Science & Environment

Energy
6:38 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

What You Need To Know About The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Pipes for TransCanada's planned Keystone XL pipeline are stored in Gascoyne, N.D. The U.S. House has voted to approve the proposed project, which would allow crude oil to flow from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate plans to vote Tuesday on legislation that would greenlight the project.
Andrew Cullen Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 7:36 pm

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

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Shots - Health News
4:24 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Are Modafinil's Brain-Boosting Benefits Hype Or Science?

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 9:08 am

Nobody gets enough sleep these days and everyone needs to work harder. Sometimes coffee just doesn't seem like it's enough. Thus the temptation to apply pharmacology to thinking smarter, faster and longer.

One option is modafinil, a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat narcolepsy. "I feel like a well-oiled machine 5 days a week on 5 hrs a night," one poster who uses modafinil writes on Reddit.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Comet Lander's Big Bounce Caught On Camera

The Rosetta spacecraft, which orbits the comet, captured this series of images of the Philae lander bounding off the surface. The precise spot the lander came to a stop remains unknown.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Updated at 3:45PM ET

It was the first ever landing on a comet, and it was perfect.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the journey for the European Space Agency's unmanned Philae lander. After touching down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the lander bounced off the surface and flew a kilometer back up into space.

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The Salt
3:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

To End Food Waste, Change Needs To Begin At Home

Sherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, cook dinner in their kitchen in Iowa City, Iowa. The Erkel family is part of an EPA study measuring the amount of food wasted in U.S. homes.
Pat Aylward NET News

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:24 pm

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

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Environment
9:18 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Patch Of Pacific Water Is Warmest In Decades

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 12:25 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
6:28 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Big Data Companies Agree: Farmers Should Own Their Information

A global positioning receiver on the top of a combine harvester at a farm in Warwick, Md., in June. The equipment uses sensors and computers to help drive the combine along the route where the crops were planted, judge the composition of a crop and generate crop yield reports.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Some of the biggest names in American agriculture, ranging from farmers' organizations to private companies like Monsanto and DuPont, have agreed on principles governing the use of data collected from farms.

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Around the Nation
5:48 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Yes, The Weather Is Polar. No, It's Not The Vortex

A bicycle messenger struggles through the snow in downtown Cleveland on Friday.
Mark Duncan AP

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:27 pm

Much of the country had to bundle up this week owing to some unusually cold weather. Even in the Deep South, residents struggled with temperatures in the low 20s.

With the big chill comes the revival of an ominous phrase: "the polar vortex."

The sinister-sounding label has been hard to escape on TV news. The Today Show warned of the vortex in its promo spots. Some cautioned that the phenomenon might already put the squeeze on holiday shopping.

Even The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the hype.

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Environment
7:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Success Record is Mixed For Global Climate Deals

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 10:21 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
5:29 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

How Bacteria In The Gut Help Fight Off Viruses

You've got a trillion friends in low places: Bacteria in the gut may protect against viruses by signaling their presence to your immune system.
Michael DeForge for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 7:56 pm

If it was a snake, it would have bitten us.

The secret to stopping a deadly stomach virus may be sitting right there in our guts, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science. Or more specifically, the treatment is in our microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that inconspicuously hang out in the GI tracts.

Immunologists at Georgia State University found that a tiny piece of gut bacteria can prevent and cure a rotavirus infection in mice.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

WATCH: Orphaned Sea Otter Pup Has Snack, Playtime

Pup 681 enjoys a snack and some playtime at its new home at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
Shedd Aquarium YouTube screengrab

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 4:49 pm

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has a new resident — an orphaned southern sea otter that was rescued from the California coast north of Monterey.

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