Here at Radiolab we’ve been known to tinker with sound... cutting music, ambi, and big ideas all together to get the point across in the most fun, interesting and understandable way. It’s not your typical public radio interview. Recently, we decided to check in with some of the guests on past episodes to see what they thought. Were they over-edited? Mis-represented? Did they love the show? Hate it?
Hydrogen sulfide stinks, but you knew that already, didn't you. Hydrogen sulfide is flammable, but you probably knew that too (and I won't ask how). But did you know hydrogen sulfide lowers blood pressure? and might protect the body from injury?
We've gotten a lot of great responses to our show Laughter. Tom was so inspired that he changed his voicemail: 'I was so excited that when I got to work I changed the end of my daily telephone greeting to '...make it a groovy day.' For some reason I then decided to start laughing like the laugh track people on your show.
Last week, the band Neurotic and the PVCs brought new meaning to the idea of cultivating an audience. The band played to a crowd of human fans and a set of three robots. The robots are rigged with "neural networks" based on human neurology that allow them to make their own neural connections...and therefore develop a taste for music.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.