Robert Krulwich http://wesa.fm en 'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard http://wesa.fm/post/why-am-i-dead-he-never-asked-heres-answer-he-never-heard Shara Yurkiewicz is a med student. She's doing rounds now, moving from department to department. Much of what she sees, she's seeing for the first time. Not yet a doctor, there are moments, many moments when she has the eyes of a patient. She gets scared. She feels helpless. She's too involved. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:57:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 27731 at http://wesa.fm 'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard The Ultimate Animal Experience? Losing A Memory Quiz To A Chimp http://wesa.fm/post/ultimate-animal-experience-losing-memory-quiz-chimp <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNV0rSndJ0</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:34:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 27663 at http://wesa.fm The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story http://wesa.fm/post/power-poop-whale-story This, I would think, should be self-evident: Generally speaking, big creatures eat smaller creatures that, in turn, eat even smaller creatures, like this ...<p>And just as obviously, one would expect the food chain to be pyramid-shaped: a few big creatures at the top eating more middle-sized creatures in the middle, that eat many, many, many little creatures at the bottom, like so:<p>Which brings me to a curious exception — a real life mystery — discovered a few years ago. Sat, 05 Apr 2014 09:39:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 27069 at http://wesa.fm The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck http://wesa.fm/post/oh-hello-says-andrew-he-suddenly-grabs-you-leg-or-neck <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wynx1ukwdVA</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:59:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 26964 at http://wesa.fm 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck The List Of Animals Who Can Truly, Really Dance Is Very Short. Who's On It? http://wesa.fm/post/list-animals-who-can-truly-really-dance-very-short-whos-it <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7IZmRnAo6s</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNKyG4C2VlA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqjcXu5QlxY</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:45:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 26837 at http://wesa.fm The List Of Animals Who Can Truly, Really Dance Is Very Short. Who's On It? I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle http://wesa.fm/post/i-cant-believe-what-im-seeing-springtime-froggy-miracle Two weeks ago this animal was frozen solid. If you found one in the woods, packed in the topsoil, hiding under a leaf, you could pull it from the ground and it would feel like an ashtray. You could bang it (lightly) on a table — it would go, "Konk!" like a rock. It doesn't seem to be breathing. It reacts to nothing. It's so dead. Or seems to be. And then, this (I want to call it a miracle) happens ...<p>I did this piece when I was host of <em>Nova Science Now,</em> on PBS, and <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/costanzo-cryobiology.html">the mystery</a> of it still amazes me. Sat, 22 Mar 2014 09:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 26298 at http://wesa.fm I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story http://wesa.fm/post/imaginary-town-becomes-real-then-not-true-story This is the story of a totally made-up place that suddenly became real — and then, strangely, undid itself and became a fantasy again. Imagine Pinocchio becoming a real boy and then going back to being a puppet. That's what happened here — but this is a true story.<p>It's about a place in upstate New York called Agloe. You can see it here, circled in blue ...<p>... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:43:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 26081 at http://wesa.fm An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? http://wesa.fm/post/rain-forest-begins-rain-right-trick-question <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3OWgb0Bv-A</p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:08:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22574 at http://wesa.fm A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle http://wesa.fm/post/am-i-going-die-year-mathematical-puzzle A few years ago, physicist <a href="http://www.physics.umn.edu/people/bskinner.html">Brian Skinner</a><strong> </strong>asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing<strong> — </strong>and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:27:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22513 at http://wesa.fm Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute http://wesa.fm/post/oh-say-can-you-see-musical-salute <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE-2IJDT4tE</p> Sun, 05 Jan 2014 09:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22351 at http://wesa.fm Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head http://wesa.fm/post/billboards-drop-angels-your-head <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJx_pZjvzc</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEKC-Yu-LeQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZcwCMV9UEs</p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22337 at http://wesa.fm Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes http://wesa.fm/post/youre-invisible-ill-eat-you-anyway-secrets-snow-diving-foxes <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2SoGHFM18I</p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 12:47:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22285 at http://wesa.fm 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything http://wesa.fm/post/animal-loses-head-remembers-everything When I first saw this," says cell biologist <a href="http://www.hhmi.org/scientists/alejandro-sanchez-alvarado">Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado</a>, "it was with total amazement."<p>This is a worm. It's called a <a href="http://planaria.stowers.org/index.php">planarian</a>. It's about an inch long, and you'll find it gliding along the bottoms of rivers and ponds all over the world. It's very flat, like a moving bit of pasta — nothing special to look at, but it has a hidden talent that has made it famous. It can regrow its body parts better than almost any other animal on Earth. Tue, 31 Dec 2013 12:43:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 22149 at http://wesa.fm Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly http://wesa.fm/post/what-chickadees-have-i-want-badly First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys. Every day.<p>I have this extraordinary ability to <em>not</em> remember where my keys are. It's uncanny. Every morning, I lock the front door, step away, fall into a 2 ½ second trance during which I place my keys in lord-knows-which pocket, <em>even if a second earlier I was saying to myself, "OK, remember where you put your keys." </em>But I don't. Which is why, around this time of year, I envy chickadees. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 18:57:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 21858 at http://wesa.fm What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly One Man. One Cat. Multiplied http://wesa.fm/post/one-man-one-cat-multiplied We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.<p>Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat and guy. Except ...<p>When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.<p>Case in point: Mike Holmes (companion to Ella) is a cartoonist. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:27:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 21710 at http://wesa.fm One Man. One Cat. Multiplied Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice http://wesa.fm/post/science-reporter-emily-graslie-reads-her-mail-and-its-not-so-nice <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRNt7ZLY0Kc</p> Sat, 30 Nov 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 20608 at http://wesa.fm Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody http://wesa.fm/post/thanksgiving-everybody-needs-friend-and-means-everybody Last December, a website called <em>The Morning News</em> <a href="http://www.themorningnews.org/article/2012-the-year-that-was-and-wasnt">asked me</a> to describe the most important and unimportant events of my year. So I sent them a story that felt like both to me, something slight but at the same time deeply rich. Now that it's Thanksgiving, I'm going to post it here because it's about two girls who want the best for everybody — and that can get complicated.<p><blockquote><p>I'm walking past a school. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 13:08:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 20542 at http://wesa.fm On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying http://wesa.fm/post/born-wet-human-babies-are-75-percent-water-then-comes-drying Look at this baby.<p>Lovely, no? Now think of this baby abstractly — as a sack of hundreds of millions of atoms. Tue, 26 Nov 2013 15:56:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 20418 at http://wesa.fm Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits? http://wesa.fm/post/what-we-can-never-ever-know-does-science-have-limits I got two books in the mail that, if they could have, would've poked, scratched and ripped each others' pages out. I don't know if Martin Gardner and Patricia Churchland ever met, but their books show that there are radically, even ferociously, different ways to think about science. Gardner died last year. He was a science writer whose monthly "Mathematical Games" column in <em>Scientific American</em> was wildly popular. Patricia Churchland is a philosopher who teaches at U.C. Fri, 06 Sep 2013 16:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16100 at http://wesa.fm What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits? Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees http://wesa.fm/post/wild-things-hanging-spruce-trees Stanley Kunitz, one of our great poets, planted a spruce tree next to his house in Provincetown, Mass., and over the years that tree attracted some tenants, a family of garden snakes. I didn't know garden snakes climb trees, especially needly ones like a spruce, but they do.<p>Here's something else I didn't know. Sometimes, when the sun is less with us in September and October, garden snakes will seek the sunny side of a tree, climb up and then hang in the sunshine. It's their way of staying warm. Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 16021 at http://wesa.fm Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees How To Build Little Doors Inside Your Shell: The Secrets of Snail Carpentry http://wesa.fm/post/how-build-little-doors-inside-your-shell-secrets-snail-carpentry "I am going to withdraw from the world," says a snail in Hans Christian Andersen's tale <a href="http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheSnailAndTheRosebush_e.html" target="_blank">The Snail and the Rosebush</a>. "Nothing that happens there is any concern of mine."<p>In the fall, snails get cold. They sense the days getting shorter so they prepare for what's coming. You'd expect them to, of course, but it's <em>how </em>they do it that surprised me. Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:25:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 15898 at http://wesa.fm How To Build Little Doors Inside Your Shell: The Secrets of Snail Carpentry Drone It To Me, Baby http://wesa.fm/post/drone-it-me-baby Spies used them first, then the Air Force, then cops, then mischievous civilians; drones, for some reason, are what gawkers use to gawk. They're spy accessories. But not <em>only </em>spy accessories. Thanks to Jasper van Loenen, drones are about to expand their repertoire. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:02:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 15730 at http://wesa.fm Drone It To Me, Baby How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You http://wesa.fm/post/how-disappear-when-someones-spying-you-privacy-wear-comes-market <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YO4TTpYg7g</p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 16:34:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 15596 at http://wesa.fm How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You Why Men Die Younger Than Women: The 'Guys Are Fragile' Thesis http://wesa.fm/post/why-men-die-younger-women-guys-are-fragile-thesis <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdIRrmNN_CQ</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 14:39:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 11578 at http://wesa.fm Why Men Die Younger Than Women: The 'Guys Are Fragile' Thesis MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand http://wesa.fm/post/mits-magic-bag-sand <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMis7LPZE9M</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okciiW26A6c</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wShKl0Hbw0</p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 14:42:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 10818 at http://wesa.fm MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand