Science & Environment

Economy
5:21 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Taking Stock Of The Northern Plains Oil Boom

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 6:20 pm

Beginning next week, NPR News will be taking an in-depth look at the unprecedented oil drilling boom happening on the Northern Plains, where the state of North Dakota has fast become one of the nation's most productive drilling regions. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with NPR reporter Kirk Siegler, back from a recent reporting trip in North Dakota for the series.

Space
9:41 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Mars Rover Turns 3-Month Mission Into Decade Of Exploration

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 12:47 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ten years ago, NASA's rover, optimistically named Opportunity, landed on Mars on what was to be a three-month mission. But Opportunity is still going strong today, still searching the Red Planet, sending data and images back to NASA. To celebrate Opportunity's decade of life, we called Jim Bell. He's an astronomer at Arizona State University. Welcome to the program.

JIM BELL: Great to be here.

MARTIN: So, take us back, Jim. What was Opportunity originally designed to do?

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The Salt
5:05 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Pig Virus Continues To Spread, Raising Fears Of Pricier Bacon

Piglets at Hilldale Farm in State Center, Iowa in March 2013, just before porcine epidemic diarrhea began spreading through hog farms in the U.S.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.

Canada reported its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. That has veterinarians worried.

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Science
5:04 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Antarctic Discovery: A Massive Valley Under The Ice

Ross' campsite on the West Antarctic ice sheet. For weeks, researchers eat, sleep and analyze data in these tents.
Neil Ross Newcastle University

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:58 am

Not long ago, researchers found something amazing under the ice of West Antarctica: a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon, measuring about 2 miles deep, 15 miles across and nearly 200 miles long.

Neil Ross, lead author of the paper on the discovery, wasn't looking for the valley — he found it by accident.

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History
10:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Once, Cold Weather Came And Stayed — For Years

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

It's been a bitterly cold winter in much of the country, but hey, it could be worse: You could have been alive in the 6th century. Starting in 536 A.D., scholars wrote of a cold snap that lasted not days, but years. Journalist Colin Barra speaks with NPR's Jacki Lyden about scientists' quest to determine what caused the epic cold spell.

The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

New Study Shakes Up Science On Midwest Quake Zone

Map showing seismic activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 7:44 am

One of the biggest earthquakes in U.S. history didn't occur in California. Or Alaska. It happened in the country's midsection some 200 years ago in an area where today seven states straddle the Mississippi River Valley.

And seismologists from the United States Geological Survey believe they've uncovered evidence that the New Madrid Seismic Zone, as the area that spawned the 1811-12 quakes is known, is still alive and kicking.

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Science
5:06 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Not Gone, Just Sleeping: Earthquakes May Reawaken In Midwest

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Science
5:06 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Tickety-Tock! An Even More Accurate Atomic Clock

Computer networks and GPS systems are only possible because of the precision timekeeping of atomic clocks like the one above, says clockmaker and physicist Jun Ye.
Ye Group and Baxley/JILA

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 10:24 pm

Scientists announced this week that they have created the most advanced clock in the world.

The clock, described this week in the journal Nature, is so precise that it would neither lose nor gain one second in about 5 billion years of continuous operation. That's pretty good, considering that the Earth itself is only around 4.5 billion years old.

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The Salt
3:41 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Can Mom's Pregnancy Diet Rewire Baby's Brain For Obesity?

Choose wisely: What Mom eats during pregnancy can set the stage for obesity in her baby.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 7:07 pm

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

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Around the Nation
5:12 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Drinking Water Not Tested For Tens Of Thousands Of Chemicals

Al Jones of the West Virginia Department of General Services tests water as he flushes faucets and opens a rest room at the State Capitol in Charleston, W. Va., on Jan. 13, four days after a chemical spill into the Elk River. It wasn't until Jan. 21 that state officials were told by Freedom Industries that a second contaminant had also entered the river.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:48 pm

The fact that a second contaminant in West Virginia's drinking water eluded detection for nearly two weeks — despite intense testing of the water — reveals an important truth about how companies test drinking water: In most cases, they only find the contaminants they're looking for.

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