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science

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

In a famous segment from Walt Disney’s 1940 film “Fantasia,” Mickey Mouse is a sorcerer’s apprentice tormented by a broom that he brings to life to help with his chores. At one point, Mickey completely loses it, grabs an ax and savagely chops the cheery, bouncing broom into splinters.

But the story doesn’t end there. As Mickey walks away, the splinters begin to wiggle and regrow, until each one become a new broom.

GOOGLE

Segment 1: The mindset of asylum-seekers in Trump's America.

Sticking to his campaign promise of strictly enforcing the law at our southern border, President Trump's immigration policies resulted in thousands of migrant children being seperated from their parents. Though he ended that policy with an executive order last week, families crossing illegally are still being detained with children. Today, we heard a first-hand account of what it's like living in a family detention center.

Segment 1: How the invention of velcro inspired a scientific discipline.

Learn about bio-mimicry, where scientists use to solve modern day problems with natural world solutions. 

  • Becky Plumberg, educator, Science City

Segment 2, beginning at 14:20: Why a local artist uses lasers to craft traditional folk art.

After moving to the United States from Slovakia, a local artist turned to crafts to connect with her homeland.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

A team of paleontologists from the University of Kansas is resuming its work in Montana, excavating what appears to be a very rare dinosaur fossil: a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex. 

KU paleontologist David Burnham said the excavation began in 2016, but the team is returning to the site this summer hoping to find more pieces of the T-rex. 

Oscar Sanisidro / KU

Silvisaurus condrayi, the only dinosaur known to have lived on the land that is now Kansas, is strutting its stuff again in Lawrence.

The dinosaur's skeleton is featured in a new exhibit at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum, along with an interactive display with images of the creature and the environment where it lived 100 million years ago.

Segment 1: The ancient civilization that once thrived in Kansas.

About a year ago, a researcher at Wichita State University found the city of Etzanoa, an indigenous settlement that once thrived in Kansas. Limited tours for the public are just now getting started, but accessing the site can be hard: there's a modern city on top of the ancient one.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: County lawmaker says citizens think a charter change "should have been done before."

Ray Swi-hymn / Flickr - CC

Record lows in Kansas City this past weekend were Greenland's fault, according to one University of Kansas professor. Greenland, as in the massive, ice-covered island in the North Atlantic Ocean.

"Spring is always pretty variable, and there can be this whiplash of cold and warm and cold again. That's, in some sense, just life on the Plains," says David Mechem, professor of geography and atmospheric science at KU.

Segment 1: Memories of the wild west are kept alive in Johnson County park.

For many kids who grew up near Antioch Park, 'Dodge Town' has been a place to relive the wild west. As the playground prepares to re-open after being remodeled, we take a nostalgic look back.

  • Scott Wilson, writer and editor

Segment 2, beginning at 11:51: Mary Shelley's classic novel celebrates bicentennial anniversary.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Buzzing outside Flarsheim Hall on the grounds of the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus Friday morning sounded like a scourge of mosquitoes.

The drone demonstration outside the School of Computing and Engineering was intended to help university leaders announce that the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research had awarded the university a $7.2 million grant and a $7.7 million contract to develop countermeasures to drone threats.

The funding is the largest federal amount received by UMKC for non-health related research.

Segment 1: Meet Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

He's a screenwriter and producer who is originally from KCK. Last week, he was in a photo of black creatives in Hollywood that went viral. Hear his story — and how that photo changed how some people see race in the industry.

  • Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Executive Producer of "S.W.A.T." on CBS

Segment 2, beginning at 17:56: Mosquito experts swarm KC.

NASA

Segment 1: How 4,000 years of writing shaped history, people and civilization.

From the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the clay tablets it was written on in 2000 B.C. to the downloadable content of today, literature and the writing technologies that go along with it have allowed humans to make sense of the world, says Martin Puchner, general editor of "The Norton Anthology of World Literature." Today, he explained how written stories are the foundation of our modern world.

Drag Queen Storytime; Why Birds Matter

Feb 6, 2018
Mary Nemecek / Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City

According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, this is the year of the dog. But National Geographic says otherwise, naming 2018 as 'year of the bird' in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Today, we speak with a photographer who captured moments of bird migration across the world and with local bird watchers right here in Kansas City.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Scott Hawley is a geneticist at the Stowers Institute. In this encore presentation, we hear how his career has its roots in a high school gym class ... and how that influences his work today.

Plus: get to know the man behind your morning commute. He shares a story about the time he spent New Year's Eve playing Missile Command.

Guests:

When it comes to fighting for a cause, some may picture protestors chaining themselves to machinery or going on hunger strikes. But a former journalist in Kansas fought a proposal for saltwater injection wells in a different way: she read a lot of documents and examined the tiny administrative details.

Then: two area researchers on how dogs and humans became friends, then an encore presentation of how a local musician found one family's long-lost Christmas tape at a thrift store.

Guests:

On this December arts show: the story behind "Uplift," a new exhibit that's inspired by ladders, and a local science fiction writer on her book, which takes place in the aftermath of the second civil war in the United States.

Plus: pajamas and punk rock at the museum? The Nelson hosts a pj party for grown-ups, featuring the music of The Architects. We catch up with drummer Adam Phillips ... and talk about fuzzy onesies.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The election results are official. The big surprises: The single-terminal proposal at Kansas City International Airport is an overwhelming "go," and Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland was unseated by challenger David Alvey. Today, we discuss the impacts Tuesday's elections will have on the metro.

Wikimedia Commons

During the Vietnam War, military conflict in Southeast Asia aggravated flaring social issues back home. Today, we discuss how activism during the war advanced the fight for civil rights on many fronts, and how mass protests then compare to today's resistance movements. Then, renowned biographer Walter Issacson takes us into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

El-Toro / Flickr - CC

For migrants attempting to illegally cross the deserts guarding our border with Mexico, survival is far from a given. Today, we revisit a conversation with anthropologist Lori Baker about how forensic science is helping identify the unfortunate travelers who perish and return their remains to loved ones. Then, guest host Sam Zeff explores how mass shootings affect the likelihood that new gun laws will be passed with Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

You could be forgiven for not realizing there's an organization based in Kansas City that's helping people around the world gain access to sanitation and clean water. Today, we meet the CEO and co-founder of Water.org. Then, astrophysicist Angela Speck returns to discuss what the scientific community learned from the eclipse on August 21. We also find out what it was like for folks living in St. Joseph, Missouri, to play host to more than 80,000 total eclipse tourists.

Public Domain

They may be icons of the old west, but cowboys aren't just an American phenomenon. Today, we learn the long history of the horseback herdsmen, whose roots go back to Africa. Then, we discuss climate change and the complexities of reducing fossil fuel use with environmentalist Bill McKibben. Later, we ask Sam Cossman why on earth he climbs into active volcanoes and what he hopes to gain from doing so.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With ice caps shrinking and global temperatures on the rise, animals who live in the Arctic Circle are at increasing risk. Today, we speak with two scientists from Polar Bears International who spent their summer in and around the Arctic studying the namesake animal of that organization. With less ice on which to hunt, will the iconic northern predator adapt in time to avoid extinction?

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the country prepared for the first total solar eclipse over the continental United States in decades, the Up To Date crew headed into the path of totality for a live broadcast from Parkville, Missouri, and the campus of Park University. We found out why scientists, students and historians were excited about the celestial event.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Just hours ahead of the total eclipse of the sun, Central Standard broadcasts live from Parkville, Missouri. We hear from KCUR reporters along the path of totality, as well as scientists and historians who traveled across the country to see this rare celestial event.

Guests:

Takeshi Kuboki / Flickr - CC

Birds, bees, fish, and all sorts of other animals exponentially expand their intelligence and abilities when they cluster together in swarms. Can humans do the same? Today, we find out how researchers are harnessing the benefits of the hive mind to create smarter, safer artificial intelligence.

Catherine Wheeler / KCUR 89.3

As scientists and observers stake out their spots for next week's eclipse, Northland schools are already in a prime location to share science with their students.

Monday is the fourth day of school for North Kansas City, which lies in the path of totality. The district is using the day to celebrate the eclipse and make it a day to experience science, says NKC science instructional coordinator Jessica Nolin.

Todd Feeback / ShadowLight Images

At his sculptor's stand, paleoartist Gary Staab adjusted the expression on a 125-million-year-old predator in pursuit of prey.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

“Let’s go divas, let’s go!” the girls chant, before dissolving into giggles.

On the last day of a Kansas City Public Schools-sponsored summer camp, students cheer on their friends in an engineering challenge.

Paul Sableman / Flickr - CC

Violent crime rates in Kansas City are on the rise, yet again. Today, we hear the first installment of KCUR's "The Argument," a reporting series that looks beyond the worrying statistics, and into the arguments that escalate to homicide. Then, we discuss how an 1878 eclipse, similar to the one that will cross the country on August 21, catalyzed scientific thought in America.

Quixotic Cirque Nouveau

For centuries, research about women has been flawed. Today, we learn how gender and cultural bias has affected scientific study.  Author and journalist Angela Saine says new research refutes the long-held view that women are inferior. Also, we explore the creative process behind the Kansas City performance art group Quixotic.

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