Joe Palca http://publicradioeast.org en Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers http://publicradioeast.org/post/close-encounters-radio-kind-mystery-bursts-baffle-astronomers Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.<p>Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment — not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.<p><strong>Australian Recordings Inspire Curiosity And Doubt</strong><p>The first report of these "fast radio bursts" appeared in 2007. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:35:00 +0000 Joe Palca 47330 at http://publicradioeast.org Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet http://publicradioeast.org/post/rosetta-spacecraft-readies-rendezvous-comet Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>Next month, the European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe will catch up with a comet, which it has been chasing across the solar system for a decade. Once there, the Rosetta probe will take pictures, make measurements and drop a probe down to the comet's surface. Last January, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca reported that for more than two years the spacecraft had shut off most of its instruments, including the radio for communicating with Earth, in order to save energy. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46951 at http://publicradioeast.org To Make A Spacecraft That Folds And Unfolds, Try Origami http://publicradioeast.org/post/make-spacecraft-folds-and-unfolds-try-origami Scientists and engineers at NASA are using <a href="http://www.origami-resource-center.com/">origami techniques</a> to help solve a fundamental dilemma facing spacecraft designers: How do you take a big object, pack it into a small container for rocket launch, and then unpack it again once it arrives in space — making sure nothing breaks in the process.<p>Brian Trease, an engineer at NASA's <a href="http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/">Jet Propulsion Laboratory</a>, says one way is to use something called the <a href="http://www.ijpam.eu/contents/2012-79-2/8/8.pdf">Miura fold</a>, named for its inventor, Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:27:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46645 at http://publicradioeast.org Why Theories On Black Holes Are Full Of Holes http://publicradioeast.org/post/why-theories-black-holes-are-full-holes Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>Scientists announced, earlier this week, they had discovered three supermassive black holes orbiting close together in a single galaxy. That indicates that black holes are more common than astronomers previously thought. And it's a good reason to revisit a report from Joe Palca on black holes. In this encore segment, he reports that the theories about these super powerful bodies are still, well, full of holes.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Astronomers know a few things about black holes. On the other hand, Ensign Chekov and Mr. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:35:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45298 at http://publicradioeast.org If They Want To Make Anything, Proteins Must Know How To Fold http://publicradioeast.org/post/if-they-want-make-anything-proteins-must-know-how-fold Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Events unfold. Plots unfold. And this summer, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has been telling us how science unfolds. It's series we're creatively calling Unfolding Science.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG)<p>BLOCK: Today, Joe tells us about large biological molecules called proteins that have to fold and unfold properly to keep us alive.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: When we talk about food, protein is a kind of nutrient you get in meat, fish or foul. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45071 at http://publicradioeast.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes http://publicradioeast.org/post/crispr-way-fix-faulty-genes Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.<p>"It's really powerful, it's a really exciting development," says <a href="http://profiles.umassmed.edu/profiles/display/129741">Craig Mello</a> of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Joe Palca 44973 at http://publicradioeast.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes To Put Two Rovers On Mars, Scientists Had To Get Clever With Packing http://publicradioeast.org/post/put-two-rovers-mars-scientists-had-get-clever-packing To fit in their shipping container, two Mars rovers had to be folded up into a tiny package and then unfolded — a prime example of what NPR science correspondent Joe Palca calls "unfolding science." Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43518 at http://publicradioeast.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder http://publicradioeast.org/post/phone-app-might-predict-manic-episodes-bipolar-disorder There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. Sat, 31 May 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Joe Palca 42806 at http://publicradioeast.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder The First American Teenager, Millennia-Old And Underwater http://publicradioeast.org/post/first-american-teenager-millennia-old-and-underwater Transcript <p>TESS VIGELAND, HOST: <p>From the studios of NPR West in Culver City, California it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'M Tess Vigeland. Let us contemplate the American teenage girl, perhaps the very first one. Apparently, there's been some scientific debate about who she is and whether she hails from the same gene sequence as what we think of as the first Americans, American Indians. And when I say gene sequence, we're not talking about Skinnies from Urban Outfitters. Sun, 18 May 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Joe Palca 41698 at http://publicradioeast.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer http://publicradioeast.org/post/faith-drives-father-create-test-childhood-cancer When Bryan and Elizabeth Shaw learned that their son Noah had a potentially deadly eye cancer, like a lot of people, they turned to their religious faith to help sustain them. But faith is also impelling Bryan Shaw to create software to detect eye cancer in children as soon after birth as possible.<p>The Shaws are Christians, and their faith is extremely important to them. When they were at their bleakest, "Bryan would pull out the Psalms and say, 'This is how King David suffered in the Psalms, and we're going through this," says Elizabeth. Wed, 07 May 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 40746 at http://publicradioeast.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis http://publicradioeast.org/post/chemist-turns-software-developer-after-sons-cancer-diagnosis A scientist's ambitious plan to create an early detection system for eye cancer using people's home cameras is coming along.<p>Last fall, we told you about Bryan Shaw's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/05/243189819/how-pictures-of-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer">scheme</a>. He believes parents' cameras can reveal whether their baby has <a href="http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/67">leukocoria</a>, a white glow coming from the pupil when you shine a light in their eyes. Tue, 06 May 2014 07:37:00 +0000 Joe Palca 40656 at http://publicradioeast.org Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis 50 Years Of BASIC http://publicradioeast.org/post/dartmouth-celebrates-50-years-basic-computer-language Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>NPR's Joe Palca is in our studios and he's brought along a piece of paper. Joe, what's it say?<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: It says, let X equal seven plus eight divided by three.<p>INSKEEP: It sounds like kind of a mathematical equation there.<p>PALCA: It's actually a line of computer code and it was part of the first very short program ever run in a language called BASIC.<p>INSKEEP: OK. Which is what we're going to talk about here, because Joe has a project he calls Joe's Big Idea. Thu, 01 May 2014 09:05:00 +0000 Joe Palca 40281 at http://publicradioeast.org The Scientist Who Makes Stars On Earth http://publicradioeast.org/post/scientist-who-makes-stars-earth Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>On the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, scientists are doing something astonishing. They're creating a white dwarf star - not a whole star but enough of one to study in minute detail. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Joe Palca 35844 at http://publicradioeast.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick http://publicradioeast.org/post/clean-drinking-water-all-you-need-stick Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.<p>The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.<p>Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.<p>MIT's <a href="http://meche.mit.edu/people/?id=279">Rohit Karnik</a> is a mechanical engineer who works on water technologies. He says it's relatively easy to make membranes that can filter the bacteria out of water. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 35759 at http://publicradioeast.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives http://publicradioeast.org/post/inexpensive-aquarium-bubbler-saves-preemies-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:20:00 +0000 Joe Palca 33475 at http://publicradioeast.org Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives Scientists Come Close To Finding True Magnetic Monopole http://publicradioeast.org/post/scientists-come-close-finding-true-magnetic-monopole Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Scientists may have filled in a gap in one the fundamental theories of physics. We've always been told that magnets have two poles, north and south. But theory suggests there should be something called a magnetic monopole, a magnet that has either a north pole or a south pole but not both of them. So far no one has found this elusive magnetic monopole.<p>As part of his project, Joe's Big Idea, NPR's Joe Palca brings us the story of scientists at Amherst College in Massachusetts. They have created a synthetic magnetic monopole. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 10:04:00 +0000 Joe Palca 33257 at http://publicradioeast.org Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer http://publicradioeast.org/post/peter-stone-cant-get-enough-robots-playing-soccer Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And later this year, billions of people around the world will become obsessed by sounds like this.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)<p>MONTAGNE: The World Cup, the pinnacle of soccer, starts this June, in Brazil. NPR science correspondent Joe Palca will be one of those obsessed, screaming fans. It's not often Joe gets to do a story that mixes science and soccer, but as part of his new project, Joe's Big Idea, he found a computer scientist who actually studies soccer using robots as players. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 22:21:00 +0000 Joe Palca 32533 at http://publicradioeast.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity http://publicradioeast.org/post/saving-babies-lives-starts-aquarium-pumps-and-ingenuity <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:52:00 +0000 Joe Palca 31263 at http://publicradioeast.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity To Make Intersections Smarter, We Need Cars To Be Smarter, Too http://publicradioeast.org/post/make-intersections-smarter-we-need-cars-be-smarter-too Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Car companies have already begun to design cars that can drive themselves. But to make these smart cars really useful, they'll also need smart roads. As part of his series, "Joe's Big Idea," NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has this story about some computer scientists who were designing a smart traffic intersection. How smart? Fri, 27 Dec 2013 21:21:00 +0000 Joe Palca 30780 at http://publicradioeast.org 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives http://publicradioeast.org/post/coolest-thing-ever-how-robotic-arm-changed-4-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jbEvhFzQM</p> Thu, 28 Nov 2013 08:05:00 +0000 Joe Palca 28679 at http://publicradioeast.org 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives