Science & Environment

Animals
9:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Science
7:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

3-D Scanning Sonar Brings Light To Deep Ocean Shipwrecks

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:29 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:50 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designating coal ash – a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead – as non-hazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

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Shots - Health News
2:00 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

At Last, I Meet My Microbes

Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is one variety of the genus Lactobacillus is one of the common active cultures found in yogurt and in the human gut.
Scimat Scimat Getty Images/Photo Researchers

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:01 pm

A veritable jungle of organisms is helping keep each of us alive. But we've been rather negligent hosts. For starters, we don't even know who has shown up for the party.

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The Salt
12:00 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

How Peppermint Tricks Us Into Feeling (Deliciously) Cold

Even in the coldest months, we relish the refreshing, icy taste of peppermint — in seasonal treats like peppermint bark, peppermint schnapps, even peppermint beer.

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It's All Politics
11:38 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Advocacy Groups Tell Lawmakers To Back Off

Workers with the Pebble Mine project test-drill in July 2007 in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:00 pm

Three advocacy organizations — across ideological lines — are telling congressional investigators to back off in a probe of EPA ties to a leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana are leading the investigation. They contend that NRDC lobbyists have exerted too much influence over EPA on the issues of carbon reduction and the proposed Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska.

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Extras: TED Radio Hour
9:49 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Playlist: Science!

The TED Radio Hour gets scientific.
A.J. Rich iStock

Break out the chemistry set and safety goggles. From monkeys to microbes, TED speakers in this playlist illuminate different realms of the scientific world.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Why Aren't We More Compassionate?

"Compassionate concern activates the same system you see in every mammal when a parent cares for the young" — Daniel Goleman
Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 1:05 pm

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Just A Little Nicer.

About Daniel Goleman's TED Talk

Psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, examines why we aren't more compassionate more of the time.

About Daniel Goleman

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TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Are We Wired To Be Compassionate?

"We're designed to convince ourselves that our very selective deployment of compassion is thoroughly justified" — Robert Wright
courtesy of TED

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 1:02 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Just A Little Nicer.

About Robert Wright's TED Talk

Author Robert Wright says humans are not simply wired to be compassionate — we have evolved to feel compassion out of self-interest.

About Robert Wright

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Science
4:02 am
Fri December 19, 2014

7 Miles Beneath The Sea's Surface: Who Goes There?

The research vessel Falkor in August 2013.
Courtesy of Mark Schrope

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 10:11 am

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

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