Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
4:20 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes

The CRISPR enzyme (green and red) binds to a stretch of double-stranded DNA (purple and red), preparing to snip out the faulty part.
Illustration courtesy of Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:47 am

Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.

Read more
The Salt
3:29 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Did Neanderthals Eat Plants? The Proof May Be In The Poop

A rendering of Neanderthals cooking and eating. The ancient humans inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago.
Mauricio Anton Science Source

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:35 pm

Neanderthals clubbed their way to the top of an ancient food chain, slaying caribou and mammoths. But a peek inside their prehistoric poop reveals that the meat-loving early humans may have also enjoyed some salad on the side.

Researchers excavating a site in southern Spain where Neanderthals lived 50,000 years ago were initially looking for remnants of food in fireplaces. Then they stumbled upon tiny bits of poop — which turned out to be the oldest fecal matter from a human relation ever discovered.

Read more
Science
2:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists

A 6-foot-long electric eel is basically a 6-inch fish attached to a 5-1/2-foot cattle prod, researchers say. The long tail is packed with special cells that pump electricity without shocking the fish.
Mark Newman Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 12:39 pm

The electric eel's powerful ability to deliver deadly shocks — up to 600 volts — makes it the most famous electric fish, but hundreds of other species produce weaker electric fields. Now, a new genetic study of electric fish has revealed the surprising way they got electrified.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
1:48 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:07 pm

OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see previous post). On to lunch!

This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?

Read more
Parallels
7:15 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Oil Off The Coast Of Ibiza? Protesters Don't Want To Know

Ibiza
David Ramos Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 11:03 am

Ibiza — famous for wild, all-night parties — is home to some of the Mediterranean's most pristine beaches and thriving marine ecosystems. But these could soon be endangered by more than the island's hedonism.

Spain's central government is considering whether to allow oil prospecting near the coasts of Ibiza and its neighboring island, Formentera. The proposed survey area is about 1,500 square miles and starts around 30 miles off the coastline.

Read more
Research News
7:10 am
Thu June 26, 2014

How To Sell Green Products To The Self-Regarding Consumer

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When consumers think about green products, they often face a dilemma - that car that uses less gasoline or a more efficient refrigerator tends to cost more. Buyers have to choose whether money is more important to them than public good. Now new research shows there might be a way to boost interest in these products, at least among a core group of consumers. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to talk with us about that. Hi Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi Steve.

INSKEEP: What consumers?

Read more
NPR Story
5:06 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Meters Would Help Sacramento Homes Save More Water

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:19 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The drought in California is growing more serious by the day. Yet, one-quarter million homes in California still lack the most basic conservation device there is - a water meter. Nowhere is this problem more clear than in the state capital, Sacramento. Joe Rubin reports.

JOE RUBIN, BYLINE: It's not quite daylight when, at 5:15 a.m., Ron Carpenter hops in his car and begins to patrol the Sacramento neighborhood, looking for signs of lawn watering.

RON CARPENTER: Up here it looks pretty shiny down here. Let's see what this is.

Read more
The Salt
11:51 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Kandinsky On A Plate: Art-Inspired Salad Just Tastes Better

Kandinsky's Painting No. 201, on the left, was the inspiration for the salad on the right, which was used to test diners' appreciation of the dish.
Museum of Modern Art; Crossmodal Research Laboratory

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:35 am

We eat first with our eyes. When strawberries are perfectly red, they seem to taste sweeter. When chicken is painted blue, it's disturbing. The ancient Romans understood that, and certainly today's top chefs exploit it when they plate their food.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
11:26 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Two Glorious Science Experiments: One About Sex, The Other About Lunch

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 4:19 pm

Done right, a good science experiment is simple, clear and revealing. Done splendidly, it's a tale you don't forget. Let's do the sex one first. It took place in Italy, in the 1760s, when a Catholic priest and scholar, Lazzaro Spallanzani, was thinking about sperm — which is why he decided to dress frogs in pants, like this ...

Read more
Education
5:25 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

To 'Immunize' Kids Against Illiteracy, Break Out A Book In Infancy

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Read to your children. This isn't the first time you've heard that advice. But now parents with infants will start hearing it officially from pediatricians starting from birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced new guidance today for parents to quote, "immunize their children against illiteracy."

Read more

Pages