Hear and Now: Toast in Space

Allison Loudermilk

Hear and Now: Toast in Space HowStuffWorks
Hear and Now: Toast in Space HowStuffWorks

Just another manic Monday, which means it's time to update you on what the HowStuffWorks Now team has been busy investigating over the past few days.

First up was your host, Lauren Vogelbaum, who lined up some serious statistics to address the question of whether police and gun violence in the United States are on the rise. It can definitely feel like that when you're reading the news these days.

And, although you won't hear about it in the podcast, HowStuffWorks Now also ran a story on the power of cell phone video in documenting human rights violations, including police brutality, and interviewed Jackie Zammuto, a senior engagement coordinator with WITNESS, an international organization dedicated to training citizens in how to use video to expose human rights issues.

Jonathan Strickland lightened things up with his report on how bread could make the ultimate carbon space foam. Here's the idea: It's challenging and expensive to launch things into space, although, hey, we do seem to be getting better at it. As it turns out, when you expose regular, old bread to temperatures of more than 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees F), you get a charred hunk of inedible toast that's also a very light, cheap and relatively strong thermal insulator. Hooray for the random but fortuitous intersection of breakfast and aerospace.

Robert Lamb headed for the lion-filled lands of Botswana to bring you this next story in which conservation biologist Neil Jordan borrowed a scare tactic straight out of nature's playbook. Jordan spearheaded a small study that involved stamping eyes onto the rumps of cattle to deter lion attacks. The idea is that the painted-on eyes fool lions into thinking they've been detected and discourage the big cats from attacking the "sentry" cattle. If it proves to be an effective strategy — and initial results seem promising — cattle farmers could lose fewer cattle, which could mean farmers killing fewer lions in retaliation.

And that, is what we have for you. If you've enjoyed reading about these stories, consider listening to the embedded podcast or watching the related videos you see at the bottom to get additional details.

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