Science & Environment

The Salt
5:28 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

Mattheos Koffas (left), a biochemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Andrew Jones, a graduate student in his lab, with a flask of microbe-produced antioxidants.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:37 pm

For practically our whole history of cooking and eating, we've gotten our spices and most flavors (not to mention all of the other basic nutrients that keep us alive) straight from plants.

But researchers and biotech companies are starting to produce some of these nutrients and flavors — especially the high-priced ones — in their laboratories.

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The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

2014 To Be Warmest Year On Record, U.N. Weather Agency Says

Marina owner Mitzi Richards carries her granddaughter in September as they walk on their boat dock at the dried up lake bed of Huntington Lake in California, which was at only 30 percent capacity as a severe drought continued. The state was in the grip of its third year of severe drought, the worst in decades.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 11:10 pm

This year is on track to become the warmest on record, with average global temperatures 1.03 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1961-1990 average, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. That would make 2014 the 38th consecutive year with above normal temperatures.

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Science
2:54 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

The Mystery Of The Missing Martins

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 6:39 pm

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Is The Food Babe A Fearmonger? Scientists Are Speaking Out

Vani Hari, known as the "Food Babe," speaks at the Green Festival in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. Hari has made a name for herself by investigating ingredients in Big Food products that she deems potentially harmful. But critics accuse her of stoking unfounded fears.
Jonathan Alcorn Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:01 pm

In an age when consumers have become increasingly suspicious of processed food, the Internet has become a powerful platform for activists who want to hold Big Food accountable.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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Environment
3:16 am
Thu December 4, 2014

World Climate Talks In Lima Aim To Move Beyond Kyoto Treaty

Country representatives listen to opening remarks at the start of the United Nations' Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Lima, Peru.
Cris Bouroncle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 11:47 am

Every year the United Nations invites environmental experts and diplomats from around the world to negotiate ways to slow global warming. This year's meeting runs this week and next in Lima, Peru.

Some say these conferences are a warming planet's best hope. Some say they're a United Nations jamboree. Most agree that recent sessions have seen mixed success at best. This year, however, negotiators think they have some fresh ideas to entice developed countries and developing ones to work together.

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The Two-Way
3:14 am
Thu December 4, 2014

To Search For A New Supernova, Build A New Camera

A blast from the past: Using data from four telescopes, NASA created this image of the first documented sighting of a supernova, made by Chinese astronomers in 185 A.D.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:03 pm

The search for the massive star explosions called supernovae is about to get a big boost. Astronomers at Caltech in Pasadena are building a new camera that will let them survey the entire night sky in three nights.

The problem with looking for supernovae is you can't really be sure when and where to look for them. Most telescope cameras can only capture a small patch of sky at a time. But the new camera, to be mounted on a telescope at the Palomar Observatory, has a much larger field of view.

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Space
4:42 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

NASA To Test Orion Spacecraft For Long Future Missions

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:34 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Remembrances
4:36 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Martin Litton Remembered As Fervent Conservationist

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:34 am

Melissa Block speaks with Kevin Fedarko of Outside Magazine for a remembrance of conservationist and outdoorsman Martin Litton. Litton devoted more than 60 years of his life to protecting the natural beauty of the West. He is credited with helping to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon, a ski resort out of the Sierra's Mineral King Valley, and pushing for the establishment of Redwood National Park.

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Shots - Health News
4:32 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

A Drug Might Heal Spinal Injuries By Sparking Nerve Growth

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:01 pm

A scientist who chose to ignore the mainstream nearly 30 years ago has found a new way to regenerate nerves in the spinal cord, at least in animals. A drug that Jerry Silver, a professor of neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University, helped design a drug that has allowed paralyzed rats to regain bladder function and even walk.

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