Science news

Lloyd Metzger, Associate Professor in Dairy Science at SDSU and Director of Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center, is knowledgeable on cheese manufacturing and often serves as a consultant for food manufacturers.  We discuss proteins found in dairy and the desire of consumers for protein fortified products and the technology used to produce dairy based protein concentrates and isolates. 

Dr. Thayne Munce, Associate Director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute, discuss opening football season and what he’s adding to his football concussion study using youth football teams in Sioux Falls.

Here's why they call this the corpse flower

Aug 26, 2015
Scott Dressel-Martin

A rotten stench has been wafting through a greenhouse at the Denver Botanic Gardens — and visitors are all too eager to breathe it in. Who knows if they’ll ever get a second chance? 

Courtesy of Letibee

When 24-year-old Koki Hayashi first came out to his mom, he was a junior in college.

"I just kind of said it quickly, 'Hey, I’m gay,'" he recalls.

“Stop it. That’s disgusting,” she said, according to Hayashi. That really hurt.

Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Last week, a group of hackers released the stolen data of Ashley Madison users, a website used by people who are looking to start an extramarital affair. The user data included names, street addresses, email addresses and data on credit card payments going all the way back to 2007.

After wading through the data, the Associated Press found that at least 1,500 federal employees have been using the site.


Selling elephant ivory is illegal around the world thanks to tough regulations like the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species. But despite the international ban, elephant poaching continues in Africa and ivory carvings made from elephant tusks fetch high prices in China.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tickets Sell Out In Minutes

Aug 24, 2015

If you were able to land a ticket to see Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Rapid City on October 1st you may be the envy of many.

Dr. Tyson is Director of the Hayden Planetarium and a well-known astrophysicist and science communicator.

His lecture is scheduled to take place at the Rapid City Civic Center Theater which has about 1650 seats.   

Tickets went on sale at 10:00 am on Monday and sold out in minutes.

The John T Vucurevich Foundation is hosting the event.  Carmen Hansen is an organizer.  She says she’s pleased at the public response and enthusiasm.

Pregnant panda? It's almost impossible to tell

Aug 24, 2015
Becky Malinsky/Smithsonian's National Zoo

Pregnancy is not something that’s easy to hide. From expanding pregnant bellies, to morning sickness and ultrasounds, whether someone is pregnant, eventually, is usually not that hard to figure out.

When it comes to giant pandas, however, scientists are still often unable to detect pregnancy — sometimes up until the actual moment a panda cub is delivered. 

“Everything is complicated with giant pandas,” says Pierre Comizzoli, a research biologist with the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Courtesy of Jan Wanggaard

Even during an era of great explorers tackling the nigh impossible, the Norwegian seaman Roald Amundsen was sui generis: He discovered the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada; he led the first crew to reach the South Pole, and was the first explorer to successfully reach both poles.

However, Amundsen went bankrupt and died a broken man, on a rescue mission searching for the crew of an airship stranded in the Arctic. His plane — and his body — were never found.  

Finally, after more than 80 years, one of his most famous ships, Maud, may now be coming home.

These non-air conditioned ways of keeping cool could make a huge difference with climate change

Aug 22, 2015
<a href="">skowalewski</a>/

The modern phenomenon of air conditioning is something people in much of the developed world have become accustomed to. Now in China, India, Brazil and other developing countries people who have never had A/C are beginning to jump on the cool-air bandwagon.

The 19th and 20th century emergence of mechanized air has had a far-reaching impact on how modern architecture has developed. With global temperatures rising, scientists, architects and researchers are looking for new and more energy-efficient ways to keep people cool. 

Lucas Jackson/ Reuters

Humans are very different from other predatory creatures.

This fact is not new. But a new study published in Science concludes humans are much more likely to kill adult-aged animals than any other predator.

The idea for the study came when one of the authors was doing population work looking at stickleback fish, a creature not usually preyed on by humans. Only about 2 to 5 percent of adult sticklebacks are killed by predators.

Walk through the hilly Turkish village of Kuşköy and you might hear an extraordinary amount of whistling. No, it’s not birds chirping, it’s villagers speaking. In addition to spoken Turkish, many villagers speak an old whistling language that they call kuş dili.


The next time you eat out in a restaurant, consider the sounds around you. Is there music playing? Just the gentle hum of other people’s conversations? Maybe it’s relatively quiet.

Whatever the acoustic atmosphere, it could be affecting how you experience the flavor of the food and drink you’re consuming, according to a growing body of research.

During the run-up to last year's Scottish independence vote, analysts were desperate for any signs of how the vote would turn out — and what the consequences might be.

At the Bank of England, they decided to turn to Twitter to see if there might be a bank run in the event of Scottish independence. In just a few days, they built a system that would analyze Twitter in real time, looking for signals of bank runs by searching for key terms, like "runs" or RBS — a reference to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

<a href="">Christie Images</a>

James Nienhuis, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin, and a colleague wanted to find out how fruits and vegetables have changed over the years.

But they faced a major hurdle: Unlike grains, which survive intact for years, fruits and vegetables perish fast.

"[Researchers] can look at the grains and [...] trace the whole history of how that grain changed in size and color and shape," he says. "It occurred to us that really the fascinating record of the recent evolution of vegetables is available to us in Renaissance art," he says.

The rat could become man's newest best friend

Aug 17, 2015
Monique Hammerslag

In many places in the world, rats are regarded as a vile nuisance and a menace to society. But the truth is that scientists, researchers and even police and health care workers are discovering how useful our ancient foe, the common brown rat, can actually be.

Aaron Blaisdell, a professor of comparative psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles, has found that rats are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

How the thermometer got its name

Aug 17, 2015
Zwager/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

In 1626, the French Jesuit Jean Leurechon (1591-1670) first coined the word “thermometer.” It appeared in his best-selling book, Récréation Mathématique, which he wrote under the nom de plume of Hendrik van Etten. (A subsequent English translation was entitled Mathematical Recreations, or a Collection of Sundry Excellent Problems Out of Ancient and Modern Philosophers Both Useful and Recreative).  

That electric green you see, juxtaposed with the water’s deep blue, makes for an eye-catching image. But in reality, it’s the “visual manifestation of an unhealthy ecosystem,” according to Timothy Davis, a molecular ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

New Horizons Views Pluto

Aug 14, 2015

Author and astronomer Ken Croswell of Berkely, California explained what scientists are learning from New Horizons' fly-by of Pluto.  See more information at

Underground Geology With Tom Campbell

Aug 14, 2015

As a young student, Tom Campbell discovered three minerals while exploring the Tip Top Mine near Custer.  Campbell is now a science education specialist at the Sanford Underground Research Facility.  He visited about his love for underground geology and how he shares that with students.  Campbell joined SDPB's Cara Hetland Friday on Innovation.

Nipam Patel

This is no ordinary butterfly collection. It’s a showcase of blue morphos (Morpho didius), a species native to the forests of South America whose wings — especially the males’ — are famed for their brilliant aquamarine sheen. While the first two specimens are a typical male and female, the others are “gynandromorphs” — that is, specimens that contain both male and female cells.

In these butterflies, the trait manifests on the wings as a patchwork of colors and patterns, borrowed from both sexes.

Are you WUI? (Walking under the influence)

Aug 12, 2015
<a href="">Duncan Harris</a>/Flickr

If you're walking down the street reading this on your cell phone, we have bad news.

Science has now proven what you've long expected (if you haven't experienced it yourself): Walking while texting makes you slow down and weave like a drunk.

Conrad Earnest is a research scientist at Texas A&M University. He was inspired to study the health implications of walking while texting on a Saturday morning in Bath, England.

M karzarj/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Iran has been in the throes of a water crisis for the past 16 years. Just two years ago, a study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world's 24th-most water-stressed nation.

The population of Iran has doubled over the last 40 years, and increased water usage combined with ongoing drought led Iranian scientists to quietly ask the US for help with water resource management.

REUTERS/Albert Gea

The media giant Google announced Monday that it’s no longer the media giant Google.

Instead, Google has become a slightly smaller company that belongs to the umbrella company, Alphabet.

“Alphabet is now a holding company for a lot of Google properties,” says Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and a senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. Diverse organizations like GoogleX Labs and Nest also fall under Alphabet’s umbrella.

The new structure comes with shifts in company leadership, too — most notably, a new Google CEO, Sundar Pichai.

Süel lab, UC San Diego

Infectious bacteria have a way of outsmarting us. So maybe it's time, scientists say, that we stopped trying to kill them and instead pit them against each other in a sort of bacterial Hunger Games. 

“Bacteria, even though they are technically unicellular organisms, congregate and live in very tightly-packed communities, which we call biofilms,” explains Gürol Süel, an author on the study and an associate professor of molecular biology at the University of California, San Diego.

Image adapted from Raghavan et al.,&nbsp;Science&nbsp;(2015)

Scientists, historians and archaeologists have long sought to figure out how, when, and from where the first humans arrived in the Americas. One group of geneticists believe they are another step closer to finding that answer. 

The first archaeological record of people in the Americas dates back to about 15,000 years ago. According to a new study published in Science, however, humans first stepped foot in the Americas much earlier — about 23,000 years ago. 

Investigators searching for clues about what caused the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to go down, and where, may have a surprising helper at their disposal: barnacles, those small crustaceans that attach themselves to things that dwell in the sea like whales or, well, airplane wreckage.

Minecraft is not just fun — it's changing education

Aug 7, 2015
Matthew Tostevin/Reuters

Many people believe video games are intellectually lazy and have a poor effect on students. There are, however, a growing number of teachers, students, and parents who are using one video game in particular as an educational tool.

Minecraft is a video game that has gained an enormous following. According to, more than 20 million people have purchased a version of the game.

Zack Klein, CEO of and co-founder of Vimeo described Minecraft in terms of another popular childhood toy — Lego.

Why screams are scary

Aug 5, 2015
Edvard Munch/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Leave it to a group of new parents to be inspired to study the effects of screaming on the human brain.

David Poeppel, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at New York University and director of the Max Planck Institute's Department of Neuroscience in Frankfurt, Germany, normally studies speech and communication. Recently, however, he found himself sharing a laboratory with a group of new parents in New York.

Web to stricken robot: The world is better than Philadelphia

Aug 4, 2015
REUTERS/Paul Darrow

From On the Road to Travels with Charlie, from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to Wild: the thrill of traveling across America romances many young people every year. This summer, a hitchhiking robot tried to do the same, but a brutal attack in Philadelphia stopped it in its tracks.