Science & Environment

Research News
4:06 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Scientists Catalog Individual Dust Particles

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, even if you do not suffer from asthma, it may still be a good idea to reduce your exposure to dust. Invisible tiny particles are constantly swirling around in the air we breathe.

And as reporter Gretchen Cuda Kroen reports, depending on what's in those particles, they may be affecting our health.

GRETCHEN CUDA KROEN, BYLINE: Take a deep breath.

(SOUNDBITE OF INHALATION)

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Afghanistan
3:25 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Afghanistan's Forests A Casualty Of Timber Smuggling

An Afghan laborer works in a firewood yard at a market in Herat on Dec. 11, 2011.
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 2:34 pm

Despite Afghanistan's fierce winter, it's rare to find a house with insulation or a modern heating system. So Afghans rely on bukharis, stoves that look like an oil drum with a big rusty pipe growing out of the top that bends off into a hole in the wall.

That fact keeps the hundreds of wood vendors around Kabul quite happy. This winter, NPR staff fed several tons of firewood into their bukhari — and that's just one house in a city of about 5 million people.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:05 am
Sat March 16, 2013

The Naming Of The Shrew

Carl Buell

It looks kinda like a squirrel, except its ears are too small, its tail is ratty, then bushy, and its mouth? Definitely un-squirrel. More like a shrew, a fox, or a dog. And the teeth? Strange. What is it?

It's an act of edited, elegant imagination.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A Peek Into Exoplanet's Atmosphere Offers Clues To How It Was Formed

The 10-meter Keck II (right), a twin of the world's largest optical telescope, was used to study the atmosphere of HR 8799c.
Richard Wainscoat AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 3:06 pm

Scientists peering into the atmosphere of a giant planet 130 light years away believe their findings bolster one theory of how solar systems form.

The planet, orbiting the star HR 8799, is part of a solar system containing at least three other "super-Jupiters" weighing in at between five and 10 times the mass of our own Jupiter. The nearby system features a brash, young 30-million-year-old star (by contrast, our Sun is in midlife at about 4.5 billion years old).

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NPR Story
11:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Curiosity Hits Paydirt: New Clues To Life On Mars

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Microbes may once have happily existed on the surface of Mars, according to chemical analysis of a sedimentary rock in the Red Planet's Gale crater. NASA geologist and exobiologist David Blake discusses evidence for an ancient freshwater lake in the crater, and describes the mineral-chomping microbes that may have thrived there.

NPR Story
11:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Improving Healthcare, One Search At A Time

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. We've all been there, sitting at the computer late at night, clicking on those websites that offer medical opinions, trying to convince ourselves that our headache must be caused by a brain tumor, right? Yeah, that dry skin you've had for the last couple of months, of course it's due to a thyroid disorder because that's what you're finding out on the Web. Recognize yourself?

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NPR Story
11:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

'Bones' Inspires A New Generation Of Crime Fighters

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Kathy Reichs, the writer and scientist behind the TV show Bones, is back with a new novel for young adults. Code: A Virals Novel stars Tory Brennan, great-niece of Reich's famed crime-solving heroine Tempe Brennan. Reichs discusses the book, co-written with Brendan Reichs.

NPR Story
11:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

And The Award For Best Picture Goes To....

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

More than 450 photographers submitted a shot to SciFri's Winter Nature Photo Contest, and thousands of fans helped choose a winner. Contest judge Clay Bolt discusses the winning entry, and what makes for a prize-winning shot. Plus, tips for budding nature photographers.

NPR Story
11:41 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Can Just One Concussion Change the Brain?

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Suffering a single concussion may cause lasting brain damage, researchers report in the journal Radiology. Steven Flanagan, co-director of the Concussion Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, discusses the findings, and why diagnosing a concussion is so difficult.

The Picture Show
5:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

It's Called 'De-Extinction' — It's Like 'Jurassic Park,' Except It's Real

The bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, lived high in the Pyrenees until its extinction in 2000. Three years later, researchers attempted to clone Celia, the last bucardo. The clone died minutes after birth. Taxidermic specimen, Regional Government of Aragon, Spain
Robb Kendrick National Geographic

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 9:30 am

Sorry to disappoint, but science writer Carl Zimmer says we're not going to bring back dinosaurs. But, he says, "science has developed to the point where we can actually talk seriously about possibly bringing back more recently extinct species."

It's called "de-extinction" — and it's Zimmer's cover story for National Geographic's April issue.

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