Science & Environment

Environment
3:43 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Wild Weather Tied To Unusual Jet Stream Activity

Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio NASA

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 6:25 am

There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.

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Science
5:52 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

E-Readers Make Reading Easier For People Who Are Dyslexic

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's another example of tech helping people. In this case, people who struggle with dyslexia. For some, the act of reading a book can be dispiriting. Just ask Matthew Schneps, he directs the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

MATTHEW SCHNEPS: I'll open the book and I'll start reading it. And then I'll very quickly realize, you know, I'm never going to get through this thing, and I just give up.

SIEGEL: But when Schneps reads on a small handheld device, like a smartphone...

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NPR Story
5:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Quake In Central Pakistan Makes New Island

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:52 pm

A large earthquake shook a remote part of central Pakistan Tuesday, and so far local authorities have only reported a few dozen fatalities so far. But according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, the death toll could be far higher. The quake also gave rise to a mysterious island off the coast of Pakistan. The island was likely created by frozen methane that was shaken loose by the shaking. It pushed its way to the surface and created a muddy piece of land that will soon be washed away.

The Salt
5:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Global Love Of Bananas May Be Hurting Costa Rica's Crocodiles

A Costa Rican banana worker carries a stalk of freshly harvested fruit on a plantation in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown.
Kent Gilbert AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:22 pm

Americans love bananas. Each year, we eat more bananas than any other fruit. But banana growers use a lot of pesticides — and those chemicals could be hurting wildlife. As a new study shows, the pesticides are ending up in the bodies of crocodiles living near banana farms in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas we eat are grown.

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All Tech Considered
3:29 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Popular Science' Shuts Comments, Citing Internet 'Trolls'

PopularScience.com says it will no longer accept comments on new stories because of the negative impact of "trolls and spambots."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:59 pm

The online content director for PopularScience.com announced Tuesday that the website will no longer accept comments on new articles, saying a small but vocal minority of "shrill, boorish specimens of the lower Internet phyla" were ruining it for everyone else.

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Environment
4:01 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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The Salt
6:09 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Raising Tastier Sea Urchins For Foodies And The Environment

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy, but supply can't keep up with demand.
Aizat Faiz Flickr

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 7:09 pm

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly — so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.

But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.

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Shots - Health News
5:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:30 pm

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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The Picture Show
10:51 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Bee-Holder

Osmia chalybea, Male, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 4:55 pm

For a lot of people, the sight of a bee or wasp is enough to elicit some kind of visceral reaction. But a bee at 1:1 magnification becomes something a little more awe-inspiring.

"We know the average American reaction to insects," says Sam Droege, head of the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. But, he says, "At this scale, none of them are ugly."

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Monkey See
3:34 am
Mon September 23, 2013

The Man Who Gets The Science Right On 'The Big Bang Theory'

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David Saltzberg (right) hosts his "Geek of the Week," UCLA student Andrew Peck, on the set of The Big Bang Theory.
Michael Yarish Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 12:02 pm

Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.

Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.

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