Science & Environment

Krulwich Wonders...
1:46 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What Did Rachel Carson Hear? The Mystery of the 'Fairy Bell Ringer'

Bob Schutz AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 3:08 pm

This is the season of night noises, chirps, buzzes, little cries. The air is telling you, "Things are going on out here," and if you like you can step out onto the porch and do what the writer Rachel Carson did back in 1956: She played a hunting game. The rules were simple: You stand outdoors, near the house. You go quiet. When you hear something interesting, you either: a) take a flashlight and go hunt for it; or b) you don't go anywhere. You just imagine it.

The best find Rachel Carson ever made, she never found.

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The Deadly Tornado In Moore, Okla.
6:11 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

No 'Universal' Best Practice To Save Yourself From Tornadoes

A tornado forms over I-40 in Midwest City, Okla., during rush hour on Friday.
Alonzo Adams AP

Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?

For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.

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Environment
6:39 am
Sat June 1, 2013

New Maps Aim To Raise Awareness Of Storm Surge Danger

Streets flooded in the Staten Island borough of New York after Superstorm Sandy hit in October. The storm caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 12:39 pm

Hurricane season begins Saturday, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an active season, with perhaps seven to 11 hurricanes.

With memories of last year's destruction from Hurricane Sandy still fresh, meteorologists are working on ways to improve how they forecast storms and communicate warnings to the public.

When Sandy was making its way northward in the Atlantic and began to turn toward the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center tried to emphasize the danger that storm surge posed for residents, especially those near New York City.

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Parallels
5:30 am
Sat June 1, 2013

After Years Of War, Ugandan Children Face New Deadly Threat

Grace Aber stands in the shade of a mango tree with her children in the remote village of Tumangu in northern Uganda. Four of Aber's nine children have been diagnosed with nodding syndrome, starting with Partick (front), who first showed symptoms in 2002.
Matthew Kielty for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 8:27 am

The village of Tumangu, in northern Uganda, defines remote. It's hard even to find on maps. But it shows up frequently in news stories. Grace Aber is about to show me why.

She leads me down a narrow dirt path, passing a couple of clay huts. We get to a big mango tree. Aber's 17-year-old son, Patrick, sits under it. His shoulders are slouched. His eyes look like glass.

Aber tries to get him to say his name. A small grunt is the only sound he makes.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Report Of Liquid Woolly Mammoth Blood Prompts Clone Talk

A file photo from 2011 shows a man touching a giant bronze sculpture of a mammoth in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk. A team of Russian and South Korean scientists who found a well-preserved frozen woolly mammoth carcass this month say it also included blood.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 4:38 pm

Scientists in Siberia say they've extracted blood samples from the carcass of a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth, reviving speculation that a clone of the extinct animal might someday walk the earth, if scientists are able to find living cells. But researchers say the find, which also included well-preserved muscle tissue, must be studied further to know its potential.

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Research News
1:18 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Gizmo Uses Lung Cells To Sniff Out Health Hazards In Urban Air

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:23 pm

Cities like Houston are dotted with air-sniffing monitors that measure levels of benzene and other potentially unhealthy air pollutants. But those monitors can't answer the question we care about most: Is the air safe?

That's because there's no simple relationship between toxic air pollutants and health risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are trying to get a leg up on that problem. They are building an instrument that uses human lung cells to measure health hazards in the air more directly.

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Science
12:24 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

The SciFri Book Club Takes a Hike

The book club regulars gather to chat about the best-sellingA Walk in the Woods, writer Bill Bryson's 1998 account of a hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail. Plus, journalist Deborah Blum joins the club to talk about the best science books to stash in your beach bag (or backpack).

NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

With Chemical Tweaks, Cement Becomes A Semiconductor

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. In 2011, a group of researchers in Japan made a surprising discovery: With the right process, they could turn cement, in fact a component of the Portland cement you can find in the hardware store, they can turn that into a metal, and in its metallic state they could coax the cement to act as a semiconductor.

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NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Bad Diagnosis For New Psychiatry 'Bible'

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:22 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

There's ADHD, OCD, DMDD, PTSD, along with hoarding disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and dissociative identity disorder. You will find all of them in the DSM, that's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called Bible of psychiatry. The fifth edition of the manual just came out after 14 years in the making, but instead of a round of applause, psychiatrists, psychologists, ethicists, even columnist are panning the book, saying it has outlived its usefulness.

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NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Teacher Feature: Ethnobotanist Tom Carlson

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Joining us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: We got something really special this week.

LICHTMAN: It is special. We're turning the spotlight on an underrepresented, under-celebrated, you might say, group: science teachers or anyway. I don't think we're in danger of over-celebrating them.

(LAUGHTER)

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