Science

3:04am

Tue July 31, 2012
Space

Telescope Targets Black Holes' Binges And Burps

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 5:45 am

The NuSTAR telescope, seen in this artist's illustration, will soon be sending back data that researchers will use to study black holes.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's newest space telescope will start searching the universe for black holes on Wednesday. Scientists hope the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which launched about six weeks ago and is now flying about 350 miles above the Earth, will help shed some light on the mysteries of these space oddities.

Mission control for the telescope is a small room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, where about a dozen people with headsets rarely look up from their screens.

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8:56am

Mon July 30, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Embarrassed By Your Olympic Javelin: Did Cavemen Do It Better?

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 11:23 am

Ian Walton Getty Images

Stronger, faster, fiercer, finer. That's what the Olympics promise us — higher performance, new world records. But not if you throw things.

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4:24am

Sat July 28, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Weekend Special: The Miracle Of The Felt-Tipped Pen

BMJ Case Reports

I guess things get swallowed all the time, but this tale (from a hospital case study in Devon, in Britain) tells us something extraordinary about felt-tip pens. (If you look at this woman's stomach, there's a pen in there near the top.)

It's called "An incidental finding of a gastric foreign body 25 years after ingestion," by Oliver Richard Waters, Tawfique Daneshmend, Tarek Shirazi, in BMJ Case Reports from 2011.

Here's the full report:

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5:02am

Fri July 27, 2012
Science

Did Beijing Medal In Pollution Cuts?

Beijing's traffic cuts during the 2008 Olympics reduced smog—and greenhouse gas emissions.
Noel Hidalgo Flickr – Creative Commons

As the Summer Olympic Games get underway today in London, researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder have been looking back to the last games. The effort to clear the skies in Beijing was also a perfect experiment for climate scientists.

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10:10am

Tue July 24, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Which Is Bigger: A Human Brain Or The Universe?

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 11:46 am

Robert Krulwich NPR

This is one of those fun-to-think-about questions. A brain isn't much to look at, after all. It's about the size of your two fists put together, three pounds to hold, but oh my, what it can do.

With our brains, we can think backwards, imagine forwards, conjure, create things that don't exist, leap vast distances. For example, suppose I say to you, close your eyes and imagine this:

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