Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Credit Rebecca Davis / NPR
Fishermen arrive on Wakatobi island in Sulawesi waters off eastern Indonesia in 2009. In the 19th century, the island's rich and unique biodiversity helped Wallace understand how species adapted to their environment — and how regions are defined by the animals that live in them.
Credit Aek Berry / AFP/Getty Images
Maleos are a prime example of an animal that has adapted to its environment, using geothermal energy to incubate their eggs rather than body heat. They dig into the earth, which is heated by hot springs, are able to sense spots that are exactly 86 to 97 degrees, and lay their eggs there.
A mammoth spinning vortex is seen on Saturn, in this "false-color" photograph released by NASA Monday. The image was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A related image, presenting what a human eye would see, is farther down this page.
A huge storm is seen on Saturn's north pole, in this color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. NASA used red, green and blue spectral filters "to create this natural-color view, which is what the human eye would see if we were there at Saturn."
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 6:17 pm
NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.
The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.
Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Patricia East is a developmental psychologist who began her career working at an OB-GYN clinic in California. Thursday mornings at the clinic were reserved for pregnant teens, and when East arrived the waiting room would be packed with them, chair after chair of pregnant adolescents.
It was in this waiting room, East explains, that she discovered her life's work — an accidental discovery that emerged from the small talk that staff at the clinic had with their young clients as they walked them back for checkups.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 3:02 pm
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo — designed to carry paying passengers beyond Earth's atmosphere — passed a key test Monday, shooting past the speed of sound under its own rocket power.
The spacecraft developed by Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture dropped from its mother ship over the Mojave Desert and then, for the first time, fired its engine. It hit Mach 1.2 and reached an altitude of 56,000 feet before gliding to a landing.
A team of physicists at Grenoble University in France discovered that trees make different sounds when they are starved for water versus when they are simply thirsty. We hear from Dr. Alexandre Ponomarenko, the lead researcher, and hear a bit of the thirsty tree sounds.
The U.S. Navy is planning to ramp up training activities off California and Hawaii. But that has rekindled a battle over Navy sonar, which is known to harm marine mammals. From member station KQED, Lauren Sommer reports.
LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: We humans are visual creatures and for good reason. If someone is far away, you can usually see them before you hear them. Underwater, it's the opposite.
BRANDON SOUTHALL: The physical environment of the ocean really favors the use of sound, and the animals have evolved accordingly.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:54 am
When we first heard about researchers using tiny freely floating tools to grab tissue samples deep inside the body, we were scared.
But our fears quickly turned to fascination.
Johns Hopkins engineers are testing out what they call "untethered microgrippers" as a better way to investigate hard-to-reach places. They have launched hundreds of these things, which look like miniature ninja throwing stars, inside the body of animal to retrieve tiny pieces of tissue for biopsies.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. We're broadcasting today from the Grand Theatre at Salt Lake Community College. And, of course, just up the road from Salt Lake City is the city's namesake, the Great Salt Lake. Parts of it are 10 times saltier than the ocean. But this is no Dead Sea. It's teeming with microbes which can turn the water bubblegum pink.