Episodes
When a disaster like Hurricane Ian destroys a house, the clock starts ticking. It gets harder for sick people to take their medications, medical devices may stop working without electricity, excessive temperatures, mold, or other factors may threaten someone's health. Every day without stable shelter puts people in danger. The federal government is supposed to help prevent that cascade of problems, but an NPR investigation finds that the people who need help the most are often less likely to...
Published 10/04/22
Published 10/04/22
On August 18, 2015, in Sitka, Alaska, a slope above a subdivision of homes under construction gave way. This landslide demolished a building and killed three people. Today on the show, host Emily Kwong recounts the story of the Kramer Avenue landslide and talks about how scientists and residents implemented an early warning system for landslides to prevent a future disaster.
Published 10/03/22
Host Aaron Scott talks to marine biologist Alfredo Giron about sustainable fishing and how managing the ocean is a lot about managing people.
Published 09/30/22
Why are bladders so stretchy? Why do some people get recurrent urinary tract infections? And why is the bladder #1? Bladder expert Dr. Indira Mysorekar fills us in.
Published 09/29/22
What's in a grassland? There are all sorts of wildflowers, many insects, animals like prairie dogs, bison and antelope — and beneath the surface, there's a lot of carbon. According to some estimates, up to a third of the carbon stored on land is found in grasslands. But grasslands are disappearing — just like forests. Today, journalist Julia Rosen shares her reporting on the hidden majesty and importance of the grasslands. To learn more, including what colonialism has to do with disappearing...
Published 09/28/22
A day in the life of one city park, documenting the nature and the humanity in this urban oasis.
Published 09/27/22
In movies, asteroids careening towards Earth are confronted by determined humans with nuclear weapons to save the world! But a real NASA mission wants to change the course of an asteroid now (one not hurtling towards Earth). The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, launched in 2021 and on Monday, September 26, 2022, makes contact with the celestial object. In 2021, NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce talked about what it takes to pull off this mission and how it could...
Published 09/26/22
Dinosaurs emerged from the Late Triassic Extinction event as the dominant land organisms. But what exactly wiped out their rival creatures remains a mystery.
Published 09/23/22
In the final episode of Short Wave's Summer Road Trip series exploring the science happening in national parks and public lands, Aaron talks to National Park Service Director Charles Sams, who recently issued new policy guidance to strengthen the ways the park service collaborates with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, the Native Hawaiian Community, and other indigenous peoples. It's part of a push across the federal government to increase the level of tribal co-stewardship over...
Published 09/22/22
On this episode we produced with our colleagues at Life Kit, hosts Aaron Scott and Emily Kwong get to the reality behind the science of hydration.
Published 09/21/22
Nearly a decade ago, Karen Douthitt and her sisters June Ward and Susie Gilliam set out to learn why Alzheimer's disease was affecting so many of their family members. Since then, each sister has found out whether she carries a rare gene mutation that makes Alzheimer's inescapable. Jon Hamilton talks to Emily about the sisters and how all three have found ways to help scientists trying to develop treatments for the disease. Thoughts or comments? Get in touch — we're on Twitter @NPRShortWave...
Published 09/20/22
Last week, Lauren Sommer talked with Short Wave about the dangerous combination of heat and humidity in the era of climate change and how the heat index can sometimes miss the mark in warning people how hot it will feel. That reminded us of producer Thomas Lu's conversation about relative humidity with Maddie Sofia. He digs into why some meteorologists say it's important to pay attention to dew point temperature and how moisture in the air and temperature influence the way our body "feels"...
Published 09/19/22
Things have gotten increasingly dicey at Ukraine's largest nuclear plant, raising the specter of an accident or even a meltdown. What are the risks for Ukraine, and the world?
Published 09/16/22
Heat—it's common in summer in much of the world, but it's getting increasingly more lethal as climate change causes more extreme heat. NPR climate correspondent Lauren Sommer talks with Short Wave's Regina G. Barber about how human bodies cope with extended extreme heat and how current information on how hot it feels need updating. Follow Short Wave on Twitter @NPRShortWave. Or email us — we're at [email protected]
Published 09/15/22
The mysteries of our expanding universe: Why does everything look to be accelerating away from us, and where is the center of the universe?
Published 09/14/22
Updated COVID boosters are now available to target the Omicron subvariant. And many Americans 12 and up are eligible for the shot. When should you get it?
Published 09/13/22
Why do some songs can stick with us for a long time, even when other memories start to fade? Science reporter (and former Short Wave intern) Rasha Aridi explains the neuroscience behind that surprising moment of, "Wow, how do I still remember that song?!" (Encore)
Published 09/12/22
Botanist Carolyn Whiting explains how the Guadalupe fescue has persisted in a small stretch of Big Bend National Park, and why it's worth saving.
Published 09/09/22
Julia Ruth has a pretty cool job: it takes a lot of strength, a lot of balance, and a surprising amount of physics. As a circus artist, Julia has performed her acrobatic Cyr wheel routine around the world. But before she learned her trade and entered the limelight, she was on a very different career path--she was studying physics. Julia talks with Emily (who also shares a past life in the circus) about her journey from physicist to circus artist, and how she learned her physics-defining...
Published 09/08/22
UK scientists discover that bright lights in crab pots make scallops flock through the door like it's Studio 54.
Published 09/07/22
Some of the world's best artificial waves are happening hundreds of miles from the ocean—in Waco, Texas. They're so good, they're attracting top professionals, casual riders and a science correspondent named Jon Hamilton. Jon's been following the wave technology for years and says the progress is huge. These days, pro surfers come from all over to try the "Freak Peak" of Waco.
Published 09/06/22
We're taking the day off for the Labor Day holiday! We hope you're also able to get some rest. We'll be back with another episode tomorrow. You can now chat us up on Twitter @NPRShortWave. We'd love to hear from you! You can also reach us by emailing [email protected]
Published 09/05/22
In a toxic Colorado cave lives a blood-red worm that excites scientists for its potential to inspire new antibiotics, medicines, and space-exploring robots.
Published 09/02/22
Today, astronomer Dr. Vicky Scowcroft and Scientist in Residence Regina G. Barber on the role certain stars played in ending astronomy's Great Debate.
Published 09/01/22