Science & Environment

Humans
7:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

'Huh': A Word Uttered By The Bewildered, Worldwide

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

OK. So, let's say you're at work. Someone comes up while you're doing something else and says, hey, did you get that e-mail I sent you yet? And you have no idea what they're talking about, so you spin around and say, huh? But what if you were in Spain?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Eh?

GONYEA: Or Ghana?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Ah?

GONYEA: Or Laos?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Heh?

GONYEA: Turns out, anywhere really, there's some form of the word huh?

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE OF HUH)

Read more
The Two-Way
6:18 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

EPA Proposes Reducing Ethanol Requirements For 2014

The EPA proposes reducing the requirement for ethanol-blended gasoline.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Bowing to industry complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed cutting back the amount of renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol, that refiners must blend with gasoline.

The draft rule would roll back the 2014 requirement for renewables from 18.15 billion gallons to between 15 billion and 15.52 billion gallons.

According to Bloomberg:

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Federal Brain Science Project Aims To Restore Soldiers' Memory

President Obama has pledged millions of dollars to fuel research into understanding the workings of the human brain.
Zephyr Science Source

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 8:07 pm

When President Obama announced his plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain seven months ago, it was long on ambition and short on details.

Now some of the details are being sketched in.

The BRAIN Initiative will include efforts to restore lost memories in war veterans, create tools that let scientists study individual brain circuits and map the nervous system of the fruit fly.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Study: Odds Of Being Murdered Closely Tied To Social Networks

Chicago police investigate a shooting in front of the Uptown Baptist Church in August. Five people were shot, one fatally, during the drive-by, in which gunmen fired more than 20 rounds.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 5:06 pm

A team of scientists has confirmed something your parents probably warned you about as a teenager — that hanging out with the wrong crowd can be dangerous.

Read more
Environment
3:04 am
Fri November 15, 2013

A Rancher And A Conservationist Forge An Unlikely Alliance

Trout fishing is big business in Montana, bringing in tens of millions of dollars annually.
Tom Murphy Getty Images/National Geographic

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:08 pm

Trout fishing is a magnet that draws people from around the world to places like Ovando, Mont. Just ask the owner of Blackfoot Angler and Supplies, Kathy Schoendoerfer.

"Every state in the nation has been through this little shop in Ovando, Montana, population 50," says Schoendoerfer with a mix of pride and perhaps a little fatigue. "And we've also had everybody from Russia, Latvia. We get a lot of Canadians, France, Finland, Brazil, Scotland, Germany, South Africa. We get a lot of business out here. You know, fly-fishing is huge."

Read more
The Salt
6:46 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What's The Most Important Thing Food Labels Should Tell Us?

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Food labels have become battlegrounds. Just last week, voters in Washington state narrowly defeated a measure that would have required food manufacturers to reveal whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.

Supporters of the initiative — and similar proposals in other states — say that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.

But there are lots of things we might want to know about our food. So what belongs on the label?

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:26 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Electric Cars Drive Demand For Cheaper, More Powerful Batteries

A prototype of a flexible battery from Imprint Energy, one of 40 companies working on battery technology in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Imprint Energy

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

If there's one person you'd expect to have an electric car, it's Venkat Srinivasan. He's in charge of battery research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

"I'm actually in the market for a new car and would love to buy an electric car," he says. "But there are practical problems."

Read more
NPR Story
4:26 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Farm Bill Cuts Might Cut Conservation, Too

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Farm programs will likely cost the government less under any new farm bill, but the policy could be bad for the environment. Both House and Senate versions would end a big subsidy, called direct payments, that has paid money to land owners — whether they needed it or not — if they complied with certain conservation regulations. The two chambers' versions of the bill differ on how, or even if, to incent farmers to take care of their land. But both versions would stop funding to keep at least five million acres of land out of production.

Shots - Health News
2:44 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

The plate on the left contains about equal numbers of colonies of two different bacteria. After the bacteria compete and evolve, the lighter ones have taken the lead in the plate on the right.
Courtesy of Michael Wiser

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 10:49 am

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Read more
Animals
2:35 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Old Dogs, New Data: Canines May Have Been Domesticated In Europe

A dog burial in Greene County, Ill. This fossil dates back to about 8,500 years ago.
Courtesy of Del Baston, Center for American Archaeology

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:34 pm

Scientists have used some new tricks and old dogs to show that thousands of years ago, wolves may have first become man's best friend in Europe.

Researchers extracted DNA from ancient wolf or dog fossils and compared it with DNA from modern dog breeds and wolves. Until recently, labs didn't have the kind of genetic tools they'd need to work with such old dog DNA and do this kind of detailed comparison.

Read more

Pages