Science & Environment

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 The birds are indeed gorgeous and still soar, but the notion that they are loners is outdated, Watts and other conservationists are finding.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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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

U.S. 'Space Fence' Radar System Goes Silent, After 50 Years

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale.
NASA

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:51 pm

The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.

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Environment
3:03 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Pollution, Not Rising Temperatures, May Have Melted Alpine Glaciers

The Alps' largest glacier, Aletsch Glacier, extends more than 14 miles and covers more than 46 square miles.
Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:28 am

Glaciers in the Alps of Europe pose a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.

But nobody could explain the glacier's rapid decline. Now, a new study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uncovers a possible clue to why the glaciers melted before temperatures started rising: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice.

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Animals
2:59 am
Tue September 3, 2013

The Latest In Scientific Field Equipment? Fido's Nose

Rob Finch

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 7:25 pm

Dave Vesely is busy training his dog, Sharpy. She isn't learning to sit or fetch or even herd sheep; Sharpy is learning to find the nests of western pond turtles.

These turtles are sneaky. After laying their eggs in a small hole, they knead together dirt, leaves and their own urine to plug the opening. Once this mud dries, the nest looks like an unremarkable patch of ground.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Enough With Baby Talk; Infants Learn From Lemur Screeches, Too

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:26 am

New research suggests that 3-month-old human babies can use lemur calls as teaching aids. The findings hint at a deep biological connection between language and learning.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Radioactive Water Leak At Fukushima Worse Than First Thought

This photo taken Aug. 6 shows local government officials and nuclear experts at Fukushima after contaminated water was discovered.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:48 am

Radiation surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has increased 18-fold following a report last month that radioactive water had leaked into the ground around the plant, which was badly damaged in a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reports that radiation around the site is at 1,800 millisieverts per hour, a level that Reuters says is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."

Previously, the utility, also known as Tepco, said the leaking water was at around 100 millisieverts per hour.

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Food
12:04 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Food Failures: Beer Home Brew

Is your wort too hot? Have wild yeast taken over your brew? Are you experiencing bottle bomb? Home brewing beer is a combination of art and science. Chris Cuzme from 508 GastroBrewery discusses common pitfalls of home brewing and tips to perfect your process.

History
12:04 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Ancient Beads with an Otherworldly Origin

Researchers analyzed ancient Egyptian iron beads fashioned out of meteoric iron and crafted 2,000 years before the Iron Age. Archaeometallurgist Thilo Rehren discusses how the beads were made before the prevalence of iron mining and smelting.

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