Joe Palca http://wqcs.org en Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not http://wqcs.org/post/build-toothbrush-change-world-or-not Some people dream of climbing Mount Everest or riding a bicycle across the country. <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-davidson-rdh-bsdh/68/a46/417">Mike Davidson's dream</a> has been to create the perfect toothbrush, and now he thinks he's done it.<p>The saga of this brush tells a lot about the passion and persistence to take an idea and turn it into a product.<p>Shots first <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/12/27/168080635/the-quest-for-the-perfect-toothbrush">introduced you</a> to Davidson in 2012. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Joe Palca 48280 at http://wqcs.org Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All http://wqcs.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 47599 at http://wqcs.org Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! http://wqcs.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 47465 at http://wqcs.org Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers http://wqcs.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 12:13:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46927 at http://wqcs.org Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet http://wqcs.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 46704 at http://wqcs.org To Make A Spacecraft That Folds And Unfolds, Try Origami http://wqcs.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 46535 at http://wqcs.org Why Theories On Black Holes Are Full Of Holes http://wqcs.org/post/theories-black-holes-are-full-holes <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=Why+Theories+On+Black+Holes+Are+Full+Of+Holes&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDA4NjQ1MDk3MDEzMjMxOTI5Mzc4NjVjNA004)"/></div><p>Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>Scientists announced, earlier this week, they had discovered three supermassive black holes orbiting close together in a single galaxy. That indicates that black holes are more common than astronomers previously thought. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:31:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45735 at http://wqcs.org If They Want To Make Anything, Proteins Must Know How To Fold http://wqcs.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 20:20:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45606 at http://wqcs.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes http://wqcs.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 20:44:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45560 at http://wqcs.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder http://wqcs.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 44324 at http://wqcs.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder