Science & Environment

World
4:45 am
Thu November 28, 2013

By Accident, Scientists Discover Lakes Beneath Greenland

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 5:34 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Flying to or from Europe, many a transatlantic traveler has gazed down at the brilliant white surface of Greenland and maybe wondered what is beneath those massive sheets of ice. Well, scientists have discovered jagged mountains, ravines that rival the Grand Canyon.

And now NPR's Richard Harris reports that for the first time they've come across some lakes under the ice as well.

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U.S.
3:06 am
Thu November 28, 2013

How Fracking In Pennsylvania Helps Clear The Air In New York

The building at 120 East 81st Street is among those converting from an oil- to natural-gas-burning furnace.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 4:45 am

The state of New York effectively has a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing as the government figures out how to regulate the controversial drilling technology. Still, the state is benefiting from a fracking-fueled drilling boom in next-door Pennsylvania.

For decades, oil has been the fuel of choice for thousands of residential buildings in New York City. But now there are fewer chimneys spewing black smoke. That's because the city has a program encouraging owners to convert to cleaner-burning natural gas.

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Shots - Health News
3:05 am
Thu November 28, 2013

'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives

Dee Faught tests a robotic arm installed on his wheelchair in September. Commercially produced robotic arms can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but three Rice engineering students built one for Dee for about $800.
Eric Kayne for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:00 am

Three engineering undergrads at Rice University gave a teenager with a rare genetic disease something he'd always wished for: the ability to turn off the light in his room.

It may not seem like much, but for 17-year-old Dee Faught, it represents a new kind of independence.

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Shots - Health News
10:46 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Estrogen May Not Help Prevent Fuzzy Thinking After Menopause

Hormones clearly influence a women's health, but figuring out how is a tricky business.
Andrew Ostrovsky iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 11:16 am

There's a widely held belief that women experience moodiness and fuzzy thinking because of the drop in estrogen during menopause. And women have looked to hormone replacement therapy for relief.

But researchers increasingly think there's not much of a link between declining levels of estrogen during menopause and cognition.

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Research News
4:43 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Study Finds Plan B Pill Less Effective In Overweight, Obese Women

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:56 pm

Even as the Supreme Court takes up the issue of emergency contraception coverage, a new study suggests the most popular form of the drug might not work for most American women. It seems one formulation of the popular drug loses effectiveness in women who are obese or who weigh over a certain amount.

Energy
4:43 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Colo. Fracking Votes Put Pressure On Energy Companies

A vote to ban fracking in Broomfield, a suburb of Denver, headed to a recount this month after the measure failed by just 13 votes. Broomfield was one of four Front Range towns considering limits or bans on the drilling procedure some fear may not be safe.
Kristen Wyatt AP

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 8:45 pm

The 2013 election marked a victory for foes of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Colorado. Voters in three Front Range communities decided to put limits on the practice.

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NPR Story
3:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

At STREB Action Lab, Dance and Physics Collide

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

If you're headed to the ballet this season, chances are to hear something like the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker," this season's dance blockbuster as usual. But dance doesn't always sound this sweet. Sometimes it sounds more like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLEXIGLAS SLAMMING)

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NPR Story
3:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Eating 'Wilder' Foods for a Healthier Diet

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving, this being the day after. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is, I think, the leftovers. Don't they always taste better? Well, my next guest is here to tell us how we can get the most flavor and nutrition out of those leftovers and our food all year round.

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NPR Story
3:21 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Annual Prizes Honor the Stranger Side of Science

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There's research that tackles the really big questions like where did we come from? How did the universe form? How can people live longer, better lives? Today is probably not the day for that research. Instead, it's our annual salute to science that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.

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The Salt
1:34 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Beer-Tapping Physics: Why A Hit To A Bottle Makes A Foam Volcano

Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 12:37 pm

Ah, the old beer-tapping prank: One strong hit on the top of an open beer bottle, and poof! Your IPA explodes into a brewski volcano.

"In one second, most of your beer has really turned into foam," says physicist Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Carlos III University in Madrid. "You better have put the bottle into your mouth, because you need to drink whatever is coming out."

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