Science & Environment

Parallels
3:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Vietnam's Appetite For Rhino Horn Drives Poaching In Africa

A Vietnamese rhino horn user displays her horn, which was a gift from her well-to-do sister. Last year, rhino horn sold for up to $1,400 an ounce in Vietnam, about the price of gold these days.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Africa is facing a growing epidemic: the slaughter of rhinos.

So far this year, South Africa has lost more than 290 rhinos — an average of at least two a day. That puts the country on track to set yet another record after poachers killed 668 rhinos in 2012.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 11:46 am

Any gardener will tell you that compost is "black gold," essential to cultivating vigorous, flavorful crops. But it always feels like there's never enough, and its weight and bulk make it tough stuff to cart around.

I belong to a community garden in Washington, D.C., that can't get its hands on enough compost. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the U.S. Composting Council was connecting community gardeners with free material from local facilities through its Million Tomato Compost Campaign.

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Around the Nation
1:47 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

For Year-Round Buzz, Beekeepers 'Fast-Forward Darwinism'

The Plymouth County Beekeepers Association distributed more than 500 crates of honeybees this spring.
Katherine Perry for NPR

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 6:51 pm

Beekeepers In Massachusetts are taking the mission to save the bees into their own hands.

There has been a dramatic disappearance of honeybees across the U.S. since 2006. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report blamed a combination of problems, including mites, disease, poor nutrition and pesticides.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Schools? How About A Science Laureate At The Super Bowl?

Beyonce took the stage at this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Imagine a scientist instead. Perhaps dressed differently.
Michael DeMocker The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 10:11 am

The same scientist who famously "killed Pluto" (as a planet, that is) says it's "brilliant" that there's an effort underway in Congress to name a science laureate.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Astronauts Go On Spacewalk To Fix Ammonia Leak

NASA.gov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 5:11 pm

Two astronauts went on a last-minute spacewalk Saturday to replace a pump suspected of being the source of a serious ammonia leak.

It was unclear what caused the ammonia leak, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said, "but the installation of this spare pump package — at least at the moment — seems to have done the trick."

NASA officials called the spacewalk a success, but said it would take time to see if the leak was indeed stopped. Engineers will review photos the astronauts took at the site.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:02 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Astronomy's Little Secret: The Hidden Art Of 'Moonsweeping'

La Luna

A few nights ago, (Wednesday, I think, around midnight), I was by my window looking up, and there, hanging in the sky, I saw the moon. Not all of it, just what the almanac used to call "a crescent" — what my mom called a "toenail moon." The whole moon, I knew, was up there, hidden in shadow. The crescent part was facing the sun. That's the part you can see at the beginning of each month, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Elkins taught us, using a flashlight and a tennis ball to demonstrate the phases of the moon. Scotty Miller, I remember, got to hold the tennis ball. Mrs.

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The Salt
5:30 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Tiny Mites Spark Big Battle Over Imports Of French Cheese

Microscopic bugs called cheese mites are responsible for giving Mimolette its distinctive rind and flavor.
Chris Waits via Flickr

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:28 pm

The Food and Drug Administration is currently embroiled in a surprisingly heated culinary standoff — pitting French cheese-makers (and American cheese-lovers) against regulators, all because of one very small problem: cheese mites.

Cheese mites are microscopic little bugs that live on the surfaces of aged cheeses, munching the microscopic molds that grow there. For many aged cheeses, they're something of an industry nuisance, gently brushed off the cheeses. But for Mimolette, a bright orange French cheese, they're actually encouraged.

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Around the Nation
5:30 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Frozen Lakes Cut Into Minnesota Fishing Tradition

Linda Eno owns Twin Pines resort on Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota. She says business is down this year because of the weather, which has kept the lakes frozen.
Conrad Wilson for NPR

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 1:46 pm

On the shores of Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota, it finally feels like spring. But the lake still looks like winter.

Saturday marks the opening of the walleye fishing season, and it's usually one of the busiest weekends for the state's resort communities. But this year, many of the northern lakes are still frozen, restricting water access and, potentially, local businesses.

Rick Bruesewitz, a fisheries manager for the Department of Natural Resources, says it would be tough to get a boat in the water in most places around the lake.

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Environment
2:46 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide

Researchers use the 120-foot tower atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii to collect air samples and measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Mauna Kea looms in the distance.
Forrest M. Mims III forrestmims.org

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:22 pm

Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO2 concentrations.

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion

Did you see that?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:37 am

Children with autism see simple movements twice as fast as other children their age, a new study finds.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Rochester were looking to test a common theory about autism which holds that overwhelming sensory stimulation inhibits other brain functions. The researchers figured they could check that by studying how kids with autism process moving images.

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