Science & Environment

Environment
6:37 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Administrator Lisa Jackson To Leave EPA

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:32 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Also last month, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency joked to an environmental law conference: Everyone who wants my job, stand up. Yesterday, Lisa Jackson turned serious and made it official: She's leaving the EPA next month.

As NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin reports, there are mixed feelings about Jackson's departure.

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Research News
4:20 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Birds Hang Around Mistletoe For More Than A Kiss

Researchers in Australia found that when they removed mistletoe from large sections of forests, vast numbers of birds left.
BSIP UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

For the Druids, mistletoe was sacred. For us, it's a cute ornament and maybe an excuse to steal a kiss. And of course it's a Christmas tradition.

But for a forest, mistletoe might be much more important. It's a parasite, shows up on tree branches and looks like an out-of-place evergreen bush hanging in the air.

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U.S.
3:59 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

EPA Chief Announces Resignation

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that she's stepping down. Lisa Jackson won praise from environmentalists for efforts to cut air pollution and greenhouse gases. But she faced fierce opposition from the coal industry and congressional Republicans. And she sometimes found herself at odds with the White House.

NPR's Veronique LaCapra has our story.

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U.S.
3:31 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

An Abundance Of Extreme Weather Has Many On Edge

A parking lot full of yellow taxis is flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30 in Hoboken, N.J.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

Opinion polls show 2012's extreme weather — producing wildfires, floods and drought — has more people making a connection with climate change. For Marti Andrews in southern New Jersey, a turning point was the summer's hurricane-like derecho.

"I don't want to say I freaked out about it, but holy crap, it scared me," she says. It packed winds up to 90 miles per hour and nonstop lightning, which Andrews says looked like some wild disco display in the sky.

"I've never seen anything like that," she says. "I sat there on the couch thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die!' "

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The Picture Show
2:48 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

The Mars Rover Takes A Selfie

Curiosity's self-portrait, captured on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
NASA/JPL/Caltech

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:45 pm

Who hasn't turned a camera around at arm's length to snap a picture to send to friends or family? It always seems like it takes a few tries to frame the shot just right to capture both you and that awesome mountain summit behind you.

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Shots - Health News
10:39 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Random Acts Of Kindness Can Make Kids More Popular

A hug is good for Mom, and good for her daughter.
iStockphoto.com

In the aftermath of Christmas, a parent could be forgiven for thinking that materialism has trumped human kindness.

Take heart. Children can easily become kinder and more helpful. And that behavior makes them more positive, more accepting and more popular.

At least that's how it worked for fourth- and fifth-graders in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers there have been studying empathy and altruism in schoolchildren for decades.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Thu December 27, 2012

EPA Administrator Jackson Stepping Down

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is stepping down.

The Associated Press reports that:

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Joe's Big Idea
3:26 am
Thu December 27, 2012

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

A drawing from Michael Davidson's 2012 patent for "Toothbrush And Method Of Using The Same."
Patent 8,108,962 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:34 am

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

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NPR Story
3:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Climate Change Gets Real For Americans

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now to a scientist looking back at the year that's about to end, commentator Adam Frank is an astrophysicist. And in the category of science, he is confident about the headline for 2012.

ADAM FRANK: Something remarkable has happened that may etch this year into history for centuries to come. Twenty-twelve's importance comes not through elections, economic shifts or the new movements in art. No, 2012 may well be remembered for something far more elemental.

This was the year that climate change got real for Americans.

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Environment
3:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Storm Pummels Nation's Midsection As It Heads East

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Bad winter weather is making life difficult for hundreds of thousands of holiday travelers. Yesterday and today, much of the middle and eastern half of the U.S. was hit with blizzard-like conditions. As NPR's Pam Fessler reports, the storm's next stop is New England.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: The band of nasty weather has been working its way up from the South, where on Christmas Day residents of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama got a rare and destructive surprise.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWSCAST)

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