What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead?
It's something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into tools that farmers can use to give their crops a boost.
It's a symptom of the soaring interest in the ways microbes affect all of life. In our bodies, they help fight off disease. In the soil, they help deliver nutrients to plants, and perhaps much more.
Cheating in science has been in the news lately. The Office of Research Integrity — which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — punishes on the order of a dozen scientists a year for different sorts of misconduct, such as plagiarism and making up results, according to the founders of one watchdog group.
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Scientists have just scratched the surface of another important problem - why some things make us itch. Today, there's progress to report. Researchers in California have found a molecule that may be crucial for our brains to sense itch. NPR's Joe Palca has more.
Nobody really likes to be graded. Especially when you don't get an A.
Some organic farmers are protesting a new grading system for produce and flowers that's coming into force at Whole Foods. They say it devalues the organic label and could become an "existential threat."
Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 12:08 pm
In the rural pockets of India, a lifesaving device may be hidden in plain sight.
Across the country, it's not uncommon to see women sporting a small dot on their foreheads between their eyebrows. The mark is known as a bindi. And it's a Hindu tradition that dates to the third and fourth centuries.
The bindi is traditionally worn by women for religious purposes or to indicate that they're married. But today the bindi has also become popular among women of all ages, as a beauty mark. And it comes in all colors, shapes and sizes.
Most American children and teenagers aren't drinking enough fluids, and that's leaving them mildly dehydrated, according to a new study. In fact, one-quarter of a broad cross-section of children ages 6 to 19 apparently don't drink any water as part of their fluid intake.
The Harvard scientists who turned up the finding were initially looking into the consumption of sugary drinks in schools and looking for ways to steer children toward water instead — a much healthier beverage.
Twenty minutes before the San Diego Tuna Harbor Dockside Market was set to open, the line was 75 people deep and starting to curl past the pier. The crowd here last Saturday didn't come for the local sand dabs or trap-caught black cod. They were bargain hunters looking to score freshly caught, whole Pacific bluefin tuna for the unbelievably low price of only $2.99 a pound.
That's less per pound for this fish — a delicacy prized for its fatty flesh, whose numbers are rapidly dwindling — than the cost of sliced turkey meat at a supermarket deli.