Science & Environment

The Salt
12:07 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

A mathematician's sweet dream: For about $10,000, you can print out rainbow sugar dodecahedrons and interlocking cubes.
3D Systems

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:52 pm

From cool casts for a broken arm to impressive replicas of Michelangelo's David, 3-D printing has come a long way in the past few years.

In fact, the technology is moving so fast that 3-D printers might be coming to your kitchen this year — or at least, to a bakery or bistro down the street.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:47 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:36 am

Imagine a couple of million years ago, a curious young alien from the planet Zantar — let's call him a grad student — lands on Earth, looks around and asks, "Who's the brainiest critter on this planet? Relative to body size, who's got the biggest brain?"

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Around the Nation
6:35 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Feds Arrive In W.Va. To Probe Chemical Leak

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:32 am

A team of federal investigators from the Chemical Safety Board is in West Virginia to look into that massive chemical leak into the Elk River that contaminated the water in nine counties. Local authorities say the water quality is improving but they're not ready yet for a large-scale lifting of water bans. The leak originated from a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries.

Around the Nation
8:53 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

The Big Impact Of A Little-Known Chemical In W.Va. Spill

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:06 am

The chemical that was found last week to be contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians is used to clean coal. But very little is known about how toxic it is to people or to the environment when it spills.

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Science
12:07 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

We Have A Science Tumblr, And Its Name Is 'Skunk Bear'

Haoxiang Luo Vanderbilt University

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:47 pm

This week, we're launching Skunk Bear, our new science tumblr.

What will I find on this tumblr?

Cool things! Cool science things!! Stuff we make or discover on the Internet that makes us laugh, or think, or turn to each other and say, "Hey, look at this cool thing!"

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The Salt
11:09 am
Mon January 13, 2014

California's Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked

This dead juvenile coho salmon was found in a tributary of California's South Fork Eel River. About 20 large-scale marijuana farms are located upstream from the watershed pictured. All of them divert water from the stream.
Courtesy Scott Bauer

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:08 pm

For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations.

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Animals
10:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Rare Scottish Bird Reveals Its Long-Secret Winter Home

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Big aviation news this week: the red-necked phalarope is one of Scotland's rarest breeding birds and was thought to migrate to its winter grounds in the Arabian Sea. This past week, it was reported that a new tiny tracking device reveals that the phalarope actually flies across the Atlantic Ocean down to the Caribbean, all the way to South America. So, is the phalarope a Scottish bird or a South American one? Malcie Smith is from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and he joins us from Scotland. Thanks very much for being with us.

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Technology
10:05 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Wearable Sensor Turns Color-Blind Man Into 'Cyborg'

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Neil Harbisson is an artist who was born with total colorblindness. That means he sees only in shades of black and white. But a sensor attached to his head has expanded his world by translating colors into sound frequencies. And for this reason, Mr. Harbisson considers himself to be a cyborg. Neil Harbisson joins us now from the studios of the BBC in London. Thanks so much for being with us.

NEIL HARBISSON: Thank you.

SIMON: Why do you consider yourself a cyborg and not just a guy who wears a device?

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes, And Lemons Light The Sky

Courtesy of Pierre Javelle & Akiko Ida

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:42 am

There's a book by the novelist China Mieville that describes two cities plopped one on top of the other. One is large-scale, the other smaller-scale, and while they live in entangled proximity, both cities have the same rule. Each says to its citizens, pay no attention — on pain of punishment — to what the "others" around you are doing. See your own kind. "Unsee" the others.

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Environment
6:44 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees

Tom Tiddens, supervisor of plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden, displays bark with beetle larvae.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

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