In the latest installment of our "Looking Ahead" series, NPR science correspondent and Radiolab co-host Robert Krulwich talks about reporting on big ideas in imaginative ways, the old days at NPR and what he's wondering about today.
Scientists have discovered water that has been trapped in rock for more than a billion years. The water might contain microbes that evolved independently from the surface world, and it's a finding that gives new hope to the search for life on other planets.
The water samples came from holes drilled by gold miners near the small town of Timmins, Ontario, about 350 miles north of Toronto. Deep in the Canadian bedrock, miners drill holes and collect samples. Sometimes they hit pay dirt; sometimes they hit water, which seeps out from tiny crevices in the rock.
Astronomers said Wednesday that a reaction wheel that keeps the orbiting telescope pointed at tiny, distant patches of sky to look for Earth-like planets has failed. If they can't fix it, Kepler will be relegated to a less prestigious mission, directing its gaze much closer to home in a search for so-called "near-Earth objects," i.e., meteors and asteroids.
Two dams that block the migration of salmon are coming down in the largest dam removal in U.S. history. The dam sits on the Elwha River in the northwest corner of Washington state. They were built in the early 1900s to power nearby timber mills, but their power is no longer needed. From member station KUOW in Seattle, Ashley Ahearn reports that the removal is releasing a lot of debris but also creating new life.
Every 14 minutes, someone in this country commits suicide, and research on ways to reduce that grim statistic appears to be on a plateau. In other words, psychologists don't have much in the way of new ideas - at least, right now - except maybe for what's described as groundbreaking work on the notes that those who kill themselves sometimes leave behind. A team of researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital use computers to break down the language in these messages of despair, in the hope that they can better identify those at risk.
Climate change is gradually altering the fish that end up on ice in seafood counters around the world, according to a new study.
"The composition of the [global] fish catch includes more and more fish from the warmer areas, and cold-water fish are getting more rare, because the temperatures are increasing," says Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia, a co-author of the study.
A construction crew in search of gravel to use as road filler used its backhoes to level one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids.
"It's a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill," Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, said of the destruction at the 2,300-year-old Nohmul pyramid, located in the Orange Walk/Corozal area.
"It's like being punched in the stomach. It's just so horrendous," Awe said Monday of the destruction thought to have occurred last week.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
For years, we've understood the global oil landscape in fairly simple terms: Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries were the big producers of oil, the United States and its allies were the big oil buyers. But a report today from the International Energy Agency shows a different picture. Turns out the U.S. has become a star oil producer, as NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.
In northern lakefront vacation spots such as Ochre Beach, Manitoba and Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota, ice happens even in May. But what happened this past weekend was like something out of a science fiction movie.
(SOUNDBITE OF WIND)
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This is the sound from a video recorded as constant strong winds pushed huge sheets of ice off a lake and onto the shore. Fingers of ice creeped farther inland and farther. It's as if the ice is alive.
U.S. oil production is rising sharply and increased output from shale will be a "game changer" in global energy markets in the coming years, according to a new report out Tuesday by the International Energy Agency.