Dolphins are like humans in many ways: They're part of complex social networks and, just as in people, a dolphin's brain is big, relative to the size of its body. But there's something else, too — a study published Monday shows these acrobats of the sea use name-like whistles to identify and communicate with each other.
A crowd formed today at the U.S. Botanic Garden here in Washington, D.C. It's a place to see beautiful flowers and usually ones that smell fantastic. But today, one exotic specimen on display was the opposite of that. It's the titan arum and NPR's Allison Keyes tells us people flocked to the greenhouse in hopes of getting a rare whiff of the flower's putrid essence.
ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: From the line and the excited faces of titan arum fans hurrying down the path to the door, you'd think The Beatles were here.
Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe.
But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't.
In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can't live without them.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The launch of an initiative aimed at addressing childhood obesity in Alabama has slowed an increase of overweight children compared to other states, but hasn't improved Alabama's childhood obesity rate. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that obesity rates in Alabama's children and teens have increased by nearly 5 percent since 1999 despite an effort by the Alabama Department of Education to control what types of snacks are sold in vending machines on school campuses.
Wildfires were once essential to the American West. Prairies and forests burned regularly, and those fires not only determined the mix of flora and fauna that made up the ecosystem, but they regenerated the land.
When people replaced wilderness with homes and ranches, they aggressively eliminated fire. But now, scientists are trying to bring fire back to the wilderness, to recreate what nature once did on its own.
One place they're doing this is Centennial Valley, in southwestern Montana.
Can astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's "giant leap for mankind" be permanently preserved? Two House Democrats want to do just that: They proposed a bill to create a national historic park for the Apollo 11 mission — on the moon. The legislation would designate a park on the moon to honor that first mission, as well as preserve artifacts from other lunar missions
Scientific research can be expensive, but a lack of funds did not stop one scientist in Buffalo from moving forward with his project. State University of New York professor Chris Lowry came up with a creative and cheap way to get measurements on stream levels across the state by crowdsourcing his research.
Chris Lowry joins us from member station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. Professor Lowry, thank you very much for coming in.
More than a century after the invention of powered flight, birds are still teaching us something about how to fly airplanes, with the Air Force studying the V-shaped formation of airborne geese as a way to save fuel.
The technical term is "vortex surfing" and it's already well-known — NASCAR drivers and Tour de France cyclists use it to "draft" off competitors.
Two recent eruptions on the sun sent solar tsunamis sweeping across its surface. Physicist David Long reported on the tsunamis in the journal Solar Physics, and he says the waves allowed him to calculate the magnetic field of a "quiet" area on the solar surface, which is 10 times weaker than a fridge magnet.
If you can't get to a beach this weekend, you can still see waves. Just look up.
Clouds, after all, are sculpted by waves of air. These clouds, in Birmingham, Ala., were formed when two layers of air — one fast, the other slow — collided at just the right speed to create rises and dips that caused the clouds to curl in on themselves and crash, just like waves on a beach.
Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 10:53 am
Thomas Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration — words that could well apply to a new machine promoted by UNICEF that turns human sweat into drinking water.
The Sweat Machine extracts moisture from worn clothes by spinning and heating them, then filters the resulting liquid so that only pure water remains. It was built by Swedish engineer and TV personality Andreas Hammar, and uses a technology developed by Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and the water purification company HVR.
Ever tried to make your own sunscreen? A water bottle rocket? How about a cardboard canoe? Eric Wilhelm, founder of Instructables, and Mike Szczys, managing editor at Hackaday.com, discuss their favorite do-it-yourself summer projects. And Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton suggests some cooking hacks, like "cooler corn" and turning your BBQ into a smoker.
Fish oil may have some benefit for the heart. But a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute links higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil to a higher risk of prostate cancer. Study author Alan Kristal says the potential mechanism is unclear, but he warns that supplements can sometimes increase the risk of the very diseases they're meant to prevent.
Astronomers have detected a previously unseen moon orbiting Neptune, bringing the planet's moon count to 14. Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, describes how he spotted the 12-mile moon while combing through old images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.