Science

12:40pm

Fri August 23, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Can Worms Create Their Own Imaginary Oceans? Can Oysters?

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:35 pm

D.P. Wilson/FLPA Science Source

When you see them on the beach, spinach-like plops of green sprawled on the sand, you'd never guess their teeny nervous systems are imprinted with beach-ness. They are the ultimate Beach Boys. For them it's always summer.

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11:38am

Fri August 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Hurricane Season A Bust? Don't Be So Sure

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:55 pm

A satellite image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30. Forecasters underestimated the intensity of the Atlantic hurricane season last year.
NASA Getty Images

Back in May, several independent forecast groups predicted an especially active Atlantic hurricane season this year. But with August drawing to a close, we've yet to see a single one.

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11:18am

Fri August 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Another Study Of Preemies Blasted Over Ethical Concerns

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:09 pm

What should parents be told before their premature infants participate in a clinical study?
iStockphoto.com

For the second time in four months, the consumer group Public Citizen is alleging that a large, federally funded study of premature infants is ethically flawed.

Both complaints raise a big issue that's certain to get more attention beyond these particular studies: What's the ethically right way to do research on the validity of the usual care that doctors provide every day.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host an unusual forum on that question next Wednesday — stimulated by the sharp questions raised by Public Citizen.

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8:48am

Fri August 23, 2013
The Salt

Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 9:52 am

Julia Child poses with "the chicken sisters" before an episode of The French Chef in which she teaches us how to roast a bird.
Courtesy of Paul Child/PBS

It seems almost sacrilegious to question the wisdom of Julia Child.

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7:03am

Fri August 23, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Obesity And The Toxic-Sugar Wars

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:32 am

iStockphoto.com

For the first time in 30 years, obesity rates in the United States have remained flat. Given the grim numbers, that finding hardly counts as uplifting news. I like the way this inelegant headline cuts to the heart of things: "U.S. adult obesity rates holding steady, but still bad."

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4:21am

Fri August 23, 2013
Research News

Can Your Car Make You An Unethical Driver?

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When there's room to spread out, we often take advantage of it. Think about a big car or an SUV. You're behind the wheel, you roll the window down. You might prop up your left elbow. The other arm is outstretched on the wheel. It all sounds nice and relaxing, but it could have some major consequences. There's new research suggesting that you are more likely to blow a stop sign or a red light and not even know it. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to explain this.

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4:21am

Fri August 23, 2013
Asia

Regulators Monitor 'Serious Leaks' At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant is back in the news more than two years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a series of meltdowns. New leaks found this week prompted regulators to consider raising the alert level there in Japan. NPR's science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel joined us to explain. Geoff, good morning.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Why raise the alert level?

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3:22am

Fri August 23, 2013
Science

Can A Big Earthquake Trigger Another One?

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:58 pm

Kesennuma, in the Tohoku region of Japan, was devastated in a March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. A researcher studying recent mega-quakes says this one, centered some 300 miles from Tokyo, could actually mean an increased risk of a quake hitting Japan's capital, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world.
Suzanne Mooney Barcroft Media/Landov

There's a joke among scientists: Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. For Ross Stein, it wasn't a joke after the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004. It killed some 275,000 people. "I just felt almost a sense of shame," Stein says, "that this tragedy could have been so immense in a world where we have so much intense research effort."

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5:34pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Environment

'Uncertain' Science: Judith Curry's Take On Climate Change

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:10 pm

Judith Curry with her dogs, Rosie (left) and Bruno, in the mountains near Lake Tahoe. The climatologist focuses on the uncertainties of climate change far more than on the consensus of climate scientists.
Richard Harris NPR

While the Obama administration presses forward with plans to deal with climate change, Congress remains steadfast against taking action. It's not easy to find a scientist who will agree with that point of view. But Republicans have found an ally in a climate scientist by the name of Judith Curry.

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5:28pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Research News

The World's Most Precise Clock Could Prove Einstein Wrong

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 7:00 pm

This may look like a mad scientist's garage sale, but it's actually the most precise clock ever built.
Jim Burrus NIST

What a makes a good clock? Andrew Ludlow, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, says one of the most important criteria is stability.

"If you could imagine a grandfather clock and see the pendulum swinging back and forth, ideally that pendulum would swing back and forth very uniformly," Ludlow says. "Each swing would take exactly the same amount of time."

That's stability. But what if something perturbs the system, like a mischievous toddler?

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