Science & Environment

Research News
4:52 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Element 115 Could Be Near Elusive 'Island Of Stability'

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 6:39 pm

Researchers in Sweden have confirmed the existence of element 115. It sticks around for a surprisingly long time. Scientists believe it may bring them closer to the mythical "island of stability" a whole slew of super-heavy elements that could last for days or even years.

Krulwich Wonders...
12:34 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You

Courtesy of Adam Harvey

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 6:32 pm

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The Salt
10:20 am
Wed August 28, 2013

To Grow Sweeter Produce, California Farmers Turn Off The Water

At Happy Boy Farms near Santa Cruz, Calif., Early Girl tomatoes are grown using dry-farming methods. The tomatoes have become increasingly popular with chefs and wholesalers.
Courtesy Jen Lynne/Happy Boy Farms

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:57 pm

A week without water can easily kill the average person.

But a garden that goes unwatered for months may produce sweeter, more flavorful fruits than anything available in most mainstream supermarkets — even in the scorching heat of a California summer. Commercial growers call it "dry farming," and throughout the state, this unconventional technique seems to be catching on among small producers of tomatoes, apples, grapes, melons and potatoes.

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Science
5:29 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Sophisticated Prosthetics Help Liberate Disabled Adventurers

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

A story now about technology and the creative ways it's being used to help people with disabilities enjoy the great outdoors - skiing, biking, even whitewater rafting, as Colorado Public Radio's Eric Whitney reports.

ERIC WHITNEY, BYLINE: In the equipment room at Telluride Adaptive Sports in Colorado, it's all about what works.

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Science
5:29 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Hole Or Whole, Why Can Our Brains Hear The Difference?

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally this hour, a hole. This summer, NPR's science correspondent Joe Palca has been helping us out. Occasionally, our mix of news and features doesn't completely fill our two-hour program and we end up with a few small holes to fill, so Joe has been filling them with short science-y pieces about holes. He's talked about black holes, theoretical holes, even donut holes. Here's his latest.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Tue August 27, 2013

STUNNING VIDEO: Pilots' View Of California's Rim Fire

A view of California's Rim Fire from the cockpit of a California Air National Guard tanker plane.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:05 pm

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The Salt
3:03 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Turning Off The Spigot In Western Kansas Farmland

An irrigation pivot waters a corn field in Nebraska. Many farmers in Nebraska and Kansas rely on irrigation to water their corn fields. But the underground aquifer they draw from will run dry.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:49 pm

Across the High Plains, many farmers depend on underground stores of water, and they worry about wells going dry. A new scientific study of western Kansas lays out a predicted timeline for those fears to become reality. But it also shows an alternative path for farming in Kansas: The moment of reckoning can be delayed, and the impact softened, if farmers start conserving water now.

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Europe
3:01 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Beachgoers In Spain Face Invasion Of Jellyfish

Marine biologist Stefano Piraino thinks overfishing is one of the reasons jellyfish populations are growing. He said if you take fish out of the oceans, it leaves more food for jellyfish. The jellyfish here are known as Pelagia noctiluca, the mauve stinger.
Courtesy of Stefano Piraino MED-JELLYRISK

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:01 pm

Blue turquoise waves lap at white sand on the Spanish island of Formentera in the Mediterranean Sea. Sweaty tourists from all over Europe cram the beach. But on this particular afternoon, no one dares take a cool dip in the water.

The reason? It's what Spaniards call "medusas" — named after the monster from Greek mythology, with a woman's face and venomous snakes for hair. In English, they're called jellyfish.

Gabrielle Amand's son was a recent victim of one. He's wrapped in a towel, sitting under an umbrella on the shore.

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Space
8:04 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Far Out: Voyager 1 Might Be Over The Edge, Into Deep Space

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 11:29 am

For the past decade, scientists have been waiting for the Voyager 1 spacecraft to cross into deep space. New research suggests it has left the solar system, but other scientists say it's still inside the sun's sphere of influence. (This piece initially aired Aug. 19, 2013, on Morning Edition.)

The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Sat August 24, 2013

Tons Of Molten Glass Go Into Making Mirror For Giant Telescope

An artist's concept of the completed Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)
Giant Magellan Telescope

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 4:08 pm

Technicians on Saturday are set to cast 20 tons of glass for the third of seven ultra-precise primary mirrors that will make up the 72-foot Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled for completion in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert in 2020.

The parabolic mirror will be cast at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The molten borosilicate, made by the Ohara Corporation, will be spun cast at 2140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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