Science

3:40pm

Wed September 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Ancient Fish With Strong Jawline Could Rewrite History Of Faces

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:18 pm

A reconstruction of Entelognathus primordialis, with the fossil find highlighted above.
Nature

As faces go, Entelognathus primordialis isn't much to look at, even for a fish.

But consider that the 419 million-year-old, armor-plated fish is the earliest known creature to have what humans might recognize as a face, according to research published Wednesday in Nature. That's mostly due to its bony, modern jaw.

As USA Today reports:

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12:27pm

Wed September 25, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Lessons From Beyond The Heliopause

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 2:13 pm

JPL-Caltech NASA

This month, for the first time in history, a probe built by humans left the confines of the solar system for the depths of interstellar space. NASA launched Voyager 1 in September 1977, when Jimmy Carter was president and I had just finished high school.

The era of interstellar travel, up to now the exclusive province of sci-fi, has officially begun.

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10:48am

Wed September 25, 2013
The Salt

Rooftop Farming Is Getting Off The Ground

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:03 pm

Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden's 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.
Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden

From vacant lots to vertical "pinkhouses," urban farmers are scouring cities for spaces to grow food. But their options vary widely from place to place.

While farmers in post-industrial cities like Detroit and Cleveland are claiming unused land for cultivation, in New York and Chicago, land comes at a high premium. That's why farmers there are increasingly eyeing spaces that they might not have to wrestle from developers: rooftops that are already green.

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7:24am

Wed September 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Latest MacArthur Geniuses Include Sound Savior

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 11:59 am

Carl Haber, 2013 MacArthur fellow.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

This year's 24 recipients of MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" include a physicist whose work was inspired in part by an NPR report he heard a decade ago.

As Carl Haber of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains in a video posted by the foundation with Wednesday's awards announcements:

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3:43am

Wed September 25, 2013
Environment

Wild Weather Tied To Unusual Jet Stream Activity

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 6:25 am

Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio NASA

There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.

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12:15pm

Tue September 24, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is Science Value-Free?

iStockphoto.com

According to a venerable way of thinking about science and its place in our lives, science is value-free. Science sets its sights on the facts. It is interested in the way the world is apart from inherently subjective matters of interpretation. Science can learn the facts without needing to take a stand on values. Science needn't concern itself with tedious and undecidable debates about matters of value.

But is this true?

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4:01am

Tue September 24, 2013
Environment

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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5:25pm

Mon September 23, 2013
The Salt

Raising Tastier Sea Urchins For Foodies And The Environment

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 7:09 pm

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy, but supply can't keep up with demand.
Aizat Faiz Flickr

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly — so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.

But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.

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5:23pm

Mon September 23, 2013
Science

Don't Try To Clean That Messy Desk

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.

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5:01pm

Mon September 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:30 pm

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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