Robert Krulwich http://publicradiodelmarva.net en Music That Burns, Literally http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/music-burns-literally <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2awbKQ2DLRE</p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:33:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 53044 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Music That Burns, Literally Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 52958 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces? So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 52827 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net 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://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 17:57:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 52712 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net '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://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 52642 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 52047 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story 'Oh, Hello,' Says Andrew, As He Suddenly Grabs You By The Leg Or Neck http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 51941 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net '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://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 51819 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net 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://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 51251 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle What's The Biggest Animal Gathering Ever? (Was Rod Stewart There?) http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/whats-biggest-animal-gathering-ever-was-rod-stewart-there It's a small moment in a sprawling Shakespeare play. Most people miss it. A nobleman named Mortimer has been locked up by the king, who decrees: Don't anyone say "Mortimer" in my royal presence. That name is forbidden. But one of Mortimer's allies has a plan. He wants to give the king a little bird, a starling. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 11:23:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 51188 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What's The Biggest Animal Gathering Ever? (Was Rod Stewart There?) An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 51040 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story Polar Bear Flip-Flop: People Hated, Then Loved These Photos. What Changed? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/polar-bear-flip-flop-people-hated-then-loved-these-photos-what-changed <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHj82otCi7U</p> Sat, 01 Mar 2014 13:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 50107 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Polar Bear Flip-Flop: People Hated, Then Loved These Photos. What Changed? Is Planet Earth Under New Management? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/planet-earth-under-new-management A hundred million years from now, when we're all dead and gone, a team of geologists will be digging in a field somewhere ...<p>... and they will discover, buried in the rocks below, a thin layer of sediment — very thin, about the width of a cigarette paper, <a href="http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/geology/people/zalasiewicz-ja">says British stratigrapher Jan Zalasiewicz</a>. That skinny strip, when they look close, will send what's called a "biostratigraphic signal" that something enormous happened back in our era, something life-changing, planet-reorganizing, even Earth-shaping. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 13:03:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 49931 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Is Planet Earth Under New Management? Trees On The Move As Temperature Zones Shift 3.8 Feet A Day http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/trees-move-temperature-zones-shift-38-feet-day You are a snail. You are a plant. You like where you are. The temperature's right. It suits you.<p>But then, gradually, over the years, it gets warmer. Not every day, of course, but on more and more days, the temperature climbs to uncomfortable highs, drying you out, making you tired, thirsty.<p>Something is not right. And though you can't know this, there's a reason: The whole planet is getting warmer, which means that temperature zones are shifting. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:19:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 49542 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Trees On The Move As Temperature Zones Shift 3.8 Feet A Day 'O Wind A-Blowing!' http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/o-wind-blowing <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz2SeEzxMuE</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKUipxR3bDc</p> Sat, 15 Feb 2014 16:05:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 49362 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net 'O Wind A-Blowing!' Parents With Noisy Babies Shouldn't Read This. They'll Be Too Jealous http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/parents-noisy-babies-shouldnt-read-theyll-be-too-jealous If only ...<em> if only, </em>instead of that noisy, bawling, crying little person, you could have produced an antelope baby <em></em>— and oh, the quiet! The blissful, total silence. When pronghorn antelopes have babies, nobody hears anything for weeks and weeks — which is the whole point.<p>Let's be one and see how it goes. Most antelopes have their babies in the open, in a meadow like the one below — we're in Montana, in the <a href="http://www.fws.gov/refuge/national_bison_range/">National Bison Range</a>. It's springtime. You are about to have twins. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:16:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 49198 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Parents With Noisy Babies Shouldn't Read This. They'll Be Too Jealous Big Fish Stories Getting Littler http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/big-fish-stories-getting-littler They came, they fished, then snap! They posed. Right in front of their Big Catch — and thereby hangs a tale.<p>For generations, tour boats have been collecting fishing enthusiasts in Key West, Fla.: taking them for a day of deep sea casting; providing them rods, bait, companionship; and then, when the day ends, there's a little wharf-side ceremony. Everyone is invited to take his biggest fish and hook it onto the "Hanging Board"; a judge compares catches, chooses a champion, and then the family that caught the biggest fish poses for a photograph. The one up above comes from 1958. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:26:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48822 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Big Fish Stories Getting Littler Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 13:46:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48680 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare A Hunk Of Planet Dissolves Before Our Eyes http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/hunk-planet-dissolves-our-eyes <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3VTgIPoGU</p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:07:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 48546 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net A Hunk Of Planet Dissolves Before Our Eyes A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47395 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question? Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47347 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47184 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47169 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47111 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net 'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 46959 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 18:25:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 46651 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly One Man. One Cat. Multiplied http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 46519 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net One Man. One Cat. Multiplied How Important Is A Bee? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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. Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:36:00 +0000 Robert Krulwich 45827 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net How Important Is A Bee? Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 45505 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 45426 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody