Science news


The five-year walleye tagging project, which is in its final year, focuses on the Missouri River from the Oahe Dam near Pierre, South Dakota, north to the Garrison Dame near Riverdale, North Dakota. Researchers have tagged 26,132 fish in the last three years. Researchers hope to understand the basic science of angler harvest and how food sources and flooding impact the walleye population. We talk with researcher Brian Graeb and his doctoral student Eli Felts.

SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Eddie Sullivan is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc. based in Sioux Falls. The biopharmaceutical company leads the science and manufacturing of polyclonal antibody therapies. Eddie Sullivan has been named chair of the food and agriculture section governing board for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization or Bio. It’s the industry’s largest international trade association.


Dr. Ranjit Koodali, USD Chemistry Professor and now Dean of the USD Graduate School joins us to discuss the latest in research around the country. Dr. K is the Public Relations Chair of the Sioux Valley Section of the American Chemical Society. He provides regular collection of science articles and is going to join Innovation once a month to talk about what’s happening around the country. Today Dr. K. teaches us about using biosynthesized ZnO nanoparticles and soil fungi.

Democrats sit down and take a stand with social media

Jun 23, 2016

With TV cameras rolling, Congressional Democrats staged an unusual sit-in throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday.

They were demanding stricter gun control legislation in the wake of the recent attack in Orlando. Then House Republicans reportedly pulled the plug on the TV cameras.

With the official cameras off, Democrats tried another tactic. They used  their smartphones to stream the sit-in on social media platforms like Periscope and Facebook. It caught a lot of attention as things got testy and heated exchanges erupted.

José Lebrón and Sheilla Torres had heard the news from Puerto Rico: hospitals aren’t being reimbursed, schools are closing, the official unemployment rate is close to 12 percent, and poverty stands at 45 percent. But a year ago they decided to move back to their island anyway.

Jason Medley, National Science Foundation

Early Wednesday morning, in the icy cold and pitch black of the Antarctic winter, a small Canadian plane touched down near the South Pole and evacuated two sick workers in a daring rescue mission.

It was only the third ever staged at the South Pole during the southern hemisphere's winter.

A Twin Otter turboprop plane retrieved the sick workers from the Amundsen-Scott research station, about 820 feet from the geographic South Pole, a spokesman for the US National Science Foundation, Peter West said.

Try these backyard science projects with your kids this summer

Jun 20, 2016
Albert Gea/Reuters

School might be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the science fun needs to stop. There are experiments that kids can try in the backyard all summer long.

Inside the minds of zoo animals

Jun 19, 2016
Steve Harris/Flickr

Among the many reactions to this month's killing of Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, is a question: Can animals, especially smart ones like gorillas, ever be truly happy in zoos?

Terry Maple, a professor of comparative psychobiology at Florida Atlantic University, and the former director of the Atlanta and Palm Beach zoos, has built a career on trying to understand animals and improve their environments. 

When he saw the video of Harambe with a toddler at the Cincinnati Zoo, he says he thought he could tell what Harambe might have been thinking. 

Wired: A Romance

Jun 15, 2016

Interview with Gary Wolf, contributing editor at Wired. Wolf is a writer and contributing editor at America’s Wired magazine. In 2007, with Kevin Kelly,[8] Wolf co-founded the

PMP Test from WordPress

Jun 14, 2016

This is a test of the WP PMP plugin.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.

Interview with

Carrie McLaren, curator of Illegal Art exhibition and editor/publisher of Stay Free! Magazine; and Siva Vaidhyanathan, assistant professor of culture and communications, New York University, and author of COPYRIGHTS AND COPYWRONGS

Anti-Muslim web searches spiked after Orlando shooting

Jun 13, 2016
Chip East/Reuters

Searches for anti-Muslim phrases on Google have spiked significantly after the Orlando mass shooting, the first such time since the Brussels terrorist attacks in March.

A check on Google Trends, a tool that measures the search interest of Google search engine users on specific words or phrases, revealed that searches for several anti-Muslim phrases multiplied soon after the news of the shooting broke.

How we react to vocal fry in music depends on the gender of the singer

Jun 13, 2016
Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

Vocal fry, a speech pattern that is characterized by a throaty, low register, has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation. That creaky sound can be heard in pop music from artists like Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias. Unsure of how to create vocal fry? 

“You just have to try talking like a Kardashian and see what comes out of that,” says vocalogy researcher at the University of Texas San Antonio Mackenzie Parrott. 

Still not sure what it sounds like? 

Could brain infection set the stage for Alzheimer’s?

Jun 13, 2016
Doctor Jana/Creative Commons

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of the protein amyloid-beta in the brain. Several years ago neurobiologist Rob Moir began wondering about the function of amyloid-beta. Surely it couldn’t just be junk, gumming up the brain? His studies on this protein may be overturning some 30 years of assumptions about what causes Alzheimer’s. 

Moir first began wondering about amyloid-beta over Friday night drinks at a bar. 

How your phone could help scientists detect and measure an earthquake

Jun 12, 2016
David Moir/Reuters

Developers are creating apps that can tap into the sensors in your smart device to measure different aspects of your environment, such as your number of footsteps or your heartbeat. And now there’s an app to measure your surrounding seismic activity.

Seismologist Richard Allen, who worked to develop MyShake, says the app uses the sensing abilities already built into smartphones. 

What science says about e-cigarettes

Jun 12, 2016
JohnWilliams/Flickr/CC BY-NC 3.0 US

Battery-powered e-cigarettes have become wildly popular over the last decade, especially among teenagers and young adults. At least some of this popularity stems from their marketing as safe alternatives to conventional, combustible cigarettes, as well as their many, often fruity flavors.

But how much do we understand about the safety of e-cigarettes, or the more than 7,000 e-liquids on the market?


SDSU Plant Pathologist Febina Mathew discusses how South Dakota farmers are dealing with two emerging fungal diseases— sudden death syndrome in soybean and Phomopsis stem canker in sunflowers.

Fungicides are largely ineffective, so farmers must rely on changes in management practices and selection of resistance varieties to reduce their losses.


South Dakota has positioned itself to catalyze biotech research and development through an innovative virtual center with more than 30 affiliated researchers. Called BioSystems Networks & Translational Research, or BioSNTR, it was formed nearly two years ago and now is launching its capabilities on a larger scale. BioSNTR Director Adam Hoppe discusses the statewide collaborative endeavor, which includes participants from South Dakota’s public universities, private colleges and the public and private sectors.

Courtesy of Beyond Meat

When California-based food company Beyond Meat soft-launched its new plant-based burger at a Whole Foods in Colorado in May, it sold out in one hour. The startup says the Beyond Burger is completely vegan, has no soy or gluten, and will cook like a real beef burger.

You’ve heard of seed banks — precious vaults that keep plant genetic material frozen for posterity’s sake. But what about coral banks?

For more than a decade, marine biologist Mary Hagedorn has been cultivating the art of carefully freezing coral sperm through a process known as cryopreservation. Her goal is to bank as many species as possible for use in future research and restoration, and to train other scientists to follow her lead.

Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

In the 1970s, a small town in Canada tried something radical: Families who earned below a certain amount were given money that they could use for anything. Essentially, it was money for nothing.

It was a variant on an idea called "guaranteed basic income." That concept has seen a resurgence in popularity recently, fueled by techno-utopian dreams of an all-robot workforce.

Watch this video of tiny flying RoboBees in action

Jun 6, 2016

A group of Harvard scientists have a vision: to build a tiny robot that can fly, work together in groups, and even pollinate flowers like a honeybee. Meet RoboBee, whose latest feat was published in Science. The 80-milligram robot can fly to a surface, perch on it using electrostatic forces, and gently take off from that surface — saving valuable energy in the process.

Did you know GPS used to be controversial? Here’s how it survived.

Jun 5, 2016

In the early 1970s, the idea for a satellite-based modern navigation system was controversial within the United States Air Force. Many in leadership didn’t want anything to do with the project that would become our now-ubiquitous GPS — they thought the money was better spent on putting more planes in the air.

How much of your personal data do you give up when you use your smartphone?

Jun 4, 2016

Each call, post, or search from your smartphone leaves a trail of hidden digital data that you might not see, but that can be collected by organizations interested in your info.

In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked documents that showed the NSA was collecting phone metadata. After these leaks, the NSA changed its guidelines. But where do we stand now? Have these NSA changes increased our privacy? What exactly has changed?


The story of the Enigma machine is pretty well known. It was a cipher used by the Nazis to send coded messages during World War II. The Brits cracked the machine and the war ended a lot sooner than it otherwise might have.

But the Germans had another, vastly more complicated cipher, which they used to send higher-level strategic messages between Nazi commanders and to Hitler himself.

This was known as the Lorenz machine.

The Nazis deliberately destroyed many of the machines after the war, and they are still extremely rare.

Why King Tut had an awesome dagger from outer space

Jun 2, 2016
The Wiley Library Online

A quick scan of headlines circulating on social media could leave you thinking that extraterrestrials had given a magical artifact to the ancient Egyptians.

The truth is less fanciful but arguably more interesting. 

The artifact at the center of all this attention is the blade of a knife, or dagger, that was buried with Tutankhamun, the boy king of ancient Egypt from 1332 to 1323 BC.  

The US is still dumping some of its toxic e-waste overseas

Jun 2, 2016

This story was reported in partnership with EarthFix

Think of how many electronic gadgets and appliances you’ve gotten rid of in the last few years — everything from Fitbits to laptops to old TVs. It’s probably a lot, as the number of these things in our lives explodes and their life-cycles get shorter and shorter.

In fact, electronics make up the fastest growing source of waste on the planet, and the US is the single largest producer of electronic waste.

CETUP 2016 – this is the Center for Theoretical Underground Physics and Related Areas – who come together in the Black Hills for more than a month to collaborate. Russell Franques, CEO, Dakota Sciences; Barbara Szczerbinska, Associate Professor, Dakota State University; and Nancy Wehrkamp, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute join the program to discuss this year's session. It begins June 6 and runs through July 15.

Confirmed: More planets are capable of hosting life than have ever been previously substantiated

May 29, 2016

The NASA Kepler mission scientists have confirmed a record haul of exoplanets: 1,284. The objects were all spotted in the patch of sky between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, and the announcement more than doubles the number of exoplanets, or a planet that orbits a star other than the sun, known to science.

Dr. Ranjit Koodali, USD Chemistry Professor and now Dean of the USD Graduate School joins us to discuss the latest in research around the country. Dr. K is the Public Relations Chair of the Sioux Valley Section of the American Chemical Society. He provides regular collection of science articles and is going to join Innovation once a month to talk about what’s happening around the country.

We talk about the Light sparks conversion of dinitrogen (commonly called nitrogen) to ammonia.