Science & Environment

All Tech Considered
12:43 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

The Cicadas Are Coming! Crowdsourcing An Underground Movement

Cicadas live underground and emerge in 13- or 17-year cycles.
Stephen Jaffe AFP/Getty Images

Back in 1996, a group of baby cicadas burrowed into soils in the eastern U.S. to lead a quiet life of constant darkness and a diet of roots. Now at the ripe age of 17, those little cicadas are all grown up and it's time to molt, procreate and die while annoying a few million humans with their constant chirping in the process.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Coal And Coral: Australia's Self-Destructive Paradox

The city of Gladstone near the Great Barrier Reef is the world's fourth largest coal-export hub. Dredges, like one seen here, have turned the harbor brown as they work to expand the coal port.
Richard Harris NPR

NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 5: A return to shore finds that people prefer cars to corals.

It's not every day you open an in-flight magazine and read an ad touting "spitwater pressure cleaners for the mining industry." Flip the page and you'll also see an ad cajoling you to "snorkel, sip, snooze" on the Great Barrier Reef.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

For Babies, It's Better To Like What I Like

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:45 pm

Babies as young as nine months appear to approve of people who like what they like — and approve of being mean to those who don't share their tastes. Kiley Hamlin, lead author of a study in the journal Psychological Science, discusses the importance of similarity to young children.

NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Scientists Search For Gulf War Illness Answers

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 2:14 pm

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. Ira Flatow is out this week. Last December, Steven Coughlin, an epidemiologist at the Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health, resigned his position. And last week he told a congressional subcommittee why. He had serious ethical concerns about the research being done on Gulf War Illness at the VA.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Scientists Use Antacid To Help Measure The Rate Of Reef Growth

Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science takes a water sample during his experiment out on part of the Great Barrier Reef. The water is slightly pink because his team is using a dye to trace an acid-neutralizing chemical as it flows across the reef.
Richard Harris NPR

NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 4: Richard catches up with one of the gurus of climate science out on the reef.

Ken Caldeira loves a challenge, and he has a big one right under his feet. He's standing on an expanse of coral reef out in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It's being washed with water as the tide streams over the reef, from a lagoon to the open sea.

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Research News
3:02 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Mosh Pit Math: Physicists Analyze Rowdy Crowd

Fans in the mosh pit during the performance of Liturgy at the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park, Chicago, on July 14, 2012.
Roger Kisby Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

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The Salt
6:28 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Did Congress Just Give GMOs A Free Pass In The Courts?

Farmers harvest a sugar beet crop in Gilcrest, Colo.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 2:58 pm

Tucked inside a short-term funding measure that Congress approved Thursday is a provision that critics are denouncing as a "Monsanto Protection Act."

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Environment
4:54 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Environmentalists, Drillers Reach 'Truce' For Fracking Standards

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:47 pm

A group of environmentalists and drilling companies has crafted a truce of sorts over the rapid spread of natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin. Four major drilling companies and several environmental groups have agreed on 15 voluntary standards for cleaner drilling practices.

The practices of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — when companies inject water laced with chemicals deep underground to split open rock formations and get the gas to flow faster — are transforming the rural region in the Eastern U.S. into a sprawling industrial zone.

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Environment
1:54 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

'Temperature Rising': Will Climate Change Bring More Extreme Weather?

The Star Jet roller coaster sits in the water on Feb. 19 after the Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., collapsed from the forces of Superstorm Sandy.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 2:10 pm

According to the historical record dating back to 1895, 2012 was the hottest year this country has ever seen. But it's not just that the temperature has risen — from deadly tornadoes to the widespread coastal damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, we seem to be living through a period of intensified and heightened weather extremes.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Cosmos Might Be A Few Million Years Older Than Advertised

Planck's view of the Cosmic Microwave Background.
European Space Agency

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 2:08 pm

The universe is a bit older than we thought, according to a group of European scientists who say they've snapped the most detailed image to date of the afterglow of the Big Bang.

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