Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
3:45 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:58 am

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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The Two-Way
6:38 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:46 pm

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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All Tech Considered
5:41 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Coming Soon: A Jolt Of Caffeine You Can Spray On Your Skin

Sprayable Energy will be on sale in November, says its creator, Ben Yu.
Courtesy of Sprayable Energy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:16 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

The 10 Most Important Questions In Science*

iStockphoto.com

I noticed in The Guardian that there's a book coming out this week listing the 20 biggest challenges for modern science. I'd like to go over 10 of them today, perhaps coming back to the other 10 next week.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Discovery Of Massive Aquifers Could Be Game Changer For Kenya

Members of the El Molo tribe are pictured in the village of Komote, on the shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, last year.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:07 pm

Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:48 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

When The Dutch Keep Secrets, Everybody Notices. A Google Puzzle

Mishka Henner

What is this?

When I saw it for the first time, here's what I knew: It's a Google image found on Google Maps, taken by a satellite, plucked and blogged by photographer/sleuth, Mishka Henner. It's a patch of land near a town called Coevorden, in The Netherlands. There's a road on one side, plowed farmland all about, some trees on the lower left and then, weirdly, grey, black, white, golden, green and brown patches crunched together in an almost-rectangle. Those couldn't be natural, I thought.

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Around the Nation
3:26 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Four-Legged Impostors Give Service Dog Owners Pause

Lauren Henderson and her service dog, Phoebe, in Los Angeles. Henderson says she's seeing more dogs in vests that don't appear to be legitimate service dogs.
Lisa Napoli KCRW

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 7:54 am

Lauren Henderson goes everywhere with her service dog Phoebe — to the grocery store, Disneyland, the beach. For Henderson, who used to be paralyzed, her 100 pound, lumbering Saint Bernard is a necessity.

An actor who lives in Malibu, Calif., Henderson uses her dog for stability and balance. And if she falls, Phoebe helps pull her back on her feet.

"She's basically like a living walker," Henderson says.

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The Two-Way
6:32 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Humberto Expected To Become First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season

Tropical Storms Humberto and Gabrielle. Humberto is expected to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
National Hurricane Center

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 8:05 pm

Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to get a promotion, becoming the first hurricane of an otherwise lackluster Atlantic season to date.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Dust Bowl Worries Swirl Up As Shelterbelt Buckles

A Dust Bowl farmer digs out a fence post to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Okla., in 1936.
Arthur Rothstein Library of Congress

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 6:39 pm

In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl ravaged crops and helped plunge the U.S. into an environmental and economic depression. Farmland in parts of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas disappeared.

After the howling winds passed and the dust settled, federal foresters planted 100 million trees across the Great Plains, forming a giant windbreak — known as a shelterbelt — that stretched from Texas to Canada.

Now, those trees are dying from drought, leaving some to worry whether another Dust Bowl might swirl up again.

An Experiment That Worked

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Warding Off Polar Bears? There's An App For That

A tranquilized subadult polar bear is in a net in 2007 in Churchill, Manitoba, known as the "polar bear capital of the world."
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:01 pm

Just in time for the release of the new iPhone, a man in Canada has found yet another new use for the cellphone — thwarting a polar bear attack.

Garett Kolsun says he used his cellphone to scare off a 400-pound polar bear on the attack, using the light from the handset to startle the animal long enough to allow his escape.

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