Science

5:00am

Mon March 16, 2015
Tasty Science

Is Fat The Sixth Taste? Denver Museum Goers Help Scientists With Mystery

Desiree Baca takes a taste test at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Her results, and those of hundreds of other visitors, are helping scientists learn if humans can taste fat.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, children and their parents meander through the Expedition Health exhibit, chattering about science and bodies, peering through microscopes and conducting experiments.

A set of glass doors abuts the exhibit, and every once in a while, after a quick chat with a museum volunteer, a family makes its way through the doors.

Today, that family is the Bacas -- Tim, and daughters Raveania and Desiree, ages 12 and 11, from Aurora. They sit at a tall lab bench, and listen as Anjelica Miranda, dressed in a white lab coat, guides them through a taste test.

The Bacas are not aware of it yet, but they are taking part in one of the most unique science experiments in the country. Their taste test results, combined with that of hundreds of other museum visitors, may help scientists discover the genetic underpinnings of a si

xth taste.

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3:04am

Thu March 12, 2015
Science

Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 9:01 am

A new analysis suggests that Enceladus' ocean is being heated from the bottom up. That could explain plumes of ice seen at its south pole.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole.

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5:00am

Mon February 16, 2015
Agriculture

Colorado Tech Start Ups Bet The Farm On Agricultural Drones

Farmers want to use drones to scope out problem spots in crops fields or check in on livestock.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A highly anticipated batch of federal laws governing the use of drones could change the regulatory landscape and lead to an explosion in drone use by farmers.

Farmers see drones as a way to get a birds-eye view of their fields to find problem patches with crops. That information can allow farmers to be more precise with fertilizers and pesticides and, ultimately, save them money. But getting them in the sky without running afoul of federal regulation is proving to be a challenge.

Commercial use of drones is still widely banned in the U.S., though some companies have secured exemptions. Other farmers have gone rogue, flying drones over their property without all the proper permissions, daring federal regulators to put a stop to it. But the new federal rules due out later this year are expected to usher in a new era of farm machinery.

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3:04am

Tue January 13, 2015
Animals

Good News For Bats! Things Are Looking Up For Stemming Disease Spread

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:01 am

This October 2008 photo, provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, shows a brown bat with its nose crusted in fungus.
Ryan von Linden AP

The bat disease known as white-nose syndrome has been spreading fast, killing millions of animals. But for the first time, scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering and new breakthroughs could help researchers develop better strategies for helping bats survive.

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5:00am

Mon January 12, 2015
Agriculture

Hemp's Legality Has Stunted Research, But That's Starting To Change

Some hemp varieties can grow up to 20 feet tall, like this plant growing in a Lafayette, Colorado warehouse.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. Studies underway now are examining how different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine. There’s hope its chemical compounds could hold keys to medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.

Scientists studying industrial hemp say the plant holds a tremendous amount of promise. But to unlock its potential there’s very basic scientific research to be done.

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