Science & Environment

Environment
3:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. Legislation to phase out products containing the beads is pending in New York and Illinois.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 3:19 pm

From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.

These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.

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Environment
3:20 am
Wed May 21, 2014

For N.J. Mayor, The Time To Adapt To Rising Sea Levels Is Now

Hoboken, N.J., residents walk through flood water in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Dawn Zimmer is advocating for better planning and increased funding for flood-prone urban areas.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:41 pm

Last week, scientists warned that a massive chunk of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet will eventually drift into the sea and melt, raising sea levels at least 10 feet higher than previous predictions.

Even before the announcement, scientists at the nonprofit research organization Climate Central predicted that surging seas could put the homes of nearly 5 million Americans underwater by the end of this century.

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The Salt
3:19 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Double Trouble For Coffee: Drought And Disease Send Prices Up

A fully formed coffee berry, left, is shown next to a damaged coffee berry due to drought, at a coffee farm in Santo Antonio do Jardim, Brazil on Feb. 6.
Paulo Whitaker Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 9:29 am

If you're drinking a cup of coffee right now, treasure it. The global supply of coffee beans may soon shrink because of problems in coffee-growing areas of Brazil and Central America.

With supply threatened and demand strong, prices are taking flight. Wholesale coffee prices are up more than 60 percent since January — from $1.25 per pound of bulk Coffea arabica beans to $1.85 this week.

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Science
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Big Bang's Ripples: Two Scientists Recall Their Big Discovery

The Holmdel Horn Antenna at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey was built in 1959 to make the first phone call via satellite.
NASA

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 8:27 pm

On May 20, 1964, two astronomers working at a New Jersey laboratory turned a giant microwave antenna toward what they thought would be a quiet part of the Milky Way. They weren't searching for anything; they were trying to make adjustments to their instrument before looking at more interesting things in the sky.

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Europe
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

UK Government Asks: What's The Greatest Challenge Of Our Time?

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a prize that's making a return: the Longitude Prize.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It was set up in 1714 by the British government to solve the greatest challenge of that time: Pinpoint a ship's location at sea by knowing its longitude.

CORNISH: Three hundred years later, there's a video announcing its return.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We're at the dawn of a new world.

SIEGEL: Its committee is led by Lord Martin Rees, a professor at Cambridge University.

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Science
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Before You Get Too Excited About The Titanosaur, Listen To This Guy

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It was as long as two trucks with a trailer, each one in front of the other. It weighed as much as 14 elephants. That's the claim from researchers in Argentina's paleontology museum about the latest fossil find in the so-called Titanosaur family, of course. Scientists say they've dug up the largest thigh bone ever found and they think they're on to a whole skeleton.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Global Temperatures Tied Record High Last Month

Worldwide temperatures were once again above normal last month, tying the record for the hottest April set back in 2010.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday said the average global temperature for land and sea was 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.39 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.

"The last below-average April was April 1976, and the last average or below-average temperature for any month was February 1985," according to NOAA.

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Shots - Health News
8:50 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Beezin' May Be Bogus, But Other Dopey Teen Fads Can Bite Back

Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 2:00 pm

Another month, another apocalyptic news report of some weird substance that kids are abusing in pursuit of a high.

The most recent example is "beezin'," which supposedly involves smearing Burt's Bee's lip balm on one's eyelids. The tingling allegedly heightens the sensation of being drunk or high, according to the Oklahoma Fox News affiliate that first declared this a "viral trend."

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

NASA Chief Dismisses Concern Over Russia Quitting Space Station

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks during a news conference in Berlin on Monday. Bolden said no single country was indispensable to the International Space Station's success.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 6:04 pm

NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden says that Russia's plan to end cooperation on the International Space Station after 2020 will not have an impact on the success of the orbital platform.

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Research News
6:36 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Why Reporting On Scientific Research May Warp Findings

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 7:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Next we're going to report on scientific research, in particular on the way that reporting on scientific research might actually warp the findings. Scientists face pressure to publish new discoveries, which in turn might influence what they study, and that, of course, is not necessarily a good thing. There's work being published today that's part of an effort to fix this problem. NPR's Shankar Vendantam joined our colleague, Steve Inskeep, to talk about it.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Shankar, welcome back.

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