Science & Health

Krulwich Wonders...
1:11 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Pale Blue Blobs Invade, Freeze, Then Vanish

Courtesy of Emmanuel Coupe Kalomiris

It's a lake, yes. But it's also a bomb. Those pale blue blobs, stacked like floating pancakes down at the bottom of this photograph? They're astonishingly beautiful, yes, but they can be dangerous.

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Science
1:59 am
Wed January 30, 2013

When Crime Pays: Prison Can Teach Some To Be Better Criminals

Prison provides an opportunity for networking with more seasoned criminals.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 10:26 am

In popular lore — movies, books and blogs — criminals who go to prison don't come out reformed. They come out worse.

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Around the Nation
6:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Drought Causes Ripple Effect Along Mighty Mississippi River

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.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 7:30 pm

The persistent drought is raising questions about how the Mississippi River is managed — both upstream and down.

While cargo traffic upriver has gotten lots of attention, the drought is creating a different set of problems downriver at the mouth of the Mississippi, where saltwater has encroached.

An old-fashioned staff river gauge behind the New Orleans district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Mississippi is running just shy of 6 feet above sea level at the river bend.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Sand After Sandy: Scientists Map Sea Floor For Sediment

Highly detailed sonar systems aboard the research vessel Pritchard gave researchers a clear view of the sediment on the seafloor off Long Island.
Courtesy of John Goff University Of Texas

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 1:29 pm

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away.

Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island's defenses.

In January. On a boat in Long Island Bay.

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Animals
3:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year

Out For Lunch? Researchers estimate that billions of birds and small mammals are killed by cats in the U.S. annually.
Vishnevskiy Vasiliy iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 1:29 pm

The battle between cat lovers and bird lovers has been going on for a long time. Cats and birds just don't mix. But trying to get a handle on how many birds and other animals are being killed by cats isn't easy. Just figuring out how many cats there are is tough enough.

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Research News
3:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Swiss Scientists Discover Dung Beetles Use The Milky Way For GPS

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 1:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. And we have a story now about celestial navigation - that is, looking to the sky for guidance.

BLOCK: But before we get too lofty, this story also happens to be about dung beetles. And so we start with this lowly central unpleasant fact about dung beetles.

ERIC WARRANT: Dung beetles and their grubs eat dung and everything about dung beetles has to do with dung in some form.

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Research News
2:38 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive In Storm Clouds

The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Jane Peterson NASA

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 7:36 am

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

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Homeless Count
5:03 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Ala. Organization To Count Montgomery's Homeless

The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is getting ready to count the number of homeless people in Montgomery.
Credit http://mach-homeless.org/

The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is gearing up to count the number of homeless people in Montgomery and conduct interviews to determine their needs.


Homeless population counts are required for community agencies to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Volunteers will target areas of the city where homeless people are known to gather and will distribute food, hygiene items, blankets and coats.

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The Salt
12:55 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

How Mountain Grass Makes The Cheese Stand Alone

Cows graze in front of the Rosengarten mountain massif in northern Italy. Pasture grazing is practiced throughout the Alps.
Matthias Schrader Associated Press

Herding cattle up the side of a mountain might seem like a lot of extra work, but for thousands of years, people have hauled their cows into the Alps to graze during the summer months. Why? It's all about great-tasting cheese.

In places like Italy, some traditional cheeses, like bra d'alpeggio or Formai de Mut dell'Alta Valle Brembana, can only be made with milk from mountainside-munching cows.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:18 am
Mon January 28, 2013

My Yeast Let Me Down: A Love Song

YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:33 am

In a moment, there's going to be singing. It will be a love song, sung by Nathaniel, a sad-eyed, blue-gloved scientist who gave his heart to an organism, but then did her wrong. (Or maybe she did him wrong. These things get complicated.)

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Business
5:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Energy Department Encourages New Energy Technology

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 9:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has incubated many important technologies over the decades in computer networking and other areas. The Energy Department wants to make similar strides with an agency called ARPA-E. Over three years now in operation, ARPA-E has spent nearly $800 million on 285 experimental projects.

We invited the agency's deputy director, Cheryl Martin, into our studio so we can find out more about these projects. Good morning.

CHERYL MARTIN: Good morning.

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Energy
4:52 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Focus On Fracking Diverts Attention From Horizontal Drilling

Opponents of fracking demonstrate during the Winter X Games 2012 in Aspen, Colo.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:00 am

Mention the recent surge in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. and one word comes to mind for a lot of people: "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial technique that uses water, sand and potentially hazardous chemicals to break up rock deep underground to release oil and natural gas.

But there's another technology that is just as responsible for drilling booms happening across the country: horizontal drilling.

Environmental Consequences

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Science & Health
8:48 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Heroin-Related Deaths Rising in Jefferson County

blog.al.com

(Information in the following story is from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews)

The Jefferson County Coroner says 57 people died because of heroin overdoses in 2012 and the figure is nearly double the number of people who died after overdosing on the drug in 2011.

AL.com reports heroin was also listed as a contributing factor in five other deaths in 2012.

Authorities say 30 people died in Jefferson County from overdoses on the drug in 2011, which was nearly double the number of people who died from overdosing on the drug in 2010.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:05 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Weekend Special: The Slobbering Cat That Stole My Heart

Courtesy of The Oatmeal

Maybe you already know about this, maybe I'm in love, maybe this is just me and my particular craziness, but I want you to click on the image below. It's Mathew Inman's (who calls himself "The Oatmeal") story, handwritten, hand drawn, about his cat, Domino.

There are, we all know, wonderful sites all over the web, but every so often somebody comes along and rejuggles words, pictures and plays with space, remixing elements to very quietly find new beats, new ways to tell a story. That is what Mathew did here. At least I think so.

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Environment
4:23 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

In Arizona, Some Retirees Caught In Never-Ending Battle With Invasive Species

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We go now to Arizona, a magnet for retirees, and for some the answer to the question how should I spend my spare time is this: How about swinging a pick axe in the desert? NPR's Ted Robbins sent this postcard from Ironwood Forest National Monument.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: This must be Gary Borax's idea of a good time because he keeps coming back.

GARY BORAX: I've probably been out here 30, 40 times over the years and nearly half of those buffel grass-related.

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