From savoring a morning coffee to lighting a candle each night, people employ rituals all over the world. NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam speaks with behavior scientist Francesca Gino and Slate columnist William Saletan about the role of rituals in human life.
June 19, 2013 The prize is sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture." And this year's winners include Monsanto executive Robert Fraley, a pioneer in genetically engineered crops. If there's a single person who personifies the company's controversial role in American agriculture, it's probably Fraley.
June 19, 2013 Last fall, Heather Liljengren was collecting the seeds of New York's native dune grasses. Within days, Hurricane Sandy wiped out the Rockaways' dunes and all their flora. Now, those seeds are growing plants likely to be used to restore the dunes and other natural environments around New York City.
June 19, 2013 The White House and NASA want the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could potentially smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.
June 19, 2013 What's that beetle doing to that beer bottle? The beetle dropped down from the sky, grabbed the bottle's bottom, keeps hugging and hugging it, even when being attacked by ants, and it won't — refuses to — let go. It can't be the beer it's after. The beer is at the other end. What's going on?
June 19, 2013 A keen eye and extensive knowledge of feathers allows forensic ornithologist Carla Dove (yes, that's her name) figure out from feather and bone fragments which type of bird crashed into a plane or was eaten by a snake. But the expertise has an uncertain future.
June 18, 2013 A day at a museum promises fun for parents and kids alike. But for children who are on the autism spectrum, a seemingly simple museum exhibit may be too overwhelming to enjoy. Now, museums are coming up with ways to accommodate these visitors.
June 18, 2013 Take something old, familiar and classical, add denim, polyester and glasses, and watch what happens! Two French artists create a new form of time travel.
June 18, 2013 Conventional wisdom holds that men prefer younger women as mates because they're more fertile than older women. But a mathematical analysis suggests that this preference may be the cause of menopause rather than a consequence of it.
June 18, 2013 An enterprising carpenter and a creative puppeteer teamed up on a do-it-yourself project to build a mechanical hand for a little boy. They created an inexpensive prosthetic and published their designs on the Internet. So far, over 100 children have been outfitted.
June 17, 2013 Scientists and parents have long been baffled by the fact that children with autism often don't pay attention to human voices. Researchers say that may be because speech doesn't activate a reward system in the brain for those children the way it does for typical children.
June 17, 2013 Death, it appears, prefers gentlemen to ladies. Women don't just outlive men, they consistently outlive men at every stage of life. More boys die in utero, in infancy, in adolescence, in middle age, at every stage. That's why nature makes more of them. But why? What's so fragile about guys?
June 14, 2013 The Australian researchers found a jungle-covered metropolis that predates the country's famous Angkor Wat complex by some 350 years.
June 14, 2013 Though the regulation proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service would make it more difficult to use chimpanzees for research purposes, that may not be a problem, some scientists say. Scientific advances show the animals are less medically useful than previously thought.