Science & Environment

NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Out Of Bounds: High Schools Should Ban Football

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

There's been plenty of discussion about head injuries in professional football, new equipment, new lawsuits and new rules as well. Inevitably, the conversation came to include high schools, most prominently when a school board member in - near Philadelphia proposed to end the football program. There's also been, sometimes, angry pushback. Last month, the discussion opened again in Dover, New Hampshire.

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Europe
10:39 am
Wed November 14, 2012

In Berlin, A Boar Of A Story

Some 3,000 wild boars are estimated to roam Germany's capital. This 2008 picture provided by the Berlin Forestry Commission shows a sow and her offspring that decided to make their home outside an apartment building. Recently, a wild boar attacked and injured four people in a Berlin neighborhood.
Thorsten Wiehle Berlin Forestry Commission

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:29 am

"PIGS" are a hot topic in Germany's capital.

Attend any press briefing about how German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to solve the European debt crisis, and you're likely to hear that acronym, which stands for "Portugal, Ireland (or Italy), Greece and Spain."

But recently, pigs of an altogether different variety made headlines in Berlin.

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The Salt
10:19 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Raise A Toast To Building Better Beer Bubbles Through Chemistry

You'll be seeing more of this white foamy stuff on top of the beers of the future, thanks to a recent genetic discovery.
Enrico Boscariol iStockphoto

Scientists may have finally solved a problem that has plagued beer drinkers for ages: Insufficient foam resiliency.

As any beer drinker can tell you, a tall glass of lager without a white, foamy head on top just doesn't look right. And even if you start out with one, it can dissipate fast. And that's just sad.

Now, microbiologists have identified the specific gene in yeast responsible for a beer's head and they say this discovery can lead to stronger, longer lasting, more aesthetically pleasing foam on your favorite brews.

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Humans
3:19 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Study: Reading 'Maxim' Can Make You A Theft Target

TK
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:06 am

Some time ago, a man wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a hoodie drove a dirty Ford Explorer into a carwash in Fort Worth, Texas. As soon as the car came back clean, he got it filthy again, and drove to the next carwash. He did this with every single full-service carwash in town.

The man wasn't suffering from a strange mental disorder; Patrick Kinkade was a criminologist conducting an experiment.

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Environment
3:18 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A 'Green' Gold Rush? Calif. Firm Turns Trash To Gas

Energy Of The Future? California company Sierra Energy is testing out a reactor that turns garbage — like these wood chips, metal fragments and plastics — into synthetic gas that can then be turned into a low-carbon diesel fuel.
Christopher Joyce NPR

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:17 pm

Second of a two-part series. Read Part 1

California starts the ball rolling Wednesday on a controversial scheme to keep the planet from overheating. Businesses will have to get a permit if they emit greenhouse gases.

Some permits will be auctioned today; the rest are free. The big idea here is the state is putting a ceiling on emissions.

It's a gamble. And for this top-down climate plan to work, it has to usher in a greener, more efficient economy.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Calif. To Begin Rationing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California begins a new plan to ration greenhouse gas emissions from large companies on Wednesday. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit and get permits for those emissions. Above, the Department of Water and Power San Fernando Valley Generating Station, in Sun Valley, Calif., in 2008.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 6:18 pm

California begins a controversial experiment to curb climate change on Wednesday: The state will start rationing the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit.

It's the most ambitious effort to control climate change in the country. Some say the plan will cost dearly; supporters say it's the route to a cleaner economy.

Here's how the climate deal works. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit — from smokestacks to tailpipes — and they have to get permits for those emissions. The clock starts Jan. 1.

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The Salt
12:12 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Adventurous Eating Helped Human Ancestors Boost Odds Of Survival

The first prehistoric chef who looked out at a field of grass in Africa and said, "dinner!" may have helped our ancestors use new resources in new locations.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 9:38 am

Picture, if you can, a prehistoric Bobby Flay — an inventive 3 million-year-old version of the Food Network star chef. He's struggling to liven up yet another salad of herbs and twigs when inspiration strikes. "We've got grass here, and sedge," he says. "Grass and sedge, that's what this dish needs!"

His pals take a tentative taste of this nouvelle cuisine. Sedges usually aren't considered gourmet fare, after all, by these human ancestors. They're tough grasslike plants that grow in marshes. But wow! Not only is this a new taste sensation, it's found in many places.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:21 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Death, But Softly

Michel de Montaigne
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:35 pm

It was 1569, or maybe early 1570, when it happened: A young French gentleman was out for a ride with his workers, all of them on horseback, when suddenly, "like a thunderbolt," he felt something thick and fleshy slam him from behind. (It was an overzealous, galloping assistant who couldn't stop in time.) Michel de Montaigne's horse crumbled, he went flying up, then down, he crashed to the ground. Then things went black.

When he came to, a minute or so later, he says,

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Energy
3:43 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Across Pa., Abandoned Wells Litter The Land

An abandoned, unplugged well near the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania.
Scott Detrow StateImpact Pennsylvania

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:02 am

In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in northeast Pennsylvania, the Morris Run Coal Co. had just finished drilling a 5,385-foot-deep gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.

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Environment
2:01 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Despite Risk, Many Residents Can't Resist The Water

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jacki Lyden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Come hell or high water, these days, it can feel like the same thing. More than half of Americans live within 50 miles of the coast, and still more live by rivers and lakes. What is this primal human pull to the water's edge?

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