Science

3:15am

Tue July 30, 2013
Research News

For Some Mammals It's One Love, But Reasons Still Unclear

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 11:11 am

Golden lion tamarins are one species that are largely monogamous.
Felipe Dana AP

Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous. In fact, biologists have long disagreed over why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two studies published this week — and they come to different conclusions.

Animals that leave the most offspring win the race to spread their genes and to perpetuate their lineage. So for most mammals, males have a simple strategy: Mate with as many females as possible.

"Monogamy is a problem," says Dieter Lukas, a biologist at Cambridge University. "Why should a male keep to one female?"

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5:27pm

Mon July 29, 2013
Law

Legal Battles Over Land Rights, Pipelines Are On The Rise

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 9:01 pm

The Crosstex NGL Pipeline is just one such project in the country that has forced long, unwanted legal battles between oil companies and landowners.
Mose Buchele KUT

At Margaret O'Keefe's farm in East Texas, they grow high-quality Bermuda grass. The fields are flat and vibrant green, surrounded by woods of a darker, richer green. The family loves this land. O'Keefe inherited it from her mother, who divided it among eight children.

"She used to call it 'enchanted valley,' " O'Keefe says.

But her "enchanted valley" also lies in the path of the Crosstex NGL Pipeline.

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4:50pm

Mon July 29, 2013
Environment

Once Resilient, Trees In The West Now More Vulnerable To Fires

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:24 pm

The remains of a tree are seen in front of a boulder in the Dome Wilderness area of New Mexico in August 2012. The Las Conchas Fire torched the land in 2011, burning through more than 150,000 acres of forest.
David Gilkey NPR

On any given day, there's a wildfire burning somewhere in the U.S. — and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Many western forests have evolved with fire, and actually benefit from the occasional wildfire.

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12:35pm

Mon July 29, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 1:55 pm

YouTube

If I say "meet me 28 miles from here," that doesn't seem very far, right? You could take a taxi, a bus; if pushed you might even make it on a bike.

But what if the 28 miles is not on a road or a highway, but straight up, 150,000 feet — that's high. So high, we're out of the life zone. Up in the silence.

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12:17pm

Mon July 29, 2013
The Salt

Farm To Fido: Dog Food Goes Local

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 9:53 am

Producers of farm-to-dog-bowl food say the concept is more about locavorism and sustainability than about pampering pooches.
Heather Rousseau NPR

The email read: "We signed a contract for farm-to-bowl dog food product development today, I kid you not :)"

The note was from a friend, Wendy Stuart, who consults on food access and sustainability issues. Even so, our first reaction was: Really?

It's easy to dismiss the concept as the culinary equivalent of a diamond dog collar or a Versace pet bowl.

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10:02am

Mon July 29, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' Tests Women In And Out Of Jail

iStockphoto.com

I just learned something interesting about women in prison, and it wasn't by watching Orange is the New Black.

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3:00am

Mon July 29, 2013
Energy

Massive Solar Plant A Stepping Stone For Future Projects

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:33 pm

The Ivanpah solar project in California's Mojave Desert will be the largest solar power plant of its kind in the world.
Josh Cassidy KQED

The largest solar power plant of its kind is about to turn on in California's Mojave Desert.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will power about 140,000 homes and will be a boon to the state's renewable energy goals, but it was no slam dunk. Now, California is trying to bring conservationists and energy companies together to create a smoother path for future projects.

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4:58pm

Sun July 28, 2013
Science

The Rise Of Bloodsucking Insects You Can't Just Swat Away

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 6:24 pm

Steamy days, sultry nights and swarming bugs all make up the thrum of life in the heart of summer. But more and more, our summers are assaulted by the bloodsucking kind of bugs, namely mosquitoes and ticks.

More than a nuisance, new species can impact our health and indicate larger environmental trends.

Beautiful And Adaptable

One relative newcomer prowling the scene is the Asian tiger mosquito. Named for its unique markings, it is black with white stripes.

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4:58pm

Sun July 28, 2013
Environment

Conservationists Call For Quiet: The Ocean Is Too Loud!

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 6:24 pm

The beaked whale is one of the most vulnerable of all whale species to underwater noise pollution.
Robin Baird/Cascadia Research

Just about everything that we do in the water makes noise. When we ship goods from country to country, when we explore for oil and gas and minerals, when the military trains with explosives or intense sonar systems — the noise travels.

But these man-made noises are making it impossible for sea creatures to communicate with themselves, something that is integral to their survival. Michael Jasny, the director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says we have to quiet down.

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4:36pm

Sun July 28, 2013
Science

'Batman' Style: How We Can See With Sound, Too

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 11:30 am

Echolocation is second nature to animals such as bats and dolphins. Can humans also find their way using sound as a tool?
Ian Waldie Getty Images

Birds do it. Bats do it. Now even educated people do it. Echolocation is the process used by certain animals to identify what lies ahead of them, by emitting sounds that bounce off objects.

Now a team of researchers has created an algorithm that could give the rest of us a chance to see with sound.

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