UPDATED: 4:50 p.m. Looking for a little weekend reading? The Food and Drug Administration has just the thing. On Friday, the agency released two proposed rules designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply, encompassing hundreds of pages.
The comet ISON, discovered by two amateur astronomers last year, will zoom past the Earth next fall. But where did it come from? Astronomer Andrew Fraknoi says a passing star could have flung the comet our way from the Oort Cloud, a distant realm of ice chunks at the outer limits of the solar system.
In Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, Lester Brown says the world's food supply is tightening, and the reasons are many. People in developing countries are eating more meat, a grain-intensive food; farmers are overpumping, causing water tables to fall; and crop yields have plateaued, despite technological advances.
Cold-water fish, snow-dwelling bugs and some grasses have evolved natural antifreeze proteins to avoid turning to ice cubes. Peter Davies, a biologist at Queen's University in Ontario, discusses how these antifreeze substances work, and their applications for human problems--like keeping the ice out of ice cream.
In 2012 the Higgs boson was spotted at CERN, private company SpaceX began supply flights to the International Space Station, and the world bade farewell to the Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George. A panel of journalists discusses the year's top stories in science.
So what's the verdict on John Boehner? He had a bad week – pushed to the sidelines during the fiscal cliff deal, criticized by his colleagues over aid to Hurricane Sandy victims – but he was also re-elected House Speaker, with no direct challenge from a GOP rival. Also, big news in the two upcoming special Senate elections: The governor of Hawaii names a surprise pick to succeed the late Sen. Inouye, and Democrats rally around one candidate in the race to succeed John Kerry of Massachusetts. Even NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving are stunned.