An experiment that paired sounds with smells suggests basic forms of learning are possible while snoozing. The key seems to be a phenomenon known as conditioning — a form of simple learning made famous by Ivan Pavlov and his dog.
Last fall, Heather Liljengren was collecting the seeds of New York's native dune grasses. Within days, Hurricane Sandy wiped out the Rockaways' dunes and all their flora. Now, those seeds are growing plants likely to be used to restore the dunes and other natural environments around New York City.
A keen eye and extensive knowledge of feathers allows forensic ornithologist Carla Dove (yes, that's her name) figure out from feather and bone fragments which type of bird crashed into a plane or was eaten by a snake. But the expertise has an uncertain future.
An enterprising carpenter and a creative puppeteer teamed up on a do-it-yourself project to build a mechanical hand for a little boy. They created an inexpensive prosthetic and published their designs on the Internet. So far, over 100 children have been outfitted.
Scientists and parents have long been baffled by the fact that children with autism often don't pay attention to human voices. Researchers say that may be because speech doesn't activate a reward system in the brain for those children the way it does for typical children.
Weekend Edition Saturday Host Scott Simon talks with bioethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University about Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that isolated human genes may not be patented — and the implications for that ruling.