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What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits?

If we had enough time, enough brain power, the right computers, the occasional genius, is there any limit to what we can know about the universe? Or is nature designed to keep its own secrets, no matter how hard we try to crack the code? What can we never know?

Scientists Put A 'Sixth Sense' For Numbers On Brain Map

Ever wondered how Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man quickly counted all those toothpicks on the floor? Scientists have found a region of the brain that allows us to estimate quantities at a glance. Unlike Hoffman's Ray, though, most people are accurate up to only about five toothpicks.

Communications Gear Hitches Ride With Lunar Probe

A satellite is scheduled to take off for the Moon Friday — carrying an instrument that could represent the future of deep space communication. Instead of sending data back to earth using radio waves, the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration will use pulsed light waves.

Scientists Look Into Reasons For 2012's Dramatic Weather

Scientists looking back on last year's extreme weather events conclude that human-induced climate change didn't cause any of the events, but appears to have made some of them worse. The results are published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It'll Soon Be Hard To Know

The USDA has quietly ended a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The products won't require a country-of-origin label — which means there's no way to know whether those chicken nuggets in the freezer aisle came from a country with a spotty food safety reputation.

Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere

Scientists aren't sure exactly why holes form in the hot and glowing outermost layer of gas surrounding the sun. But one theory is that the dark blotches we see on images of the sun could be the remnants of the (relatively) cool splotches called sunspots.

What's Mittens Thinking? Make 'Sense' Of Your Cat's Behavior

Kitties don't play — they hunt. And their aloof appearance has evolutionary roots. In a new book, anthrozoologist John Bradshaw explains cats' mysterious nature and looks at how the cat's relationship with humans has changed over the years.
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National Geographic Society Brings 'Bell' To Life

A new play by journalist Jim Lehrer explores the life of the Washingtonian best known for inventing the telephone: Alexander Graham Bell.

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This Week On Metro Connection: Fame

This week we'll delve into stories of famous and infamous Washingtonians, and once-celebrated but nearly-forgotten history.


Tuberculosis Hitched A Ride When Early Humans Left Africa

Tuberculosis is one of the oldest diseases in human history. Signs of the bacteria have even been seen in Egyptian mummies. Now scientists find evidence that TB is much more ancient than we thought. The bacteria may have started infecting people more than 70,000 years ago, long before farming began.