Science & Environment

The Salt
12:19 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs

After Grist's six-month-long series on genetically modified foods, some loyal readers accused the site of changing directions in the debate.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:52 pm

A 26-part series on genetically modified food was not Nathanael Johnson's idea. And he didn't realize it would take six months, either.

Last year, Johnson was hired as the new food writer for Grist, a website for environmental news and opinion. Grist's editor, Scott Rosenberg, was waiting with an assignment: Dig into the controversy over GMOs.

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Science
3:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

Ask not for whom the wolf stalks ...
Holly Kuchera iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.

But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of disappearing. That's creating ripple effects throughout the natural world that scientists are still trying to figure out.

What they're exploring is ecology — the interplay of animals and plants in nature. It's not rocket science. It's harder.

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Environment
5:52 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Natural Gas Boom Cuts Into Pennsylvania's State Forests

An oversized truck load slowly moves equipment along an icy mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest.
Marie Cusick WITF

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 7:36 pm

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

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Around the Nation
5:35 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

It's Not Magic On The Mountain, It's A Rain-Making Machine

A ground-based cloud-seeding tower at Alpine Meadows ski area near California's Lake Tahoe. It spits out silver iodide particles that are the right size and shape to help precipitation form.
Lauren Sommer KQED

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 7:36 pm

The snowpack in the Mountain West this year is at just a small fraction of its normal level. In fact, 2013 was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California, and there's little relief in sight. But water managers are trying to squeeze every last raindrop out of Mother Nature with a technology developed in the state more than 50 years ago: cloud seeding.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Space Music: How To Hear Solar Flares From The Moon

Live, from the moon, it's the space weather report: Data from a lunar orbiter is being used to create a music stream that reflects conditions in space. Here, an image created by NASA "visualizers" who used data from 2010 to show the moon traveling across the sun, as happens two or three times a year.
NASA/SDO/LRO/GSFC

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:04 pm

We've been following the coronal mass ejection that headed toward Earth after an intense solar flare was emitted from the sun earlier this week. And now NASA tells us that such events can be heard, in a sense, by tuning in to CRaTER Radio, a "sonification" project that uses data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to generate musical sounds and stream them on the Internet.

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The Salt
1:40 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Is Sugar Addiction Why So Many January Diets Fail?

Indulge or resist? Sugar cravings can be a serious challenge.
iStock

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:34 pm

We've survived the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, when rich, sweet treats come at us non-stop. Now is the season of reform, when gym memberships, cleanse books and weight-loss plans sell like gangbusters.

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The Two-Way
12:12 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Aurora Watchers 'May Be In Luck' As Solar Flare Reaches Earth

A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploding off the surface of the sun in an image captured Tuesday by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:32 pm

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET:

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center now reports:

"The coronal mass ejection (CME), originally expected to arrive around 0800 UTC (3:00 a.m. EST) today, January 9, was observed at the ACE spacecraft just upstream of Earth at 1932 UTC (2:32 p.m. EST)."

The SWPC goes on to say that "the original forecast continues to be for G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity on January 9 and 10."

"Aurora watchers may be in luck for tonight."

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Thu January 9, 2014

While U.S. Shivers, Australia And Brazil Sizzle

At the Australian Bat Clinic in Queensland, 15 baby flying foxes (bats) were lined up and ready to be fed Thursday. They were brought there to get out of the extreme heat, which has killed hundreds of thousands of bats.
Trish Wimberley AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:18 pm

Temperatures across much of the U.S. are, as forecast, finally starting to get back to something close to normal after several days of dangerously cold air.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:08 am
Thu January 9, 2014

A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question?

MinuteEarth YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:50 pm

Think of a rain forest — rich with trees, covered by clouds, wet all the time.

Then ask yourself, how did this rain forest get started?

I ask, because the answer is so going to surprise you. It's not what you think.

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Environment
4:47 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Interior Secretary Wants To Create Jobs For Conservationists

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:21 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in National Parks and forests in the Civilian Conservation Corps. President Obama's Secretary of the Interior wants to bring back that spirit, to create jobs and a new generation of conservationists.

But as NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, it's not the easiest thing to do in tight budget times.

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