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The Tooth Fairy is from Norway?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Helene Meyer Tvinnereim and a team of Norwegian scientists are collecting milk teeth from 100,000 kids to create what may be the world's largest tooth bank. A dental biomaterials researcher at U Bergen in Norway, Tvinnereim seeks to find links between diseases and prenatal/childhood exposure to chemicals. The normally discarded teeth function as a 'black-box' recording of the chemicals children are exposed to, and have excellent shelf-life when dried and stored. Of course, this is a lot easier to do when you have a streamlined national health-care and record keeping system.

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Obecalp Placebo

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A listener recently sent us an email alerting us to a new dietary supplement released in June called Obecalp. Obecalp, which is Placebo spelled backwards, is a cherry-flavored chewable dextrose pill meant to trick children into believing they are getting a medicine that will make them feel better.

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The incredible, edible..

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In the early 1940s, Esmond Emerson Snell (1914-2003) was trying to figure out why baby chicks who were fed raw egg whites (I know.. how cruel..) showed symptoms of biotin deficiency despite having plenty of it in the diet.

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One.. two.. skip a few..

Monday, June 30, 2008

'Have you quantified that?' Answering 'no' to this question will usually trigger a collective humph from the crowd at a scientific meeting. We don't want to know that there's more or less of some biological activity unless you can say exactly how much different it is from normal.

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A Joke’s a Joke the World Around?

Friday, June 20, 2008

British behavioral psychologist Richard Wiseman set out to track humor on an international scale and discover the funniest joke in the world. After analyzing 1.5 million Internet ratings of 40,000 jokes, Wiseman’s Laugh Lab discovered that Germans were easiest to please, ranking first among nations in finding all sorts of jokes hilarious. Americans squeaked in at number eight with their love of put-downs, right behind the Belgians, with their penchant for the surreal.

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A Text to Build a Dream On?

Friday, June 13, 2008

A great article in the Toronto Star explored a possible new frontier in sleep disorders…sleep texting. The article notes that claims of sleep texting are popping up on blogs and message boards.

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The Science of Play

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why do we play, an activity that is, by its definition, without an immediate objective? Does play serve an important purpose in humans and in other animals? The science of play draws from the work of neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, ethologists, and psychiatrists, among others, and many researchers are studying the appearance of play behaviors in other animals in an attempt to understand what role it may play in brain development.

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Media Hoaxes Galore!

Monday, May 26, 2008

After hearing the War of the Worlds show, many listeners wrote to the Lab with their favorite media hoaxes.

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I Am Jen

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hey everyone, Jad here. If you happen to have caught our "brain on love" podcast a while back, you may remember those groovy mini-jingles we made for the 3 different love chemicals (dopamine, norepinephrine, oxcytocin).

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Individualism or Interdependence

Friday, May 23, 2008

During our show Who Am I? we got worried that spending so much time thinking about the 'self' would make us a little.. well.. self-centered. But what's wrong with that? Nothing really, but apparently we wouldn't do well on this puzzle.

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The focal point

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fluorescent microscopy can illuminate neurons genetically engineered to express fluorescent proteins. "Two-photon" microscopy is special because it lights up the fluorescent neurons only at the focal point allowing scientists to piece together multiple sections in order to obtain a 3D image.

So how does this "two-photon" technology produce fluorescence only at the focal point if the fluorescent laser beam is penetrating all of the surrounding tissue? The theory is that the chances of two low-energy photons hitting the fluorophore at the same time with enough energy to produce a fluorescent event are extremely slim.

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When’s the Last Time You Cachinnated?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Though it’s practically a truism by now that anthropologists’ reports often say more about the writers’ assumptions than about the cultures in question, the valiant attempt by Mahadev L. Apte to compile an anthropology of laughter is laudable, if often hard to believe.

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Biological voyeurism

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scientists communicate with pictures (graphs, images, flowcharts, etc) because it's often impossible to convey experimental results with just words. So a picture is truly worth a thousand words, right?

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Music Lab #2

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here's the second installment of 'Music Lab.' A place on the blog where Jad gets to play some of his favorite music and tell you why he likes it. Take a listen.

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You and Your Irrational Brain: An evening of experimentation under the stars

Monday, May 12, 2008

The World Science Festival and WNYC Radio present You and Your Irrational Brain, a live, outdoor event (rain or shine) Thursday, May 29th at Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, Queens, NY.

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Lies are only skin deep?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Over the course of human history, the methods used to determine if someone is telling the truth have ranged from horrific to downright silly. The legend of La Bocca della Verita holds that if someone fibs with their hand in the mouth, it gets bitten off.

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Technology and Human Rights

Friday, May 09, 2008

Many of you probably remember last year's release of satellite images documenting human rights violations in Myanmar (Burma). Scientists have teamed together at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to use sophisticated technology to alert us of the atrocities against civilians in Darfur, North Korea, and Burma. How else can we apply the tools of science to enhance human rights work?

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the bloody truth about Narcissus

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hello Jad here. First off, thanks to everyone who sent me Starbucks cards for my birthday (what a nice surprise!)

And while we're on the subject of ME, let me say a few words about about narcissism. Actually, no. What I'd really like to do is to play you a song I've had on repeat for the last month, a song about a boy who falls in love with another boy who lives in a river.

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Insect Porn

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Isabella Rosellini stars in these gorgeous and bizarre bug sex videos. (She also wrote and directed these short films.) I will warn you, they are disturbing at times...but only in a nature-is-so-strange-as-to-be-utterly-unreal way.

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Robert gets a Webby!

Monday, May 05, 2008

This just in: Robert Krulwich was selected as an Official Honoree of the 12th Annual Webby Awards, for the animated component to his NPR stories about carbon. Krulwich and his video team (animator Odd Todd, Aneal Mundra, and BPP Video Producer Win Rosenfeld) were honored in the Online Film and Video - Best Use of Animation/Motion Graphics category for their cartoon feature, "It's All About Carbon", which was a part of NPR's Climate Connections series. The videos have an unexpected level of quirk and insight. Check them out here.

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