Science & Environment

Research News
4:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Study: Commuting Adversely Affects Political Engagement

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. We all know about the partisan divide in this country - Democrats, Republicans - but there's another political divide. Part of the country is very engaged in the political process and part is not.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Older Americans, richer Americans and better educated Americans are more likely to be politically engaged. Now researchers have found one more factor that seems to shape political engagement, the length of your commute. It comes to our attention as MORNING EDITION focuses on commuting.

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Chinese Supercomputer Retains Title Of World's Fastest

The Cray-built Titan, at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, comes in second.
Jason K. Richards Oak Ridge National Laboratories

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:24 pm

A "Made in China" supercomputer that can perform 33.9 petaflops, or 33 quadrillion calculations per second, retains its top spot in the list of the world's 500 most powerful machines.

Tianhe-2, or Milky Way-2, is still No. 1, where it debuted in the list issued in June. In fact, the top 5 slots are all unchanged:

  1. Tianhe-2 (China, National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou): 33.86 petaflops
  2. Titan (U.S., Cray): 17.59 petaflops
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Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines
5:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

How And Where Should We Rebuild After Natural Disasters?

The wreckage in Tacloban, Philippines, on Nov. 16 was overwhelming, after Typhoon Haiyan plowed through.
David P. Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.

Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.

How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. The island nation lies in a sort of "typhoon alley," and with climate change and rising sea levels, there are more storms in store.

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife

Anyone up for meat mummies? Above, a mummified beef rib from the tomb of Tjuiu, an Egyptian noblewoman, and her husband, the powerful courtier Yuya, circa 1386-1349 BC.
Image courtesy of PNAS

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:25 pm

Meat mummies.

It's a word pairing that is, I dare say, pretty rare. Who among us has heard those two words together? What, indeed, could a "meat mummy" be?

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Science & Environment
4:02 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Environmental Groups Join Coal Ash Lawsuit Against Duke Energy

A judge has allowed environmental groups to join a state lawsuit against Duke Energy over water pollution from coal plants.  The judge granted the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, which will be represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the ability to intervene in the case today, essentially making the organization a second plaintiff. In the lawsuit, the state accuses Duke of allowing coal ash ponds to leak contamination into groundwater, including at the G.G. Allen and Marshall Steam Stations in the Charlotte region.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

MAVEN Lifts Off On Nearly Half-Billion-Mile Trip To Mars

NASA's MAVEN, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, with a capital "N" in EvolutioN, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Monday.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:38 pm

NASA's MAVEN explorer blasted off Monday on the first leg of its 440-million-mile journey to Mars, where scientists hope it will answer an ancient question: why the red planet went from warm and wet to cold and dry in a matter of just a billion years.

The robot orbiter, called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution probe, launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:28 p.m. EST. It will take 10 months to reach Mars.

The Associated Press writes:

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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

First Fuel Rods Plucked From Tsunami-Damaged Fukushima Plant

Workers remove nuclear fuel rods from a pool at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daii-chi nuclear power plant on Monday.
Handout TEPCO

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:30 pm

Workers at Japan's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station successfully completed the first day of a delicate operation to remove radioactive fuel rods from a reactor damaged in the March 2011 tsunami.

The fuel rods were removed from the Unit 4 reactor, which was offline at the time the tsunami smashed into the plant, overwhelming its backup systems. Although Unit 4 was spared the fate of three other reactors that melted down, a fire in its containment building weakened the structure.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

That Clam In Your Chowder Might Be Hundreds Of Years Old

Mike Cardew MCT/Landov

First we heard on Morning Edition that a clam scientists had opened up turned out to have been 507 years old.

That led us to stories with headlines like this: "Scientists accidentally kill world's oldest animal at age 507."

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Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap

The device sits under a patient's skull and tracks brain activity.
Courtesy of NeuroPace

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 9:35 am

Imagine a tiny computer embedded under your scalp that's constantly tracking your brain activity and zapping you when it senses something awry.

That might sound like science fiction, but a medical device that does that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an option for people with epilepsy that's resistant to treatment with drugs.

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Humans
7:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

The Importance Of Diet In The First 1,000 Days

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

One thousand calories, vitamins and minerals, 13 grams of fat every day. Those are the specific ingredients needed to avoid stunting a child's growth physically and mentally in the 1,000 days after conception. New research from the International Food Policy Research Institute looks at the economic rationale for investing in those first few years.

And senior researcher, John Hoddinott, explains some of the consequences for undernourished children in the world's poorest countries.

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