Robert Krulwich http://krwg.org en Music That Burns, Literally http://krwg.org/post/music-burns-literally <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2awbKQ2DLRE</p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 64636 at http://krwg.org Music That Burns, Literally Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? http://krwg.org/post/introducing-divorce-rate-birds-and-guess-which-bird-never-ever-divorces There is love. And then there's albatross love.<p>In his new book, <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/292015411/the-thing-with-feathers-the-surprising-lives-of-birds-and-what-they-reveal-about" target="_blank">The Thing With Feathers</a>, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. "These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet," he writes.<p>Noah knows "love" is a word normally reserved for humans. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:10:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 64535 at http://krwg.org Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes http://krwg.org/post/so-how-they-do-it-zebras-getting-stripes How did it happen? How'd the zebra get its stripes?<p>In <a href="http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/leopard.htm" target="_blank">Rudyard </a><a href="http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/leopard.htm" target="_blank">Kipling's version</a>, a gray, horsey-looking beast went into "a great forest 'sclusively full of trees and bushes and stripy, speckly, patchy-batchy shadows," stayed there awhile, and after a "long time"... got stripy.<p>OK. Not bad.<p>Here's another notion, this one from <a href="http://www.ricardosolisart.com/">Ricardo Solis</a>, an artist working in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 64383 at http://krwg.org So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes 'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard http://krwg.org/post/why-am-i-dead-he-never-asked-heres-answer-he-never-heard Shara Yurkiewicz is a med student. She's doing rounds now, moving from department to department. Much of what she sees, she's seeing for the first time. Not yet a doctor, there are moments, many moments when she has the eyes of a patient. She gets scared. She feels helpless. She's too involved. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:39:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 64236 at http://krwg.org 'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard The Ultimate Animal Experience? Losing A Memory Quiz To A Chimp http://krwg.org/post/ultimate-animal-experience-losing-memory-quiz-chimp <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNV0rSndJ0</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:34:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 64156 at http://krwg.org The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story http://krwg.org/post/power-poop-whale-story This, I would think, should be self-evident: Generally speaking, big creatures eat smaller creatures that, in turn, eat even smaller creatures, like this ...<p>And just as obviously, one would expect the food chain to be pyramid-shaped: a few big creatures at the top eating more middle-sized creatures in the middle, that eat many, many, many little creatures at the bottom, like so:<p>Which brings me to a curious exception — a real life mystery — discovered a few years ago. Sat, 05 Apr 2014 09:39:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 63426 at http://krwg.org The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck http://krwg.org/post/oh-hello-says-andrew-he-suddenly-grabs-you-leg-or-neck <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wynx1ukwdVA</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:59:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 63313 at http://krwg.org 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck The List Of Animals Who Can Truly, Really Dance Is Very Short. Who's On It? http://krwg.org/post/list-animals-who-can-truly-really-dance-very-short-whos-it <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7IZmRnAo6s</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNKyG4C2VlA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqjcXu5QlxY</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:36:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 63155 at http://krwg.org The List Of Animals Who Can Truly, Really Dance Is Very Short. Who's On It? I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle http://krwg.org/post/i-cant-believe-what-im-seeing-springtime-froggy-miracle Two weeks ago this animal was frozen solid. If you found one in the woods, packed in the topsoil, hiding under a leaf, you could pull it from the ground and it would feel like an ashtray. You could bang it (lightly) on a table — it would go, "Konk!" like a rock. It doesn't seem to be breathing. It reacts to nothing. It's so dead. Or seems to be. And then, this (I want to call it a miracle) happens ...<p>I did this piece when I was host of <em>Nova Science Now,</em> on PBS, and <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/costanzo-cryobiology.html">the mystery</a> of it still amazes me. Sat, 22 Mar 2014 09:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 62479 at http://krwg.org I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story http://krwg.org/post/imaginary-town-becomes-real-then-not-true-story This is the story of a totally made-up place that suddenly became real — and then, strangely, undid itself and became a fantasy again. Imagine Pinocchio becoming a real boy and then going back to being a puppet. That's what happened here — but this is a true story.<p>It's about a place in upstate New York called Agloe. You can see it here, circled in blue ...<p>... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:43:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 62197 at http://krwg.org An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? http://krwg.org/post/rain-forest-begins-rain-right-trick-question <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3OWgb0Bv-A</p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:08:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57446 at http://krwg.org A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle http://krwg.org/post/am-i-going-die-year-mathematical-puzzle A few years ago, physicist <a href="http://www.physics.umn.edu/people/bskinner.html">Brian Skinner</a><strong> </strong>asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing<strong> — </strong>and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:27:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57377 at http://krwg.org Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute http://krwg.org/post/oh-say-can-you-see-musical-salute <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE-2IJDT4tE</p> Sun, 05 Jan 2014 09:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57189 at http://krwg.org Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head http://krwg.org/post/billboards-drop-angels-your-head <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJx_pZjvzc</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEKC-Yu-LeQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZcwCMV9UEs</p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57161 at http://krwg.org Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes http://krwg.org/post/youre-invisible-ill-eat-you-anyway-secrets-snow-diving-foxes <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2SoGHFM18I</p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 12:47:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 57097 at http://krwg.org 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything http://krwg.org/post/animal-loses-head-remembers-everything When I first saw this," says cell biologist <a href="http://www.hhmi.org/scientists/alejandro-sanchez-alvarado">Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado</a>, "it was with total amazement."<p>This is a worm. It's called a <a href="http://planaria.stowers.org/index.php">planarian</a>. It's about an inch long, and you'll find it gliding along the bottoms of rivers and ponds all over the world. It's very flat, like a moving bit of pasta — nothing special to look at, but it has a hidden talent that has made it famous. It can regrow its body parts better than almost any other animal on Earth. Tue, 31 Dec 2013 12:43:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56893 at http://krwg.org Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly http://krwg.org/post/what-chickadees-have-i-want-badly First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys. Every day.<p>I have this extraordinary ability to <em>not</em> remember where my keys are. It's uncanny. Every morning, I lock the front door, step away, fall into a 2 ½ second trance during which I place my keys in lord-knows-which pocket, <em>even if a second earlier I was saying to myself, "OK, remember where you put your keys." </em>But I don't. Which is why, around this time of year, I envy chickadees. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 18:57:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56473 at http://krwg.org What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly One Man. One Cat. Multiplied http://krwg.org/post/one-man-one-cat-multiplied We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.<p>Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat and guy. Except ...<p>When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.<p>Case in point: Mike Holmes (companion to Ella) is a cartoonist. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:27:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 56285 at http://krwg.org One Man. One Cat. Multiplied Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice http://krwg.org/post/science-reporter-emily-graslie-reads-her-mail-and-its-not-so-nice <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRNt7ZLY0Kc</p> Sat, 30 Nov 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54911 at http://krwg.org Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody http://krwg.org/post/thanksgiving-everybody-needs-friend-and-means-everybody Last December, a website called <em>The Morning News</em> <a href="http://www.themorningnews.org/article/2012-the-year-that-was-and-wasnt">asked me</a> to describe the most important and unimportant events of my year. So I sent them a story that felt like both to me, something slight but at the same time deeply rich. Now that it's Thanksgiving, I'm going to post it here because it's about two girls who want the best for everybody — and that can get complicated.<p><blockquote><p>I'm walking past a school. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 13:08:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54809 at http://krwg.org On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying http://krwg.org/post/born-wet-human-babies-are-75-percent-water-then-comes-drying Look at this baby.<p>Lovely, no? Now think of this baby abstractly — as a sack of hundreds of millions of atoms. Tue, 26 Nov 2013 15:56:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54665 at http://krwg.org Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits? http://krwg.org/post/what-we-can-never-ever-know-does-science-have-limits I got two books in the mail that, if they could have, would've poked, scratched and ripped each others' pages out. I don't know if Martin Gardner and Patricia Churchland ever met, but their books show that there are radically, even ferociously, different ways to think about science. Gardner died last year. He was a science writer whose monthly "Mathematical Games" column in <em>Scientific American</em> was wildly popular. Patricia Churchland is a philosopher who teaches at U.C. Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:52:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 49089 at http://krwg.org What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits? Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees http://krwg.org/post/wild-things-hanging-spruce-trees Stanley Kunitz, one of our great poets, planted a spruce tree next to his house in Provincetown, Mass., and over the years that tree attracted some tenants, a family of garden snakes. I didn't know garden snakes climb trees, especially needly ones like a spruce, but they do.<p>Here's something else I didn't know. Sometimes, when the sun is less with us in September and October, garden snakes will seek the sunny side of a tree, climb up and then hang in the sunshine. It's their way of staying warm. Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48979 at http://krwg.org Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees How To Build Little Doors Inside Your Shell: The Secrets of Snail Carpentry http://krwg.org/post/how-build-little-doors-inside-your-shell-secrets-snail-carpentry "I am going to withdraw from the world," says a snail in Hans Christian Andersen's tale <a href="http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheSnailAndTheRosebush_e.html" target="_blank">The Snail and the Rosebush</a>. "Nothing that happens there is any concern of mine."<p>In the fall, snails get cold. They sense the days getting shorter so they prepare for what's coming. You'd expect them to, of course, but it's <em>how </em>they do it that surprised me. Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:25:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48833 at http://krwg.org How To Build Little Doors Inside Your Shell: The Secrets of Snail Carpentry Drone It To Me, Baby http://krwg.org/post/drone-it-me-baby Spies used them first, then the Air Force, then cops, then mischievous civilians; drones, for some reason, are what gawkers use to gawk. They're spy accessories. But not <em>only </em>spy accessories. Thanks to Jasper van Loenen, drones are about to expand their repertoire. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:02:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48613 at http://krwg.org Drone It To Me, Baby How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You http://krwg.org/post/how-disappear-when-someones-spying-you-privacy-wear-comes-market <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YO4TTpYg7g</p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 16:34:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48453 at http://krwg.org How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You And Now For Something Completely Different http://krwg.org/post/and-now-something-completely-different <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3E86_8c534</p> Sat, 03 Aug 2013 18:07:18 +0000 Robert Krulwich 46841 at http://krwg.org And Now For Something Completely Different Getting Cozy With Baby Butterflies ... So Cozy, They Whisper A Wriggly Secret http://krwg.org/post/getting-cozy-baby-butterflies-so-cozy-they-whisper-wriggly-secret <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhyyPPPgL_w</p> Sat, 20 Jul 2013 15:01:24 +0000 Robert Krulwich 45880 at http://krwg.org Getting Cozy With Baby Butterflies ... So Cozy, They Whisper A Wriggly Secret 7 Billion People And Trillions Of Creatures To Be Photographed Together On July 19 http://krwg.org/post/7-billion-people-and-trillions-creatures-be-photographed-together-july-19 It's going to be a very small picture, but we're all going to be in it. All trillions of us on Earth.<p>It's not our first group portrait, but Carolyn Porco, the woman in charge, says it's going to be gasp-worthy. She should know. She helped shoot some of the early ones.<p>What am I talking about?<p>Well, going back a bit, here's the first one, the granddaddy of Earth pictures. It's often called the "Blue Marble" shot, and it was our first look at our whole planet suspended in space, taken in 1972 as the Apollo 17 crew headed toward the moon. Thu, 27 Jun 2013 16:29:48 +0000 Robert Krulwich 44204 at http://krwg.org 7 Billion People And Trillions Of Creatures To Be Photographed Together On July 19 The Man With A 'Battery Operated Brain' http://krwg.org/post/man-battery-operated-brain <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBh2LxTW0s0</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFknl5YFsE</p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:00:58 +0000 Robert Krulwich 44070 at http://krwg.org The Man With A 'Battery Operated Brain'