Science news

Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Across much of Europe, the Middle East and beyond, the coronavirus appears to be making a resurgence, and countries are making tough choices that challenge officials to do what’s best for public health. Many leaders are loath to pay a political and economic price for renewed lockdowns. But such tightened restrictions appear to be the logical next step at a time when growing clusters of COVID-19 cases have returned with no mercy.

STEAM Café: Katrina Donovan

Sep 14, 2020

In The Moment … September 14, 2020 Show 901 Hour 1

Materials are objects that are created from matter and have been utilized by society for many years. This is the subject for the next STEAM Café which is tomorrow evening at 6 at Hay Camp Brewing Company in Rapid City. Katrina Donovan is a lecturer at South Dakota Mines and will lead this conversation.

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Sep 9, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

I’m grateful for advances in neuroscience, and for many reasons glad that every day we know more about how the brain works. But for all the studies of left brains, right brains, and neuron networks, some things will remain mysteries, and there’s no way around it.

Millions of schoolchildren across Mexico began the academic year this week in front of a screen — not with interactive online classes with a teacher, but with prerecorded programs on TV. It’s part of a distance learning effort announced by federal officials earlier this month. 

Mexico’s government has signed agreements with the country’s largest TV networks to open up new digital channels to beam distance learning programs into student homes. 

Zoom weddings: A blessing in disguise?

Aug 24, 2020

Since my family and I moved from Argentina to the US in 1998, my two brothers and I often wondered what we’d do when — and if — we got married. Do we ask our Argentine relatives to travel? Do we ask our American friends to travel to Argentina? Do we get married ... twice? 

In The Moment ... August 21, 2020 Show 886 Hour 1

SAB Biotherapeutics in Sioux Falls announced the first step in its trial of a COVID 19 therapeutic earlier this month, dosing the first group of healthy volunteers. Today, they're announcing the trial's next step.

Science and Technology reporting is brought to you by SDN Communications, your business broadband provider. Learn more at

Acoustics, Part 5

Aug 21, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Acoustics is the science of sound, but the word also refers to the qualities of a room—the qualities that determine and describe how things sound in that room. 

Acoustics, Part 4

Aug 20, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

When discussing acoustics it’s important to remember that there’s no absolute standard, and that different kinds of music may be better served by different acoustics. A piece for solo cello, for example, might sound wonderful in the richly reverberant acoustics of a cathedral, while a string quartet or piano in the same space would sound like mush.

The mercury hit 130 degrees in Death Valley, California, last weekend. If the provisional measurements are upheld, it’ll be the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth using modern equipment.

The scorching heat hasn’t subsided much since then.

“It’s rare for us to get (heat waves) really remaining over a week to 10 days, and in this case it could actually be a couple weeks,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan.

Acoustics, Part 3

Aug 19, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

More today, about acoustics. Absolutely everything in the design and construction of a room, or concert hall, contributes to its acoustics… from the shape and size of the room, to the building and finishing materials, to the seating configuration and height of the stage, to the seemingly minor decorative details.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

For the first time in more than 25 years, Israel could seal a historic diplomatic deal with an Arab country. US President Donald Trump announced on Thurday the impending pact, which he helped broker. 

If you're blind or a person with low vision, even the most mundane task — things most of us take for granted — can present a major everyday challenge.

An app called Be My Eyes is trying to solve that issue: It allows users with visual impairments to video chat with a sighted volunteer who can help them with a variety of daily tasks like reading thermostats, matching outfits or troubleshooting technology. 

Mauritius rushes to stave off oil spill

Aug 11, 2020

The island of Mauritius boasts beautiful beaches, coral reefs, lagoons and clear waters. Now, oily black sludge mars the country’s southeast coastline.

It began on Thursday when oil began leaking from the Japanese-owned MW Wakashio ship, which ran aground on a southern coral reef on July 25.

As the United States confronts its long history of racial injustice, powerful environmental groups like the Sierra Club are coming to grips with their own history of racism and white supremacy.

The national environmental movement in the United States is still dominated by white voices and often excludes people of color. The environmental justice movement, which is typically community-based and more often driven by people of color, is frequently an afterthought among large green organizations and the foundations who fund them.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The field of wildlife tracking is getting a major upgrade thanks to a new initiative called ICARUS. It uses special equipment on the International Space Station to allow researchers to track much smaller species than ever before, including tiny migrating birds and even insects.

Autumn-Lynn Harrison, program manager for the Migratory Connectivity Project at Smithsonian Institution, says the ICARUS tags will include a number of different sensors that collect GPS, accelerometer and temperature data.

Few people on planet Earth are more deeply involved with missions to search for life elsewhere in the universe than astrobiologist Sarah Stewart Johnson.

Three major environmental groups are demanding that Facebook take steps to curb the spread of racism, extremism and misinformation about climate change on its platform.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and have joined more than 1,000 other companies in pausing their advertising on Facebook this month as part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign.

Most other environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, have yet to take a stand on Facebook’s policies around hate and climate denialism.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Turkey's parliament adopted a new social media law Wednesday that critics say will create a "chilling effect" on dissenting voices and freedom of expression

Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook And Google are testifying before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee about the market power of these major online platforms. Watch the hearing live here...

In 1864, a ship called the Mary Celestia, a Civil War blockade runner, sank off the coast of Bermuda.

About 150  years later, in 2011, divers visited the wreck and discovered something unusual: a bottle of perfume that was almost perfectly preserved, complete with the branding of a chic London parfumerie of the day. 

Dr. Gerald Keusch is a professor of medicine and international health at Boston University, and the director of the Collaborative Research Core at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory. He answered your questions back in April, and joined us again to discuss masking orders, school reopening, and the politicization of science.

Israeli officials took quick action against the coronavirus this spring: They identified the threat quickly, closed the country's borders, and implemented a nationwide lockdown. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has given biotech company Oxitec the go-ahead to test the effectiveness of genetically modified mosquitoes in parts of Florida and Texas.

Oxitec has been developing genetically modified mosquitoes in hopes of reducing local populations of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, yellow fever and the Zika virus. About 750,000 people die each year from mosquito-borne illnesses, making the insect indirectly responsible for more human deaths than any other animal in the world.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The town of Verkhoyansk in Siberia hit a record-high temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on June 20, the highest temperature ever recorded within the Arctic Circle — and scientists are worried.

“I was shocked at the magnitude of it, but perhaps not necessarily completely surprised to see these types of spikes in temperature because this has been happening for a number of years now." 

Susan Natali, Arctic program director, Woods Hole Research Center

If one thing is clear about this teeny tiny new coronavirus, it’s that it has changed the world. Its mark is massive. But SARS-CoV-2 is still clouded in mystery, and front and center in this puzzle is understanding immunity.

Why do some people get sick, and others don’t? What mechanisms in the body can successfully fight off the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, and what backfires?

“One of the important questions that we were trying to figure out is what sort of immunity is protective for SARS-CoV-2?”

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Srinivas Janaswamy / SDSU

Jul 10, 2020

In The Moment … July 10, 2020 Show 856 Hour 2