A med student is paired with a patient her age. She does her job. They talk. They bond. The patient gets better. She's thrilled. And then ...
Look where you like through the 13,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of our planet, and you will find only one ounce of it. It's really, really, really rare. Possibly the rarest thing in the universe.
At first, you couldn't ask for a better meal plan. The food is free, delivered straight to you. It lands, literally, right at your feet. All you have to do is bend over and eat. Except: the portions are very small and tend to slip away rather quickly. That's why sandpipers seem so frantic when you see them at the beach. Their food keeps disappearing.
It's America's birthday this week, when we celebrate government of, by and for the People, which has me thinking of two particular people, my mother and my aunt, who argued politics at our family dinner table. If families in this country are anything like mine, America's democratic achievement is nothing short of a miracle.
One of the great dinosaur puzzles, the dinosaur mystery, is why did they suddenly die off? Scientists have been debating this question for almost a hundred years and one of the most beautiful notions came from an insect scholar who thought maybe caterpillars did it.
At night, in the ocean, they look like little Broadway billboards with dazzling trills of rainbow colored light. They have eight little runways on their bodies for light display. What are they?
You find a hair on a table top. A cigarette butt on the street. You take it home, and using not especially sophisticated tools, you recover traces of DNA. Can you now reconstruct the face of the person whose hair that was? Who smoked that cigarette?
Carl Sagan once wrote a mischievous paper called "A Search for Life on Earth from the Galileo Spacecraft". Being a living Earthling, he knew he'd find life here. So what was he really up to? The experiment he ran in 1990 is about to be repeated in a few weeks. Here's my closer look.
Every so often you see something deeply, truly, can't-believe-they-can-do-this astonishing. This is one of those. A small invention, inserted into a brain, that can silence a neural nightmare with the push of a button. Andrew Johnson is going to push that button.
Every night you lose weight while you sleep. Everybody does. Sometimes two pounds. Something inside you when you close you eyes is gone by morning. It's not bathroom-related. It's something else. What could it be?
What's that beetle doing to that beer bottle? The beetle dropped down from the sky, grabbed the bottle's bottom, keeps hugging and hugging it, even when being attacked by ants, and it won't — refuses to — let go. It can't be the beer it's after. The beer is at the other end. What's going on?
Take something old, familiar and classical, add denim, polyester and glasses, and watch what happens! Two French artists create a new form of time travel.
Death, it appears, prefers gentlemen to ladies. Women don't just outlive men, they consistently outlive men at every stage of life. More boys die in utero, in infancy, in adolescence, in middle age, at every stage. That's why nature makes more of them. But why? What's so fragile about guys?
India has just banned dolphin entertainment parks. They are "morally unacceptable," says a government ministry. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the U.S. Navy announced that 24 dolphins trained to sniff for underwater mines will be replaced by robots.
Moving north: two vans. Moving east: three taxis, a peddle cab and one lady walking. Moving west: six motorcycles, another taxi, a truck and a van. Moving south: a bicyclist, two cabs and a truck. All of them meet and there are no rules. Who lives? Who dies?
Take a bunch of broccoli, or make it a Slurpee, burger, pizza and fries, swallow, and ask yourself, "How much energy did I just consume?" Enough to light a flashlight? Run an electric toothbrush? If I were a lunch-eating light bulb, how long would I glow? Here's the answer.
Be really careful when you carve your name onto an ancient Egyptian temple. Not because it's wrong (which it is), but because sometimes the temple comes back to haunt you. The true story of Luther Bradish, an American spy who didn't keep his secret.
Join us for a night of nanospectucular wonders, hosted by Robert Krulwich, live from the World Science Festival tonight (May 30) at 8pm ET here on radiolab.org. Watch below, and join two Radiolab producers for a live chat as the event gets underway.
Take a metronome. Then take another. Then another. Set them ticking at different times. Look. Lift. (That's the key part.) Watch. Then Laugh. Because you will be dumbfounded.
What do you get when you get a college diploma? To hear David Foster Wallace tell it, you get a muscle that will help you forever after — in shopping lines, overcrowded parking lots, in traffic jams. This muscle, he says, frees you when the world gets painfully dull.