Science & Environment

The Salt
10:44 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Farm Families Pick Massive Corn Harvest As Prices Shrink

Curt Friesen is a fourth-generation farmer in central Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:39 pm

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

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Parallels
10:43 am
Tue October 15, 2013

How India Has Learned To Deal With Major Cyclones

Villagers eat at a temporary cyclone shelter in Chatrapur, India, on Saturday. India evacuated nearly 1 million people before Cyclone Phailin made landfall. The effort appears to have paid off. As of Tuesday, there were fewer than 30 deaths.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:04 pm

The massive cyclone that hit the eastern Indian state of Orissa over the weekend destroyed tens of thousands of homes, but killed fewer than 30 people.

Another big cyclone struck the same state in 1999; 10,000 people were killed.

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Around the Nation
4:38 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Newly Discovered Caves Aid Researchers Study Melting Glacier

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:19 am

Two explorers have discovered more than a mile of caves underneath a glacier on Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon. They suspect the beautiful formations account for a significant loss of the glacier's ice, and they have set out to measure how much the inside of the glacier is melting each year. It's dangerous work, but it could reveal that some glaciers in the Pacific Northwest are retreating faster than anyone realized.

The Two-Way
5:45 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Millions Of Miles From Shutdown, Mars Rovers Keep Working

A photo composed of nearly 900 images taken by the rover Curiosity shows a section of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars. The rovers are continuing to work through the U.S. government shutdown.
NASA AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:55 pm

The budget negotiations in Washington are not front-page news on Mars. There, millions of miles away, NASA's rovers continue to operate, taking photographs and collecting data as they prepare for the coming Martian winter.

NPR's Joe Palca has this report for our Newscast unit:

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Science
5:02 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Why Is Cheating In Science Research On The Rise?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Cheating in science is not new, but the way it happens and the way it's detected are changing. There's a lot at stake in science research, everything from public health to valuable federal dollars.

And as Gigi Douban reports from Birmingham, Alabama, there are more people watching to keep researchers honest.

GIGI DOUBAN, BYLINE: About 60 science graduate students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working in small groups on a quiz.

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Science
2:41 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Are Iran's Centrifuges Just Few Turns From A Nuclear Bomb?

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran on March 8, 2007. The tall cylinders are centrifuges for enriching uranium.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.

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Research News
2:16 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:43 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Watch Daniela. She's Up To Something Big

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:03 am

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Animals
5:53 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Birds Of A Feather Spy Together

AFP/ Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:12 pm

The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.

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Science
7:49 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Bill Nye Returns To Science Entertainment

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 8:47 am

Bill Nye, who gained a cult following as the Science Guy, has a new web series, a collaboration with NASA Why with Nye. He joins host Rachel Martin to talk about the new series.

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