Science

3:06am

Fri September 13, 2013
Environment

'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 10:47 am

Gwynns Falls runs beneath Interstate 95 at Carroll Park in Baltimore. The chemistry of this river, like many across the country, is changing.
Courtesy of Sujay Kaushal

Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.

Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.

What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.

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3:03am

Fri September 13, 2013
Shots - Health News

Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:02 am

Dr. Jim Olson meets with Carver Faull at Seattle Children's Hospital in August. Carver, now 12, had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2012.
Matthew Ryan Williams for NPR

Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what Jim Olson is like.

He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. He approaches each activity with incredible passion.

But to really understand Olson, you have to watch him in action with patients.

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6:22pm

Thu September 12, 2013
The Two-Way

WATCH: Waterspout On Lake Michigan

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:04 pm

At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.

The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout:

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5:44pm

Thu September 12, 2013
Space

See Ya, Voyager: Probe Has Finally Entered Interstellar Space

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:34 pm

This artist's illustration shows the Voyager 1 space probe. The spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and as of August 2012, it is outside the bubble of hot gas, known as the "heliopause," that radiates from the sun.
NASA/Landov

NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.

At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.

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3:16pm

Thu September 12, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Attenborough's Muddled Thinking Can't Stop Human Evolution

Human evolution is an unfolding process with chapters yet to be written; no one really knows where we're going. But we can look back to earlier chapters, with ancestors like Australpithecus afarensis, including the individual we call "Lucy" (seen above), for an understanding of how evolution works and what has happened to us over time.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

With stunning imagery and cogent commentary, British naturalist and filmmaker Sir David Attenborough has brought science into millions of homes, including mine.

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3:07pm

Thu September 12, 2013
The Two-Way

Voyager Has Left The Solar System (This Time For Real!)

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:31 pm

A NASA image of one of the Voyager space probes, launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system and eventually interstellar space.
NASA Getty Images

Stop us if you've heard this one: A spacecraft flies out of the solar system ...

Yes, the planetary probe Voyager 1, launched in the era of Jimmy Carter and bell-bottoms, has finally left the room, so to speak, years after completing its primary mission: a "grand tour" of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (twin Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune).

And years after we first started talking about its departure.

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3:45am

Thu September 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:58 am

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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6:46pm

Wed September 11, 2013
The Two-Way

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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5:41pm

Wed September 11, 2013
All Tech Considered

Coming Soon: A Jolt Of Caffeine You Can Spray On Your Skin

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:16 pm

Sprayable Energy will be on sale in November, says its creator, Ben Yu.
Courtesy of Sprayable Energy

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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2:55pm

Wed September 11, 2013
The Two-Way

Discovery Of Massive Aquifers Could Be Game Changer For Kenya

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:07 pm

Members of the El Molo tribe are pictured in the village of Komote, on the shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, last year.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.

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