Science & Environment

Science news

The Western U.S. is just starting to recover after a prolonged, 16-year drought. A lack of water can force people to take a hard look at how they use it, and make big changes. That's what happened in southern Colorado, where farmers have tried a bold experiment: They're taxing themselves to boost conservation.

Colorado's San Luis Valley is a desperately dry stretch of land, about the same size as New Jersey.

For all the negative headlines that 2017 have generated, Republicans are on the cusp of accomplishing two major policy goals that have eluded them for decades, at the same time.

The Senate could soon approve oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with its bill to overhaul the nation's tax code.

The tiny nation of Denmark has just three stations for monitoring atmospheric radiation. Each week, scientists change out air filters in the detectors and take the used ones to a technical university near Copenhagen.

There, Sven Poul Nielsen and other researchers analyze the filters. They often snag small amounts of naturally occurring radioactivity, radon for example.

In the Spring of 2009, the H1N1/09 virus — dubbed "swine flu" — made the jump from pigs to people and began claiming its first victims.

Fearing the beginning of a global swine flu pandemic, terrified health officials began planning for the worst. Shutting down the world's major airports became the nuclear option of their arsenal — the last hope for halting the virus from reaching unstoppable thresholds of contagion.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simple Solutions

About Mileha Soneji's TED Talk

When designer Mileha Soneji's uncle got Parkinson's, his quality of life deteriorated rapidly. Mileha couldn't cure her uncle's disease, so she designed simple ways to improve his everyday life.

About Mileha Soneji

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simple Solutions

About Amos Winter's TED Talk

In many countries, uneven and unpaved roads make it hard to get around in a standard wheelchair. MIT engineer Amos Winter describes his design for a lever-powered all-terrain wheelchair under $200.

About Amos Winter

Johannes Selbach's family has made wine in Germany's Mosel Valley for four centuries, and he spares little of the history on a tour of his vineyards. He has had three soil profiles extracted from the ground and mounted on the wall of his winery.

"The places where the sun melts the snow first have been known for thousands of years," he says. "The good spots are known for generations."

Ask people in Canada what they make of U.S. health care, and the answer typically falls between bewilderment and outrage.

Canada, after all, prides itself on a health system that guarantees government insurance for everyone. And many Canadians find it baffling that there's anybody in the United States who can't afford a visit to the doctor.

Astronomers in California are building the largest digital camera in the world. It will go on a giant telescope taking shape in Chile called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

LSST is different from most large telescopes. Instead of staring at a tiny patch of the sky and taking essentially one snapshot in time, LSST will take a panorama of every part of the sky...and it will do so over and over and over. The idea is to see what's moving or changing in the heavens.

It's tough getting old, and that goes as much for giant pandas as people.

Veterinarians at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., say Tian Tian, an adult male panda, received laser treatment and acupuncture for what they initially thought was a touch of arthritis in his left shoulder.

During the exam earlier this week while the 20-year-old Tian Tian (pronounced t-YEN t-YEN) was under anesthesia, vets also took blood and urine samples and performed X-rays.

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