Robert Krulwich http://kcur.org en A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around http://kcur.org/post/tough-little-droplet-fights-stick-around <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbGz1njqhxU</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtlgI34y3Wc</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 58590 at http://kcur.org A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around Tell Me, Wave, Where Did You Come From? Who Made You? http://kcur.org/post/tell-me-wave-where-did-you-come-who-made-you <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qQQXTMih1A</p> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 58447 at http://kcur.org Tell Me, Wave, Where Did You Come From? Who Made You? Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds http://kcur.org/post/watch-it-swallow-entire-tree-seconds <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYKg0gbRFns</p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 58261 at http://kcur.org Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds Her Baby Is At Risk: Lauren's Story http://kcur.org/post/her-baby-risk-laurens-story They're odds. That's all they are. Not fate, just probabilities. <a href="http://www.laurenweinstein.com/">Lauren Weinstein</a>, cartoonist, is having a baby, and she's told — out of the blue — that she and her husband are both carriers of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. They are sent to a genetic counselor. What happens next — told in five beautifully drawn, emotionally eloquent cartoons — tells what it's like to walk the edge for a few weeks. She's so many things (sad, funny, scared, puzzled), and then there's the ender. Sun, 29 Jun 2014 09:18:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 58103 at http://kcur.org Her Baby Is At Risk: Lauren's Story What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment http://kcur.org/post/what-not-serve-buzzards-lunch-glorious-science-experiment OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2014/06/25/325200399/two-glorious-science-experiments-one-about-sex-the-other-about-lunch">previous post</a>). On to lunch!<p>This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?<p>In America, back in the 1820s, everybody knew the answer. Vultures are scavengers. They eat dead things. Dead things smell. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:38:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57982 at http://kcur.org What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment Two Glorious Science Experiments: One About Sex, The Other About Lunch http://kcur.org/post/two-glorious-science-experiments-one-about-sex-other-about-lunch Done right, a good science experiment is simple, clear and revealing. Done splendidly, it's a tale you don't forget. Let's do the sex one first. It took place in Italy, in the 1760s, when a Catholic priest and scholar, <a href="http://embryo.asu.edu/pages/lazzaro-spallanzani">Lazzaro Spallanzani</a>, was thinking about sperm — which is why he decided to dress frogs in pants, like this ...<p>That's right, pants. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 15:26:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57894 at http://kcur.org Two Glorious Science Experiments: One About Sex, The Other About Lunch Man Floats Free In Hotel Corridor http://kcur.org/post/man-floats-free-hotel-corridor <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiOjKotMqO0</p> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 08:56:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57718 at http://kcur.org Man Floats Free In Hotel Corridor Wrong! Deconstructing 5 Famous History Stories http://kcur.org/post/wrong-deconstructing-5-famous-history-stories <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYzfKiIWN4g</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLvBCR1ZOVo</p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:46:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57647 at http://kcur.org Wrong! Deconstructing 5 Famous History Stories Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector http://kcur.org/post/lights-lights-lights-action-crazy-new-light-projector What can you do with a spotlight?<p>You can light a spot.<p>But what if you give yourself more options and invent a tool that lets light spill, splash or tighten into a beam as thin as a pencil line — a beam of light that can draw!<p>Draw what? Oh my God, so many things: a galloping unicorn, a friendly girl, a guy who kicks you in the face, a wormhole, a ball that splashes into a fluid, a cube, a spiral, a rabbit, a squid, a scribble.<p>There's a performer in New York who calls himself <a href="http://www.adandypunk.com/#!ego/c10fk">a dandypunk</a>. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:18:16 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57378 at http://kcur.org Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector Unstealing Treasures: A Reverse Burglary http://kcur.org/post/unstealing-treasures-reverse-burglary <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dvQDNgYmKU</p> Sat, 14 Jun 2014 09:48:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57322 at http://kcur.org Unstealing Treasures: A Reverse Burglary How We Learned That Frogs Fly http://kcur.org/post/how-we-learned-frogs-fly There are places where frogs could be — but aren't.<p>And places where frogs could be — and are.<p>Ninety years ago, scientists were debating the question of animal dispersal. How come there are kangaroos in Australia, and none in southern Africa --which seems, environmentally, very kangaroo-friendly? Certain frogs show up in warm ponds in one part of the world, but warm ponds a thousand miles away have none. Why?<p>Scientists in the 1930s hadn't yet come up with the notion of plate tectonics (that continents break up and move, carrying animals with them). Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57126 at http://kcur.org How We Learned That Frogs Fly Big Moments Get Less Weighty: Whatever Happened To Stiff Paper? http://kcur.org/post/big-moments-get-less-weighty-whatever-happened-stiff-paper It's no big deal. It shouldn't matter. I just realized that something that's been around forever, that I grew up with, took for granted and used all the time, is slowly vanishing. Now that it's going, I suddenly care and want it back again, back in my hands so I can feel its touch.<p>I'm talking about, of all things, "card stock," a phrase I didn't know until today. Sun, 08 Jun 2014 09:20:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56998 at http://kcur.org Big Moments Get Less Weighty: Whatever Happened To Stiff Paper? How Chocolate Might Save The Planet http://kcur.org/post/how-chocolate-might-save-planet When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist <a href="http://www.markmiodownik.net/Mark_Miodownik/Index-Page.html">Mark Miodownik</a>, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."<p>True, it begins with a <a href="http://www.icco.org/about-cocoa/growing-cocoa.html">cocoa bean</a> plucked from a tree. But no one would eat a raw cocoa bean. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56778 at http://kcur.org How Chocolate Might Save The Planet A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies http://kcur.org/post/little-bird-either-learns-its-name-or-dies I've been wondering lately, do animals invent names? As in names for themselves? Names for each other? I've always thought that what we do when we call ourselves "Ralph" or "Laura" is unique, something exclusively human. But it turns out that's wrong. Other animals have name-like calls that they use much like we do. I've <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2014/04/15/300136332/can-it-be-parrots-name-their-children-and-those-names-like-ours-stick-for-life">posted</a> about this before (regarding horses, dolphins and little parakeets) ...<p>... and now I've discovered a new one. Wed, 28 May 2014 16:29:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56450 at http://kcur.org A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies A Young Woman Falls In Love With Everything http://kcur.org/post/young-woman-falls-love-everything You start with difference, with mystery. Some things spiral, some become spheres, some branch, some don't. We know that inert atoms quicken, become bees, goats, clouds, then dissolve back into randomness. We look at these things, all these very, very different things, and we wonder, are they really different, or is every thing we see <em>one thing</em>, expressed differently? Does the universe have rules? How many? Could there be a single generating principle, a oneness?<p><a href="http://www.xiangjunshi.com/">Xiangjun Shi</a> is a freelance animator, a filmmaker in New York. Sun, 25 May 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56287 at http://kcur.org A Young Woman Falls In Love With Everything Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair http://kcur.org/post/jupiters-dot-and-mine-why-life-unfair When I was 9, my dad drew this picture of me. You will notice something on my left cheek — a little brown spot.<p>That's a mole. The doctor called it "a birthmark." My mom called it "a beauty mark." I was born with it. Having grown up before supermodel Cindy Crawford became famous, I was not familiar with the allure of beauty marks and, anyway, I'm a guy. My mom said it was hardly noticeable. I didn't believe her.<p>It didn't go away. Worse, in my mind it was growing bigger. In grade school, I worried that the mark on my cheek was the first thing people saw when they looked at me. Thu, 22 May 2014 18:26:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56175 at http://kcur.org Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ... http://kcur.org/post/so-what-if-its-ugly-it-just-keeps-going Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called <em>Welwitschia mirabilis</em> (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.<p><a href="http://www.conifers.org/we/Welwitschiaceae.php">Welwitschia</a>, when you finally get to see one, sits apart. It's very alone. All its relatives, its cousins, nieces, nephews have died away. Wed, 21 May 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56082 at http://kcur.org So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ... Intriguing Lime-Green Blobs Appear In The Andes Mountains. Are They Alive? http://kcur.org/post/intriguing-lime-green-blobs-appear-andes-mountains-are-they-alive <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvKxdZbBm8</p> Sun, 18 May 2014 09:27:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55916 at http://kcur.org Intriguing Lime-Green Blobs Appear In The Andes Mountains. Are They Alive? When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data http://kcur.org/post/when-numbers-bleed-freeze-starve-and-die-battlefield-dark-poetry-data <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T7jMcstxY0</p> Fri, 16 May 2014 16:25:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55852 at http://kcur.org When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution http://kcur.org/post/how-marry-right-girl-mathematical-solution Poor Johannes Kepler. One of the <a href="http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/JohannesKepler/">greatest astronomers</a> ever, the man who figured out the laws of planetary motion, a genius, scholar and mathematician — in 1611, he needed a wife. The previous Mrs. Kepler had died of Hungarian spotted fever, so, with kids to raise and a household to manage, he decided to line up some candidates — but it wasn't going very well.<p>Being an orderly man, he decided to interview 11 women. Thu, 15 May 2014 10:49:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55755 at http://kcur.org How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution Did Homer Simpson Actually Solve Fermat's Last Theorem? Take A Look http://kcur.org/post/did-homer-simpson-actually-solve-fermats-last-theorem-take-look <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReOQ300AcSU</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hx7LkaTnnM</p> Sun, 11 May 2014 09:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55545 at http://kcur.org Did Homer Simpson Actually Solve Fermat's Last Theorem? Take A Look Draw My Left! No, No, My Other Left! A Hidden Bias In Art History Revealed http://kcur.org/post/draw-my-left-no-no-my-other-left-hidden-bias-art-history-revealed Look at this guy.<p>He is half-smiley, half-frowny. I drew the mouth carefully to make it equal parts sad and happy.<p>But when you look at him — take him in whole — would you say he's having a good day or a bad day?<p>Most people would say: good day. Wed, 07 May 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55346 at http://kcur.org Draw My Left! No, No, My Other Left! A Hidden Bias In Art History Revealed Listen To These Lovely Cats. No, Actually, Don't http://kcur.org/post/listen-these-lovely-cats-no-actually-dont <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbmObjwrB5U</p> Sun, 04 May 2014 09:05:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55191 at http://kcur.org Listen To These Lovely Cats. No, Actually, Don't 'Wassup, Sheep?' He Asked http://kcur.org/post/wassup-sheep-he-asked <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFJRjVy5HdY</p> Fri, 02 May 2014 14:37:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 55121 at http://kcur.org 'Wassup, Sheep?' He Asked Plants Talk. Plants Listen. Here's How http://kcur.org/post/plants-talk-plants-listen-heres-how They don't have eyes. Or ears. Or what we would call a nervous system. But plants can talk. And they listen. Let me show you how.<p>First, we'll need a plant eater. This one's perfect: It's an aphid, a hungry little critter who loves to munch on fresh, green leaves ...<p>Next, we arrange lunch. We choose a bunch of young, healthy bean plants with lots of broad, green leaves ...<p>Then we carefully drop our aphid (make that many aphids) onto the bean plants, where they land and begin to chew. Tue, 29 Apr 2014 18:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54952 at http://kcur.org Plants Talk. Plants Listen. Here's How Come Dance With Me http://kcur.org/post/come-dance-me <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_bX0T76X8U</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvY7Nw1i6Kw</p> Sat, 26 Apr 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54810 at http://kcur.org Come Dance With Me 'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The U.S.A. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart http://kcur.org/post/dont-touch-me-said-canada-i-wont-said-usa-so-they-moved-20-feet-apart <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkYlIA7mgw</p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:32:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54765 at http://kcur.org 'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The U.S.A. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart Music That Burns, Literally http://kcur.org/post/music-burns-literally <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2awbKQ2DLRE</p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54635 at http://kcur.org Music That Burns, Literally Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? http://kcur.org/post/introducing-divorce-rate-birds-and-guess-which-bird-never-ever-divorces There is love. And then there's albatross love.<p>In his new book, <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/292015411/the-thing-with-feathers-the-surprising-lives-of-birds-and-what-they-reveal-about" target="_blank">The Thing With Feathers</a>, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. "These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet," he writes.<p>Noah knows "love" is a word normally reserved for humans. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:10:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54553 at http://kcur.org Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes http://kcur.org/post/so-how-they-do-it-zebras-getting-stripes How did it happen? How'd the zebra get its stripes?<p>In <a href="http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/leopard.htm" target="_blank">Rudyard </a><a href="http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/leopard.htm" target="_blank">Kipling's version</a>, a gray, horsey-looking beast went into "a great forest 'sclusively full of trees and bushes and stripy, speckly, patchy-batchy shadows," stayed there awhile, and after a "long time"... got stripy.<p>OK. Not bad.<p>Here's another notion, this one from <a href="http://www.ricardosolisart.com/">Ricardo Solis</a>, an artist working in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54444 at http://kcur.org So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes