Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
1:20 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Our Brains Rewrite Our Memories, Putting Present In The Past

The brain edits memories of the past, updating them with new information. Scientists say this may help us function better in the present. But don't throw those photos away.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:04 am

Think about your fifth-birthday party. Maybe your mom carried the cake. What did her face look like? If you have a hard time imagining the way she looked then rather than how she looks now, you're not alone.

The brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. Scientists say that this isn't a question of having a bad memory. Instead, they think the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they're not a true representation of the past.

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The Salt
9:20 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Electronic Tongues Are The Beer Snobs Of The Future

Personally, we're most looking forward to having robot drinking buddies.
Bongo Entertainment Inc.

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:01 pm

If beer is the new wine, robots are the new beer snobs. Well, sort of.

Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner and a bock.

For now, it looks less like a slick, futuristic robot and more like a big of clump sensors. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could some day replace human taste testers.

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NPR Story
5:03 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Science Guy Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A famous trial in the 1920s tested the question of creationism. That question is still open for many people, and an argument over creationism versus evolution can sell a lot of seats. Last night at the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, its president, Ken Ham, was pitted in debate against TV personality and science educator Bill Nye. The event sold out in a matter of minutes. As Devin Katayama, from member station WFPL in Louisville, reports, a debate is not likely to change many minds.

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The Two-Way
7:09 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Watch The Creationism Vs. Evolution Debate: Ken Ham And Bill Nye

Bill Nye, left, and Ken Ham take the stage to debate evolution and creationism Tuesday in Kentucky.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:13 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Even Dead, Really Nasty Pets Are Still ... Um ... Trouble

 

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 11:36 am

The Inmans had a parrot. Grump (that was his name) was horrible, angry, scheming and nasty. But he was their parrot so they couldn't shoot him. Instead he lived in their house, soiled their mail, stole their fried chicken and, every so often, bit. Then, finally, he died.

Sort of.

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The Salt
3:40 am
Tue February 4, 2014

How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World

Allen Williams grows corn and soybeans for Clarkson Grain, which has been selling GMO-free grain to Japan for years.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

Quite possibly, you've noticed some new food labels out there, like "Not made with genetically modified ingredients" or "GMO-free." You might have seen them on boxes of Cheerios, or on chicken meat. If you've shopped at Whole Foods, that retailer says it now sells more than 3,000 products that have been certified as "non-GMO."

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Law
4:52 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Undermanned And Limited, Chemical Safety Board Confronts A Crisis

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:33 pm

Transcript

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: I'm Brian Naylor in Washington.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:46 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 4:47 pm

Go back 150 years and ask yourself, what was there a lot of?

We all know the answer ...

There were lots of buffalo, lots of passenger pigeons, lots of oysters. And then, poof! Hardly any. Or none ...

OK, let's flip the question: What were there precious few of 150 years ago, in a couple of cases almost to the point of extinction? The answer — believe it or not — is white-tailed deer, Canada geese and, arguably, ordinary pigeons.

I'm not kidding.

White Tailed Deer

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The Salt
11:27 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Sap Discovery Could Turn Syrup-Making Upside Down

Buckets collect sap on maple trees in Vermont. A new discovery means that sap doesn't have to be collected from mature trees out in the wild.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:51 pm

Last year researchers at the University of Vermont announced something that could change the way we think about Vermont — or at least how it produces its famous maple syrup.

The time-honored method calls for inserting a tap near the bottom of a tall, mature maple tree. At the end of February, the tree thaws, and voila: Sap starts flowing out the spigot at the bottom.

But in 2010, these researchers were testing ways to gather sap from mature trees when they noticed something unusual.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Sun February 2, 2014

WATCH: Breathtaking New Video Of Felix Baumgartner's Record Jump

Felix Baumgartner taking the plunge from 24 miles up in his record-breaking 2012 jump.
Felix Baumgartner

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:21 pm

You might recall Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's 2012 jump from a 24-mile-high balloon capsule, a height of 127,852 feet. He broke not only an altitude record, formerly set by a U.S. Air Force pilot, Col. Joe Kittinger, in 1960, but also a record for speed of descent, breaking the sound barrier on his plummet to the New Mexico desert.

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