Science & Environment

The Salt
11:04 am
Fri December 20, 2013

They're Back! Chesapeake Oysters Return To Menus After Rebound

A plate of Sweet Jesus oysters grown in Chesapeake Bay by Hollywood Oyster Co. in Hollywood, Md.
Katy Adams Courtesy Clyde's Restaurant Group

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 12:44 pm

The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.

But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.

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Around the Nation
6:31 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Chicago Moves To Limit Petroleum Coke Storage

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Crude oil from Canada's tar sands is providing a booming business for American refineries, but residents of one Chicago neighborhood complain that a byproduct of that business has become a health hazard. They want towering mounds of a dusty substance known as petroleum coke, or petcoke, moved out of the city. And as NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, Chicago is now requiring one company storing the substance to do just that.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:27 am
Fri December 20, 2013

One Man. One Cat. Multiplied

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:08 am

We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.

Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat and guy. Except ...

When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.

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Brain Candy
5:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Do Crossword Puzzles Really Stave Off Dementia?

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Play along here: The subject of our next story is nine letters long. It's a type of word puzzle. Answers go horizontally and vertically in this grid of squares. I've probably given it away, haven't I? Yes, it's a crossword. And tomorrow, the venerable crossword puzzle turns 100 years old. In its first century, the game has gained legions of fans around the world and a reputation for staving off dementia. NPR's Adam Cole takes a look at the history and the hype.

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The Salt
3:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

This Stanford Ph.D. Became A Fruit Picker To Feed California's Hungry

Sarah Ramirez runs an organization that brings excess produce to the hungry. Here, she gleans apples from a front yard.
Scott Anger KQED

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 10:16 am

By some estimates, we Americans throw away about 40 percent of our food, from the cabbage that's wilting in our refrigerators, to the fruit that's falling off the orange tree in our neighbor's backyard.

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Shots - Health News
8:18 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Mixing It Up 50,000 Years Ago — Who Slept With Whom?

Research excavations like these in Siberia's Denisova Cave are yielding clues to the mating choices of early hominids.
Bence Viola Nature

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:39 pm

In a remote cave in Siberia, scientists have found a 50,000-year-old bone from a toe that tells a story about life — and love — among some of the earliest humans.

They did it by analyzing DNA from that bone.

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Animals
5:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Study: Cats May Have First Cuddled Up With People 5,300 Years Ago

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The human love affair with cats has a long history. But just how long has always been a mystery. That's because little was known about how and when cats were domesticated. Now, scientists say they've uncovered new clues in a trail of evidence going back some 5,300 years in a small village in China. Joining us is Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-author of a study on cat domestication. Welcome to the program.

FIONA MARSHALL: Thank you very much. Delighted to talk about cats.

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The Salt
2:34 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Man Who Duped Millionaires Into Paying Big Bucks For Fake Wine

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 4:32 pm

He was the man with "the nose of a blood hound," as one wine critic once put it.

Rudy Kurniawan was once the toast of the fine-wine world, renowned for his ability to find some of the rarest — and priciest — wines in the world.

He was also, prosecutors alleged, a fraud who duped some of the country's wealthiest wine purchasers with counterfeit bottles of wine that he manufactured in his home laboratory.

And on Wednesday, a Manhattan jury agreed, finding Kurniawan guilty of fraud in connection with selling counterfeit wines and of defrauding a finance company.

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The Two-Way
7:46 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

New Research Affirms That Milky Way Has Four Spiral Arms

An image showing the distribution of massive stars in the new study. Our location within the Galaxy is circled in black.
J. Urquhart et al. Background image by Robert Hurt of the Spitzer Science Center.

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:05 am

Our Milky Way galaxy has four arms instead of two, according to just published results of a 12-year study by scientists in the U.K.

The findings, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, affirm what astronomers surmised in the 1950s but began to doubt in 2008 after seeing images from the Spitzer Space Telescope that could only confirm two spiral arms.

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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

NASA Orders Spacewalks To Fix Faulty Pump On Orbiting Station

Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio in the International Space Station's Columbus lab last month.
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:00 pm

NASA has decided to go ahead with a series of spacewalks to fix a broken cooling system aboard the International Space Station.

The decision was made Tuesday by station managers. They said the extra-vehicular activity should take place as soon as possible to replace a coolant pump that contains a bad valve.

The Associated Press says:

"The spacewalks are taking priority over the launch of a supply ship from Virginia. The delivery had been scheduled for this week, but is now delayed until January."

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