Robert Krulwich http://wcbe.org en 'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard http://wcbe.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 17:50:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 54489 at http://wcbe.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://wcbe.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 54412 at http://wcbe.org The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story http://wcbe.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 53870 at http://wcbe.org The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck http://wcbe.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 53764 at http://wcbe.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://wcbe.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 17:45:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 53641 at http://wcbe.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://wcbe.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 53101 at http://wcbe.org I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story http://wcbe.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 52883 at http://wcbe.org An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story Boy Meets Painting. Painting Grabs Boy. Boy Mystified http://wcbe.org/post/boy-meets-painting-painting-grabs-boy-boy-mystified Here's what I remember: The day it happened, I was around 8 years old, which puts me in the second grade. It was definitely a Sunday (because we never went anywhere on Saturdays). My dad had decided to take me to the Museum of Modern Art to see some paintings, and I always liked going places with my dad, it didn't matter where, so we arrived at the lobby, bought our tickets, handed them to a man who tore them in half, like at the movies. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:40:11 +0000 Robert Krulwich 52278 at http://wcbe.org Boy Meets Painting. Painting Grabs Boy. Boy Mystified Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare http://wcbe.org/post/can-it-be-pigeons-geese-and-white-tailed-deer-were-once-rare Go back 150 years and ask yourself, what was there a lot of?<p>We all know the answer ...<p>There were lots of buffalo, lots of passenger pigeons, lots of oysters. And then, poof! Hardly any. Or none ...<p>OK, let's flip the question: What were there precious few of 150 years ago, in a couple of cases almost to the point of extinction? Mon, 03 Feb 2014 14:53:06 +0000 Robert Krulwich 50501 at http://wcbe.org Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? http://wcbe.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 49294 at http://wcbe.org A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle http://wcbe.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 49232 at http://wcbe.org Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute http://wcbe.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 49074 at http://wcbe.org Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head http://wcbe.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 49053 at http://wcbe.org Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes http://wcbe.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 49012 at http://wcbe.org 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything http://wcbe.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 48872 at http://wcbe.org Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly http://wcbe.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 48561 at http://wcbe.org What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly One Man. One Cat. Multiplied http://wcbe.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 48423 at http://wcbe.org One Man. One Cat. Multiplied Why We Need Grandpas And Grandmas (Part 1) http://wcbe.org/post/why-we-need-grandpas-and-grandmas-part-1 Oldsters, it turns out, matter. They matter a lot. And not just in human families. I've been reading a new book called <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/249234104/the-once-and-future-world-nature-as-it-was-as-it-is-as-it-could-be">The Once and Future World</a></em>, by J. B. MacKinnon, which points out that when we humans hunt game, when we fish the sea, we often prize the biggest animals because they have the biggest tusks, or the most protein, so they're the ones we kill first. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:06:46 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48248 at http://wcbe.org Why We Need Grandpas And Grandmas (Part 1) How Important Is A Bee? http://wcbe.org/post/how-important-bee This is an alarming story, not because it ends badly. It's alarming because it ends well. It shouldn't have, but it did, and biologists (and especially conservationists) now have a puzzle to ponder.<p>The story begins in central China, in an apple-growing region called Maoxian County, near the city of Chengdu. In the mid-1990s, the bees that regularly showed up there every spring suddenly didn't. Apple farmers, obviously, need bees. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:25:19 +0000 Robert Krulwich 47773 at http://wcbe.org How Important Is A Bee? How To Keep The Dust Off Your White Pants With 7 Desk Fans http://wcbe.org/post/how-keep-dust-your-white-pants-7-desk-fans Once upon a time, you could crack open a radio, a telephone, a lawnmower, even a car, take it apart and figure out how it worked. No more. Pretty much everything we use these days comes with computer chips, which you can't really take apart. (I mean, you can, but all you'll find inside are a bunch of 1's and 0's with no obvious logic.) So car mechanics can snap a new chip into an engine, wait till it whirs and watch the gears come to life, but do they know what's going on in there? Tue, 03 Dec 2013 18:14:07 +0000 Robert Krulwich 47461 at http://wcbe.org How To Keep The Dust Off Your White Pants With 7 Desk Fans