Nell Greenfieldboyce | KUNC

Nell Greenfieldboyce

Nell Greenfieldboyce joined NPR News in January 2005 to cover the media organization's newly created technology beat for NPR's science desk. The Johns Hopkins alumna has reported on topics such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal laws surrounding new technology. Her primary interest is researching how applied science and technology connects with people and culture.

Greenfieldboyce's features can currently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but before her life at NPR she worked for magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist. After working in print for ten years, Greenfieldboyce is excited to explore the field of radio and the added effects sound can bring to a piece.

In addition to receiving her B.A. in social sciences and a M.A. in science writing from Johns Hopkins, Greenfieldboyce also taught science writing for four years at the university. Greenfieldboyce was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

Greenfieldboyce lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., and does a bit of rug-hooking in her free time, creating complicated geometric patterns out of burlap and scraps of wool.

 

Flying snakes like Chrysopelea paradisi, the paradise tree snake, normally live in the trees of South and Southeast Asia. There, they cruise along tree branches and, sometimes, to get to the ground or another tree, they'll launch themselves into the air and glide down at an angle.

They undulate their serpentine bodies as they glide through the air, and it turns out that these special movements are what let these limbless creatures make such remarkable flights.

Dolphins learn special foraging techniques from their mothers—and it's now clear that they can learn from their buddies as well. Take the clever trick that some dolphins use to catch fish by trapping them in seashells. It turns out that they learn this skill by watching their pals do the job.

The discovery, reported in the journal Current Biology, helps reveal how groups of wild animals can transmit learned behaviors and develop their own distinct cultures.

In 2018, paleontologist Julia Clarke was visiting a colleague named David Rubilar-Rogers at Chile's National Museum of Natural History. He showed her a mysterious fossil that he'd collected years earlier in Antarctica. He and his co-workers called it "The Thing."

"It was weird enough that they decided to collect it, even though it wasn't clear what it was. It definitely wasn't bone, but it was strikingly unusual," recalls Clarke, who works at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sea otter populations are rebounding in the eastern North Pacific. There, they devour huge quantities of shellfish and other marine critters that people like to eat, too. But any commercial losses to fisheries are far outweighed by economic benefits associated with the otters, according to a new study.

Almost 40 years have passed since the last time NASA astronauts blasted off into space on a brand new spaceship.

Now, as NASA looks forward to Wednesday's planned test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon with a pair of astronauts on board, some in the spaceflight community have a little bit of déjà vu.

In 2006, while hiking around the Root Glacier in Alaska to set up scientific instruments, researcher Tim Bartholomaus encountered something unexpected.

"What the heck is this!" Bartholomaus recalls thinking. He's a glaciologist at the University of Idaho.

The White House has touted the fact that its coronavirus task force provided each state with a list of labs that could potentially test for the virus, but officials in a number of states told NPR that the lists did not actually help them increase testing.

Heavy rains might have triggered the historic eruption of Kilauea in Hawaii in 2018. That's the bold assertion of a new analysis that has left some volcanologists intrigued and others doubtful.

Kilauea had been erupting since 1983 when, in the spring of 2018, it suddenly became extraordinarily more active. What followed was the most dramatic and destructive period of volcanic events in the U.S. since the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Tiny bits of twisted plant fibers found on an ancient stone tool suggest that Neanderthals were able to make and use sophisticated cords like string and rope.

Cords made from twisted fibers are so ubiquitous today that it's easy to take them for granted. But they're a key survival technology that can be used to make everything from clothes to bags to shelters.

The United States is facing a grim dilemma: either effectively shut down society for months to prevent transmission of the coronavirus or see health care systems overwhelmed by people needing treatment for severe infections.

That's the conclusion of a influential new analysis by a well-respected group at Imperial College London that does computer simulations of outbreaks.

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