science

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.

Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoman Collection / Doubleday

Even suave people blunder a bit here and there, but research suggests those weird traits have some advantages. Today, we look at the science behind social awkwardness. Then, we learn how vast new oil wealth among Oklahoma's Osage tribe engendered a heart-rending greed that led to a series of murders in the 1920s, and helped the fledgling FBI make a name for itself.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A short march from 27th and Grand to Washington Square Park kicked off Kansas City's "March for Science" Saturday morning. One of hundreds around the world, the event was intended "to voice the critical role that science plays in each of our lives."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Pianist Steven Spooner wanted to do something big to commemorate the careers of his favorite musicians. Spooner explains why he spent 19 months creating "Dedications," 16 albums-worth of music devoted to some of the great piano masters.

Then, on Earth Day people in more than 100 cities are taking to the streets to March For Science. The rally is a response to what organizers say is a political climate that threatens science's role in the country.

GarrettTT / Flickr -- CC

When you flip a light switch or plug something into an outlet, something usually happens. Lights come on, iPhones get charged. But where does that energy come from in Kansas City? How are we using it, and what is the future of energy here?

Then, the story of Aldo Leopold, a Missourian and a passionate early writer about nature and conservation.

Guests:

Luke Andrew Scowen / Flickr -- CC

In this encore presentationfrom weeds to wonder, we revisit those pesky oak mites that might soon be returning, and hear from a local seed collector on the stories she's reaped. Plus, how one local artist draws on Kansas City stories and the materials that grow wild in backyards and along highways.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For all the times that scientific research has improved our lives, there are other times when science got it horribly wrong. Today, Dr. Paul Offit describes the lessons we have learned, and should be learning, to separate good science from bad.

The new Kansas City label Haymaker Records just released a compilation album featuring local artists. After a taste of the album, we pivot from "math rock" to straight up science, with one KU sociologist whose research sheds light on a connection between success in life and genetic makeup.

Kansas City Fashion Week

Kansas City takes the nickname 'Paris of the Plains' seriously, and not just because of our fountains. Today, we learn why Kansas City Fashion Week has designers, photographers, models, makeup artists, and stylists gathered in the Heartland. Then, the director of the Vatican Observatory looks at the intersection of religion and science. He'll also answer an "age-old" question for us: Should extraterrestrials be baptized?

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Geneticist Scott Hawley has a way with words — especially when it comes to explaining science to non-scientists.

For example, he remembers the connections he made the first time he saw "Star Warswhen he was in graduate school.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's a man with many titles: investigator; Dean of the Graduate School at the Stowers Institute; Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at KU Med; Adjunct Professor at UMKC. We hear about how his career has its roots in a high school gym class ... and what exactly he does in his lab.

Plus, a report from SXSW on the MidCoast Takeover, a showcase of KC bands.

Guests:

Universal Pictures

How many times has terrible science kept you from enjoying a sci-fi movie? From hits like I Am Legend to the classic Soylent Green, we explore the science behind these (and other) movies, and how they relate to real life.

A researcher with the federal Agricultural Research Service studies a sample at a vault preserving genetic material in Fort Collins, Colorado.
File: Grace Hood / for Harvest Public Media

Update 1/25/2017: The Agricultural Research Service rescinded its initial directive in an email to employees Tuesday evening.

Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), received an email from the division’s chief of staff ordering them to stop publicizing their work.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

Bird watchers in the Kansas City area and across the United States are finalizing their annual Christmas Bird Count tallies. The census, run by the National Audubon Society, ends Thursday and provides a snapshot of bird species and populations.                               

TEDxKC

For the second year running, Up To Date has invited presenters from TEDxKC to fill us in on their work.

Gabriel Pollard / Flickr -- CC

An interview with KC CARE Clinic's Sally Neville, who spent more than 20 years caring for HIV/AIDS patients; when she retired this month, the program she ran was one of the most successful in the country.

In the past, scientists made a lot of assumptions about ferns and how they reproduce — these assumptions turned out to be false. A chat with the KU professor who is correcting the scientific record about ferns.

Plus, an encore presentation of the story of a family's Christmas tape from 1968.

Guests:

A building on Monsanto's Chesterfield, Missouri, research campus.
file: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Shareholders of agricultural seed and chemical giant Monsanto agreed to a merger Tuesday, moving the controversial deal one-step closer to fruition.

German drug and chemical maker Bayer plans to pay shareholders $66 billion to take over Missouri-based Monsanto. That breaks down to $128 per share if the merger closes.

Field agronomist Angie Rieck-Hinz counts rows of corn in a study in Wright County, Iowa.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

As another harvest season wraps up, Midwest farmers are once again facing low commodity prices amid enormous supplies. And when they recover from the long days bringing in the grain, they will eventually sit down with their books and try to figure out how best to farm again next year.

The story of how a local art gallery curator, while on his honeymoon in Guatemala, came across the intricate embroidery work of Antonio Ramirez Sosof, a self-taught artist who used to be a lumberjack.

Plus, an encore presentation of how a KU professor discovered that Neanderthals adorned their bodies with eagle talon jewelry.

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