Science

The Peregrine Fund/Bosch WebCam

The five kestrel chicks made famous by the Peregrine Fund’s Kestrel Cam will be banded Thursday as they get ready to leave the nest. Banding is when scientists put bracelet-like metal bands around the birds' legs to help monitor them in the future.

Wikimedia commons

Renowned physicist and Idaho resident Leon Lederman is selling his Nobel Prize medal. Lederman has contributed significantly to science’s understanding of subatomic particles, including neutrinos and quarks.

Lederman jokes he's selling his medal to buy an airplane. 

MaurizioPesce / Flickr Creative Commons

People standing above the epicenter of a large earthquake will feel the ground shaking before people on the periphery of the quake. The same can be said of their smartphones.

Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey are trying to figure out whether smartphones might be used to give earthquake warnings.

Ben Brooks, with the USGS, says if a computer was checking for simultaneous movement of a large number of smartphones, it could give people on the periphery of a quake a 10-or-20-second warning.
He says that's enough time to stop a surgeon from starting an operation.

Robin Bjork

An Idaho woman is studying the migration patterns of a rare bird in Central America. The three-wattled bellbird makes bell-like calls, and those sounds can travel half a mile. Some experts believe it’s the loudest bird in the world.

Ryan Wiedmaier / Flickr Creative Commons

A Boise State University professor wants to make it easier to decide whether it's worth it to spend a little more on organic produce, or purchase the cheaper non-organic option.

"Eighty percent of American grocery stores now sell organic food and people have to decide for themselves is this worth it to buy to feed myself and my family?" says Cynthia Curl. "We don't have a lot of guidance to give to those people and so I think it's a really important thing to study."

Gary Knight VII Photo Agency

NPR social sciences correspondent Shankar Vedantam is speaking Thursday in Ketchum at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.

Vedantam regularly connects public radio listeners to scientific studies that show how unconscious factors can influence people without their awareness. Vedantam has written a book on the topic and calls these subconscious drivers the “hidden brain.”

On the face of it, the new potato varieties called "Innate" seem attractive. If you peel the brown skin off their white flesh, you won't find many unsightly black spots. And when you fry them, you'll probably get a much smaller dose of a potentially harmful chemical.

But here's the catch: Some of the biggest potato buyers in the country, such as Frito-Lay and McDonald's, seem afraid to touch these potatoes. Others don't even want to talk about them because they are genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

John W. Poole / NPR

Take a glimpse into a world you can’t see with Invisibilia, a new program on KBSX 91.5 about the unseen forces that shape human behavior -- ideas, beliefs, assumptions and thoughts.

The one-hour show, which takes its name from the Latin word meaning “all the invisible things,” is produced by NPR’s award-winning Science Desk. Listen to the show locally every Saturday at 3 p.m. starting Jan. 10 on KBSX 91.5 FM.

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

Any parent of a rambunctious youngster can tell you trouble might be afoot when things go quiet in the playroom. Two independent research initiatives indicate there is a comparable situation with the Cascadia earthquake fault zone.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A new study out of Canada reveals a surprising side-effect that hunting may have on wolves.

Researchers wanted to compare the hormone levels in wolves that often deal with hunters’ fire, versus wolves that are hunted very little. They were able to measure levels of progesterone, testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol by looking at samples of wolf hair from different parts of northern Canada.

David Walsh / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The discovery of a mammoth skull near eastern Idaho’s American Falls reservoir recently made national headlines. But scientists' work on the mammoth has just begun.

A portion of a mammoth skull and tusk have been uncovered in southeastern Idaho near American Falls Reservoir.

Experts estimate the mammoth lived 70,000 years ago and was about 16 years old when it died.

The bones have been taken to the Idaho Museum of Natural history at Idaho State University in Pocatello where they will eventually be put on display.

The discovery of the bones on Oct. 18 by a volunteer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation followed heavy rains in August that caused additional erosion in the area.

Noah Kroese (I:NK) / http://www.illustrationnk.com/

Could there be plate tectonics on other worlds? One former Idaho scientist thinks it’s possible. Until now, the movement of pieces of a planet’s crust was found nowhere else in the universe except Earth.

It was the late 1990s and University of Idaho planetary geologist Simon Kattenhorn was looking at one of Jupiter's moons named Europa. NASA’s Galileo orbiter took the pictures of it. Using those images, Kattenhorn discovered something remarkable.

Antibiotics are ubiquitous in modern human life. Along with their well-known medical applications, they also are routinely used in agriculture, including our increasingly industrial production of meat.

But as resistant strains of bacteria continue to emerge, health authorities around the world are growing alarmed at the increasing impotence of antibiotics to fight disease. In fact, they worry we are on the verge of a total breakdown in the overall usefulness of these drugs. It’s a scenario of horrifying scope to those who understand the implications for human health.

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