Hungry Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds: Cute little nectar sippers, or battle-hardened killers? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Hummingbirds are darling! But it’s a bird-eat-bird world –sometimes they have to fight to survive! At University of California, Berkeley, Alejandro Rico-Guevara studies the evolution of hummingbirds. He wondered: What can

Profane Pain

You stubbed your toe! Oh, fudge- Words you can’t say on the radio! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science asking: Why do we swear when we’re hurt? In 2009, that’s what psychologists of Keele University in the UK wondered. They led a study on the

Mind Over Molecules

Which is more powerful? Nature or nurture? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying – what about “mind control?” Some aspects of our physiology and personality are encoded by our genes. And we know that environmental factors are also important. Bradley Turnwald and colleagues at

Every Beat of Your Heart

What’s YOUR biggest “fear factor?” Heights? Snakes? CLOWNS??!! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Whatever your phobia, it can be paralyzing! To overcome our fears, we can expose ourselves to them bit by bit. But it’s a slow process. Enter a research group led by

Social Interference

Are you shy? Maybe your T-cells are to blame! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. T-cells are the body’s immune warriors. They fight off invaders and keep you healthy! But what if your army of cells is short a few good men? You might get

Plastic for Dinner

Just say “no” to plastic straws. Think of the turtles! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science Plastic is everywhere – in packaging, fast-food containers … dirt?! Yes, dirt! Farmers sometimes mix plastic chips with mulch to improve plant growth. But the plastic stays in our

Bird Brains

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a…rocket scientist? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Conceptual thought has led to great achievements. Think Einstein’s theory of relativity or Shakespeare’s plays. Animals like dogs and monkeys can also think conceptually.

Three Mom Mice

Is it the end of men? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Men. Who needs ‘em! Not some female sharks, spiders, and komodo dragons. They can create babies on their own. Mammals are different. For us, certain genes important for embryonic development are turned OFF

Tasty Invention

Keep your hands out of your food! Unless they’re. . . robot hands? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. Taste is the sensation triggered by our taste buds when they recognize flavor molecules. Chocolate – yum! Kale – not so much. But what if science

Quantum Buzz

Hate crowds? Need your “personal space?” Negatively charged electrons do too! This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. To understand electrons, scientists have developed a special technique called density functional theory – D-F-T for short. D-F-T is used to predict how electron crowds move in an