Climate Change Is Coming For Your Chocolate
Short Wave
by NPR
2d ago
Chocolate may never be the same. The majority of chocolate is made in just two countries and erratic weather from climate change is decreasing cocoa production. A handful of extreme weather events—from drought to heavy rainfall—could have lasting effects on the chocolate industry. Yasmin Tayag, a food, health and science writer at The Atlantic, talks to host Emily Kwong about the cocoa shortage: What's causing it, how it's linked to poor farming conditions and potential solutions. Plus, they enjoy a chocolate alternative taste test. Read Yasmin's full article. Have a food science story you w ..read more
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How AI Is Cracking The Biology Code
Short Wave
by NPR
5d ago
As artificial intelligence seeps into some realms of society, it rushes into others. One area it's making a big difference is protein science — as in the "building blocks of life," proteins! Producer Berly McCoy talks to host Emily Kwong about the newest advance in protein science: AlphaFold3, an AI program from Google DeepMind. Plus, they talk about the wider field of AI protein science and why researchers hope it will solve a range of problems, from disease to the climate. Have other aspects of AI you want us to cover? Email us at shortwave@npr.org. Learn more about sponsor message choices ..read more
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NEWS: NOAA Issues First Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch Since 2005
Short Wave
by NPR
1w ago
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observed a cluster of sunspots on the surface of the sun this week. With them came solar flares that kicked off a severe geomagnetic storm. That storm is expected to last throughout the weekend as at least five coronal mass ejections — chunks of the sun — are flung out into space, towards Earth! NOAA uses a five point scale to rate these storms, and this weekend's storm is a G4. It's expected to produce auroras as far south as Alabama. To contextualize this storm, we are looking back at the largest solar storm on record: the Car ..read more
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How Autism Can Look Very Different, Even in Identical Twins
Short Wave
by NPR
1w ago
Sam and John Fetters, 19, are identical twins on different ends of the autism spectrum. Sam is a sophomore at Amherst College and runs marathons in his free time. John attends a school for people with special needs and loves to watch Sesame Street in his free time. Identical twins like Sam and John pose an important question for scientists: How can a disorder that is known to be highly genetic look so different in siblings who share the same genome? Check out more of NPR's series on the Science of Siblings. More science questions? Email us at shortwave@npr.org. Learn more about sponsor messa ..read more
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The Wonderous World Of Nudibranchs
Short Wave
by NPR
1w ago
Emily gets super nerdy with former host Maddie Sofia get as they dive into the incredible world of nudibranchs in this encore episode. Not only are these sea slugs eye-catching for their colors, some of them have evolved to "steal" abilities from other organisms — from the power of photosynthesis to the stinging cells of their venomous predators. These sea slugs are going to blow your mind! You can email Short Wave at shortwave@npr.org. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy ..read more
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'Stealing The Past': A Spat Between Twins Leads To A Theory Of Disputed Memories
Short Wave
by NPR
1w ago
It's not unusual for siblings to quibble over ownership of something — a cherished toy, a coveted seat in the car — or whose fault something is. If you're Mercedes Sheen, you not only spent your childhood squabbling with your sister over your memories, you then turn it into your research career. Mercedes studies disputed memories, where it's unclear who an event happened to. It turns out these memories can tell us a lot about people — they tend to be self-aggrandizing — and how the human brain remembers things. Check out more of NPR's series on the Science of Siblings. Curious about more scie ..read more
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Deer Are Expanding North. That Could Hurt Some Species Like Boreal Caribou
Short Wave
by NPR
1w ago
Wildlife ecologists have seen white-tailed deer expanding their range in North America over many decades. And since the early-2000s these deer have moved north into the boreal forests of western Canada. These forests are full of spruce and pine trees, sandy soil and freezing winters with lots of snow. They can be a harsh winter wonderland. And ecologists haven't known whether a warmer climate in these forests or human land development might be driving the deer north. A recent study tries to disentangle these factors – and finds that a warming climate seems to play the most significant role in ..read more
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The Mysterious "Great Attractor" Pulling Our Galaxy Off Course
Short Wave
by NPR
2w ago
No matter what you're doing right now – sitting, standing, walking – you're moving. First, because Earth is spinning around on its axis. This rotation is the reason we have days. Second, because Earth and other planets in our solar system are orbiting the sun. That's why we have years. Third, you're moving because the sun and the rest of our solar system is orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy at over 500,000 miles per hour. If all of that isn't nauseating enough, everything in the entire universe is expanding outward. All the time. But in the 1970s, astrophysicists noticed something s ..read more
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How The New Catan Board Game Can Spark Conversations On Climate Change
Short Wave
by NPR
2w ago
Today, we're going full nerd to talk about a new board game — Catan: New Energies. The game's goal is simple: Build and develop a modern-day island without catastrophically polluting it. Although the concept mirrors the effects of climate change, those words don't actually appear in the game. NPR correspondent Nate Rott talks to Emily about the thinking behind the new game and how the developers hope it can start conversations around energy use and pollution. Have questions or comments for us to consider for a future episode? Email us at shortwave@npr.org — we'd love to hear from you! Learn ..read more
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Beavers Can Help With Climate Change. So How Do We Get Along?
Short Wave
by NPR
3w ago
NPR's Tom Dreisbach is back in the host chair for a day. This time, he reports on a story very close to home: The years-long battle his parents have been locked in with the local wild beaver population. Each night, the beavers would dam the culverts along the Dreisbachs' property, threatening to make their home inaccessible. Each morning, Tom's parents deconstructed those dams — until the annual winter freeze hit and left them all in a temporary stalemate. As beaver populations have increased, so have these kinds of conflicts with people...like Tom's parents. But the solution may not be to ch ..read more
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