Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:06 pm
Deadly microbes like salmonella and E. coli can lurk on the surface of spinach, lettuce and other fresh foods. But many more benign microbes also flourish there, living lives of quiet obscurity, much like the tiny Whos in Dr. Seuss' Whoville. Until now.
Scientists at the University of Colorado have taken what may be the first broad inventory of the microbes that live on strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes and eight other popular fresh foods.
It turns out the invisible communities living on our food vary greatly, depending on the type and whether it's conventional or organic.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:19 pm
We're not as daring as Magellan (who died) or Columbus (who went crazy) or Henry Hudson (who froze), but in our dainty little way, we take astonishing risks. Well, maybe not astonishing. Maybe just embarrassing.
How do oysters attach themselves to rocks? They need a glue, but a glue that can set in a watery environment. In this installment of "Joe's Big Idea," NPR's Joe Palca reports that glue could lead to medical advances.
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Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 6:30 pm
A group of astronomers believe they have found a new kind of "mini" supernovae that appear to share traits with other previously known types.
Until now, only core-collapse supernovae, the grand finale of stars approximately 10 to 100 times more massive than our sun, and Type Ia, which occur when certain conditions exist in binary (two-star) systems, were known to exist.
By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place.
Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap.
As global warming accelerates, the Arctic Ocean melts and the U.S. Navy estimates that by 2035 it may be ice-free for a month each year - that will mean more activity through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic shipping route which is already busier than ever. In an op-ed in Foreign Policy, James Holmes argues if and when that icy expanse opens regularly to shipping, the Arctic will need policing like any other marine thoroughfare, and he nominates the United States Coast Guard.
Environmentalists and beekeepers are calling on the government to ban some of the country's most widely used insect-killing chemicals.
The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, became popular among farmers during the 1990s. They're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn. Neonics, as they're called, protect those crops from insect pests.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:53 pm
President Obama on Monday designated five new national monuments, including one in Maryland dedicated to anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman and another setting aside Washington state's San Juan Islands.
"These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country," President Obama said in a statement. "By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come."
As far back as he can remember, George McCann lived in fear. When he was asleep he would have horrific nightmares filled with violent images. When he was awake, he often felt threatened by people, including members of his own family. And when he felt threatened, he would become aggressive, even violent.
George spent his childhood certain that something very bad was going to happen. And when he was 12, it did. His unrelenting fears led to a violent outburst at school. And George landed in a psychiatric hospital.
From Star Wars' R2-D2 to The Terminator to WALL-E, robots have pervaded popular culture and ignited our imaginations. But today, machines that can do our bidding have moved from science fiction to real life.
Think hands-free vacuum cleaners or iPhone's Siri or robotic arms performing surgery. At the Innorobo conference in Lyon, France, the latest in service robot technology was on display.