Science & Environment

The Salt
3:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover

This millet field outside Nunn, Colo., is nearing harvest time, when the grain turns from green to a golden color.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:37 am

Walk through a health food store and you'll find amaranth, sorghum, quinoa — heritage grains that have been staples around the world for generations. Americans are just discovering them.

There's another age-old grain that grows right here on the Great Plains: millet.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Shutdown's Squeeze On Science And Health

This image was posted by NASA to the agency's official Instagram account.
NASA Getty Images

In addition to shutdowns of national parks (including Alcatraz Island and Yosemite) and the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, the mandatory furloughs are affecting a wide range of government science and health agencies. Here's a snapshot:

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Youth Radio
4:26 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

A growing number of children are entering puberty at younger ages — sometimes as young as 6 or 7. But in many schools, sex education classes don't begin before the fifth grade.
Cuneyt Hizal iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:54 pm

For kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a standard introduction to puberty at many schools: an educational play called Nightmare on Puberty Street.

It's a fictional play, and in it, character Natalie raps about how quickly her body is growing — and how her classmates call her names.

"I didn't pick how my body would grow, and I don't feel normal, 'cause I'm not in control."

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Environment
12:38 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

When Islands Pop Out Of The Sea

Pakistanis walk on an island that emerged off the coastline of the Arabian Sea following a deadly magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Pakistan's southern province of Baluchistan on Sept. 24.
Gwadar local government office AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 2:46 pm

When a mud volcano erupted last week and created a muddy mound of an island just off the southern coast of Pakistan, it seemed to us like a rather rare development.

But it turns out islands crop up fairly often. Charles Darwin commented on one. And it's been happening in shallow marshy patches off the coasts of Sweden and Finland for millennia.

Darwin's Find

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

WATCH: Newborn White Lion Cubs In South Korea

White lion cubs at South Korea's Everland zoo.
VOA video

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:41 am

If you're suffering withdrawal symptoms from the National Zoo's "pandacams" — sadly deemed "nonessential" and therefore shut down, along with much of the rest of the government — we have the perfect antidote:

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The Salt
11:46 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Now You Can Go To Harvard And Learn Cooking Science From Top Chefs

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 1:50 pm

It's one part Food Network, one part Mr. Science, two big handfuls of DIY, and probably going to be a whole lot of fun.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Tue October 1, 2013

What's The Forecast On Kepler-7B? Hot And Cloudy

An artist's rendition of Kepler-7b (left) with Jupiter for comparison.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:34 pm

Scientists are reasonably sure that it's a cloudy day on Kepler-7b, a planet that orbits its star about 1,000 light-years away from us.

Using NASA's orbiting space telescopes, researchers publishing in Astrophysical Journal Letters say that for the first time they've been able to make a rudimentary map of the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet.

The team used faint visible light and infrared reflections from Kepler-7b to make their cloud map.

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The Two-Way
7:08 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Scientists May Have Source For A.D. 1257 'Mystery Eruption'

The Samalas volcanic crater at Rinjani National Park on Lombok Island, Indonesia.
Rinjani National Park, Indonesia

Scientists think they've identified the source of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred in A.D. 1257 and spread telltale traces across the globe.

The culprit in the "mystery eruption" appears to be the Samalas volcano, part of the Mount Rinjani Volcanic Complex on Indonesia's Lombok Island, an international team of scientists publishing in PNAS journal says.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Here's Something Congress Can Agree On: Helium

Party On: Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
Alexandre Ayre Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:03 pm

With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.

The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.

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All Tech Considered
3:29 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Space's Wild: 5 Cool Happenings Along The Final Frontier

SpaceX launched an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 30 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, northwest of Los Angeles.
SpaceX

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:29 pm

SpaceX hit a milestone in space exploration Sunday as it launched its most powerful rocket yet from California.

The unmanned nine-engine Falcon 9, which carried a small Canadian weather satellite called Cassiope, is an experiment in reusing rocket parts after they have fallen back to Earth. As the BBC reports:

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