Science & Environment

TED Radio Hour
10:01 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Can Hacking The Stratosphere Solve Climate Change?

Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:43 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Hackers.

About David Keith's TEDTalk

Environmental scientist David Keith proposes a cheap and shocking way to address climate change: What if we inject a huge cloud of sulfur into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight and heat?

About David Keith

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TED Radio Hour
10:01 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Are We Ready To Hack The Animal Kingdom?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 1:46 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Hackers.

About Stewart Brand's TEDTalk

Mankind has driven species after species extinct. Now Stewart Brand says, we have the technology to bring back the species that we wiped out. So should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.

About Stewart Brand

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TED Radio Hour
10:01 am
Fri August 9, 2013

The Hackers

When typical solutions fall short, why not find a different way?
Thinkstock

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:08 am

A hacker is somebody who doesn't ask how something works — they just see what works. — Jay Silver

Science and technology now allow us to "hack" solutions to the biggest challenges of our time. But how far is too far? And what are the consequences of these hacks? In this hour, we hear stories from TED speakers who dare to hack the brain, the climate, and even the animal kingdom in hopes of creating a better world.

The Salt
3:05 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Old Hawaiian Menus Tell Story Of Local Fish And Their Demise

Colorful covers of menus from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (left) and the Monarch Room Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
New York Public Library

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 3:53 pm

In the early to mid-1900s, the islands of Hawaii were a far-away, exotic destination. People who managed to get there often kept mementos of that journey including kitschy menus from Hawaiian fine dining restaurants and hotels like like Trader Vic's and Prince Kuhio's.

Now these old menus are serving a purpose beyond colorful relics from the past. Kyle Van Houtan, an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says he's found a scientific purpose for the menus.

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Shots - Health News
7:04 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Test

A red blood cell infected with malaria parasites (blue) sits next to normal cells (red).
NIAID Flickr.com

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:02 am

A viable, effective vaccine against malaria has long eluded scientists. Results from a preliminary study have ignited hope that a new type of vaccine could change that.

The experimental vaccine offered strong protection against malaria when given at high doses, scientists report Thursday in the journal Science.

The study was extremely small and short-term. And the candidate vaccine still has a long way to go before it could be used in the developing world.

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Environment
5:20 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Swinging CO2 Levels Show The Earth Is 'Breathing' More Deeply

Plants accumulate carbon in the spring and summer, and they release it back into the atmosphere in the fall in winter. And a change in the landscape of the Arctic tundra, seen here, means that shrubs hold onto snow better, which keeps the organic-rich soils warmer and more likely to release carbon dioxide that's stored there.
Jean-Erick Pasquier Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:34 pm

Plant life on our planet soaks up a fair amount of the carbon dioxide that pours out of our tailpipes and smokestacks. Plants take it up during the summer and return some of it to the air in the winter. And a new study shows that those "breaths" have gotten deeper over the past 50 years.

This isn't just a curiosity. Plant life is helping to reduce the speed at which carbon dioxide is building up in our atmosphere. That's slowing the global warming, at least marginally, so scientists are eager to understand how this process works. The new study provides some clues.

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

NOAA: Hurricane Season On Track To Be 'Above Normal'

Image of Tropical Storm Dorian on July 24 from NOAA's GOES East satellite.
NOAA

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stuck by its earlier prediction today that the summer will bring with it an "above normal" Atlantic hurricane season.

NOAA reports:

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

U.S. 'Space Fence' Will Cease To Operate, Site Says

A rendering of objects currently in Low Earth Orbit (not illustrated to scale). According to NASA, "approximately 95 percent of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites."
NASA

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 4:54 pm

A U.S. radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth — from satellites to harmful debris — has been slated for shutdown, according to the Space News site. The ground-based network known as the "Space Fence" may cease to operate in October.

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The Salt
1:20 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Can Chocolate Boost Brain Health? Don't Binge Just Yet

Researchers say one particular flavanol, (-)-epicatechin, may be the source of the brain benefits seen from consuming cocoa.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 2:10 pm

Wouldn't it be grand (and delicious) if we could boost our brain power with a daily dose of chocolate?

At first blush, a study published in the journal Neurology this week appears to offer tantalizing evidence that this may be the case, at least when it comes to seniors.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

NASA: Sun Getting Ready For A 'Field Flip'

NASA/SDO

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 3:05 pm

Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.

The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.

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