Mon September 30, 2013
It's All Politics

Here's Something Congress Can Agree On: Helium

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:03 pm

Party On: Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
Alexandre Ayre Barcroft Media/Landov

With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.

The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.

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Mon September 30, 2013
All Tech Considered

Space's Wild: 5 Cool Happenings Along The Final Frontier

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:29 pm

SpaceX launched an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 30 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, northwest of Los Angeles.

SpaceX hit a milestone in space exploration Sunday as it launched its most powerful rocket yet from California.

The unmanned nine-engine Falcon 9, which carried a small Canadian weather satellite called Cassiope, is an experiment in reusing rocket parts after they have fallen back to Earth. As the BBC reports:

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Mon September 30, 2013
Author Interviews

How Our Stone Age Bodies Struggle To Stay Healthy In Modern Times

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 10:00 am

If you got sick, you probably wouldn't go to an evolutionary biologist to get treated. But Daniel Lieberman, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, says that his field can help you understand why you got sick, and make you more aware of healthy and harmful behaviors.

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Mon September 30, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Are Women Less Corrupt Than Men?

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:04 pm

A Mexican attempt to curb bribery among traffic cops turns on the belief that women are less likely to take illicit payments from drivers. A new study suggests that this approach can work, under the right circumstances.

In an effort to reduce corruption among traffic cops in Mexico City, officials are replacing the predominantly male force with women.

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Mon September 30, 2013
The Two-Way

No Assembly Required: Ikea To Sell Solar Panels In U.K.

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:44 pm

Workers assemble solar panels at the now-bankrupt Suntech in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi. Overproduction in the country has helped lower the cost of solar panels.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.'s solar subsidies.

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Sun September 29, 2013

Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal?

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 5:02 pm

A house destroyed by a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Experts say increasing expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters unequipped to protect houses and structures.
Andy Tobin AP

It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.

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Sun September 29, 2013

Babies Smell Delicious, Just Like A Cheeseburger

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 11:22 am

A baby's scent triggers the reward circuits in women's brains, the same circuits that light up when an addict gets drugs or you eat a juicy cheeseburger, according to a study co-authored by University of Montreal researcher Johannes Frasnelli. He explains to host Rachel Martin why people want to nibble on their infants.


Sun September 29, 2013

But Can Your Smartphone Pick The Fastest Checkout Line?

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 11:22 am



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Sun September 29, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How Does The World Work: Top-Down or Bottom-Up?

What matters in the universe?

Depending on who you are, and what you care about, there will be lots of ways to interpret this question. You might think that it's love that really matters. You might believe it's good literature that matters. You might think only a '57 panhead with chrome exhausts really matters.

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Sat September 28, 2013
The Protojournalist

What Lurks Beneath The Earth's Surface

Shinichi Kuramoto of the Center for Deep Earth Exploration in Japan displays a replica of earthquake fault rock.

Recently there has been an eruption of revelations from below the surface of the Earth: Major aquifers beneath Kenya and a vast volcano deep in the Pacific Ocean.

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