Science & Environment

The Salt
12:31 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Al Gore Goes Vegan, Following In Footsteps Of Bill Clinton

Former Vice President Al Gore has reportedly gone vegan.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:13 pm

The decision to give up entire food groups can be a radical attempt to reform an unhealthy diet, as former President Bill Clinton demonstrated when he revealed in 2011 that he'd gone vegan, after heart bypass surgery.

But more often in this day and age, eschewing animal products is political.

And so that's why we were interested to read that former Vice President Al Gore, one of the world's most famous environmentalists, had — like his former boss — gone vegan, too.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:56 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying

Robert Krulwich NPR

Look at this baby.

Lovely, no? Now think of this baby abstractly — as a sack of hundreds of millions of atoms. Here's the atomic formula for a new human being, arranged by elements, according to scientist Neil Shubin.

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Environment
5:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

A View From China, India On Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Well, let's hear from some of the rest of the world. We're gonna go to China and India and to NPR correspondents in those countries, beginning with NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing. Hi, Anthony.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Okay. So the Chinese declined to agree to controls on their carbon emissions, but is this a major priority for China?

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Environment
5:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Why Countries Invest Differently In Environmental Issues

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Across the world, countries make very different investments in the environment. We're not just talking about measures to combat global climate change. We're talking about investments in clean water, forests, biodiversity. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam joins us regularly to share interesting new research, and he's here to tell us about an unexpected factor that seems to influence environmental stewardships. Shankar, welcome back.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, David.

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Space
2:54 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Comet Fans Psyched For A Celestial Feast On Thanksgiving Day

Comet ISON on Nov. 14.
Courtesy of Mike Hankey

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

While most Americans are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, astronomers will be looking up at an unusual comet passing near the sun.

The comet, known as ISON, has been hyped as "the comet of the century." It may not quite live up to that billing, but astronomers say it is a one-of-a-kind object.

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Environment
2:51 am
Tue November 26, 2013

What's In It For U.S. To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

The chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Station loom above a field flooded for rice farming near Mecheda, West Bengal, India, in July 2011.
Dibyangshu Sarkar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

The United Nations negotiations in Warsaw over a climate treaty are moving at glacial speed — and that's in part because there's a fundamental problem.

In the coming decades, carbon dioxide emissions from China, India and other rapidly developing countries are expected to grow quickly. Residents there aspire to lifestyles Americans and Europeans enjoy today, and those nations aren't willing to slash emissions, because doing so could slow their economic growth.

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Shots - Health News
5:55 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Yes, Your Toddler Really Is Smarter Than A 5-Year-Old

Children under age 2 can reason abstractly, researchers say.
Jandrie Lombard iStock

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:42 pm

Parents, does your 18-month-old seem wise beyond her years? Science says you're not fooling yourself.

Very small children can reason abstractly, researchers say, and are able to infer the relationships between objects that elude older children who get caught up on the concreteness of things.

In experiments at the University of California, Berkeley, children as young as 18 months were able to figure out the relationship between colored blocks.

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Medical Treatments
4:32 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

FDA Tells Google-Backed 23andMe To Stop Selling DNA Test

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 6:05 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the company 23andMe demanding that its saliva test be taken off the market. The company claims the test can detect the genetic likelihood of more than a hundred diseases — a claim the FDA says the company has not proved sufficiently.

The Salt
1:56 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

An Omnivore's Dilemma: Would You Eat Michael Pollan Microbe Cheese?

Microbiologist Christina Agapakis (left) and artist Sissel Tolass show off the cheese they made with bacteria from human skin. The project was part of Agapakis' graduate thesis at Harvard Medical School.
Courtesy of Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 3:03 pm

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Science & Environment
7:33 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

City Aims To Make Charlotte Airport A Big Player In Solar Energy Production

The city's largest solar project to date, 250 kW, rests on top of the CLT Center.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

When you look out the airplane window as you fly into Charlotte, the trees thin, the Uptown skyline rises into view, and the buildings of West Charlotte grow larger, as your plane drops altitude. The City of Charlotte hopes to add solar panels glinting across the airport’s parking lots and in-between the runways to that view. The city is soliciting bids for an ambitious solar project at the airport.

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