318 episodes

Short Wave

NPR Science
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Nov 24, 2020

When Critters Bleed … On Purpose!

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Some insects and reptiles have a strange self-preservation characteristic — they suddenly start bleeding from places like their eyes or knees. NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce looks at “reflex bleeding” and explores some of the creatures that bleed on purpose.

For more science reporting and stories, follow Nell on twitter @nell_sci_NPR. And, as always, email us at shortwave@npr.org.

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Sharpen your pencils. Get out your notebook. Today, we are unveiling a new series called “Back To School.” In these episodes, we take a concept you were taught in school and go a little deeper with it. Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong and host Maddie Sofia explore OTHER states of matter — beyond solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Have you heard of Bose-Einstein condensate superfluids? It’s your lucky day!

Email us your Back-To-School ideas at shortwave@npr.org.

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Nov 20, 2020

Measuring Sea Level Rise From Space

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A new satellite, scheduled to launch this weekend, is the latest in a parade of missions to measure sea level rise. As climate reporter Rebecca Hersher explains, it’s vital data for scientists trying to understand how global warming is affecting the Earth’s oceans.

For more, you can also read Rebecca’s story, “NASA Satellite To Measure Global Sea Level Rise.”

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

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Nov 19, 2020

Happy (Harm Reduction) Thanksgiving!

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The safest way to have Thanksgiving this year is to stay at home. But realistically, we know many people will still be traveling to gather with loved ones. So in this episode, Emily and Maddie outline ways to gather as safely as possible. We’ll cover best practices for quarantining before the trip, testing, ventilation and food preparation. That way, this Thanksgiving you can pass the turkey, hold the ‘rona.

Additional Resources:
CDC Holiday Guidelines
Aerosol & Ventilation FAQ
Short Wave Coronavirus Testing Episode

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

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The Trump administration has officially eliminated federal protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. With the rollback of the Roadless Rule, nine million previously-protected acres are now open further to potential development. What does that mean for trees that have been storing carbon for centuries?

For more on this story, check out the episode page. You can email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

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Developing a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will be crucial to getting the pandemic under control. Also important, distributing it throughout the country once it’s been approved. NPR science reporter Pien Huang tells us which high risk groups will get it first, how the vaccine will be distributed (including some challenges), and who’s footing the bill for all of this.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

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Interim results are in from a large trial of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Drug maker Pfizer, working with German company BioNTech, says its vaccine appears to be working really well–it was found to be more than 90 percent effective. Today on Short Wave, host Maddie Sofia talks to NPR science correspondent Joe Palca about what that efficacy number means, details of the study and what more information about the vaccine researchers are awaiting.

Reach the show by emailing us at shortwave@npr.org.

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Nov 12, 2020

A Call For Equity In Genomics Research

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In the future, genomic research could lead to new treatments for human disease. It turns the data in our DNA into a global commodity. But historically, minoritized communities have been left out of this research. Keolu Fox is a genome scientist trying to change that and advocate for a more equitable approach when Indigenous and other underrepresented communities do participate.

Read Keolu’s paper, “The Illusion of Inclusion”, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Reach the show by emailing us at shortwave@npr.org.

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2.0
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KW
Kevin Williams
Dec 07, 2019

Misses the mark. NPR is overextending itself with too many new podcasts. They throw an ad at you in the first few minutes, and the hosts aren't that interesting. There are better daily podcasts out there.

New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It’s science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.