Science & Environment

The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

This Just (Flew) In: The Formerly 'Extinct' Jerdon's Babbler

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 1:14 pm

Birders and scientists who thought Jerdon's babbler had gone the way of the passenger pigeon now have something to crow about: it turns out that the sparrow-sized tan-colored bird is still among us, despite having been written out of the birding guides in 1941.

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Animals
8:26 am
Sat March 7, 2015

These Tunes Are Music To Your Cats' Furry Ears

Could this cat be enjoying "Spook's Ditty"?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 12:18 pm

When you leave the house, do you ever turn on some music to keep your cat company?

What kind do you choose? Tom Jones crooning "What's New Pussycat?" A ballad by Cat Stevens? Perhaps Al Stewart's "The Year of the Cat"?

Nonsense. Cats don't to want to hear humans singing about them, says composer and University of Maryland music professor David Teie.

Researchers at U.Md. and the University of Wisconsin have teamed up with Teie to make music that was more feline friendly.

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Environment
8:26 am
Sat March 7, 2015

Cold Weather Means Long Days For HVAC Crews

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 10:29 am

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Transcript

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The Two-Way
1:30 am
Sat March 7, 2015

Derailed Oil Train Continues To Burn In Illinois

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 3:12 pm

A derailed oil train continues to burn in northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River town of Galena more than 24 hours after it crashed.

It is the third fiery derailment of trains carrying crude from the Bakken area of North Dakota in the past three weeks, raising more questions about the volatility of the oil and the safety of the tank cars used to transport crude.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

FDA Approves First Of New Type Of Generic Drugs

Swiss drugmaker Novartis' logo is seen behind scaffolding at the company's plant in the northern Swiss town of Stein, shown in January. The company's "biosimilar" drug Zarxio has received FDA approval.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 4:40 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first in a class of generic drugs that are made from living cells instead of chemical compounds.

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The Two-Way
4:13 am
Fri March 6, 2015

NASA Probe Reaches Orbit Around Dwarf Planet

Astronomers have known about Ceres for centuries, but they don't really know what to make of it.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 12:38 pm

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET.

This morning, a plucky NASA spacecraft has entered the orbit of one of the oddest little worlds in our solar system.

Ceres is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States.

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U.S.
3:41 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Boston Economy Will Escape Big Freeze Of Historic Snowstorms

In Boston, nearly 9 feet of snow this winter has kept shoppers out of stores, putting a strain on the local economy.
bettlebrox Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 6:38 pm

Nearly 9 feet of snow has fallen on Boston this winter — most of it in February — closing workplaces for days and leaving commuters stranded.

"I've been working from home for the past couple of days because I can't get to work," says Christopher Clickner, an insurance agent. "It's been taking me an hour-and-a-half sitting here to try to catch a bus, and it just hasn't worked at all."

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Animals
3:36 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Could A Quokka Beat A Numbat? Oddsmakers Say Yes

One possible result in the Mighty Mini Mammals division of 2015's Mammal March Madness tournament. If the species that's seeded highest always wins its bracket, the fennec fox will beat out the rest of the division and advance to the final four.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 7:05 pm

It's March, and that means college basketball fans are gearing up for the NCAA tournament. But there's another tournament taking place this month — and animals aren't the mascots, they're the competitors.

"Mammal March Madness" is organized by a team of evolutionary biologists. They choose 65 animal competitors and then imagine the outcome of a series of simulated interspecies battles. Who would win if a kangaroo took on a warthog? Or if an orca fought a polar bear?

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The Salt
4:57 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Eat Your Veggies! Even The Ones From Fukushima

Farmer Magoichi Shigihara checks on his cucumber farm in Nihonmatsu in Fukushima prefecture, about 31 miles west of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, in May 2011. Testing shows radiation in foods grown and raised in Fukushima is back to pre-accident levels.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 11:24 am

Nearly four years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, people in Japan are still hesitant to eat foods grown around the site of the accident. They worry that anything grown in the region will contain dangerous levels of radioactive elements, increasing their risk of cancer.

Sometimes, food from Fukushima will bear a photo of the farmer who grew it or a number to dial to learn more about each bag of rice or vegetables, just to ease customers' concerns.

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Goats and Soda
4:56 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Arsenic Antidote Hidden In Our Genes

At more than 12,000 feet above sea level, the town of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina, sits on volcanic bedrock, which leaches arsenic into the drinking water.
Guigue/Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:59 pm

For centuries, arsenic was the go-to poison for murder.

If you wanted to knock off an heir to the throne or speed up the arrival of your inheritance, all you had to do was add a dollop of rat poison to your rival's food. They wouldn't see or taste it. And the police wouldn't detect it — at least not until a chemist developed a test for the element in the early 19th century.

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