Science & Environment

The Salt
3:11 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

How To Clean Up Fish Farms And Raise More Seafood At The Same Time

Thierry Chopin from the University of New Brunswick examines a raft that holds strings of seaweed. The seaweed grows around pens of farmed salmon and soaks up some of the nutrients that would otherwise pollute the Bay of Fundy.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

Last month, we told you about companies that are growing salmon on dry land. That's an effective — but expensive — way to reduce water pollution caused by fish farms. After all, marine aquaculture provides about half of the seafood we eat.

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Author Interviews
2:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The Patient Who Let Us Peek Inside A Brain In 'Present Tense'

In her latest book about Henry Molaison, Corkin tells the story of the amnesic man she studied for a half-century, whose brain helped teach neuroscientists about the distinctions between memory and intellect.
Basic Books

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:03 pm

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery in an attempt to alleviate his severe epileptic seizures. The surgery left him with a form of amnesia; he could remember many things from the past, but was unable to form new memories.

"He could tell us about where he was born, [that] his father's family was from Thibodaux, La., his mother came from Ireland," says neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin. "He talked about the towns in Hartford where he lived and about his specific neighbors. He knew the schools he attended, some of his classmates' names."

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The Salt
11:57 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Feeling A Little Blue May Mask Our Ability To Taste Fat

Feeling down? It could be messing with your ability to taste the fat in that carton of ice cream.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:00 pm

So, here's the scenario: You're feeling a little blue, then you watch an emotional movie and dig into a bowl of ice cream.

Are you aware of how fattening your comfort food is? Likely not. Especially in the moment.

A new study finds that temporary, strong emotions, like the sadness we experience from a weepy movie, can significantly decrease our ability to taste — or perceive — the amount of fat we're eating.

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Shots - Health News
11:54 am
Thu June 6, 2013

How Nature Builds A Pandemic Flu Virus

A vendor weighs a live chicken at the Kowloon City Market in Hong Kong last April. After closing live poultry shops in many cities around China, the rate of new H7N9 infections sharply declined.
Lam Yik Fei Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:26 am

Here's a sobering thought: Wild birds — including city pigeons and ubiquitous Canada geese — carry 170 different types of bird flu. You know, all those viruses with the Hs and Ns in their names, like H1N1 and H5N1.

Only a dozen of these viruses have infected humans so far, but many of those have been deadly, and three of them have caused global flu pandemics.

Does every bird flu that leaps into people have the potential to turn into the next "big one" that spreads rapidly around the world?

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Shots - Health News
8:59 am
Thu June 6, 2013

NIH Chief Rejects Ethics Critique Of Preemie Study

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins contested criticism that researchers running a study of premature infants didn't adequately advise parents about the risks.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:26 am

The chief of the National Institutes of Health is disavowing a ruling from the government office that oversees the ethics of human research.

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Research News
5:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Navy Studies Cicadas For Their Amplifying Sound Technique

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:40 am

From southern Virginia to New England, lots of people are being treated to a cicada serenade. If these insects sound loud to you, that's because they are. They're so loud that some Navy engineers are trying to borrow their technique.

Science
6:19 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Tiny, Ancient Tree-Dweller Was One of Earth's Earliest Primates

Artistic reconstruction of Archicebus achilles in its natural habitat of trees.
Xijun Ni Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:59 pm

The origin of the first primates — the group that includes humans, apes and monkeys — is thought to lie in the deep past, about 55 million years ago.

Fossils from that period are rare. But now, there's an exciting new one. It's called Archicebus achilles, roughly meaning "beginning long-tailed monkey." Actually, this creature lived before the monkeys we know of today, a mere 10 million years after the dinosaurs died out.

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NPR Story
4:33 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Big Apple Debates Storm Prep As Hurricane Season Begins

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For New York, last year's hurricane was a painful reminder that the city is surrounded by water. It has more than 500 miles of coastline, from the beaches of Staten Island and the Rockaways, to the banks of the Hudson and East Rivers and beyond. There is little dispute among scientists that rising sea levels will increase the threat of flooding. And now, as hurricane season begins again, there's a spirited debate about how the region should prepare for that threat.

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The Salt
11:14 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Let Them Eat Wood! (If It's Turned Into Starch)

Scientists have figured out out how to turn cellulose from wood, bushes and grasses into edible starch.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:52 pm

For Percival Zhang, growing up in China meant learning to appreciate just how critical a stable food supply is to avoiding social unrest and disasters like famine.

When he became an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, he got to thinking just how risky growing food has become because of the finite resources it requires: land, water, seeds and fertilizer.

Plenty of other plants on Earth, on the other hand, aren't so demanding.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:42 am
Wed June 5, 2013

MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand

NMANewsDirect You Tube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:48 am

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