Short Wave New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join hosts Emily Kwong and Aaron Scott for science on a different wavelength.

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New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join hosts Emily Kwong and Aaron Scott for science on a different wavelength.

If you're hooked, try Short Wave Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/shortwave

Most Recent Episodes

The landslide in Sitka, Alaska on August 18th, 2015 happened after a morning of heavy rainfall. A three-hour rain fall total was an important data point to aid scientists in developing an early warning system. Jacyn Schmidt hide caption

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Jacyn Schmidt

Predicting Landslides: After Disaster, Alaska Town Turns To Science

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.

Predicting Landslides: After Disaster, Alaska Town Turns To Science

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A diver in the Revillagigedo Archipelago interacts with giant mantas as part of a citizen science cruise led by Dr. Alfredo Giron. Alfredo Giron hide caption

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Alfredo Giron

Sustainable Seafood? It's A Question Of Data

The last several decades have taken a toll on the oceans: Some fish populations are collapsing, plastic is an increasing problem and climate change is leading to coral bleaching — as well as a host of other problems. But marine biologist Alfredo Giron says there's room to hope for the seas. He works to create systems that governments and the fishing industry can use to make sure fishing is legal and sustainable so oceans thrive for years to come. He talks to host Aaron Scott about his work and how managing the ocean is a lot about managing people.

Sustainable Seafood? It's A Question Of Data

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Illustration of an overactive bladder, a condition where there is a frequent feeling of needing to urinate, sometimes with loss of bladder control leading to urge incontinence. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images hide caption

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KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

Why The Bladder Is Number One!

When's the last time you thought about your bladder? We're going there today! In this Short Wave episode, Emily talks to bladder expert Dr. Indira Mysorekar about one of our stretchiest organs: how it can expand so much, the potential culprit behind recurrent urinary tract infections and the still-somewhat-mysterious link between the aging brain and the aging bladder.

Why The Bladder Is Number One!

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Few large grasslands remain intact. Though they play a huge role in limiting the effects of climate change, they are threatened and tend to have few protections. Tracy Kressner hide caption

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Tracy Kressner

Grasslands: The Unsung Carbon Hero

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.

Grasslands: The Unsung Carbon Hero

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Families gather in a playground with a splash pad and swings in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Philadelphia has multiple projects underway to make this and other large parks in the city more resilient to heat and other effects of climate change. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

One Park. 24 Hours.

It's easy to take city parks for granted, or to think of them as separate from nature and from the Earth's changing climate. But the place where many of us come face-to-face with climate change is our local park. On today's episode, Ryan Kellman and Rebecca Hersher from NPR's Climate Desk team up with Short Wave producer Margaret Cirino to spend 24 hours in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.

One Park. 24 Hours.

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Asteroid Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos are not a threat to Earth, but because they do pass relatively close to Earth, so they were chosen as the target for NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission. The redirect technology could one day be used to deflect asteroids on a collision course with our home planet. NASA JPL DART Navigation Team hide caption

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NASA JPL DART Navigation Team

Asteroid Deflection Mission, Activate!

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 potentially protect the Earth in the future from killer space rocks, and that's what you'll hear today. And stay tuned - when NASA has the results of contact in a few weeks, Short Wave will bring Nell back to tell us all about it!

Asteroid Deflection Mission, Activate!

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A late Triassic-era rausuchian, one of the rival reptile lineages who lost out to the dinosaurs. Dmitry Bogdonav/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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Dmitry Bogdonav/Wikimedia Commons

Rise Of The Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs ruled the earth for many millions of years, but only after a mass extinction took out most of their rivals. Just how that happened remains a mystery — sounds like a case for paleoclimatologist Celina Suarez! Suarez walks us through her scientific detective work, with a little help from her trusty sidekick, scientist-in-residence Regina G. Barber.

Rise Of The Dinosaurs

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Charles F. "Chuck" Sams III is the first Native American director of the National Park Service. He's working to facilitate US government collaboration with tribes on managing public lands. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag hide caption

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Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Working With Tribes To Co-Steward National Parks

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 public lands. Aaron talks with Sams, the first Tribal citizen to head the agency, about how he hopes this will change the way parks are managed, how the parks are already incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and what national parkland meant to him growing up as a member of the Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon.

Working With Tribes To Co-Steward National Parks

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A runner takes a quick drink during training at the Australian Athletics Olympic Teams training camp at Nudgee College in Brisbane, Australia. Darren England/Getty Images hide caption

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Darren England/Getty Images

Water Water Everywhere, But How Much Do You Really Need?

The water advice is everywhere - how much to drink (8 cups a day - really?), what to drink, when to drink, and all its benefits. On this episode we produced with our colleagues at Life Kit, hosts Aaron Scott and Emily Kwong take some cherished hydration beliefs and get to the reality behind the science of hydration and the actual best ways to quench our thirst.

Water Water Everywhere, But How Much Do You Really Need?

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Karen Douthitt (left) found she does not carry the rare genetic mutation for early-onset Alzheimer's dementia, but her older sister June Ward (right) does carry it. Juan Diego Reyes for NPR hide caption

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Juan Diego Reyes for NPR

Three Sisters And The Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease

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.

Three Sisters And The Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease

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