Science

12:40pm

Tue July 9, 2013
All Tech Considered

The 'Sink-Urinal' Saves Water, Encourages Men To Wash Hands

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:53 pm

The design, called Stand, is already in use in several European countries.
Ingus Bajars Courtesy of Kaspar Jursons

In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. (Have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men's restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.

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7:10am

Tue July 9, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Physics And Poetry: Can You Handle The Truth?

T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965), winner of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature
Hulton Archive Getty Images

If you are going to shell out cash sending a kid to college, you might as well get in on their fun too. That's how my daughter's post-modern lit class slammed me into The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.

It is, arguably, one of the most important poems of the 20th century. At least that is what they told her and that is what my dad told me when he first gave me a copy as a boy. But she had a class that helped her understand the poem. Alone in my study I didn't get it ... again (sorry Dad).

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3:39am

Tue July 9, 2013
The Salt

As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 2:56 pm

Crop consultant Dan Steiner inspects a field of corn near Norfolk, Neb.
Dan Charles NPR

Across the Midwestern corn belt, a familiar battle has resumed, hidden in the soil. On one side are tiny, white larvae of the corn rootworm. On the other side are farmers and the insect-killing arsenal of modern agriculture.

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5:27pm

Mon July 8, 2013
Animals

Abundance Of Elephants Strains South African Game Reserves

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:36 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In many parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching. But in South Africa, they're doing so well that some game reserves say they're overpopulated. Now, many of those reserves are trying to limit elephant reproduction even while some ecologists believe it's the wrong approach. Willow Belden reports.

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2:04pm

Mon July 8, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Where's My Dinner? It Was Here A Second Ago — The Sandpiper's Dilemma

Robert Krulwich NPR

They scuttle, peck, scuttle, peck, then they dash up the shoreline, dodging waves, heads down, concentrating. What are they doing? They're "looking for something, something, something," writes the poet Elisabeth Bishop.

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12:06pm

Mon July 8, 2013
The Salt

Math Class Made Delicious: Learn About Cones Through Scones

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:19 pm

If only Algebra II class had been this tasty ...
Courtesy Lenore M. Edman

Cooks use math to make beautiful food all the time: Slicing eight perfect pieces of pie or doubling a recipe requires basic knowledge of fractions, for example.

But how many cooks think about using beautiful food to illustrate the math itself?

Lenore M. Edman and Windell H. Oskay of the blog Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories do. Feast your eyes on their latest work, "Sconic Sections," pictured above.

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11:44am

Mon July 8, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What Does Your Summer Reading Say About You?

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:44 pm

Cameron Spencer Getty Images

If the proliferation of summer reading lists is any indication, summer is prime time for recreational reading, whether it's fiction or non.

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3:42am

Mon July 8, 2013
Shots - Health News

Finding Simple Tests For Brain Disorders Turns Out To Be Complex

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 1:17 pm

Anne Jones, 62, and Robin Jones, 73, at their home in Menlo Park, Calif. He took a test that revealed proteins typical of Alzheimer's disease.
Ramin Rahimian for NPR

If you're having chest pain, your doctor can test you for a heart attack. If you're having hip pain, your doctor could test for osteoarthritis.

But what if you're depressed? Or anxious? Currently there are no physical tests for most disorders that affect the mind. Lab tests like these could transform the field of mental illness. So far efforts to come up with biomarkers for common mental health disorders have proved largely fruitless.

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9:54am

Sat July 6, 2013
Research News

Why You're Clapping: The Science Of Applause

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We've all been to concerts and performances that bring us to our feet in wild applause.

(APPLAUSE)

WERTHEIMER: But what makes us clap more for some performances than others? You'd think it's obvious: the better the show, the more applause. Think again. New research at Uppsala University in Sweden has revealed that applause spreads through a crowd more like a contagion than a reaction to a performer. Researchers watched audience members respond to academic talks - talks even as dull as this one.

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5:32pm

Fri July 5, 2013
The Salt

What Is Farm Runoff Doing To The Water? Scientists Wade In

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:37 pm

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey sample water in Goodwater Creek, Mo., for pesticides and other chemicals that may have run off from the surrounding land.
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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