Science

4:16pm

Mon November 18, 2013
The Salt

Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:25 pm

Anyone up for meat mummies? Above, a mummified beef rib from the tomb of Tjuiu, an Egyptian noblewoman, and her husband, the powerful courtier Yuya, circa 1386-1349 BC.
Image courtesy of PNAS

Meat mummies.

It's a word pairing that is, I dare say, pretty rare. Who among us has heard those two words together? What, indeed, could a "meat mummy" be?

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3:33pm

Mon November 18, 2013
The Two-Way

First Fuel Rods Plucked From Tsunami-Damaged Fukushima Plant

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:30 pm

Workers remove nuclear fuel rods from a pool at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daii-chi nuclear power plant on Monday.
Handout TEPCO

Workers at Japan's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station successfully completed the first day of a delicate operation to remove radioactive fuel rods from a reactor damaged in the March 2011 tsunami.

The fuel rods were removed from the Unit 4 reactor, which was offline at the time the tsunami smashed into the plant, overwhelming its backup systems. Although Unit 4 was spared the fate of three other reactors that melted down, a fire in its containment building weakened the structure.

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3:05pm

Mon November 18, 2013
The Two-Way

MAVEN Lifts Off On Nearly Half-Billion-Mile Trip To Mars

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:38 pm

NASA's MAVEN, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, with a capital "N" in EvolutioN, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Monday.
John Raoux AP

NASA's MAVEN explorer blasted off Monday on the first leg of its 440-million-mile journey to Mars, where scientists hope it will answer an ancient question: why the red planet went from warm and wet to cold and dry in a matter of just a billion years.

The robot orbiter, called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution probe, launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:28 p.m. EST. It will take 10 months to reach Mars.

The Associated Press writes:

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10:44am

Mon November 18, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

'Brain Porn' Not So Seductive After All?

If we are seduced by neuroscience, it might not be the pretty pictures that people find so alluring.
Illustration iStockphoto.com

There's something deeply compelling about "seeing" the mind at work with the help of relatively new neuroscientific tools, such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which furnish the images of brain activation that often accompany popular science coverage. Indeed, a well-known 2008 paper by McCabe and Castel reported that people thought articles containing fMRI images of the brain reflected better scientific reasoning than matched articles that did not.

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5:25pm

Sat November 16, 2013
The Two-Way

That Clam In Your Chowder Might Be Hundreds Of Years Old

Mike Cardew MCT/Landov

First we heard on Morning Edition that a clam scientists had opened up turned out to have been 507 years old.

That led us to stories with headlines like this: "Scientists accidentally kill world's oldest animal at age 507."

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3:25pm

Sat November 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 9:35 am

The device sits under a patient's skull and tracks brain activity.
Courtesy of NeuroPace

Imagine a tiny computer embedded under your scalp that's constantly tracking your brain activity and zapping you when it senses something awry.

That might sound like science fiction, but a medical device that does that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an option for people with epilepsy that's resistant to treatment with drugs.

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8:03am

Sat November 16, 2013
Humans

The Importance Of Diet In The First 1,000 Days

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

One thousand calories, vitamins and minerals, 13 grams of fat every day. Those are the specific ingredients needed to avoid stunting a child's growth physically and mentally in the 1,000 days after conception. New research from the International Food Policy Research Institute looks at the economic rationale for investing in those first few years.

And senior researcher, John Hoddinott, explains some of the consequences for undernourished children in the world's poorest countries.

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8:03am

Sat November 16, 2013
Humans

'Huh': A Word Uttered By The Bewildered, Worldwide

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

OK. So, let's say you're at work. Someone comes up while you're doing something else and says, hey, did you get that e-mail I sent you yet? And you have no idea what they're talking about, so you spin around and say, huh? But what if you were in Spain?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Eh?

GONYEA: Or Ghana?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Ah?

GONYEA: Or Laos?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Heh?

GONYEA: Turns out, anywhere really, there's some form of the word huh?

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE OF HUH)

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6:18pm

Fri November 15, 2013
The Two-Way

EPA Proposes Reducing Ethanol Requirements For 2014

The EPA proposes reducing the requirement for ethanol-blended gasoline.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Bowing to industry complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed cutting back the amount of renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol, that refiners must blend with gasoline.

The draft rule would roll back the 2014 requirement for renewables from 18.15 billion gallons to between 15 billion and 15.52 billion gallons.

According to Bloomberg:

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6:05pm

Fri November 15, 2013
Energy

Is Running Your Car On Rubbish The Future Of Fuels?

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 8:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to scale back the amount of renewable fuels in our nation's gasoline supply, biofuels like ethanol made from corn. The EPA is responding, in part, to oil companies that say they're already taking as much ethanol as they can. They say any more and it will hurt quality. But there's another reason for the EPA's action. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, cheap biofuels haven't been developed as quickly as hoped.

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