Science & Environment

The Salt
5:55 am
Sun August 3, 2014

The Gift Of Graft: New York Artist's Tree To Grow 40 Kinds Of Fruit

Sam Van Aken's grafted fruit trees are still quite young, but this artist rendering shows what he expects the "Tree of 40 Fruit" to look like in springtime in a few years.
Courtesy of Sam Van Aken

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:59 am

It sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss, but artist Sam Van Aken is developing a tree that blooms in pink, fuchsia, purple and red in the spring — and that is capable of bearing 40 different kinds of fruit.

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Shots - Health News
7:03 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Why Treating Ebola With An Experimental Serum Might Help

In 1995, amid an Ebola outbreak, Zairian Red Cross personnel picked up sick people and bodies left on the streets of Kikwit, 250 miles from the capital Kinshasa.
Jean-Marc Bouju AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:23 am

Last week we learned that two Americans working in Liberia for a medical charity, Samaritan's Purse, were among those who had contracted Ebola. When their symptoms took a turn for the worse, the organization announced that the two were going to get experimental treatments. One was going to get a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old boy who recovered from the disease, the organization said; the other was to get an "experimental serum." What's that?

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Guess Who's Been Waiting In The Lobby For A Hundred Million Years?

Tanaka/Flickr

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:22 am

Sometimes the quiet ones surprise us.

Take moss — those fuzzy green pads you see on the sides of old trees, or hanging onto rocks. Who notices moss? It's just ... there, doing whatever it does — so slowly, so terribly slowly, that nobody bothers to think about it. Moss creeps up tree bark, sits quietly on crevasses in rocks. Moss is an old, old life form, one of the earliest plants to attach to land around 450 million years ago. It's very patient, very modest — but when you look closely, you discover it has super powers.

Pow! Crunch! Zap!

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Shots - Health News
4:24 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Is Still Difficult For Many Moms

Amber Medel weighs her 3-week-old baby, Elijah, as lactation consultant Carol Chamblin takes note. Medel had problems breast-feeding and Chamblin encouraged her to use a breast pump to get the milk flowing more easily.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:19 am

When Elizabeth O'Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally.

That's not quite how it panned out. "I was experiencing very tremendous pain," she says.

At first she figured that was normal — but soon it became too much to handle. "I was devastated," she says. "The reality is nursing is a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're in pain, you aren't really thinking about that."

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Goats and Soda
1:03 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

How Cultures Move Across Continents

Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 1:43 pm

They may look like flight paths around North America and Europe. Or perhaps nighttime satellite photos, with cities lit up like starry constellations.

But look again.

These animations chart the movement of Western culture over the past 2,000 years, researchers report Friday in the journal Science.

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Shots - Health News
8:03 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Caffeine Gives Athletes An Edge, But Don't Overdo It

Peter Kennaugh of SKY Procycling enjoys an espresso ahead of first stage of the Tour de France 2013, in Corsica.
Scott Mitchell teamsky.com via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:19 am

After winning the Tour de France last Sunday, Vincenzo Nibali was tested for a bunch of performance-enhancing substances. But Nibali and his fellow competitors were welcome to have several cups of coffee (or cans of Red Bull), before their ride into Paris; caffeine is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

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Business
5:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Tensions Stir At EPA Hearings On New Emission Rules

Some 5,000 union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, march outside the William S. Moorhead Federal Building on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The city hosted two days of public hearings by the Environmental Protection Agency on stricter pollution rules for coal-burning power plants.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am

The coal industry made its presence known in Pittsburgh this week for public hearings on President Obama's controversial plan to address climate change. A key element is rules the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June. They would cut greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide — from existing power plants. The national goal is 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Should We Return The Nutrients In Our Pee Back To The Farm?

More than 170 volunteers in the Brattleboro, Vt., area have contributed urine to the Rich Earth Institute field trials.
Mike Earley/Courtesy of Rich Earth Institute

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 12:35 pm

Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?

A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.

Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Kentucky Buoys Noah's Ark Park With Millions In New Tax Breaks

Mike Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis ministries, poses for photos at the Ark Encounter headquarters, in 2011. Kentucky has granted the project tens of millions in tax incentives.
Dylan Lovan AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:10 pm

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Kentucky has approved $18 million in new tax breaks for a controversial Christian theme park that is to feature a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark.

Maryanne Zeleznik of member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports that the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the incentives for the Ark Encounter, to be built in Williamstown. The legislature must still OK the plan.

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Shots - Health News
12:36 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors

Chief Medical Resident Dr. Julia Vermylen (right) critiques interns during an "intern boot camp," held at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital in June.
Stacy Thacker AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:10 pm

An influential report that urges sweeping changes in how the federal government subsidizes the training of doctors has brought out the sharp scalpels of those who would be most immediately affected.

The reaction also raises questions about the sensitive politics involved in redistributing a large pot of money –mostly from Medicare — that now goes disproportionately to teaching hospitals in the U.S. Northeast. All of the changes recommended would have to be made by Congress.

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