Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
5:40 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility

Strenuous mental exercise like reading difficult books, solving tricky math problems — or, maybe, playing the right video game — can help keep a healthy brain sharp, research suggests.
Images.com/Corbis

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:22 pm

A brain that trains can stay in the fast lane. That's the message of a study showing that playing a brain training video game for a month can rejuvenate the multitasking abilities of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

"After training, they improved their multitasking beyond the level of 20-year-olds," says Adam Gazzaley, one of the study's authors and a brain scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Navajo encryption boxes seen at right in 2003 employ principles of quantum physics. The latest research has shown the ability to run larger networks with less such hardware.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:48 pm

Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.

The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.

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Food
5:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Fixing Stove Hoods To Keep Pollution Out Of The Kitchen

Cooking on gas and electric stoves can create indoor air pollution. The best way to avoid it is to buy a good range hood that vents outside, experts say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:47 pm

Hot summer days often mean air pollution warnings in big cities. But the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful. Cooking fumes from your stove are supposed to be captured by a hood over the range — but even some expensive models aren't that effective.

Jennifer Logue spends a lot of time thinking about what happens when she cooks. She's a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she studies indoor air pollution.

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Shots - Health News
3:45 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes

Beautiful or creepy? A recent survey found that an image of a lotus seed head makes about 15 percent of people uncomfortable or even repulsed.
tanakawho Flickr.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:25 am

Trypophobia may be moving out of the urban dictionary and into the scientific literature.

A recent study in the peer-review journal Psychological Science takes a first crack at explaining why some people may suffer from a fear of holes.

Trypophobia may be hard to find in textbooks and diagnostic manuals, but a brief Web search will show that plenty of people appear to have it.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Lights Out In Venezuela; President Blames Opposition Saboteurs

Fans wait for play to resume Tuesday at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game in Caracas, Venezuela. A blackout left about 70 percent of the country without electricity.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:57 pm

Venezuela's President Nicholas Maduro said a massive power outage that plunged most of the country into darkness Tuesday, causing traffic chaos in the bustling capital of Caracas, was due to sabotage.

Officials said 70 percent of the country was without electricity, shutting down traffic lights and partially disrupting the underground transport system.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

A Greener Way To Cool Your Foods On The Way To The Grocery Store

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:13 pm

Your produce and frozen foods could soon arrive at grocery stores in trucks that release fewer emissions. Researchers are developing a clean technology to keep your food cool while it travels.

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All Tech Considered
7:48 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Tailgaters Rejoice! This Cooler Keeps Beers Cold Without Ice

The Case Coolie weighs 1.5 pounds and promises to keep beverages cold for 10 hours.
Courtesy of Case Coolie

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:47 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. That's how we found this week's pick!

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Science
3:04 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Bald Eagles Are Back In A Big Way — And The Talons Are Out

Bryan Watts, a conservation biologist at the College of William and Mary, and biology graduate student Courtney Turrin, survey eagle behavior along the James River in late-summer.
Elizabeth Shogren NPR

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:48 pm

"It's a jungle if you're an eagle right now on the Chesapeake Bay," says Bryan Watts, a conservation biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. "You have to watch your back."

Americans have long imagined their national symbol as a solitary, noble bird soaring on majestic wings. The birds are indeed gorgeous and still soar, but the notion that they are loners is outdated, Watts and other conservationists are finding.

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Now A Test Can Tell If Your Pricey Cup Of Cat Poop Coffee Is Fake

A civet cat eats red coffee cherries at a farm in Bondowoso, Indonesia. Civets are actually more closely related to meerkats and mongooses than to cats.
Ulet Ifansasti Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 1:25 pm

From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee.

The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal's digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:25 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

How To Build Little Doors Inside Your Shell: The Secrets of Snail Carpentry

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 3:03 pm

"I am going to withdraw from the world," says a snail in Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Snail and the Rosebush. "Nothing that happens there is any concern of mine."

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