Science & Environment

Environment
6:51 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port

The oil tanker HS Electra unloads oil from the North Sea at the Portland Pipe Line facility in South Portland, Maine, in 2013.
John Ewing Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 12:06 pm

South Portland, Maine, is known as the place where Liberty ships were built by tens of thousands of workers during World War II. Now, the city's waterfront is home to an oil terminal and the beginning of a 236-mile-long pipeline.

For more than 70 years, the Portland Montreal Pipeline Corp. has pumped crude oil up through the pipeline, across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to be refined in Montreal.

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Risk And Reason
5:47 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Pop Quiz: 20 Percent Chance Of Rain. Do You Need An Umbrella?

Will it rain or not? How you interpret the forecast could mean the difference between getting soaked or staying safe.
Maria Pavlova iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:04 pm

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town

A view of the Tonawanda Coke plant in Tonawanda, N.Y., which was found to have emitted carcinogens at levels many times higher than the state's limit.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:13 pm

Residents of an upstate New York town who've long associated their illnesses with the air they breathe may finally get some answers about the health effects of living next to a toxic polluter.

The town of Tonawanda lies in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke Corp., whose ovens heat coal into material used for the iron and steel industries, and release toxic chemicals into the air.

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Animals
4:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Thousands Of Migrating Birds Take Their Layover In A Texas Parking Lot

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Every summer migrating birds fly across the country - across the world without much fanfare. You might spot a flock of geese overhead but for the most part birds stay out of sight. For one species the exact opposite is true, their summer ritual happens in a very public place. From Austin, Texas, Luke Quinton reports from a place that isn't typical for bird watching. It is the parking lot of an abandoned shopping mall.

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Goats and Soda
3:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Don't Pop That Bubble Wrap! Scientists Turn Trash Into Test Tubes

Clear and clean, bubble wrap is well-suited to serve as an array of tiny test tubes. Here a dye solution is injected into the bubbles to measure the hemoglobin concentration in blood.
American Chemical Society

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:47 pm

Hate to burst your bubble, glass lab gear. But plastic bubble wrap also works pretty well at running science experiments.

Scientists at Harvard University have figured out a way to use these petite pouches as an inexpensive alternate to glass test tubes and culture dishes. They even ran glucose tests on artificial urine and anemia tests on blood, all with the samples sitting inside bubble wrap.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:55 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What's Better Than A Total Eclipse Of The Sun? Check This

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:54 pm

Any eclipse is worth seeing. A total eclipse — where the moon completely blots out the sun, where day turns to night, where solar flares ring the moon's shadow like a crown of flame — that's the eclipse everybody wants to see, the alpha eclipse that eclipses all the other eclipses. Everybody knows this (me included), until I saw this ...

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Mental Health
5:25 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Son's Mental Illness Prompts Billionaire's Big Donation To Psychiatric Research

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Space
4:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 8:58 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Environment
4:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

'Our Birds': Migratory Journeys Converge In Baltimore Gardens

Members of the Bird Ambassadors program painted and planted a broken canoe at a Baltimore charter school in November. The canoe was filled with species native to Maryland, providing food and habitat for local birds.
Susie Creamer Courtesy of Patterson Park Audubon Center

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:13 pm

A couple of times a month, a group of migrant women and their children gather to plant shrubs and flowers in Baltimore's expansive Patterson Park.

The gardens feed and shelter migratory birds as part of the Patterson Park Audubon Center's Bird Ambassadors program.

Neotropical birds like the black-throated blue warbler and the Baltimore oriole migrate from the East Coast down to places like Mexico and Central America for the winter, says Susie Creamer, director of urban education and conservation at the center.

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Around the Nation
7:00 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Despite California's Drought, Taps Still Flowing In LA County

A sign over a highway in Glendale, Calif., warned motorists in February to save water in response to the state's severe drought. But a study released earlier this week showed residents in the southern coastal part of the state used more water this spring than they did last year.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:52 am

This January, after the driest calendar year in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He called on residents to reduce their water intake by 20 percent.

But downtown Los Angeles doesn't look like a city devastated by the state's worst drought in decades. The city is green with landscaping, and fountains are running. People still water their lawns, wash their cars and fill their pools.

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