Science & Environment

The Salt
3:27 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Ecologists Turn To Planned Grazing To Revive Grassland Soil

Fox Ranch, outside Yuma County, Colo., is a 14,000-acre nature preserve and working commercial cattle ranch. The ranch is used by the Nature Conservancy to put into practice its panned grazing technique.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:24 pm

The world's soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn't happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you that if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that's not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

Read more
Space
3:22 am
Mon August 5, 2013

A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To?

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars, plus three exposures taken during Sol 270 to update the appearance of part of the ground beside the rover.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:55 am

Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.

Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. In the past year it has sent back a mountain of data and pictures that scientists are sorting through, trying to get a better understanding of the early climate on Mars.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Talking Robot Astronaut Heads To International Space Station

Kirobo, a small talking humanoid robot, is unveiled by a team of Japanese researchers in Tokyo on June 26.
Kyodo /Landov

HAL 9000 he's not. But Kirobo, the first-ever talking robot in space is heading to the International Space Station this week ahead of his human companion, Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata, who takes over as ISS commander in November.

Read more
Research News
4:30 pm
Sat August 3, 2013

Worms' Bright Blue Death Could Shed Light On Human Aging

A nematode worm glows as it nears death in this screenshot from a YouTube video showing the work of researchers in London.
Wellcome Trust YouTube

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 7:50 pm

Last year, researchers at University College London's Institute of Healthy Ageing were looking through their microscopes when they saw something amazing.

Read more
NPR Story
7:01 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Wildlife Sound Archivist Remembered

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:46 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Twenty years ago today, Ted Parker, one of the world's great ornithologists and sound recordists died in a plane crash in Equator. He was only 40. Parker contributed nearly 11,000 wildlife recordings to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay library.

He could identify some 4,000 different bird species by sound alone. In this audio montage, the lab's director, John Fitzpatrick offers a remembrance.

JOHN FITZPATRICK: I've rarely met anybody as passionate about his love of nature and of birds than Ted Parker.

Read more
Science & Environment
3:11 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

NC Guard Fighting Western Fires

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing are again fighting wildfires in the western US this summer.
Credit Scott Graf

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing are again fighting wildfires in the western US this summer. Members of the Charlotte-based unit were first dispatched to Arizona, and are now in Idaho. It's the same unit that lost four crew members in a crash in South Dakota last summer.  

Read more
Health
1:04 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Reexamining the Definition of Cancer

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Welcome back. I'm Ira Flatow.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
10:55 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Why Dentists Should Fear Snails

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:30 pm

She was 34, on a trip to Europe, got sick from a flu or maybe it was a virus, had to lie down and stay in bed — for months and months. A friend brought her a snail. You might enjoy its company, she was told.

"Why, I wondered, would I enjoy a snail?," Elisabeth Tova Bailey asks in her book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. "What on earth would I do with it?"

Read more
Environment
3:17 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Our Once And Future Oceans: Taking Lessons From Earth's Past

Changes to the acidity of the Earth's ancient oceans affected the coral reefs more than 50 million years ago. And researchers are using that information to try to predict how the planet might fare in our rapidly changing climate. Above, the Wheeler Reef section of the Great Barrier Reef.
Auscape UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:48 pm

One of the most powerful ways to figure out how the Earth will respond to all the carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere is to look back into the planet's history.

Paleontologists have spent a lot of time trying to understand a time, more than 50 million years ago, when the planet was much hotter than it is today. They're finding that the news isn't all bad when you take the long view.

Read more
The Salt
5:17 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

What Poisoned Pomegranates Tell Us About Food Safety

The label for the berry blend recalled in June because of pomegranates linked to a hepatitis A outbreak.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:48 pm

Imported food is getting the kind of attention these days that no product wants. Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska are blaming salad greens for making hundreds of people sick with a parasite called cyclospora. That parasite usually comes from the tropics, so it's likely the salad did, too. Earlier this summer, pomegranate seeds from Turkey were linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

Read more

Pages