Science & Environment

Science
12:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Polar Bear Researcher Gets $100,000 In Settlement With Feds

Threatened Arctic polar bears have become controversial icons of climate change.
Gerald Hoberman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:19 pm

A scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears raised alarms about climate change has received $100,000 to settle a whistle-blower complaint against an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Under the settlement, wildlife researcher Charles Monnett retired from his job at the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Nov. 15, and the agency agreed to remove a letter of reprimand that officials had placed in his file.

Read more
Environment
5:01 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ready — Or Not. Abrupt Climate Changes Worry Scientists Most

Puddled meltwater very likely primed this ancient edge of the Antarctic's Larsen Ice Shelf to rapidly disintegrate over just several weeks. This view of the splintered mix of frozen bergs is from a Feb. 21, 2002, satellite image.
Landsat 7 Science Team/NASA/GSFC

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:09 pm

An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change.

The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren't doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts.

Read more
The Salt
4:45 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Moon Turnips? NASA Takes Gardening to New Heights

NASA's latest mission is one small step for turnips, one giant leap for plant-kind.
Carolina K. Smith iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:15 pm

The hyper-local food trend is really big right now. And apparently, NASA wants to make sure astronauts don't miss out. The agency recently announced plans to grow cress, turnips and basil on the moon.

And to protect the plants from the harsh cosmic radiation and the moon's lack of atmosphere, NASA researchers will be sending them off inside a seriously high-tech terrarium.

Read more
The Salt
3:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:38 pm

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Man Killed In Shark Attack Off Maui

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:35 pm

Yet another shark attack in Hawaii, this time leading to the death of a man off Maui. It comes just three days after a woman survived a harrowing shark attack on the same side of the island.

The Associated Press reports that a shark bit the dangling foot of Patrick Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash., as he fished from a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island that is a popular diving and snorkeling spot.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
8:33 am
Tue December 3, 2013

How To Keep The Dust Off Your White Pants With 7 Desk Fans

Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:53 pm

Once upon a time, you could crack open a radio, a telephone, a lawnmower, even a car, take it apart and figure out how it worked. No more. Pretty much everything we use these days comes with computer chips, which you can't really take apart. (I mean, you can, but all you'll find inside are a bunch of 1's and 0's with no obvious logic.) So car mechanics can snap a new chip into an engine, wait till it whirs and watch the gears come to life, but do they know what's going on in there? For most of us, chips are "black boxes." They work, but we don't know why.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:17 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Alleged Perils Of Left-Handedness Don't Always Hold Up

Lefties don't necessarily do everything with their left hand, and the ones who do might not use the right side of their brain for language.
iStockphoto

I recently stumbled upon a description of research out of Yale that suggested there was a link between left-handedness and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Forty percent of those with psychotic disorders are lefties, one of the researchers said. That startled me. Only about 10 percent of people in the general population are left-handed. I'm one of them.

Read more
The Salt
1:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

I'm Not Just Gaming, Ma! I'm Helping The World's Farmers

Cropland Capture's developers hope players will find where crops are grown amid Earth's natural vegetation in satellite images to shine a light on where humanity grows its food.
Courtesy of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:05 pm

There's no easy way to track all of the world's crops. What's missing, among other things, is an accurate map showing where they are.

But the people behind Geo-Wiki are hoping to fix that, with a game called Cropland Capture. They're turning people like you and me into data gatherers, or citizen scientists, to help identify cropland.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Comet ISON Is No More, NASA Says

NASA took a series of images to create this "timelapse" view of comet ISON's trip around the sun.
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:02 pm

Comet ISON, a "shining green candle in the solar wind," is no longer with us, NASA declared Monday morning in a tribute to what many hoped would be the "comet of the century."

Read more
Environment
4:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Australia Disapproves Of Seeds In Katy Perry CD

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:27 pm

Singer Katy Perry's new album has been adored in some reviews, but one critic is the Australian Department of Agriculture. Seeds included in the CD could pose a threat to the environment there.

Pages