science http://kut.org en You Can Thank This Fly for Advances in Hearing Aid Technology http://kut.org/post/you-can-thank-fly-advances-hearing-aid-technology <p>Imagine being in a room full of people –&nbsp;a cacophony of conversations and noise. Despite standing right next to someone, you strain to hear her voice.</p><p>People who use hearing aids often struggle to focus on one voice – especially in noisy environments. They could crank up the volume on their hearing aids – but that would also crank up the volume of everything else in the background.</p><p><a href="http://www.ece.utexas.edu/people/faculty/neal-hall">Professor Neal Hall</a> and his group of graduate students from the <a href="http://www.engr.utexas.edu/">Cockrell School of Engineering</a> at the University of Texas offers a solution: a device that mimics the hearing powers of a fly.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/159952768&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:12:22 +0000 David Brown & ChinLin Pan 10843 at http://kut.org You Can Thank This Fly for Advances in Hearing Aid Technology Why We're More Influential Than We May Think http://kut.org/post/why-were-more-influential-we-may-think <p>Being the incredibly social species that we are, we humans simply cannot avoid influencing one another when we interact. Influence is inevitable.&nbsp;</p><p>The question then becomes, since influence is inevitable in human interaction, can we achieve the kind of influence that we intend to have, or that we might think we have in the world?&nbsp;</p><p>On this week’s show, the Two Guys on Your Head, <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/psychology/faculty/markman">Dr. Art Markman</a> and <a href="http://www.music.utexas.edu/directory/details.aspx?id=36">Dr. Bob Duke</a>, influence our understanding of the different functions and effects of influence in our lives.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157199041&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 13:11:22 +0000 Alicia Choina & Rebecca McInroy 10733 at http://kut.org Why We're More Influential Than We May Think How Does Psychological Distance Affect Us? http://kut.org/post/how-does-psychological-distance-affect-us <p></p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60);">http://youtu.be/OoQISli2OeQ</p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; line-height: 1.5;">The idea of distance conjures up many images in our minds. We might be thinking of how wonderful it will be when we are retired and have time to spend with our loved ones, do some traveling, or play 18 holes of golf on a weekday. Or perhaps when we think of distance, we think of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how far away the conflicts are from us.</span></p><p>For&nbsp;<a href="http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/psychology/faculty/markman">Art&nbsp;Markman</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.utexas.edu/opa/experts/profile.php?id=104">Robert Duke,</a>&nbsp;how we process distance is particularly important, because it clues researchers in to how we think and make decisions as a result of distance.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/153022935&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 13:22:08 +0000 Rebecca McInroy 8639 at http://kut.org Astronomers Set Out to Find the Sun's Long Lost Sibling - And Succeeded http://kut.org/post/astronomers-set-out-find-suns-long-lost-sibling-and-succeeded <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Ivan Ramirez started his search about a year ago, he really didn’t think he’d find much.</span></p><p>"We expected it to be either one or zero," says Ramirez, an astronomer at UT-Austin.</p><p>Ramirez and his crew were looking through thousands and thousands of stars –&nbsp;all in order to find just the right one.&nbsp;</p><p>“We're looking for the stars that were born with the sun," he says. "Because our sun, like most other stars, was born in a cluster – probably a thousand to ten thousand other stars. We know that there are a few that we can detect that are nearby, but it’s been a really tough job to do."</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/148743269&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 09 May 2014 21:07:48 +0000 Matt Largey 10390 at http://kut.org Astronomers Set Out to Find the Sun's Long Lost Sibling - And Succeeded These Sound Engineers Used One Weird Trick to Bend the Laws of Physics http://kut.org/post/these-sound-engineers-used-one-weird-trick-bend-laws-physics <p><strong>Update</strong>: <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/24/sound-engineering-kut">Listen to this story on WBUR's Here and Now</a>.</p><p><strong>Original story</strong> (Feb. 28): You know how on cop shows, suspects get interrogated in a cramped room with a mirror on one wall? And on the other side, there's a prosecutor or other cops watching through the glass.</p><p>Those mirrors are kind of an illusion done with lighting.&nbsp;But the effect also illustrates perfectly how difficult it can be to break a pretty fundamental law of nature.</p><p>A group of engineers at UT has figured out how to&nbsp;bend – if not break – that law when it comes to sound.</p><p><strong>Listen:</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/137133239&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:23:10 +0000 Matt Largey 9870 at http://kut.org These Sound Engineers Used One Weird Trick to Bend the Laws of Physics What's Going On Inside the Adolescent Brain? http://kut.org/post/whats-going-inside-adolescent-brain <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="329" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kO4pcxrVobs" width="585"></iframe></p><p>There’s endless questions we could ask about how the brain works. A particularly interesting one: what's unique about the brain during adolescence?</p><p>During adolescence our brains are wired differently than adult brains will be&nbsp;–&nbsp;and for good reason. In adolescence our brains are in a process of development – so we’re less inhibited, allowing us to take the risks we need to learn about the world. In addition, the difference in brain physiology has other ramifications on behavior and needs. Ignoring them can make life more difficult for kids and parents.</p><p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:40:49 +0000 Rebecca McInroy 8638 at http://kut.org Find an Insect Like This? Don't Kill It – It's Killing Your Cockroaches http://kut.org/post/find-insect-dont-kill-it-its-killing-your-cockroaches <p><em>Story originally published Jan. 2, 2014.</em></p><p>It’s that time of year when insects want to get out of the cold and into your house.</p><p>Most people aren’t big fans of sharing their space with these creepy-crawlers. But if you see one particular insect – you’re better off <em>not</em> grabbing the bug spray.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/127608802&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 14:05:00 +0000 Laura Rice 9290 at http://kut.org Find an Insect Like This? Don't Kill It – It's Killing Your Cockroaches How Do Infants Understand and React to Music? – UT Professor Investigates http://kut.org/post/how-do-infants-understand-and-react-music-ut-professor-investigates <p>For many people, most days would not be complete without music. Whether it's exercising to your favorite playlist or jamming along to the radio on your way home for work.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But how much do infants get out of music? And are there types of music that babies prefer?</span></p><p>A professor at the <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/psychology/areas-of-study/developmental/Labs--Affiliations/CRL.php" target="_blank">Children’s Research Laboratory</a> on the University of Texas at Austin campus is trying to find out.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/127734018&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Laura Rice 9338 at http://kut.org How Do Infants Understand and React to Music? – UT Professor Investigates With Jell-O and Lasers, UT Scientists Build Tiny Cages for Bacteria http://kut.org/post/jell-o-and-lasers-ut-scientists-build-tiny-cages-bacteria <p><em>Editor's note: This story was originally published Nov. 19, prior to being rebroadcast on <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/12/05/bacteria-research-texas">WBUR's Here and Now</a>.</em></p><p>When you think of bacteria, you might think about a bunch of mindless, single-celled bugs blindly roaming the world in complete ignorance. But over the past few decades, scientists have found bacteria are much more complicated than that.</p><p>Now, a group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin has come up with a <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/02/1309729110.full.pdf+html">new way</a> of studying how bacteria interact with the world – and each other.</p><p>You see, scientists have a couple of problems when it comes to studying bacteria.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120789113&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 20:10:28 +0000 Matt Largey 9214 at http://kut.org With Jell-O and Lasers, UT Scientists Build Tiny Cages for Bacteria 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives http://kut.org/post/coolest-thing-ever-how-robotic-arm-changed-4-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jbEvhFzQM</p> Thu, 28 Nov 2013 12:16:45 +0000 Joe Palca 9284 at http://kut.org 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives Under the Microscope: How Feasible is Greg Abbott's DNA Protection Plan? http://kut.org/post/under-microscope-how-feasible-greg-abbotts-dna-protection-plan <p>The closer we get to next year's March &nbsp;primaries, the faster the campaign promises fly. Republican gubernatorial frontrunner <a href="http://www.gregabbott.com/">Greg Abbott</a>&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">recently&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">made a splash by releasing an extensive list of items he says he’ll push for once elected.</span></p><p>One proposal in particular stood out a bit: safeguarding your DNA.</p><p>The proposal is a part of Abbott’s <a href="http://townhall254.gregabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/GregAbbottsWethePeoplePlanFINAL.pdf">“We The People”</a> plan.&nbsp;It also includes things like gun rights, campaign ethics and blocking the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But DNA is item number one.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/121047050" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:28:26 +0000 Ben Philpott 9220 at http://kut.org Under the Microscope: How Feasible is Greg Abbott's DNA Protection Plan? UT Austin Receives $9 Million Gift For Engineering and Science Program http://kut.org/post/ut-austin-receives-9-million-gift-engineering-and-science-program <p>The University of Texas at Austin's <a href="https://www.ices.utexas.edu/">Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences</a> (ICES) program has received $9.3 million from the <a href="http://www.odf.org/">O'Donnell Foundation</a>. The foundation has donated more than $135 million to the university over the past 30 years.</p><p>The money will go towards student fellowships, faculty teaching and recruiting for the program, which combines the study of math, engineering and science disciplines to tackle real world problems, specifically areas like applied mathematics, software engineering and computer visualization.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Kate McGee 9089 at http://kut.org UT Austin Receives $9 Million Gift For Engineering and Science Program Texas Astronomer Finds Most Distant Galaxy Yet http://kut.org/post/texas-astronomer-finds-most-distant-galaxy-yet <p>A team led by a UT Austin astronomer has identified and measured the distance to the most distant galaxy found so far.</p><p>The galaxy — designated z8_GND_5296 — is so far away from Earth that the light we are now able to see from it was emitted&nbsp;more than 13 billion years ago. So we're seeing it as it was in the distant past.</p><p>"We're seeing it very close to the Big Bang. About 700 million years after the Big Bang," says UT astronomer <a href="http://www.as.utexas.edu/~stevenf/Home.html">Steve Finkelstein,</a> who led the project. He says ultimately, far, far away galaxies like this one may help us understand things closer to home. “We want to study very distant galaxies to learn how galaxies change with time, which helps us understand how the Milky Way came to be.”&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/116713345" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:00:00 +0000 Matt Largey 8996 at http://kut.org Texas Astronomer Finds Most Distant Galaxy Yet Who Controls Your Destiny? http://kut.org/post/who-controls-your-destiny <p>So how do we define Locus of Control?&nbsp; Essentially, it&rsquo;s our positioning of ourselves within our perception of the world and the way that we perceive our power and influence.&nbsp;We can either feel in control of our lives &ndash; which is reassuring &ndash; or we can feel subjected to forces outside of our control &ndash; which we are then forced to endure.&nbsp;When that happens, we can feel stuck.&nbsp;</p><p>Feeling stuck, with no other options, often leads to prolonged periods of stress. That in turn can depress our health &ndash; physically, mentally and emotionally.&nbsp;But since we construct our perceptions of reality, we have the option to shift our locus of power. That way we can then redefine the source of power in any circumstance &ndash; taking it when needed, or giving it up when needed.&nbsp;(In some stressful circumstances, having less control over the outcome of a situation can actually be preferred.)<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114869096" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 18:12:33 +0000 Rebecca McInroy & Alicia Choina 8912 at http://kut.org Who Controls Your Destiny? How Texas Lost Its Chance at Finding the 'God Particle' http://kut.org/post/how-texas-lost-its-chance-finding-god-particle <p><strong>Update</strong>: Scientists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have been <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2013/">awarded the Nobel Prize for physics</a> for their quest for the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson">Higgs boson</a> &ndash; the so-called &ldquo;God particle.&rdquo;</p><p>The European Organization for Nuclear Research proved its existence last year with a massive particle accelerator. But as KUT reported shortly after the particle&rsquo;s &nbsp;discovery, some Texas physicists say the discovery could have been made here years ago.</p><p><strong>Original story</strong> (July 4, 2012):&nbsp;Scientists in Switzerland announced overnight the discovery of what appears to be a particle that&rsquo;s long been hypothesized, but never proven. It&rsquo;s a bittersweet moment for some Texas physicists.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114383586" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 13:32:48 +0000 Matt Largey 4614 at http://kut.org How Texas Lost Its Chance at Finding the 'God Particle' UT Engineering School Graduates Record Number of Minorities http://kut.org/post/ut-engineering-school-graduates-record-number-minorities <p></p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.engr.utexas.edu/">Cockrell School of Engineering</a>&nbsp;at the University of Texas has been ranked third in the country for graduation rates among minorities, according to&nbsp;<em><a href="http://diverseeducation.com/">Diverse Issues in Higher Education</a></em>. In 2012, 41 percent of the school’s graduates, or 441 students, were minorities.</p><p>Efforts by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.engr.utexas.edu/eoe/">Equal Opportunity in Engineering</a>&nbsp;program at UT contributed to the gain. Program director Enrique Dominguez cites the organization’s close involvement in the academic progress of minority students.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:15:52 +0000 Emily Mathis 8701 at http://kut.org UT Engineering School Graduates Record Number of Minorities How Advertising Works On Your Brain http://kut.org/post/how-advertising-works-your-brain <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="254" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4L7sIMvy5uI?list=UUcwAqGwKnkBOjwozBc_opsg" width="451"></iframe></p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60); ">Don Draper from&nbsp;<em style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Mad Men</em>&nbsp;may have been unaware of the neuropsychological reasons that he intuitively constructed advertisements the way he did, or he may not have cared, but there are reasons.</p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60); ">Have you ever found yourself in a shopping isle at the grocery store, mindlessly putting products into your cart? Why do you prefer one brand over another?&nbsp; Why does one item seem to just call out your name? Effective advertising might be the reason.</p><p> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 19:20:18 +0000 Rebecca McInroy 8634 at http://kut.org Listen: 'Bending' Sound Makes It Difficult to Hear Firefighter Alarms http://kut.org/post/listen-bending-sound-makes-it-difficult-hear-firefighter-alarms <p>Virtually all firefighters rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.</p><p>It’s called a <a href="http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/firefighter_health_safety/safety/protective_clothing_equip/pass.shtm">Personal Alert Safety System</a>, or PASS.&nbsp; It’s basically a sensor that measures whether the person wearing it is moving. If they're incapacitated or immobilized, the PASS sets off a 95 decibel alarm to draw the attention -- and assistance -- of other firefighters.</p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:37:30 +0000 Matt Largey 8601 at http://kut.org Listen: 'Bending' Sound Makes It Difficult to Hear Firefighter Alarms Five Things You Should Know About Brain-Altering Software http://kut.org/post/five-things-you-should-know-about-brain-altering-software <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F108501258" frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Technology is improving – and fast. The next frontier for some software designers is the human brain.</p><p>William Hurley, or “whurley," is the co-founder of Austin-based mobile studio company Chaotic Moon.</p><p><strong>1. Brain-Altering Software Already Exists:</strong></p><p>"Currently there are things that are considered brain-altering software. <a href="http://www.lumosity.com/" target="_blank">Sites like Lumosity</a> and things like that where you do brain training and different activities." Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:33:35 +0000 Laura Rice 8577 at http://kut.org Five Things You Should Know About Brain-Altering Software Why Can School Get So Boring? http://kut.org/post/why-can-school-get-so-boring <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ihw9RuDymOk?list=UUcwAqGwKnkBOjwozBc_opsg" width="451"></iframe></p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60);">If you’ve seen "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091042/" style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(27, 84, 116);">Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"&nbsp;</a>or ever been in a classroom, you know that school can sometimes be very boring. However, learning and coming up with ideas in an environment with others in our social group should be fun! So why do schools get such a bad rap?</p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art&nbsp;</span>Markman<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;and Dr. Robert Duke talk about some of the historical and present day factors that contribute to why school is so boring, and offer a few suggestions for a brighter future.</span></p><p> Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:33:11 +0000 Rebecca McInroy 8637 at http://kut.org