Or Bust, But First A Quick Fly-By Of Home Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope http://kcur.org/post/treating-kids-cancer-science-and-pocket-full-hope Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what <a href="https://www.fhcrc.org/en/diseases/featured-researchers/olson-jim.html">Jim Olson</a> is like.<p>He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 07:03:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43574 at http://kcur.org Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better http://kcur.org/post/why-painting-tumors-could-make-brain-surgeons-bette Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.<p>Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 07:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43505 at http://kcur.org Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere http://kcur.org/post/coronal-holes-rarely-round-gaps-suns-atmosphere There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.<p>"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/team/team_pesnell.php">Dean Pesnell</a>, project scientist for NASA's <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/team/team_pesnell.php">Solar Dynamics Observatory</a>. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."<p>That's because you have to look at wavelengths of light that the human eye can't see. Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:38:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43166 at http://kcur.org Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes http://kcur.org/post/inside-story-fear-holes Trypophobia may be moving out of the urban dictionary and into the <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/23/0956797613484937.abstract">scientific literature</a>.<p>A recent study in the peer-review journal <em>Psychological Science</em> takes a first crack at explaining why some people may suffer from a fear of holes.<p>Trypophobia may be hard to find in textbooks and diagnostic manuals, but a brief Web search will show that plenty of people appear to have it.<p>There's even a website, <a href="http://trypophobia.com/">trypophobia.com</a>, that explains the problem like this:<p Wed, 04 Sep 2013 19:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43096 at http://kcur.org The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? http://kcur.org/post/year-mars-whats-curiosity-been Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.<p>Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. Mon, 05 Aug 2013 07:22:00 +0000 Joe Palca 41394 at http://kcur.org A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? If You Want A Doughnut Hole, Don't Ask A Mathematician http://kcur.org/post/if-you-want-donut-hole-dont-ask-mathematician Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>A program such as ours is timed to the exact second, and occasionally, there are small holes when our mix of news and features doesn't quite fill up our two-hour slot.<p>So NPR's Joe Palca offered to come to our rescue with some short math and sciencey hole-filling stories, stories about what else - holes.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Today, we're going to talk about doughnut holes, those round things you buy in a bakery. Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Joe Palca 40859 at http://kcur.org All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood http://kcur.org/post/all-charged-engineers-create-battery-made-wood The big idea behind <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/156490415/joes-big-idea">Joe's Big Idea</a> is to report on interesting inventions and inventors. Wed, 17 Jul 2013 07:01:00 +0000 Joe Palca 40325 at http://kcur.org All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors http://kcur.org/post/sharpest-views-scope-sky-quick-change-mirrors It used to be that if astronomers wanted to get rid of the blurring effects of the atmosphere, they had to put their telescopes in space. But a technology called adaptive optics has changed all that.<p>Adaptive optics systems use computers to analyze the light coming from a star, and then compensate for changes wrought by the atmosphere, using mirrors that can change their shapes up to 1,000 times per second. Mon, 24 Jun 2013 08:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 39015 at http://kcur.org For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors Asparagus Helps Lower Blood Pressure (At Least In Rats) http://kcur.org/post/asparagus-helps-lower-blood-pressure-least-rats Here's another reason to eat asparagus, in case you were looking for one.<p>Researchers at the <a href="http://www.eiyo.ac.jp/english/e_index.html">Kagawa Nutrition University</a> in Japan fed a diet consisting of 5 percent asparagus to rats with high blood pressure. Sat, 08 Jun 2013 12:35:00 +0000 Joe Palca 38175 at http://kcur.org Asparagus Helps Lower Blood Pressure (At Least In Rats) Beneath A Glacier's White, Researchers See Green http://kcur.org/post/beneath-glaciers-white-researchers-see-green In the news business, an evergreen is a story that doesn't have to run on a particular day, but can stay fresh for a long time.<p>This is an evergreen story about an evergreen. In particular, a group of plants called <a href="http://herbarium.duke.edu/collections/bryophytes">bryophytes</a>. Turns out they may be evergreen quite a bit longer than most people thought.<p>The most famous bryophyte of them all is moss. Mon, 27 May 2013 21:17:00 +0000 Joe Palca 37444 at http://kcur.org Beneath A Glacier's White, Researchers See Green The Weight Of A Med Student's Subconscious Bias http://kcur.org/post/weight-med-students-subconscious-bias Quite a few medical school students have something against obese people, and most of those who have such a bias are unaware of it.<p>That's the conclusion of study appearing in the July issue of <em>Academic Medicine. </em>It was conducted at the <a href="http://www.wakehealth.edu/About-the-School-of-Medicine/">Wake Forest School of Medicine</a> in Winston-Salem, N.C. Thu, 23 May 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Joe Palca 37278 at http://kcur.org The Weight Of A Med Student's Subconscious Bias Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide http://kcur.org/post/atop-hawaiian-mountain-constant-sniff-carbon-dioxide Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations.<p>Starting in 1958, scientists from the Scripps Institution for Oceanography have been using an instrument on the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii to measure CO<sub>2</sub> in the atmosphere. Fri, 10 May 2013 19:17:00 +0000 Joe Palca 36542 at http://kcur.org Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide Wake Up And Smell The Tuna? Sunrise At Honolulu's Fish Auction http://kcur.org/post/wake-and-smell-tuna-sunrise-honolulus-fish-auction If you are up at 5 in the morning in Honolulu and are wondering what to do, I have a suggestion: Head over to Pier 38 and watch the Honolulu Fish Auction. It's quite a scene.<p>Getting up at 5 may seem a bit extreme, but for recent arrivals to Hawaii from the East Coast of the mainland — as I was last Friday — the six-hour time difference makes waking up early easy, if not inevitable.<p>The auction takes place in a low-slung single-story building toward the end of the pier. At about 1 a.m., fishing boats start bringing in their catch. Tue, 07 May 2013 16:04:00 +0000 Joe Palca 36312 at http://kcur.org Wake Up And Smell The Tuna? Sunrise At Honolulu's Fish Auction Envisioning The Future With Cori Lathan http://kcur.org/post/envisioning-future-cori-lathan Computers were created to be useful tools, but all too often it's still a chore to get technology to do our bidding.<p><a href="http://www.anthrotronix.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=155">Corinna Lathan</a> imagines a future that's no longer a chore, where computers understand our wants and needs so well that we don't even have to think about telling them what to do. She's an inventor who has started her own company, <a href="http://www.anthrotronix.com/index.php">AnthroTronix</a>, to make that kind of intuitive technology part of our lives. Tue, 07 May 2013 06:59:00 +0000 Joe Palca 36291 at http://kcur.org Envisioning The Future With Cori Lathan Kepler Telescope Spots 3 New Planets In The 'Goldilocks Zone' http://kcur.org/post/kepler-telescope-spots-3-new-planets-goldilocks-zone Astronomers have found three planets orbiting far-off stars that are close to Earth-sized and in the "habitable zone": a distance from their suns that makes the planets' surfaces neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.<p>One of the three planets orbits a star with the prosaic name Kepler-69.<p>"Kepler-69 is a sun-like star," says <a href="http://www.tombarclay.com/blog/?page_id=2">Thomas Barclay</a>, a research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute who uses the <a href="http://kepler.nasa.gov/">Kepler space telescope</a>, which is on a mission to search for Earth-lik Thu, 18 Apr 2013 19:26:00 +0000 Joe Palca 35323 at http://kcur.org Kepler Telescope Spots 3 New Planets In The 'Goldilocks Zone' Wanna Play? Computer Gamers Help Push Frontier Of Brain Research http://kcur.org/post/wanna-play-computer-gamers-help-push-frontier-brain-research People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them. Now some scientists are hoping to make use of all that human capital and harness it for a good cause.<p>Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. Tue, 05 Mar 2013 08:39:00 +0000 Joe Palca 32940 at http://kcur.org Wanna Play? Computer Gamers Help Push Frontier Of Brain Research Cheesecake Factory, IBM Team Up To Crack The Code Of Customer Bliss http://kcur.org/post/cheesecake-factory-ibm-team-crack-code-customer-bliss Consider the following entirely fictitious but totally plausible scenario:<p>A diner at the <a href="http://cheesecakeinternational.com/">Kuwait City</a> branch of The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain complains to his waiter that the pickles in his <a href="http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/menu/glamburgers/double_cheese_crunch_burger">Americana Cheeseburger</a> (American and cheddar cheese, crunchy potato crisps, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, pickles and secret sauce) had a funny texture. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:52:00 +0000 Joe Palca 32641 at http://kcur.org Cheesecake Factory, IBM Team Up To Crack The Code Of Customer Bliss