Joe Palca http://wcqs.org en Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All http://wcqs.org/post/where-we-learn-artificial-eyes-really-arent-round-all Almost every time reporters go out on assignment, they run across something unexpected that they just can't fit into the story they're working on.<p>When science correspondent Joe Palca and producer Rebecca Davis were in Boston reporting on a boy with a rare form of cancer, they found themselves in the office of <a href="http://www.jahrling.com/Jopi/AboutJopi.htm">Jahrling Ocular Prosthetics</a>, a business dedicated to making artificial eyes.<p>Joe and Rebecca spoke with Joyce and Eric Jahrling, two of the four Jahrlings who work at this family firm, and learned some surprising things about m Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Joe Palca 22049 at http://wcqs.org Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! http://wcqs.org/post/transformer-paper-turns-itself-robot-cool Every so often, a scientific paper just begs for a sexy headline.<p>Consider this study in the current issue of <em>Science</em>: "<a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.1252610">A Method for Building Self-folding Machines</a>." A bit bland, you'll no doubt agree. <em>A Real-Life, Origami-Inspired Transformer</em> is how the journal's public affairs department referred to it. Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:03:00 +0000 Joe Palca 21910 at http://wcqs.org Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers http://wcqs.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 21385 at http://wcqs.org Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet http://wcqs.org/post/rosetta-spacecraft-readies-rendezvous-comet <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=Rosetta+Spacecraft+Readies+For+Rendezvous+With+Comet&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDAxODc0NzU5MDEyMTgyMDUxMzlkN2IzMw004)"/></div><p>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. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 21167 at http://wcqs.org To Make A Spacecraft That Folds And Unfolds, Try Origami http://wcqs.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 20991 at http://wcqs.org If They Want To Make Anything, Proteins Must Know How To Fold http://wcqs.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 20:57:00 +0000 Joe Palca 20061 at http://wcqs.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes http://wcqs.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 20017 at http://wcqs.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder http://wcqs.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 18791 at http://wcqs.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder The First American Teenager, Millennia-Old And Underwater http://wcqs.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 18194 at http://wcqs.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer http://wcqs.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 17695 at http://wcqs.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer