Science & Health

Environment
2:06 am
Fri September 13, 2013

'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways

Gwynns Falls runs beneath Interstate 95 at Carroll Park in Baltimore. The chemistry of this river, like many across the country, is changing.
Courtesy of Sujay Kaushal

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 9:47 am

Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.

Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.

What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope

Dr. Jim Olson meets with Carver Faull at Seattle Children's Hospital in August. Carver, now 12, had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2012.
Matthew Ryan Williams for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:02 am

Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what Jim Olson is like.

He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. He approaches each activity with incredible passion.

But to really understand Olson, you have to watch him in action with patients.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

WATCH: Waterspout On Lake Michigan

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:04 pm

At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.

The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout:

Space
4:44 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

See Ya, Voyager: Probe Has Finally Entered Interstellar Space

This artist's illustration shows the Voyager 1 space probe. The spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and as of August 2012, it is outside the bubble of hot gas, known as the "heliopause," that radiates from the sun.
NASA/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:34 pm

NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.

At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Voyager Has Left The Solar System (This Time For Real!)

A NASA image of one of the Voyager space probes, launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system and eventually interstellar space.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:31 pm

Stop us if you've heard this one: A spacecraft flies out of the solar system ...

Yes, the planetary probe Voyager 1, launched in the era of Jimmy Carter and bell-bottoms, has finally left the room, so to speak, years after completing its primary mission: a "grand tour" of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (twin Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune).

And years after we first started talking about its departure.

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Threatened Plant Species
8:13 am
Thu September 12, 2013

'Threatened' Status Sought For Ga. and Ala. Plant

Federal wildlife officials want the Georgia rockcress, found in Georgia and Alabama, to be classified as "threatened."
http://www.growsonyou.com

Federal wildlife officials want a plant they say is found only in Georgia and Alabama to be classified as "threatened."

   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is seeking the designation for the Georgia rockcress. The plant has been a candidate for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 2000.

   Wildlife officials also want about 786 acres of river bluff habitat designated as the plant's critical habitat. That land includes parts of six counties in Georgia and parts of seven counties in Alabama.

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Shots - Health News
2:45 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:58 am

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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All Tech Considered
4:41 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Coming Soon: A Jolt Of Caffeine You Can Spray On Your Skin

Sprayable Energy will be on sale in November, says its creator, Ben Yu.
Courtesy of Sprayable Energy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:16 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

The 10 Most Important Questions In Science*

iStockphoto.com

I noticed in The Guardian that there's a book coming out this week listing the 20 biggest challenges for modern science. I'd like to go over 10 of them today, perhaps coming back to the other 10 next week.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Discovery Of Massive Aquifers Could Be Game Changer For Kenya

Members of the El Molo tribe are pictured in the village of Komote, on the shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, last year.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:07 pm

Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:48 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

When The Dutch Keep Secrets, Everybody Notices. A Google Puzzle

Mishka Henner

What is this?

When I saw it for the first time, here's what I knew: It's a Google image found on Google Maps, taken by a satellite, plucked and blogged by photographer/sleuth, Mishka Henner. It's a patch of land near a town called Coevorden, in The Netherlands. There's a road on one side, plowed farmland all about, some trees on the lower left and then, weirdly, grey, black, white, golden, green and brown patches crunched together in an almost-rectangle. Those couldn't be natural, I thought.

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Around the Nation
2:26 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Four-Legged Impostors Give Service Dog Owners Pause

Lauren Henderson and her service dog, Phoebe, in Los Angeles. Henderson says she's seeing more dogs in vests that don't appear to be legitimate service dogs.
Lisa Napoli KCRW

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:54 am

Lauren Henderson goes everywhere with her service dog Phoebe — to the grocery store, Disneyland, the beach. For Henderson, who used to be paralyzed, her 100 pound, lumbering Saint Bernard is a necessity.

An actor who lives in Malibu, Calif., Henderson uses her dog for stability and balance. And if she falls, Phoebe helps pull her back on her feet.

"She's basically like a living walker," Henderson says.

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The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Humberto Expected To Become First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season

Tropical Storms Humberto and Gabrielle. Humberto is expected to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
National Hurricane Center

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:05 pm

Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to get a promotion, becoming the first hurricane of an otherwise lackluster Atlantic season to date.

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Warding Off Polar Bears? There's An App For That

A tranquilized subadult polar bear is in a net in 2007 in Churchill, Manitoba, known as the "polar bear capital of the world."
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:01 pm

Just in time for the release of the new iPhone, a man in Canada has found yet another new use for the cellphone — thwarting a polar bear attack.

Garett Kolsun says he used his cellphone to scare off a 400-pound polar bear on the attack, using the light from the handset to startle the animal long enough to allow his escape.

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