Science & Health

The Two-Way
11:02 am
Tue September 3, 2013

U.S. 'Space Fence' Radar System Goes Silent, After 50 Years

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale.
NASA

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:51 am

The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.

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Environment
2:03 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Pollution, Not Rising Temperatures, May Have Melted Alpine Glaciers

The Alps' largest glacier, Aletsch Glacier, extends more than 14 miles and covers more than 46 square miles.
Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:28 am

Glaciers in the Alps of Europe pose a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.

But nobody could explain the glacier's rapid decline. Now, a new study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uncovers a possible clue to why the glaciers melted before temperatures started rising: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice.

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Animals
1:59 am
Tue September 3, 2013

The Latest In Scientific Field Equipment? Fido's Nose

Rob Finch

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 6:25 pm

Dave Vesely is busy training his dog, Sharpy. She isn't learning to sit or fetch or even herd sheep; Sharpy is learning to find the nests of western pond turtles.

These turtles are sneaky. After laying their eggs in a small hole, they knead together dirt, leaves and their own urine to plug the opening. Once this mud dries, the nest looks like an unremarkable patch of ground.

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Drone Testing Site
4:44 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Alabama, Tennessee Team Up To Land Drone Test Site

A consortium of companies and universities in Alabama and Tennessee are hoping to develop a site where drones would be tested.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A consortium of companies and universities in Alabama and Tennessee are hoping to develop a site where drones would be tested.

If approved, the facility could become one of only a half-dozen sites approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for research involving Unmanned Aerial Systems, more commonly known as drones.

Alabama and Tennessee have submitted a joint application in an effort to be selected as one of the six FAA UAS testing sites. Testing would be done at a site near Savannah, Tennessee.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Enough With Baby Talk; Infants Learn From Lemur Screeches, Too

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:26 am

New research suggests that 3-month-old human babies can use lemur calls as teaching aids. The findings hint at a deep biological connection between language and learning.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Radioactive Water Leak At Fukushima Worse Than First Thought

This photo taken Aug. 6 shows local government officials and nuclear experts at Fukushima after contaminated water was discovered.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:48 am

Radiation surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has increased 18-fold following a report last month that radioactive water had leaked into the ground around the plant, which was badly damaged in a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reports that radiation around the site is at 1,800 millisieverts per hour, a level that Reuters says is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."

Previously, the utility, also known as Tepco, said the leaking water was at around 100 millisieverts per hour.

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Mental Health
11:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

New Clues to Memory Glitch Behind 'Senior Moments'

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel and colleagues write of a memory gene that appears to retire as the brain ages — leading to those "Where'd I put my keys?" moments. Kandel says such memory glitches may be reversible with the right intervention.

Food
11:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Food Failures: Beer Home Brew

Is your wort too hot? Have wild yeast taken over your brew? Are you experiencing bottle bomb? Home brewing beer is a combination of art and science. Chris Cuzme from 508 GastroBrewery discusses common pitfalls of home brewing and tips to perfect your process.

History
11:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Ancient Beads with an Otherworldly Origin

Researchers analyzed ancient Egyptian iron beads fashioned out of meteoric iron and crafted 2,000 years before the Iron Age. Archaeometallurgist Thilo Rehren discusses how the beads were made before the prevalence of iron mining and smelting.

Mental Health
11:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Diagnosing Self-Destruction

Suicide kills twice as many people as murder each year in the United States, and rates in the military recently surpassed those among civilians. But while scientists have identified some risk factors for suicide being white, being male, substance abuse, mental illness — they still have little idea what spurs people to take their own lives.

Space
11:04 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Space Telescope Reawakened for an Asteroid Hunt

After the WISE telescope used up the coolant needed to operate its detectors, its primary mission as an infrared survey telescope ended. NASA's Amy Mainzer describes how the agency is repurposing the dormant craft for a new three-year mission looking for near-Earth asteroids. Astronomer Brett Gladman also discusses a newly spotted asteroid-like object trailing Uranus.

The Two-Way
10:14 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Don't Call It A Mind-Meld: Human Brains Connect Via Internet

Acting as a "sender," brain researcher Rajesh Rao watches a video game and waits for the time to hit the "fire" button. But he'll only think about doing that — the impulse was carried out by someone in another building, in a recent test of brain-to-brain communication.
University of Washington

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 10:42 am

In what they call "direct brain-to-brain communication in humans," researchers in Washington state say they've successfully passed signals from one mind to another via the Internet, without using surgical implants. In their test, two people collaborated on a task while sitting in different buildings, using only their minds.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:02 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Drone It To Me, Baby

Jasper van Loenen/Vimeo

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:18 pm

Spies used them first, then the Air Force, then cops, then mischievous civilians; drones, for some reason, are what gawkers use to gawk. They're spy accessories. But not only spy accessories. Thanks to Jasper van Loenen, drones are about to expand their repertoire. The word "drone" is about to become a verb, as in "Drone it to me"...

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Science
2:03 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Wise Old Whooping Cranes Keep Captive-Bred Fledglings On Track

This young whooping crane is on its first fall migration, guided by an Operation Migration ultralight aircraft. Each whooper in this population wears an identification band, and many carry tracking devices that record their movements in detail.
Joe Duff Operation Migration USA Inc.

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:40 pm

Being a wildlife biologist in the 21st century increasingly means rescuing rare animals from extinction. Among the success stories is the whooping crane. Seventy years ago there were only about 16 birds left on the planet. Now there are about 600.

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The Salt
5:01 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Antibiotic Use On The Farm: Are We Flying Blind?

Piglets in a pen on a hog farm in Frankenstein, Mo.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:26 pm

There's a heated debate over the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Critics say farmers overuse these drugs; farmers say they don't.

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