Science

4:47pm

Wed July 3, 2013
Environment

Film Rankles Environmentalists By Advocating Nuclear Power

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:25 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In a new documentary, filmmaker Robert Stone explores this paradox. Why do so many environmentalists concerned about climate change reject the most abundant source of low-carbon energy, nuclear power? The film, "Pandora's Promise," follows five people who changed their anti-nuclear stance in light of climate change.

NPR's Richard Harris has our story.

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4:03pm

Wed July 3, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

More Is Different: Nature's Unruly Complexity

Like layers in a pizza, each layer of material organization in Nature needs to be understood on its own terms and cannot be reduced to a base that explains the whole.
iStockphoto.com

According to reductionism, every system, no matter how complex, can be understood in terms of the behavior of its basic constituents. The focus is on the bottom layer of the material chain: matter is made of molecules; molecules of atoms; atoms of electrons, protons, and neutrons; protons and neutrons of quarks; we don't know if the buck stops here or not.

At the biological level, organisms are composed of organs; organs of cells; cells of organic macromolecules; those of many atoms, etc.

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7:51am

Wed July 3, 2013
Humans

In Israel, Unearthing A Bed Of Flowers For Eternal Rest

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:37 pm

Karen Jang places flowers on the the grave of her late boyfriend, Vietnam veteran Francis Yee, during her Memorial Day visit to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, in Dixon, Calif.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

If you died 55,000 years ago in the lands east of the Mediterranean, you'd be lucky to be buried in an isolated pit with a few animal parts thrown in. But new archaeological evidence shows that by about 12,000 years ago, you might have gotten a flower-lined grave in a small cemetery.

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5:51pm

Tue July 2, 2013
Science

15-Ton Particle Ring Travels To Chicago By Land And By Sea

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:12 pm

The Muon g-2 is very powerful electromagnet that creates a strong magnetic field, allowing scientists to store a special particle.
Charles Lane WSHU

It looks almost like the Millennium Falcon, creeping ever so slowing, taking up the entire roadway on New York's Long Island. A team of spotters walks alongside, calling out trees that need cutting and road signs that need to be taken down.

Its name is the Muon g-2 (pronounced g minus two) and it's a very powerful electromagnetic ring capable of carrying 5,200 amps of current, says Chris Polly, the lead scientist for the ring's experiments.

"It creates a very strong magnetic field that allows us to store a special particle called a muon," he says.

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4:12pm

Tue July 2, 2013
The Two-Way

NASA Has Shut Down Space Telescope Orbiting Earth

"The Galaxy Next Door" — This composite image of the Andromeda galaxy was produced by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer, showing Andromeda's ultraviolet side. NASA sent a decommission command to the space telescope Friday.
NASA

NASA is sending a reliable servant into a retirement that will end with a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere in about 65 years. That's the fate that awaits the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, the "galaxy hunter" space telescope whose original 29-month mission was extended to more than 10 years.

Along the way, the orbiting system, known as GALEX, helped scientists study how galaxies and stars are born, and how they change over time.

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1:02pm

Tue July 2, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Democracy, My Mother And Toast

Robert Krulwich NPR

When they proposed it in the 1770s, it was such a novel idea. That instead of a king anointed by God, instead of a sage, instead of one leader telling all of us what to do, we should, every four years, all of us, pick our own leader, who would serve for a season, and then, job done, gently depart.

Nothing like this had been tried for thousands of years. Somehow, together we would be wiser than a single king. We would lead ourselves.

In principle, democracy seems noble, beautiful even.

At my family dinner table, I wondered a little. More than a little.

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11:10am

Tue July 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Savory And Sweet: A Taste For Infertility

Humans have long relied on the sense of taste in the struggle to survive and multiply. A bitter taste alerts us to a plant that may be poisonous. A sweet taste tells us that a plant is likely high in calories and can help sustain us.

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10:04am

Tue July 2, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Falling: How To Meet Einstein In An Elevator

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 9:58 pm

iStockphoto.com

This is the third installment in Adam Frank's series "How To See The Universe In A Grain Of Sand", looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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5:07am

Tue July 2, 2013
Science

Scientists Devise New Methods To Catch Ivory Poachers

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 2:00 pm

A man checks the quality of ivory stocks before an auction at the London docks in January 1948.
Popperfoto Getty Images

The value of elephant ivory has skyrocketed in the past few years. That's led to a huge increase in elephant poaching in Africa and, in turn, created new urgency to stop the trade. And as poachers have become savvier, scientists have devised more sophisticated methods of catching the thieves.

A pound of ivory is now worth more than $1,000, with wildlife experts attributing the rise in price largely to consumers, especially in Asia, who have new money to spend on ivory carvings.

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3:23am

Tue July 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

To Make Hearing Aids Affordable, Firm Turns On Bluetooth

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 10:38 am

Sound World Solution's hearing device lets a user customize its settings using a Bluetooth connection and a smartphone.
Courtesy of Sound World Solutions

As many as 300 million people around the world need hearing aids. The vast majority of the 7 million people who get them annually are in the U.S. and Europe.

One big reason is cost. On average, a set of hearing aids rings up a tab of about $4,000. Most insurance policies don't cover them.

A company called Sound World Solutions is trying to do something about the limited reach of hearing aids by creating a high-quality hearing device that costs less than a tenth the normal price.

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