Science & Environment

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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Krulwich Wonders...
6:05 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Weekend Special: The Slobbering Cat That Stole My Heart

Courtesy of The Oatmeal

Maybe you already know about this, maybe I'm in love, maybe this is just me and my particular craziness, but I want you to click on the image below. It's Mathew Inman's (who calls himself "The Oatmeal") story, handwritten, hand drawn, about his cat, Domino.

There are, we all know, wonderful sites all over the web, but every so often somebody comes along and rejuggles words, pictures and plays with space, remixing elements to very quietly find new beats, new ways to tell a story. That is what Mathew did here. At least I think so.

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Environment
5:23 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

In Arizona, Some Retirees Caught In Never-Ending Battle With Invasive Species

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We go now to Arizona, a magnet for retirees, and for some the answer to the question how should I spend my spare time is this: How about swinging a pick axe in the desert? NPR's Ted Robbins sent this postcard from Ironwood Forest National Monument.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: This must be Gary Borax's idea of a good time because he keeps coming back.

GARY BORAX: I've probably been out here 30, 40 times over the years and nearly half of those buffel grass-related.

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Books
1:08 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

The Book Club Catches 'The Andromeda Strain'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

It's that time again, the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. Regulars are gathered here. With me are Flora Lichtman, correspondent and managing editor of video for SCIENCE FRIDAY, Annette Heist, our senior producer. And this month, we had a page-turner, "The Andromeda Strain."

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Yes.

FLATOW: It goes very quickly, that book, doesn't it? Poof.

LICHTMAN: It did. I was thinking of 300 and something-odd pages, but I, you know, in one sitting, was halfway through. I couldn't put it down.

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Research News
1:06 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Turning Girl Scout Cookies Into Graphene

Researchers at Rice University in Houston have discovered a cheap source of the wonder material graphene: baked goods. Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of The Annals of Improbable Research, talks about how to transform a box of Girl Scout cookies into $15 billion worth of graphene--in theory, at least.

Environment
1:03 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Shoring Up The Nation's Crumbling Coastlines

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 11:20 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Hurricane Sandy battered the coastline here in New York and New Jersey. Take the city of Long Beach on Long Island. In 2006, the city council unanimously rejected a plan to construct 15-foot-high dunes on the beach there, saying that the 15-foot-high dunes would block ocean views, lower property values, affect surfers' waves.

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Environment
1:03 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Months After Sandy, Mucking And Gutting

On a recent day in the Rockaways, a neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., hazmat-suited volunteers far outnumber anyone else on the streets. They are "mucking and gutting" — stripping homes to the studs to remove mold. Many residents are concerned about the health effects of mold exposure, according to community organizer Peter Corless. Mycologist Joan Bennett has been sampling fungi in homes damaged by Sandy to determine which species are present.

Krulwich Wonders...
1:02 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Falling Off The Moon

YouTube

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 5:42 pm

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Shakespeare's Sonnets, Encoded In DNA

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:00 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

How much information do you think exists in the entire world? Take a guess. Forget megabytes and gigabytes and terabytes and petabytes, even exobytes. We're talking zetabytes here or 10 to the 21st bytes. Take the number 10, put 21 zeroes after it, that's what you've got because one recent estimate says there may be around three zetabytes of digital information out there. That's over one trillion gigabytes. Just imagine all those hard drives piled up, and then imagine them not starting up when you plug them in.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Canine Mystery: How Dogs Became Man's Best Friend

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We all know the phrase a dog is a man's best friend. But how did they become such loyal companions? Scientists agree that dogs descended from wolves, eventually evolving into the first domesticated animals, but that's where the consensus ends.

Researchers have been using archaeological records and genetic studies to tease out clues about how dogs and humans came to live together, but they seem to tell different stories of how it happened.

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