KGOU

Robert Krulwich

Robert Krulwich has been called âââââââââââââââ

Bats produce "pings" or "clicks," right? They make these high-pitched sounds, too high for us to hear, but when their cries ricochet off distant objects, the echoes tell them there's a house over there, a tree in front of them, a moth flying over on the left. And so they "see" by echolocation. That's their thing. They are famously good at it.

This being my last weekend with this blog, I wanted to repost a story I wrote a few years ago that has continued to intrigue me ...

I'm going to show you two kinds of nothing.

A puzzlement.

Why, I wonder, are both these things true? There is an animal, a wee little thing, the size of a poppy seed, that lives in lakes and rivers and eats whatever flows through it; it's called a gastrotrich. It has an extremely short life.

Hello, Goodbye, I'm Dead

NPR (in the form of a super-top executive) sat me down and, after four years of generously supporting this blog, told me it can't anymore. It needs to cut costs and — you know the phrase — it has chosen to go "in new directions." So at the end of this month, Krulwich Wonders will no longer appear on NPR's website.

I know, I know. You have Putin to worry about, ISIS to worry about, Britain's near breaking, Washington's broken, and the globe keeps getting warmer — so why bring up Japanese giant hornets? You have worries enough. But I can't help myself. I've got to mention these hornets because, as bad as they are — and they are very, very bad ...

... this story has a happy ending.

Hornets From Hell

If you have ever seen, or spent time with (or, God forbid, had to live with) a colicky baby, this will make perfect sense to you. It may not make actual sense, but when the baby is crying you don't think very straight.

Every year on Sept. 11, this happens ...

When it gets dark, New York City turns on 88 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs to produce two powerful beams that shoot up, side by side, to remind us that once upon a time, two towers stood here, and then didn't, and this is how we remember the day they came down — by looking up.

When I was a boy I had a globe. I could take it in my hands, rest it on my lap, give it a spin and look down on Africa, Europe, North America and Asia spinning by.

It's a puzzle — the deepest puzzle I know. The question is: What are we?

One answer, from physicist-novelist Alan Lightman, is we are stuff. Just stuff.

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