Science & Environment

The Two-Way
11:12 am
Thu August 8, 2013

World-Record Snakehead Fish Caught In U.S.

Caleb Newton, who lives in Spotsylvania County, Va., holds the 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead fish he caught in June. The International Game Fish Association has approved a world record for his catch of the invasive predator.
Griffin Moores The Free Lance-Star

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:59 am

A Virginia man has caught the largest northern snakehead on record with a rod and reel, landing a 17-pound, 6-ounce specimen of the fish often called "Frankenfish" for their monster-like appearance and tenacious survival skills.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Stars And Stripes: Pair Of Sumatran Tigers Born At National Zoo

A Tigercubcam view of the new cubs, born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Monday.
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:03 pm

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has announced the birth of a pair of Sumatran tigers, a species that has dwindled to less than 500 in the wild. Both mother and cubs are reportedly doing well.

There was no immediate word Thursday on the sex of the cubs.

Four-year-old Damai gave birth on Monday. The new arrivals appear healthy, and so far, "Damai is being a great mom, and is nursing and grooming both cubs," the zoo says on its website.

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Shots - Health News
8:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

What Makes Good Bacteria Go Bad? It's Not Them, It's You

S.pneumoniae bacteria may look harmless, but don't rile them.
CDC

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:01 am

Imagine a friend of a friend brings his family to stay with you — his family of tiny survivalists. For weeks or months you all live quietly side by side with no problems. You share meals. Your kids play together.

Then one day you get sick — maybe felled by a bad cold or the flu. Suddenly certain the end is near, your jittery houseguest breaks out an armory's worth of chemical weapons. He abandons his community to save himself and hunt for a new home, wreaking havoc on the way out the door.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:58 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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Science
4:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

NIH Issues Guidelines For HeLa Cell Genome Data

The 2010 bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks highlighted ethical controversies surrounding scientists' use of HeLa cells. The cells are descended from a tumor taken without consent from Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman who died in 1951. Ethical concerns resurfaced with the publication of the HeLa cell's genome. The National Institutes of Health has now issued guidelines. For an explanation, Linda Wertheimer talks to NIH director Francis Collins.

Code Switch
3:49 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Science Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Bring Hip-Hop Into The Classroom

Jayda Neor and Kephra Shaw Meredith, seventh-graders from KIPP Bridge middle school in Oakland, Calif., perform a rap song about the discovery of DNA's structure in front of a green screen.
Tom McFadden

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 12:48 pm

This story comes to us from our friends at the science desk. They produced the 7-minute video documentary you see above.

"Modern-day rappers — all they talk about is money, and all these unnecessary and irrelevant topics," says Victoria Richardson, a freshman at Bronx Compass High School. Richardson's rhymes tackle a much less-popular subject: DNA.

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Environment
5:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

EPA Wants To Allow Continued Wastewater Dumping In Wyoming

More than 40 years ago, the EPA banned oil companies from releasing wastewater into the environment, but made an exception for the arid West. If livestock and wildlife can use the water, companies can release it. Cows like these grazing near a stream of waste on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming are supposedly the reason the EPA lets oil companies release their waste into the environment.
Elizabeth Shogren NPR

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:16 am

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to let oil companies continue to dump polluted wastewater on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. This includes chemicals that companies add to the wells during hydraulic fracturing, an engineering practice that makes wells produce more oil.

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Animals
4:42 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Dolphins Recognize The Calls Of Long-Lost Friends

Kai, seen here at age 16 at the Texas State Aquarium, recognized the whistle of another dolphin, Hastings, who he'd shared a tank with for years before the experiment. Kai is now 20.
Courtesy of Jason Bruck

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:48 pm

Scientists have known for years that dolphins recognize each other by the sound of each animal's signature whistle. But it wasn't known for just how long dolphins could remember these whistle calls.

The individually specific whistle that each dolphin generates before its first birthday "for them functions like a name," says Jason Bruck, who studies animal behavior at the Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago.

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Space
4:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Black Holes One Of Space's Great Paradoxes

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:48 pm

Late summer tends to be a slow month for news. But at All Things Considered, we put on a two hour program, no matter what. So — without a trace of irony — one of our science correspondents offered to help fill some holes in the show with a series of stories about holes. In this edition: Black holes.

Animals
4:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Climate Change Could Spell Final 'Chuckle' For Alpine Frog

The Cascades frog is found only in the alpine wetlands of the Pacific Northwest, though its range used to extend down to Northern California and up to British Columbia. Scientists are concerned its range will continue to shrink with climate change.
Ashley Ahearn KUOW

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 7:33 pm

Across the Western U.S., yearly areas of snowpack are decreasing, and researchers are trying to figure out what that means for everything that relies on the snowmelt — from farms to power plants to a little creature known as the Cascades frog.

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