Science & Technology

The State of Things
11:41 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The Apocalypse Of The Cricket Frogs

Southern Cricket Frog in Person County, NC.
Credit Catherine Stevens / http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiral_c/

You might be forgiven for thinking the apocalypse is underway. Recently on the State of Things we’ve talked about the mass deaths of both bees and bats and the scary implications for the rest of us. Today, we’re going to talk about the death of frogs. Jonathan Micancin says that this problem has been with us a long time. In fact, it could have been the first sign that something may be going horribly wrong in the environment.

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The State of Things
11:51 am
Tue July 30, 2013

What Makes Us Smile?

Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale, makes a comparison between a genuine smile (left) and a fake smile (right).
Credit Marianne LaFrance

Sure, it's more or less a given that we smile when we're happy and we smile when our picture is taken.  But do we also smile automatically throughout the day when we make eye contact with strangers?  How often do we smile in conversation? 

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The State of Things
9:18 am
Mon July 29, 2013

NC State Physicist Explores Mysteries Of The Universe

Stephen Reynolds is an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University.
Credit http://www.physics.ncsu.edu/people/faculty_reynolds.html

In the age of the Internet, it sometimes seems as though no questions remain unanswered. But for Stephen Reynolds, the mystery is only beginning.

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Science & Technology
2:00 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Baby Harp Seals On Thin Ice

A seal pup on thin ice.
Credit International Fund for Animal Welfare

A new study from Duke has found that as sea ice cover declines off the coast of eastern Canada, harp seal pups are suffering from a higher rate of strandings than their parents. It’s the first study of seal stranding rates that takes into account genetics, as well as environmental and demographic factors like age and gender.  Duke research scientist David Johnston says that genetic fitness does not affect the rate of stranding.

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Science & Technology
5:10 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Google Glass Comes To The Triangle

Brian Gundersen with his new Google Glass.
Credit Brian Gundersen

The new supercomputer headgear Google Glass might seem like technology from the future, but in North Carolina there have already been sightings. At least three Google Glass users have made their way through the Triangle recently, and they left behind a trail of media documenting their experiences.

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Science & Technology
7:43 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Science Fair Entries That Look Beyond The Baking Soda Volcano

Some science fairs are pushing students to answer new questions rather than confirm old answers.
Credit DML East Branch / Flickr Creative Commons

When you think of school science fair projects, you might think of baking soda volcanoes or Styrofoam models of the planets. More to the point, that’s what a lot of students think of – and what they enter – in science fairs.

But to a lot of real scientists, projects like that are a missed opportunity. They say that rather than just building models, children as young as eight or ten can do actual science and discover new things.

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Science & Technology
10:26 am
Fri July 19, 2013

What Happened To The Disease That Caused The Irish Potato Famine?

Potato late blight lesion
Credit Jean Ristaino, NC State University

New research reveals the disease that wiped out millions of potatoes and led to widespread famine in Ireland is still around, and it’s more virulent than ever.  A new study led by NC State University plant pathologist Jean Ristaino investigates the history of the fungus-like organism that caused the Irish potato famine and how its genome has evolved since it first showed up in Ireland in the 1800’s.

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The State of Things
12:03 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Scientist Looks At Super Materials In Superhero Comics

Captain America's Shield
Credit Pop Culture Geek/Flickr / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

When you watch an X-men movie or read a Captain America comic, you can find a new way to look at material science. Superhero comics can be just as much science as they are magic.

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Science & Technology
2:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Duke Researchers Design Toilet That Turns Waste Into Drinking Water

A self-contained sewage recycling system being designed by Duke and Missouri engineers.
Credit Duke University

Two years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a research competition called “Reinvent the Toilet,” challenging researchers to create a sewage disposal system that requires no electricity and could be used in developing countries. Marc Deshusses, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, pitched an idea to the Foundation and won $100,000 to take it further.

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Science & Technology
10:13 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Duke To Offer 'Bionic Eye' For Blind Patients

Argus II bionic eye glasses
Credit Second Sight

Duke University Hospital has become one of only 13 sites in the nation selected to offer bionic eyes for severely blind patients.

A company called Second Sight developed the device, and they chose Duke after a lengthy selection process. The device was approved by the FDA in February.

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