Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.
"It represents the voice of the world — all the voices of the world," Greg Budney, audio curator for the archive, tells NPR's Scott Simon. Among the vast collection are birds, mammals, insects and amphibians, Budney says, all made available "to anyone who has an interest in nature, in conservation and in the world around them."
Now the curious case of the homing pigeon and the mystery of just how they do what they do: navigate over huge distances to find their way home. We know they use the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Well, Jonathan Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey believes the birds also use sound maps. His study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental biology. And he joins us now to explain how he thinks this works. Welcome to the program.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:46 pm
China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:39 pm
Has the recession made you fat?
To the long and growing list of risk factors known to increase the risk of obesity, scientists recently added a new one: scarcity.
People given subtle cues that they may have to confront harsh conditions in the near future choose to eat higher-calorie food than they might do otherwise, a response that researchers believe is shaped by the long hand of evolution.
Now for a surprising find from the insect world. The dung beetle, that insect known for sculpting little balls of animal feces that they roll around and later feast on. Well, it turns out that these beetles have a built-in cosmic GPS that helps them navigate around. Dung beetles use light - listen to this - use light from the Milky Way to orient themselves at night. It's all in a paper published earlier this month in the journal Current Biology.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. When you read a news article online, how much attention do you pay to the comments that follow at the bottom? What about how many times the story has been re-tweeted or how many Facebook likes it has? Do you pay attention to those?
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 6:56 am
The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.
The American Heart Association of Birmingham is taking a unique approach to heart disease this month. Starting February 1, the Red Couch Campaign encourages survivors and those impacted by the disease to sit on a red couch and share their stories. Matt Hooper is with the American Heart Association in Birmingham. He says some participants are reluctant to share their stories.
International ships call at the busy Port of New Orleans. It's a major shipping convergence point on the Mississippi River. Ships come upriver from the Gulf of Mexico with imports from abroad, and barges come downriver, bringing U.S. goods for export.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
The Mississippi River is flowing at near normal levels again in New Orleans, as measured by this old-fashioned staff gauge behind the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District office. The Corps has been fighting saltwater encroaching up the mouth of the Mississippi because of the persistent drought.