Science & Environment

Animals
8:00 am
Sun February 9, 2014

France Takes A Stand, Crushing Ivory Beneath The Eiffel Tower

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR NEW. I'm Rachel Martin.

This past week, France became the first European country to destroy illegal ivory in a high profile public demonstration. It did so underneath the Eiffel Tower as part of a global effort to call attention to the illicit ivory trade. Officials say the trade not only wipes out the world's population of elephants, it also funds terrorism.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

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Animals
5:46 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Learning About Love From Prairie Vole Bonding

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 11:44 am

Most mammals have "love 'em and leave 'em" relationships, but not the prairie vole. They mate for life, sharing nest-building duties and an equal role in raising their young.

It looks a lot like a relationship many of us would like to have. Prairie voles have long been of interest to scientists looking at the neurobiology of bonding and monogamy.

Larry Young from the primate research center at Emory University in Atlanta tells NPR's Rachel Martin there's a ritual that happens when a male prairie vole spots an eligible female.

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Digital Life
5:42 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Dr. Wikipedia: The 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Crowdsourced Medicine

giulia.forsythe Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:17 pm

Wikipedia has become a go-to source for definitions, celebrity facts, and now, medical information. A study by the IMS Health Institute published in January names Wikipedia as the "single leading source" of health care information for both patients and health care professionals.

Unfortunately, some of that information is wrong.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Oldest 'Out Of Africa' Human Footprints Found On British Coast

The Happisburgh site in Norfolk, Britain, where the earliest evidence of human footprints outside Africa has been found on the Norfolk Coast.
Martin Bates/British Museum EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 2:09 pm

The oldest human ancestors to have walked on the British Isles left nothing except footprints. But they've made quite an impression on the world of science.

Researchers say 50 or so prints found on a beach near the village of Happisburg in Norfolk are the oldest known human footprints outside Africa. They were discovered last spring by a team of experts from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:37 am
Fri February 7, 2014

The Right Way To Hug A Lion

Courtesy of Connie Sun

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 8:16 pm

There are different ways to think about animals. One way is to imagine them totally separate, not attaching to us, ever. "They are not brethren," wrote the great naturalist Henry Beston, "they are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time." Animals and people, Beston thought, live in their own worlds while sharing the same streets, meadows, skies, homes. We mingle, but the gap between us is not crossable.

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Environment
4:51 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Bloomberg On Climate Change: Cities Are Leading The Way 'Right Now'

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:55 pm

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made combating climate change a major focus during his time in office. Now, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist has a new international role to push his message. He has been appointed the U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change. Melissa Block talks with Bloomberg about the new job and what cities can do to fight climate change.

The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Who 'Won' The Creation Vs. Evolution Debate?

Bill Nye (left) and Ken Ham debated whether creation is a viable model of origins in the modern scientific era during a lengthy debate Tuesday. The points they raised have fueled an online conversation that continues.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:07 pm

Days after a wide-ranging debate on creationism and evolution between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the event is driving an online conversation. Themes of belief and literalism, logic and faith — and, for some, relevance — are being aired and disputed. And some wonder what the debate accomplished.

The video of the more than two-hour debate, in which Nye and Ham presented their views on how the Earth and its surroundings were created, has been viewed more than 830,000 times on YouTube. At one point, the live event drew more than 500,000 viewers.

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The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

NASA Probe Finds Newly Formed Crater On Mars

An enhanced image of a newly formed crater on Mars. The feature, including the ejected material, stretches more than 9 miles across.
NASA

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:42 pm

Take a close look at the stunning image above showing a newly formed impact crater on Mars: The blue streaks of material, known as ejecta, radiate 9 miles from the 100-foot crater, according to NASA.

The picture was taken from orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19. The same area was imaged by the MRO's Context Camera in July 2010 and again in May 2012 — with no crater in the first and a telltale surface scar in the second.

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The Salt
3:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

Woolly mammoths depended on tiny flowering plants for protein. Did the decline of the flowers cause their extinction?
Per Möller/Johanna Anjar

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

They were some of the largest, hairiest animals ever to walk the Earth, but new research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers.

The work is based on DNA analysis of frozen arctic soil and mammoth poop. It suggests that these early vegans depended on the flowers as a vital source of protein. And when the flowers disappeared after the last ice age, so too did the mammoths that ate them.

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Around the Nation
7:06 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

More Than 80,000 Tons Of Coal Ash Flow Into N.C. River

Volunteers with the Dan River Basin Association, graduate students from Duke University and staff with the environmental group Appalachian Voices collect water samples on the Dan River after a massive coal ash spill.
Eric Chance Appalachian Voices

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:23 pm

Over the weekend at an old power plant in Eden, N.C., a stormwater pipe that goes under a coal ash pond broke, sending about 82,000 tons of ash into the Dan River.

The river stretches more than 200 miles from North Carolina, through Virginia and into the Atlantic Ocean. It's home to all sorts of wildlife, and a popular destination for fishermen and kayakers.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Edwards, with the Dan River Basin Association, was checking the water and sediment about a mile downriver from the spill.

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