Science

3:11pm

Tue October 15, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Word Of The Day: Hyper-Risk

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:51 pm

iStockphoto.com

Government shutdowns, climate change, zombie attacks: it seems like everyday the news delivers new reasons to think civilization is on the verge of collapse. And yet, a glance back at history shows that things have always been going to hell and somehow we manage to survive.

Is the past prologue? Or has our ever-faster, ever-more connected culture generated risks that are so fundamentally new that looking to the past for guidance is nothing more than a recipe for disaster?

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1:01pm

Tue October 15, 2013
The Two-Way

18-Foot Oarfish Livens Up A 'Leisurely Snorkel' In California

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:43 pm

People hoist the body of an 18-foot oarfish that was discovered in Toyon Bay at Catalina Island off the California coast.
Courtesty of Catalina Island Marine Institute

A snorkeler off the coast of California found more than she bargained for on the ocean floor Sunday, when she saw the large eyes of an 18-foot fish staring back at her. It turned out to be a dead oarfish, a mysterious creature known to live in waters thousands of feet deep.

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10:44am

Tue October 15, 2013
The Salt

Farm Families Pick Massive Corn Harvest As Prices Shrink

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:39 pm

Curt Friesen is a fourth-generation farmer in central Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock for NPR

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

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5:45pm

Mon October 14, 2013
The Two-Way

Millions Of Miles From Shutdown, Mars Rovers Keep Working

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:55 pm

A photo composed of nearly 900 images taken by the rover Curiosity shows a section of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars. The rovers are continuing to work through the U.S. government shutdown.
NASA AP

The budget negotiations in Washington are not front-page news on Mars. There, millions of miles away, NASA's rovers continue to operate, taking photographs and collecting data as they prepare for the coming Martian winter.

NPR's Joe Palca has this report for our Newscast unit:

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5:02pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Science

Why Is Cheating In Science Research On The Rise?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Cheating in science is not new, but the way it happens and the way it's detected are changing. There's a lot at stake in science research, everything from public health to valuable federal dollars.

And as Gigi Douban reports from Birmingham, Alabama, there are more people watching to keep researchers honest.

GIGI DOUBAN, BYLINE: About 60 science graduate students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working in small groups on a quiz.

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2:41pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Science

Are Iran's Centrifuges Just Few Turns From A Nuclear Bomb?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran on March 8, 2007. The tall cylinders are centrifuges for enriching uranium.
EPA/Landov

Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.

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2:16pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Research News

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

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7:43am

Mon October 14, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Watch Daniela. She's Up To Something Big

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:03 am

YouTube

Somebody should be watching Daniela Rus and her pals at MIT, because what they are doing is so crazy, so potentially important, people need to know about them. Not because they're dangerous, but because what they're doing might be changing the world and nobody should change the world without the world noticing.

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6:12pm

Sun October 13, 2013
Animals

Birds Of A Feather Spy Together

AFP/ Getty Images

The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.

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7:49am

Sun October 13, 2013
Science

Bill Nye Returns To Science Entertainment

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 8:47 am

Bill Nye, who gained a cult following as the Science Guy, has a new web series, a collaboration with NASA Why with Nye. He joins host Rachel Martin to talk about the new series.

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