Science & Environment

Around the Nation
5:07 am
Sun December 23, 2012

With Growth Of 'Hacker Scouting,' More Kids Learn To Tinker

Kids build robots with Popsicle sticks at an Oakland meeting of Hacker Scouts, a group that encourages young people to create do-it-yourself crafts and electronics.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 12:41 pm

Countless kids have grown up with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls, but for some families, the uniforms and outdoor focus of traditional Scouting groups don't appeal.

In recent months, Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects have been sprouting up around the country. They're coed and, like traditional Scouting organizations, award patches to kids who master skills.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:18 am
Sat December 22, 2012

It's December. Brrrr. Is My House Shivering?

YouTube

What if, and I'm just being silly here, but what if houses were warm-blooded, and got cold in December like we do? What if?

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

An Urban Tree Farm Grows In Detroit

Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms, shows off a small-scare version of what Hantz Woodlands will look like.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

An entrepreneur says he's got a plan to curb urban blight in parts of Detroit. He's buying up acre after acre of abandoned lots and planting thousands of trees. But where backers of the plan see a visionary proposal, critics see a land grab.

Entrepreneur and Detroiter John Hantz, owner of Hantz Farms and the tree-planting effort called Hantz Woodlands, wants to plant at least 15,000 trees on about 140 acres. Hantz promises to clear out all the trash and keep the grass cut, things the city cannot afford to do now.

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Shots - Health News
3:49 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Killer's DNA Won't Explain His Crime

A person's DNA can say a lot about a person, but not why someone has committed a horrific crime like mass murder.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Connecticut's chief medical examiner, Wayne Carver, has raised the possibility of requesting genetic tests on Adam Lanza, the man responsible for the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Carver hasn't said precisely what he may want geneticists to look for, but scientists who study the links between genes and violence say those tests won't reveal much about why Lanza did what he did.

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Animals
12:45 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Future Fibers May Be Spun From Slime

The hagfish or "slime eel" shoots out slime containing silk-like fibers of remarkable strength. Douglas Fudge, a biologist at the University of Guelph, says it could be a good substitute for today's synthetic fibers--it's 10 times stronger than nylon, for example--and bacteria can be trained to make it.

NPR Story
12:42 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Shooting Stars: Capturing The Night On Camera

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 4:16 pm

Photographer Colin Legg makes time-lapse movies of celestial scenes, from auroras to eclipses. Photographing mostly in remote parts of Australia, where human-made light doesn't compete with starlight, Legg describes some of the challenges of this type of photography: from babysitting cameras for days and nights on end to running electronics in the backcountry.

History
12:42 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Debunking Doomsday And Exploring Maya Science

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

The ancient Maya had many scientific accomplishments: they tracked the Moon and the planets, knew a solar year was 365 days, and even invented the concept of zero. As for the 2012 apocalypse? It's simply a misinterpretation of the Maya calendar, say archaeologists Marcello Canuto and William Saturno.

Space
12:42 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Could Life Exist on Newfound Alien Planet?

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

In a paper to be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers identified five possible planets around the star Tau Ceti. One of these alien worlds is within the star's habitable zone. Study co-author Steven Vogt discusses whether life could exist on the planet.

NPR Story
12:02 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

The SciFri Book Club Tours 'The Planets'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

The SciFri Book Club is touring the solar system, with Dava Sobel's 2005 The Planets. Call in with a review of the book. Plus Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, joins the club to give an update on what's happened planet-wise since the book was published.

NPR Story
12:02 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Birding for the Holidays

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

The Audubon's 113th Christmas Bird Count is underway, and thousands of volunteers are taking part this year. Ornithologist David Bonter, and Gary Langham, Audubon's chief scientist, share tips on which species to look out for, and how even birding beginners can get involved.

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