Science & Environment

Science & Environment
12:19 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

NC Sues EPA Over Air Quality Standards

The EPA regulates particle pollution, which can be chemicals, acids, metals, soil and dust particles. Cars, refineries, factories and power plants all emit particulate matter.
Credit NCDOT

The state of North Carolina is suing the EPA. State environmental regulators are arguing that federal air quality standards are too stringent and should be loosened.


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Krulwich Wonders...
8:07 am
Sat January 18, 2014

A Supersilly Super Bowl 'What If ... ?'

Bad british NFL commentary.
TheExplodingHeads YouTube

We're only a few Sundays shy of the big game, so here's a Super Bowl warm-up video, a "What if ... ?"

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The Two-Way
8:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

California's Governor Declares Drought State Of Emergency

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a chart showing California's average precipitation as he declares a drought state of emergency for the state Friday. Brown asked residents to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Chemical Company In West Virginia Water Crisis Files For Bankruptcy

Freedom Industries, which has been blamed for a chemical spill that left thousands of people without water, has filed for bankruptcy. The company's facility on Barlow St. is seen here on the banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Freedom Industries, the West Virginia company that's been blamed for a chemical spill that left around 300,000 people without water for days, has filed for bankruptcy. The chemical used in cleaning coal leaked into the Elk River and into the public water system.

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Shots - Health News
12:18 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

One Downside Of Home Wart Treatments: Bursting Into Flames

The chemicals in home wart-freezing treatments are flammable, the Food and Drug Administration warns.
Courtesy of FDA

Wart removal seems so simple a medical treatment that it would be hard to mess it up. Until you start a fire.

The Food and Drug Administration says that it has received reports of 14 people being burned or starting fires while using wart-freezing devices since 2009.

Cryogenic wart removers contain a mixture liquid dimethyl ether and propane, which is highly flammable and doesn't require very high temperatures to catch fire.

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Environment
8:07 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

About 6,000 Natural Gas Leaks Found In D.C.'s Aging Pipes

A close-up schematic of leaks near the U.S. Capitol shows high leak densities east of the building, but few leaks over the National Mall, where very few natural gas pipelines exist.
Robert B. Jackson/Environmental Science and Technology

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:18 pm

The nation's capital is a pretty old city by American standards. It dates back to the late 18th century. Despite frequent face-lifts, parts of it are wearing out — for example, its underground gas pipelines. New research shows that Washington, D.C., suffers from thousands of leaks of natural gas.

"We drove 1,500 road miles in Washington, D.C., and found about 6,000 leaks," says Robert Jackson, an ecologist and environmental scientist at Duke University. "That's roughly four leaks every mile."

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Animals
4:11 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot

A northern spotted owl in a Redwood forest.
Michael Nichols Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In Search For Habitable Planets, Why Stop At 'Earth-Like'?

Kepler-22b, seen in this artist's rendering, is a planet a bit larger than Earth that orbits in the habitable zone of its star. Some researchers think there might be "superhabitable" worlds that may not resemble Earth.
NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In their hunt for potentially habitable planets around distant stars, scientists have been so focused on finding Earth-like planets that they're ignoring the possibility that other kinds of planets might be even friendlier to life, a new report says.

So-called superhabitable worlds wouldn't necessarily look like Earth but would nonetheless have conditions that are more suitable for life to emerge and evolve, according to the study published this month in the journal Astrobiology.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:42 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Needs A Dead Moose Right Now To Defend America

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:51 pm

They were so young, the folks who invented America. James Madison, on July 4, 1776, was 25. James Monroe was 18, Alexander Hamilton, 21, Marquis de Lafayette, 18, Aaron Burr, 20, Betsy Ross, 24, Gilbert Stuart, 20. Ben Franklin, of course, was much older, grander and world famous. But he was the only one.

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The Salt
9:58 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

Dopamine levels change when food becomes boring.
TED-Ed/YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:59 pm

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