Science & Environment

Krulwich Wonders...
8:48 am
Tue September 10, 2013

A New Kind Of 'More'

The Glue Society

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:11 pm

You've heard, maybe, about "Simple Living"? It's what some people do, Gandhi-style, to simplify their lives. They shed possessions. They watch their carbon footprint. They choose to live with less. They have what they need, and that's enough.

What's the opposite of Simple Living? (Everything needs an opposite, right? Read Hegel.) Well, if you want to conjure Simple Living in reverse, it's not gluttony. Anybody can buy too many shoes. No, the opposite of Simple Living should also be a movement with a name, a style — and lots of fans.

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Space
5:11 am
Tue September 10, 2013

NASA's Latest Mission To The Moon Is On Track

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NASA's latest mission to the moon is stuck in orbit around the Earth. And that sounds bad. But as NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca explains, it's actually normal.

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The Salt
5:04 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Rye Bother? An Inside-The-Barrel Look At American Whiskeys

America's Signature Whiskey: Some craft distilleries, like Catoctin Creek in Virginia, are making a whiskey that's 100 percent rye to showcase the grain's spicy, peppery flavor.
Courtesy of Catoctin Creek

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:18 pm

Ten years ago rye whiskey was on the brink of extinction.

Despite its venerable history as the whiskey made by George Washington, only a handful of distillers were bottling this quintessentially American spirit. And you definitely couldn't order a rye Manhattan at your local cocktail lounge.

My, how times have changed.

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Purple Sweet Potato A Contender To Replace Artificial Food Dyes

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 4:25 pm

We've grown accustomed to choosing our food from a spectacular rainbow — care for an impossibly pink cupcake, a cerulean blue sports drink or yogurt in preppy lavender?

But there's a growing backlash against the synthetic dyes that give us these eye-popping hues. And now scientists are turning to the little-known (and little-grown) purple sweet potato to develop plant-based dyes that can be labeled as nonthreatening vegetable juice.

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All Tech Considered
3:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.
AP

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 1:12 pm

Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive.

"It probably is the largest effort ever to selectively censor human expression," says Harvard University social scientist Gary King. "They don't censor everything. There are millions of Chinese [who] talk about millions of things. But the effort to prune the Internet of certain kinds of information is unprecedented."

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Shots - Health News
3:28 am
Mon September 9, 2013

From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint

We may not see them, but we need them.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:58 pm

Look in the mirror and you won't see your microbiome. But it's there with you from the day you are born. Over time, those bacteria, viruses and fungi multiply until they outnumber your own cells 10 to 1.

As babies, the microbes may teach our immune systems how to fight off bad bugs that make us sick and ignore things that aren't a threat.

We get our first dose of microbes from our mothers, both in the birth canal and in breast milk. Family members tend to have similar microbiomes.

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Animals
5:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Answering The Cranes' Call: 40 Years Of Preserving Grace

Mated pairs of red-crowned cranes perform a "unison call," a complex and extended series of calls between the male and female that reinforces the pair bond.
Sture Traneving

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 6:26 pm

Of all the world's birds, perhaps none are more mystical than cranes.

From Asia to North America, these tall birds with haunting cries have been woven into paintings, literature and folk tales. But today, 10 of the world's 15 crane species are threatened, and some are on the brink of extinction.

Their grass and wetland habitats are devastated all over the world. The International Crane Foundation, based in Wisconsin, has been studying and advocating for the birds for 40 years. George Archibald founded it with another young ornithologist on a family farm near Baraboo.

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Humans
5:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

From The Fall Of Failure, Success Can Take Flight

Members of S. A. Andrée's 1897 journey survey their downed vessel. This photo was recovered from a camera when their remains were found 33 years later.
Courtesy of Grenna Museum, Andréexpeditionen Polarcenter/Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography/National Geographic

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 6:26 pm

Diana Nyad's successful swim from Cuba to Key West on Monday was made all the sweeter because she had tried — and failed — four times before.

She learned you should "never, ever give up," but she also learned some practical lessons to help beat the elements in those earlier attempts. Out of failure, she innovated. And out of innovation, she succeeded.

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Science
7:14 am
Sun September 8, 2013

How Sounds Undermine Sleep

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 1:40 pm

Why can some people sleep through a jackhammer at the window, while others waken with the lightest whisper? Host Rachel Martin speaks to Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen about his new study on how noises interrupt sleep.

Science
7:14 am
Sun September 8, 2013

'Memory Pinball' And Other Reasons You Need A Nap

On the surface, sleep may seem like an evolutionary disaster, but its benefits have come to outweigh its potential downsides.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 1:40 pm

We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, but much of that function remains a mystery. Weekend Edition Sunday is asking some pretty fundamental, yet complicated, questions about why we do it and why we can't seem to get more of it.

Dr. Matthew Walker says the question of why we sleep remains "that archetypal mystery."

Walker, the principal investigator at the sleep lab the University of California, Berkeley, works with patients who suffer from sleep abnormalities. He says the complexity of sleep makes the research that much more fascinating.

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