Science

5:24pm

Thu August 29, 2013
Science

Another 'Grand Canyon' Discovered Beneath Greenland's Ice

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:37 am

A little chilly for camping: Ice-penetrating radar revealed a mega-canyon below the Greenland ice sheet, extending for more than 460 miles.
Courtesy of J. Bamber/University of Bristol

A major feature of the Earth has escaped notice — until now.

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4:51pm

Thu August 29, 2013
Animals

Some Rattlesnakes Losing Their Warning Rattle In S. Dakota

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Here's a sound you'd rather not hear out on a hike.

(SOUNDBITE OF A RATTLE)

BLOCK: That's a Prairie Rattlesnake from western South Dakota. Well, there's only one thing worse than a rattlesnake giving you that famous warning, one that gives you no warning at all. That's what's been happening with some rattlesnakes in South Dakota's Black Hills. They have apparently lost their ability to rattle.

As South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt reports, that may be good for those snakes but bad for people.

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4:24pm

Thu August 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

A Single Protein May Help Explain Memory Loss In Old Age

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:26 pm

The underlying biology of age-related memory glitches — in old mice and old people — is different from what happens with Alzheimer's, recent research suggests.
Anthony Bradshaw iStockphoto.com

If you're finding it harder to remember where you put the car keys, the culprit could be a brain protein with a name that's easy to forget: RbAp48.

A shortage of this protein appears to impair our ability to remember things as we age, researchers report in the current issue of Science Translational Medicine. And boosting levels of RbAP48 in aging brains can reverse memory loss, at least in mice, they say.

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2:43pm

Thu August 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Money Worries Can Scramble Your Thinking

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:29 pm

Worrying about finances can tax the brain just as much as staying up all night.
Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

There's no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments and other bills takes up time and energy. But having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly, scientists report Thursday in the journal Science.

In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they're first reminded of money problems.

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11:32am

Thu August 29, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

That Butterfly Won't Bite You

A butterfly pauses on a buddleia flower in Godewaersvelde, northern France.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

A children's adventure garden, a $62 million education center focused on earth and life sciences, is about to open in Texas at the Dallas Arboretum. Maria Conroy, the Arboretum's vice president and the driving force behind the garden, told The New York Times last week that, because Dallas is an urban jungle without much green space, some children there are afraid of nature:

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11:15am

Thu August 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

Mars: Our "home" planet?
NASA Getty Images

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."

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10:18am

Thu August 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Have Your Picture Taken With Hong Kong's (Smog-Free) Skyline

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:26 pm

Tourists from mainland China take photos in front of a large outdoor banner showing what Hong Kong looks like on a clean air day, in Hong Kong on Aug. 21.
Alex Hofford EPA/Landov

It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.

But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.

The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.

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3:35am

Thu August 29, 2013
Environment

A Cooler Pacific May Be Behind Recent Pause In Global Warming

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:47 am

A study in the journal Nature could help explain why the Earth's average temperature hasn't increased during the past 15 years — despite a long-term trend of global warming.

The Earth's average temperature has risen by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But the temperature rise has not been moving in lock step with the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide — mainly from burning fossil fuels — traps heat in the air.

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4:52pm

Wed August 28, 2013
Research News

Element 115 Could Be Near Elusive 'Island Of Stability'

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 6:39 pm

Researchers in Sweden have confirmed the existence of element 115. It sticks around for a surprisingly long time. Scientists believe it may bring them closer to the mythical "island of stability" a whole slew of super-heavy elements that could last for days or even years.

12:34pm

Wed August 28, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 6:32 pm

Courtesy of Adam Harvey

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