Science & Health

Science
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Can Mass Transit Solve City Sprawl?

Commuters in Los Angeles spend some 60 hours a year stuck in traffic. But that could change, some experts say, as the city ramps up its mass transit. Guest host John Dankosky talks with a panel of city planners about how to add mass transit to L.A. and other urban areas — and get people to ride it.

Environment
11:04 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Why Climate Change Ups the Odds of Fires, Floods

Colorado's record-breaking flood was caused, in part, by a blocking pattern parked over western North America. That same pattern also led to extreme drought in the West, worsening California's Rim Fire. Rutgers atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis talks about possible connections between climate change and severe events like these.

Krulwich Wonders...
10:41 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Doing A Da Vinci — If Only Leonardo Could See This

Leonardo da Vinci wikipaintings.org

More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci tried to imagine what it would be like to soar over mountains, to dip, to glide like a bird. He'd sit on Italian hillsides, sketching, imagining, dreaming. In 1502, he drew one of the first ever, looking-down-from-the-sky panoramas of the Earth — in this case a bit of Tuscany, as if seen by a high flying eagle.

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Shots - Health News
8:16 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Even As MERS Epidemic Grows, The Source Eludes Scientists

Camel jockeys compete at a festival on the outskirts of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, a focal point for the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:17 am

A year after doctors first identified an illness that came to be known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome researchers are reporting fresh genetic information about the virus that causes it.

The findings don't bring scientists any closer to understanding where MERS is coming from. In fact, the main news is that researchers were wrong about the source of some infections in the largest cluster of cases so far.

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Environment
11:08 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

EPA Wants To Limit Greenhouse Gases From New Coal Power Plants

Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility near DeKalb, Miss., seen under construction last year. Carbon dioxide will be captured from this plant and used to stimulate production of oil from existing wells.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 7:11 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency's second stab at a proposal to set the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants would make it impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired plants that have been the country's biggest source of electricity for decades.

Under the proposal, released Friday, any new plant that runs on coal would be permitted to emit only about half as much carbon dioxide as an average coal plant puts into the air today.

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World
4:16 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Beloved Brazilian Monkey Clings To A Shrinking Forest

The wild population of the golden lion tamarin, which lives only in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, fell to just 200 in the 1970s. Conservationists have helped the species rebound, but the monkeys are still at risk as development encroaches on their remaining habitat.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 10:15 am

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

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The Salt
3:25 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Making Food From Flies (It's Not That Icky)

Black soldier flies mate and lay eggs inside these cages at EnviroFlight.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:14 pm

In the quirky little college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, home to many unconventional ideas over the years, there's now a small insect factory.

It's an unassuming operation, a generic boxy building in a small industrial park. It took me a while even to find a sign with the company's name: EnviroFlight. But its goal is grand: The people at EnviroFlight are hoping that their insects will help our planet grow more food while conserving land and water.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Conservative Lobbyist Derails Bipartisan 'Science Laureate' Bill

The U.S. Capitol at sunrise.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 10:24 am

No one who's been paying attention for, say, the past few decades, needs to be reminded of how extremely polarized Washington is.

So it's usually good news when Democrats and Republicans can come together on an issue, as they did recently to support the idea of creating the new honorary position of "Science Laureate of the United States."

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Private Spacecraft Lifts Off With Space Station Supplies

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:53 pm

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft has successfully launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on its way to becoming the second private vehicle to resupply the International Space Station.

Space.com says:

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:14 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Mama Mia, Mama Mia! A Canadian Bohemian Rhapsodizes About String Theory

YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:42 am

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Stephen Hawking Backs Assisted Suicide For The Terminally Ill

British scientist Stephen Hawking appears during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games in London last year.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:54 pm

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who has lived for years with the progressive and debilitating motor neuron condition known as Lou Gehrig's disease, tells the BBC that he favors assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses.

Hawking, 71, who uses a wheelchair and speaks through a computer speech synthesizer activated by his eye movements, said: "We don't let animals suffer, so why humans?"

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All Tech Considered
4:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Calculated To Win: Supercomputers Power America's Cup

Oracle Team USA heads to the waterfront after winning the ninth race of the America's Cup with a 47-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.
Eric Risberg AP

The 2013 America's Cup isn't just about using human muscle to race faster than the wind. This year, the international sailing competition is about supercomputing.

Tech teams are working behind the scenes to crunch numbers and model things like how a half-degree change in wing angle could add 5 knots in speed.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Private Spacecraft Set For Mission To Resupply Space Station

An artist's rendering of the Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:18 pm

The SpaceX Dragon may have gotten there first, but Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft is set to become the second private robotic ship to dock with the International Space Station after a Wednesday launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch is scheduled for 10:50 a.m. EDT on Wednesday from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

Most of us prefer drinking fermented beverages,€” not producing them in our gut.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:29 pm

This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase "beer gut."

A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.

There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.

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The Salt
12:23 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Golden Rice Study Violated Ethical Rules, Tufts Says

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Tufts University announced Tuesday that one of its researchers broke ethical rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified "golden rice" in China.

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