Science

5:12pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Environment

Wells Are Running Dry In Parts Of Kansas

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:27 pm

Nate Pike fears that wells, like this one that supplies his ranch with water, will dry up completely after years of water pumping and irrigation in Kansas.
Frank Morris KCUR

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of Great Lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight Western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago.

But now, Nate Pike, whose been riding the dry rolling ranch lands south of Dodge City, Kan., for most of his 80 years, can't even go fishing at his favorite spring called St. Jacob's Well.

"And that thing had a lot of water in it. It never went down, never changed," he says. "But as you can see now, I can't believe I can't see the water from up here."

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5:12pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Environment

Earth Scientists Pin Climate Change Squarely On 'Humanity'

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 8:12 pm

Pedersen Glacier, 1917
Louis H. Pedersen climate.gov/National Snow and Ice Data Center

The weather is one of those topics that is fairly easy for people to agree on. Climate, however, is something else.

Most of the scientists who study the Earth say our climate is changing and humans are part of what's making that happen. But to a lot of nonscientists it's still murky. This week, two of the nation's most venerable scientific institutions tried to explain it better.

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4:49pm

Tue August 6, 2013
The Salt

Heck No Or Let's Go? Your Thoughts On Lab-Grown Meat

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 5:52 pm

The scientists who developed the in vitro beef say it could help solve the coming food crisis and combat climate change.
David Parry / PA Wire

Would you taste or buy a lab-grown hamburger if you could? That's the question we posed Monday at the end of our report on the world's first in vitro burger, launched this week at a tasting event in London that was streamed via the Internet.

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4:08pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Research News

Study: Rising Military Suicide Rate Not Linked To Deployment

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:25 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new study out today finds that the rising number of suicides in the military is not caused by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The paper says mental health and alcohol abuse are much stronger indicators that a service member will commit suicide. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, that finding runs smack into other evidence that says there is a connection.

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11:46am

Tue August 6, 2013
The Salt

The Cotton Candy Grape: A Sweet Spin On Designer Fruit

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:48 pm

The Cotton Candy grape looks and smells like a regular green grape. But the taste will evoke memories of the circus.
Courtesy of Spencer Gray

Can't we just leave our fruit alone?

Last year, apple farmers were soaking their fruit in grape flavor to make them more attractive to kids. Now, plant breeders in California have created a grape that tastes like — well, spun sugar and air.

That's right, Salties. Say hello to the Cotton Candy grape.

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11:33am

Tue August 6, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

The Subtle Mysteries Of Dinosaur Sex

Robert Krulwich NPR

They dominated our planet for 130 million years. You can't do that without having babies, and to have babies, dinosaurs had to have sex. The mystery is — and this is still very much a mystery — we don't really know how they did it.

The key problems being:

First, dinosaur ladies and dinosaur gentlemen were roughly the same size. No big/little asymmetry as with spiders. With spiders, the little fellow mounts the big lady. There are no body-crushing weight issues.

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9:41am

Tue August 6, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is Weak Evidence Better Than No Evidence?

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 9:44 am

Jonathan Downey iStockphoto.com

In my post last week, I wrote that "weak evidence is still better than no evidence." The statement prompted some thoughtful comments from readers:

I find that weak evidence is often worse than no evidence. (Chris Harlan)

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4:29pm

Mon August 5, 2013
The Salt

Long Awaited Lab-Grown Burger Is Unveiled In London

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:04 pm

Scientists say commercial production of cultured beef could begin within 10 to 20 years.
David Parry / PA Wire

After three months, $330,000 and a high-profile media blitz, the world's first hamburger grown in a lab made its worldwide debut Monday.

The unveiling of "cultured beef," as the burger is branded, was a production worthy of the Food Network era, complete with chatty host, live-streamed video, hand-picked taste testers, a top London chef and an eager audience (made up mostly of journalists). Rarely has a single food gotten such star treatment.

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3:28pm

Mon August 5, 2013
Space

No Tax Dollars Went To Make This Space Viking Photo

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:02 pm

The Vikings Have Landed: Photographer Ved Chirayath staged this photograph in Palo Alto Foothills Park in California last December.
Courtesy of Ved Chirayath

Scrutinizing the books of government agencies can turn up lavish parties or illicit trips at the taxpayers' expense. But not every investigation turns out that way. And when they don't, the hunt for waste can appear to be a waste itself.

Such appears to be the case with a recent inquiry involving NASA and Viking re-enactors. This whole saga began with an idea from Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University who loves photography. He was talking over what to shoot one day with a colleague, and thought of Vikings.

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10:16am

Mon August 5, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How To Fall Forever Into The Night Sky

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 6:31 pm

The Milky Way dominates the sky over Chile's Atacama Desert, home to the European Southern Observatory.
John Colosimo ESO

It's your neck that's the problem. Your neck is lying to you.

All your life you've had to look up at the stars. You walk along on a summer's evening and they're always there, those stars, those bright mysterious points of light, waiting for you to notice, waiting for you to understand what they are saying about time and space and your own place in it all.

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