The weather is one of those topics that is fairly easy for people to agree on. Climate, however, is something else.
Most of the scientists who study the Earth say our climate is changing and humans are part of what's making that happen. But to a lot of nonscientists it's still murky. This week, two of the nation's most venerable scientific institutions tried to explain it better.
Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 4:52 pm
Would you taste or buy a lab-grown hamburger if you could? That's the question we posed Monday at the end of our report on the world's first in vitro burger, launched this week at a tasting event in London that was streamed via the Internet.
A new study out today finds that the rising number of suicides in the military is not caused by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The paper says mental health and alcohol abuse are much stronger indicators that a service member will commit suicide. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, that finding runs smack into other evidence that says there is a connection.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:48 pm
Can't we just leave our fruit alone?
Last year, apple farmers were soaking their fruit in grape flavor to make them more attractive to kids. Now, plant breeders in California have created a grape that tastes like — well, spun sugar and air.
That's right, Salties. Say hello to the Cotton Candy grape.
They dominated our planet for 130 million years. You can't do that without having babies, and to have babies, dinosaurs had to have sex. The mystery is — and this is still very much a mystery — we don't really know how they did it.
The key problems being:
First, dinosaur ladies and dinosaur gentlemen were roughly the same size. No big/little asymmetry as with spiders. With spiders, the little fellow mounts the big lady. There are no body-crushing weight issues.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 4:04 pm
After three months, $330,000 and a high-profile media blitz, the world's first hamburger grown in a lab made its worldwide debut Monday.
The unveiling of "cultured beef," as the burger is branded, was a production worthy of the Food Network era, complete with chatty host, live-streamed video, hand-picked taste testers, a top London chef and an eager audience (made up mostly of journalists). Rarely has a single food gotten such star treatment.
Scrutinizing the books of government agencies can turn up lavish parties or illicit trips at the taxpayers' expense. But not every investigation turns out that way. And when they don't, the hunt for waste can appear to be a waste itself.
Such appears to be the case with a recent inquiry involving NASA and Viking re-enactors. This whole saga began with an idea from Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University who loves photography. He was talking over what to shoot one day with a colleague, and thought of Vikings.
Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.
Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. In the past year it has sent back a mountain of data and pictures that scientists are sorting through, trying to get a better understanding of the early climate on Mars.
HAL 9000 he's not. But Kirobo, the first-ever talking robot in space is heading to the International Space Station this week ahead of his human companion, Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata, who takes over as ISS commander in November.
Twenty years ago today, Ted Parker, one of the world's great ornithologists and sound recordists died in a plane crash in Equator. He was only 40. Parker contributed nearly 11,000 wildlife recordings to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay library.
He could identify some 4,000 different bird species by sound alone. In this audio montage, the lab's director, John Fitzpatrick offers a remembrance.
JOHN FITZPATRICK: I've rarely met anybody as passionate about his love of nature and of birds than Ted Parker.