Science

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Algae may seem harmless, but toxic algae blooms can be a real problem in water supplies used by people.

They can kill wildlife in the water and be dangerous to humans. Host Frank Stasio talks with Hans Paerl, professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, Morehead City.

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Some scientists tout genetically modified food as a groundbreaking technology that can feed the hungry.

Brian Southwell's new book studies the effectiveness of social networking in spreading health news.
John Hopkins Press

Scientists and public health officials are increasingly turning to social media and peer-to-peer networks to educate the public.  

Fossil Fair at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

  

Science is a place where facts and objectivity reign supreme while politics is a blend of perspectives and opinions. So what happens when science and public policy collide?

waste management system for a 900State of the art lagoon  head hog farm in Georgia.
Jeff Vanuga / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The struggle over hog waste lagoons in North Carolina is decades long. Historically, the lagoons have caused several fish kills and contaminated the public water supply. 

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Bats are the subject of much folklore and derision in human society. Some say they are vermin who carry rabies. Others equate them with the undead vampire of legend. 

wikipedia.org

In this Halloween fright fest, The State of Things tackles the so-called Vampire Squid and Vampire Flying Frog. 

catwarren.com
catwarren.com / catwarren.com

Cat Warren is a North Carolina State University professor by day and a superhero by night. Well, sort of. Her dog Solo is a cadaver dog. Warren takes him out to suspected crime scenes to help police find the bodies of the missing and presumed deceased.

The hobby started innocently enough as a way to keep Solo’s energy in check. He wasn't very well behaved, and he flunked out of obedience school a number of times.

“He was a singleton, so he didn’t relate well with dogs," Warren said on The State of Things.

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

Some science fairs are pushing students to answer new questions rather than confirming old answers.
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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