NPR Series: Summer Science

1:31am

Mon August 13, 2012
Joe's Big Idea

Summer Science: What's A Meteor Shower?

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 2:23 am

In this photo released by SkyandTelescope.com, a Perseid meteor flashes across the constellation Andromeda on Aug. 12, 1997.
Rick Scott and Joe Orman AP

1:30am

Tue July 3, 2012
Science

When Ice Cream Attacks: The Mystery Of Brain Freeze

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 12:12 pm

NPR interns (from left) Angela Wong and Kevin Uhrmacher participate in an experiment to induce brain freeze.
Benjamin Morris NPR

If it hasn't happened to you, count yourself as lucky. For many people, eating ice cream or drinking an icy drink too fast can produce a really painful headache. It usually hits in the front of the brain, behind the forehead.

The technical name for this phenomenon is cold-stimulus headache, but people also refer to it as "ice cream headache" or "brain freeze."

The good news is that brain freeze is easy to prevent — just eat more slowly. The other bit of good news is these headaches don't last very long — a minute at the outside.

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3:32am

Tue June 12, 2012
Science

Summer Science: The Perfectly Toasted Marshmallow

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 6:18 am

Joe Palca's perfectly toasted marshmallow.
Maggie Starbard NPR

It's the epic quest of campers everywhere: How do you get the perfectly toasted marshmallow? In our inaugural installment of NPR's Summer Science series, we gave some guidance on the first key ingredient: how to build the campfire. (Later this summer, we'll attempt to answer the vexing question of how to stave off brain freeze.)

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2:15pm

Tue June 5, 2012
Summer Science

Did You Know: The Lines On A Solo Cup Are Measurement Marks (Update: Official Verdict: Coincidence)

We had no idea. The lines on a Solo cup correspond to typical ounce measurements of your favorite summer beverages.
Jim Hill Photo illustration / KUNC

This caught us by surprise. The venerable Solo cup, a wily veteran of countless BBQ's, graduation parties, receptions, camping trips, and many summer beverages has a trick up its sleeve: built in measurement marks.

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12:42am

Mon June 4, 2012
Science

Summer Science: How To Build A Campfire

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 9:10 am

iStockphoto.com

Summer living is supposed to be easy — school is out, the days are long, the traffic eases. But it's not all inner tubes and lemonade: Summer can throw us some curveballs, too. How can I avoid sunburn? What can I do to stave off that brain freeze? Why do my s'mores always burn?

Fear not; NPR is here to help. As part of our new Summer Science series, we'll turn to science to tackle these vexing questions, starting with how to build the perfect campfire.

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