Science

4:31pm

Mon November 4, 2013
The Salt

Why Are Pig Farmers Still Using Growth-Promoting Drugs?

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:42 pm

In recent years, pork producers have found ways to keep the animals healthy through improved hygiene.
M. Spencer Green AP

It's one of the most controversial practices in agriculture: feeding small amounts of antibiotics to animals in order to make them grow faster.

But what if the drugs don't even work very well?

There's some good evidence that they don't, at least in pigs. They used to deliver a boost in growth, but that effect has disappeared in recent years or declined greatly.

The reason for this is interesting and even paradoxical.

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12:13pm

Mon November 4, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Let's Talk: Can Comments Advance Science?

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 1:42 pm

iStockphoto.com

A little over a week ago The National Center for Biotechnology Information launched PubMed Commons, a platform that allows registered users to comment on published abstracts available through PubMed, a database of more than 23 million citations for biomedical research.

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5:07pm

Sun November 3, 2013
World

As Mirrors Beam Light To Town, Norwegians Share Patch Of Sun

People gather in the central square of Rjukan, Norway, on Wednesday to bask in the sun reflected by mirrors on a nearby mountainside.
NTB Scanpix/Reuters/Landov

The small town of Rjukan has long had to make do without sunlight during the cold Norwegian winters.

But that changed Wednesday, when the town debuted a system of high-tech mirrors to reflect sunlight from neighboring peaks into the valley below.

Rjukan, originally founded 100 years ago as an industrial outpost for the energy company Norsk Hydro, is nestled between several mountains and does not receive direct sunlight from late September to mid-March — nearly six months out of the year.

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3:09pm

Sun November 3, 2013
Space

Space Agencies Of The World, Unite: The U.N.'s Asteroid Defense Plan

This mosaic image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, captured between 2011 to 2012, shows the giant asteroid Vesta. The mountain at the south pole, seen at the bottom of the image, is more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
NASA

The United Nations General Assembly may approve a plan soon for the world's space agencies to defend the Earth against asteroids.

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1:34pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Sorry, Red Sox, Heavy Stubble Beats Beards For Attractiveness

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:02 pm

Hey man, that's sensitive: Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox pulls teammate Jonny Gomes' beard after hitting a three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series in St. Louis.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

When Mike Napoli got up to bat in Game 6 of the World Series, my first thought was, "Oh my goodness, that beard is awful." But after the Red Sox's first baseman laid off a few bad pitches, I started liking the hair on his chin.

All that got me thinking about beards.

Sometime during evolution women lost their facial hair. This strong difference between the sexes implies that facial furriness, or the lack thereof, has played a role in how we picked our partners, at least at one point in human history.

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1:13pm

Fri November 1, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Smarter You Are, The Stupider You Are

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:14 am

iStockphoto.com

Education is necessary if democracy is to flourish. What good is the free flow of information if people can't make sense of it? How can you vote your own interests if you don't understand the consequences of policy choices? How can you know what's best for you or your community?

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12:26pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Space

Chris Hadfield's Lessons from Life in Orbit

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, author of the new book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, has flown three space missions, including 144 days on the International Space Station. Hadfield talks about life in zero gravity, his one fear while in orbit, and how he went from test pilot to astronaut.

12:26pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Author Interviews

Einstein's Real Breakthrough? Quantum Theory

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. When you think about Albert Einstein, the words E=MC squared and Theory of Relativity naturally come to mind. But Einstein did not win his Nobel Prize for that work. Instead, he won the prize for figuring out how light interacts with objects and for believing, when almost no one else did, that light and energy are carried as discreet packets called quanta.

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12:26pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Technology

To Learn How Your Camera Works, Try Building One

Digital cameras are ubiquitous today — even $20 cell phones have them built in. But few people actually know how a digital camera works. Shree Nayar, a computer scientist at Columbia University, set out to change that with his Bigshot Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera kit, which gives tinkerers a view of a camera's anatomy.

12:26pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Environment

Hurricane Sandy Recovery, One Year Later

A year after Hurricane Sandy, recovery efforts are still ongoing, and questions remain about how to rebuild and prepare the coastlines for the next storm. A group of experts discusses rebuilding and protective options — from sea walls to "oyster-tecture" — and considers calls for a "managed retreat" from the shore.

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