On Dec. 21, 100 years ago, a paper in New York published the first crossword. It quickly became known as a game for the intelligent — even helping Britain recruit code-breakers during WWII. But there isn't much evidence that this brainy game can help stave off dementia.
Sarah Ramirez left a high-prestige career to bring California's bounty of unsellable fruit to food banks in the state's Central Valley. Her grassroots organization is trying to address a regional conundrum: While many area farms end up with imperfect fruit that can't be sold to supermarkets, local farmworkers struggle to afford fresh produce.
The DNA from a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bone found in a cave in Siberia is more evidence that genetic mixing took place among Neanderthals and other hominid groups. One researcher hopes to use such evidence to help compile a catalog of the genetic changes that make modern humans unique.
Dogs may be man's best friend, but new research shows that cats may have been humanity's companions for thousands of years. For more on the feline's long history with people, Audie Cornish talks with Dr. Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-author of a study that looks at how cats may have been domesticated almost 5,300 years ago in China.
One former anti-nuke activist says the world can't afford to dismiss nuclear power, if we're to rein in global warming. Nuclear plants provide a more reliable energy supply than wind or solar, he says, and without the high carbon emissions that fossil fuels produce.
In a new poll, many parents said they're worried that schools aren't adequately preparing students for a changing workforce. And too much emphasis on memorizing facts in the classroom, both parents and kids say, is keeping young people from getting excited about science and technology careers.
Tiny plastic beads used in some cosmetics and toothpaste are making their way into the bellies of fish in the Great Lakes, and it's raising concern among environmentalists. Dr. Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, has been researching the issue, and she joins Audie Cornish to explain what this means for the Great Lakes ecosystem.
The instrument behind most of modern pop music isn't just for electronics geeks anymore. Toy company littleBits' "Synth Kit" is an analog modular synthesizer anyone can put together. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts takes Little Bits' diminutive synth for a spin and explains what makes synths tick (and buzz, and sing).
Fed up with human shortcomings, the characters in Madeleine George's play turn to high-tech companions. Could machines be assistants, friends, and even partners? The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence explores the amazing things technology can do for us...and what it can't.