Science & Health

Environment
5:01 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Delegates To Debate Watered-Down Plan For Antarctic Marine Preserve

A lone emperor penguin makes his rounds, at the edge of an iceberg drift in the Antarctic's Ross Sea in 2006.
John Weller AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:57 pm

Less than 1 percent of the world's oceans are set aside as protected areas, but diplomats meeting now in Australia could substantially increase that figure.

Delegates from 24 nations and the European Union have convened to consider proposals to create vast new marine protected areas around Antarctica.

This same group met over the summer and didn't reach consensus, so it's now considering a scaled-back proposal.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Netflix On The Moon? Broadband Makes It To Deep Space

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer probe, seen in this artist's rendering, is orbiting the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar surface.
Dana Berry NASA

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 7:20 pm

Here's a funny quirk of the modern age: It takes just seconds to pull up a bad sci-fi movie about invaders from the moon and watch it in HD. But actual communications between the Earth and moon are just as static-filled as they were back in the 1960s.

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Shots - Health News
11:47 am
Wed October 23, 2013

FDA Asks Dog Owners For Help With Illnesses Linked To Jerky

Jerky treats for dogs and cats have been linked to pet illnesses and deaths. But it's still unclear what is causing the problems.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:11 am

The Food and Drug Administration has a mystery on its hands.

Thousands of dogs and at least 10 cats have become sick after eating various forms of jerky for pets over the past few years. Some 580 animals have died, the agency says. But it's not sure why.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Norwegian Town's Bright Idea Is A Shining Example Of Ingenuity

People gathered on a spot in front of the town hall of Rjukan, Norway, last week, where mirrors have focused sunlight.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:22 pm

Archimedes would be proud of the town of Rjukan, Norway. So would Sam Eyde.

Rjukan, home to about 3,500 residents and situated about 70 miles west of the capital, Oslo, has installed a trio of giant mountaintop mirrors to focus light into the valley town's square during the cold (and dark) winter months.

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The Salt
9:31 am
Wed October 23, 2013

When Edible Plants Turn Their Defenses On Us

Rhubarb: delicious with strawberry pie, but steer clear of the leaves.
Rae Ellen Bichell NPR

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:39 am

Fruits and vegetables are unquestionably essential to a healthful diet.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Company To Offer $75,000 Balloon Rides To 'Near Space'

If you can't afford a trip into orbit as a space tourist aboard a cramped Russian Soyuz capsule (about $35 million) or a reservation on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne (price tag: $250,000), World View Enterprises just might have the ticket: a leisurely high-altitude balloon ride for a less-than-stratospheric $75,000.

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

15 Years Of Wrangling Over Yellowstone Snowmobiles Ends

A bison crosses a road ahead of a herd of snowmobilers in Yellowstone National Park in 2003. New federal rules announced Tuesday will further restrict the noise and exhaust such vehicles are allowed to emit inside the park.
Craig Moore AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 8:08 pm

The U.S. government Tuesday announced new rules for snowmobiles in Yellowstone that should make the country's oldest national park cleaner and quieter.

The rules were 15 years in the making because of intense wrangling between snowmobile operators and environmentalists. But both groups support the plan and give credit to snowmobile makers for designing cleaner machines.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

In Cost-Cutting Move, NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

This undated photo made available by NOAA shows a computer displaying an electronic nautical chart aboard a ship.
AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 10:21 am

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with surveying the nation's navigable waters to help keep mariners off the rocks and out of the shallows, will cease printing paper charts after mid-April.

Partly as a cost-saving measure, the NOAA's Office of Coast Survey will offer charts only via on-demand printing, as PDFs or electronic charts.

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Science
2:58 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs

On Tuesday night, PBS' Frontline will investigate how decades of antibiotic overuse has led to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs.
Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:15 pm

We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a resistant bacteria, and about 23,000 people die from it," journalist David Hoffman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Nuclear Plant Starts Up On India's Tsunami-Vulnerable Coast

An Indian Coast Guard plane flies over hundreds of anti-nuclear activists during a protest last year. The Kundankulam Nuclear Power, still under construction, can be seen in the distance.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:34 pm

A controversial nuclear power plant situated on a stretch of India's southeastern coast that was hit hard by the 2004 Asian tsunami has begun supplying the grid with electricity, officials say.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, a joint project with Russia located at the country's southern extremity in Tamil Nadu state, was connected to the grid on Tuesday, The Indian Express reports.

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Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Scientists Grow New Hair In A Lab, But Don't Rush To Buy A Comb

Maybe someday Jerry won't be laughing at George's follicularly challenged scalp. But despite scientific advances there's still no cure for baldness.
NBC NBC via Getty Images

With a tiny clump of cells from a man's scalp, scientists have grown new human hair in the laboratory.

But don't get too excited. A magic cure for baldness isn't around the corner. The experimental approach is quite limited and years from reaching the clinic — for many reasons.

The scientists have grown the hair only on a tiny patch of human skin grafted onto the back of a mouse. And as wispy locks go, the strands are pretty pathetic. Some hairs were white, and some didn't even make their way out of the skin.

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Government Shutdown Delays Rocket Launch

A Minotaur I at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
NASA

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:36 am

The launch of a rocket carrying a record-breaking 29 satellites — originally set for early next month — will be delayed by a few weeks after the partial government shutdown halted preparations.

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The Salt
2:38 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Kansas Farmers Commit To Taking Less Water From The Ground

The long arms of pivot irrigation rigs deliver water from the Ogallala Aquifer to circular fields of corn in northwestern Kansas.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 11:38 am

If you've flown across Nebraska, Kansas or western Texas on a clear day, you've seen them: geometrically arranged circles of green and brown on the landscape, typically half a mile in diameter. They're the result of pivot irrigation, in which long pipes-on-wheels rotate slowly around a central point, spreading water across cornfields.

Yet most of those fields are doomed. The water that nourishes them eventually will run low.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:46 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Americans Fall Behind In The 'Getting Older' Race

Robert Krulwich NPR

As we all know, Americans are living longer. Women especially.

But here's what you may not know: French, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, British, Dutch and Canadian women are living longer too, but their lives are getting longer faster than ours. Take a look at this from the National Academy of Sciences.

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Science
4:43 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 1:52 pm

In the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands.

They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home island and put the dust in the ocean.

When they spread the iron dust, it created a big algae bloom. They hoped the algae would soak up carbon dioxide and bring back the fish.

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