Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.
At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.
The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.
The placebo effect, in which patients perceive an effect from a fake drug, is even stronger than once believed. Host Laura Sullivan talks to Ted Kaptchuk, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, about his research on how sham treatments affect the way we feel.
Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.
"It represents the voice of the world — all the voices of the world," Greg Budney, audio curator for the archive, tells NPR's Scott Simon. Among the vast collection are birds, mammals, insects and amphibians, Budney says, all made available "to anyone who has an interest in nature, in conservation and in the world around them."
Now the curious case of the homing pigeon and the mystery of just how they do what they do: navigate over huge distances to find their way home. We know they use the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Well, Jonathan Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey believes the birds also use sound maps. His study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental biology. And he joins us now to explain how he thinks this works. Welcome to the program.
China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.
To the long and growing list of risk factors known to increase the risk of obesity, scientists recently added a new one: scarcity.
People given subtle cues that they may have to confront harsh conditions in the near future choose to eat higher-calorie food than they might do otherwise, a response that researchers believe is shaped by the long hand of evolution.