Science & Environment

Asia
6:16 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

As China Builds, Cambodia's Forests Fall

Illegal logging is widespread in Cambodia, and efforts to prevent it have had only a limited impact. Much of the wood is destined for China.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

China's demand for natural resources is being felt in a big way in Cambodia.

Illegal logging and economic land concessions are threatening Cambodia's dwindling forests, which now echo the sound of chainsaws.

Prey Lang forest — an eight-hour journey north and east of the capital, Phnom Penh — is one of the forests where illegal loggers see money signs on the trees.

Supply And Demand

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Sand After Sandy: Scientists Map Sea Floor For Sediment

Highly detailed sonar systems aboard the research vessel Pritchard gave researchers a clear view of the sediment on the seafloor off Long Island.
Courtesy of John Goff University Of Texas

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away.

Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island's defenses.

In January. On a boat in Long Island Bay.

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Research News
4:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Swiss Scientists Discover Dung Beetles Use The Milky Way For GPS

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. And we have a story now about celestial navigation - that is, looking to the sky for guidance.

BLOCK: But before we get too lofty, this story also happens to be about dung beetles. And so we start with this lowly central unpleasant fact about dung beetles.

ERIC WARRANT: Dung beetles and their grubs eat dung and everything about dung beetles has to do with dung in some form.

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Animals
4:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year

Out For Lunch? Researchers estimate that billions of birds and small mammals are killed by cats in the U.S. annually.
Vishnevskiy Vasiliy iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

The battle between cat lovers and bird lovers has been going on for a long time. Cats and birds just don't mix. But trying to get a handle on how many birds and other animals are being killed by cats isn't easy. Just figuring out how many cats there are is tough enough.

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Research News
3:38 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive In Storm Clouds

The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Jane Peterson NASA

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:36 am

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

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Environment
5:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

The Silver Lining In Drought: 5 Upsides To Rain-Free Weather

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 6:23 pm

Drought is mostly seen as a bad thing — and for good reason. It dries up crops, destroys landscaping and stops ships from moving. But even the lack of rain clouds has a bright side.

Good For Grapes

Last summer it seemed like all Midwestern farmers were upset over the lack of rain. But not all of them were; those growing grapes were embracing the drought.

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The Salt
1:55 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

How Mountain Grass Makes The Cheese Stand Alone

Cows graze in front of the Rosengarten mountain massif in northern Italy. Pasture grazing is practiced throughout the Alps.
Matthias Schrader Associated Press

Herding cattle up the side of a mountain might seem like a lot of extra work, but for thousands of years, people have hauled their cows into the Alps to graze during the summer months. Why? It's all about great-tasting cheese.

In places like Italy, some traditional cheeses, like bra d'alpeggio or Formai de Mut dell'Alta Valle Brembana, can only be made with milk from mountainside-munching cows.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:33 am
Mon January 28, 2013

My Yeast Let Me Down: A Love Song

YouTube

In a moment, there's going to be singing. It will be a love song, sung by Nathaniel, a sad-eyed, blue-gloved scientist who gave his heart to an organism, but then did her wrong. (Or maybe she did him wrong. These things get complicated.)

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Business
6:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Energy Department Encourages New Energy Technology

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has incubated many important technologies over the decades in computer networking and other areas. The Energy Department wants to make similar strides with an agency called ARPA-E. Over three years now in operation, ARPA-E has spent nearly $800 million on 285 experimental projects.

We invited the agency's deputy director, Cheryl Martin, into our studio so we can find out more about these projects. Good morning.

CHERYL MARTIN: Good morning.

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Energy
5:52 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Focus On Fracking Diverts Attention From Horizontal Drilling

Opponents of fracking demonstrate during the Winter X Games 2012 in Aspen, Colo.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 10:00 am

Mention the recent surge in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. and one word comes to mind for a lot of people: "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial technique that uses water, sand and potentially hazardous chemicals to break up rock deep underground to release oil and natural gas.

But there's another technology that is just as responsible for drilling booms happening across the country: horizontal drilling.

Environmental Consequences

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