Science

6:24pm

Tue March 12, 2013
The Salt

Can Dunkin' Donuts Really Turn Its Palm Oil Green?

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 7:13 pm

Dunkin' Donuts plans to go green by committing to purchasing all of its palm oil from sustainable sources.
Andrew Huff/via Flickr

Dunkin' Donuts is changing its recipes — though you may not notice much difference the next time you bite into a cruller. In response to pressure from one of New York's top elected officials, the company recently announced that it will set a goal of using only 100 percent sustainable palm oil in making its donuts.

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4:55pm

Tue March 12, 2013
Animals

Quick Brown Fox Can't Find Camouflaged Quail Eggs

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:57 am

Researchers wanted to know if Japanese quail were aware of the colors and patterns on their eggs.
Courtesy of Lovell et al.

It's almost spring, and for many animals, warmer weather means it's time to find a mate. If you're a bird, finding that mate means a new clutch of eggs won't be far behind.

But keeping those eggs safe until they hatch can be a challenge, especially if you're a Japanese quail — a small ground-nesting bird that counts foxes among its predators.

The eggs of Coturnix japonica are tiny — not much bigger than a quarter. They're off-white or tan in color, with darker speckles.

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12:38pm

Tue March 12, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Big Data Is The Steam Engine Of Our Time

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:48 pm

Big Data: trying to make sense of the numbers
Kazuhiro Nogi AFP/Getty Images

We inhabit a world of blinding technological change. New devices, new programs and new infrastructure rise up, dominate discourse and pass away before we even have time to comprehend their intent. But for all the change we've experienced, the the most profound transformation of the digital era is really just getting started. Welcome to the era of Big Data.

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6:26pm

Mon March 11, 2013
The Two-Way

Claims Of A Meteorite's Ancient Aquatic Fossils Spark Debate

Images show what researchers say could be a "hystrichosphere," a fossilized dinoflagellate cyst.
Journal of Cosmology

A meteorite that lit the sky over Sri Lanka with a yellow and green flame when it fell to earth on Dec. 29, 2012, contains "fossilized biological structures," according to researchers in Britain, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Elaborating on claims they first made in January, the scientists are also seeking to answer critics who are skeptical of their findings.

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5:36pm

Mon March 11, 2013
Research News

Mummy Study Shows Heart Disease Could Be A Natural Human Condition

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ever wonder why mummies always sound like they're suffering from serious indigestion?

(SOUNDBITE OF SCOOBY DOO SEGMENT)

CARTOON CHARACTER #1: Golly, look.

CARTOON CHARACTER #2: That's a mummy and it's moving.

CORNISH: A little "Scooby Doo" for you there. But that mummy sounds like a cry for some Tums, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF A GROWL)

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12:39pm

Mon March 11, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is Having A Child A Rational Decision?

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 2:31 pm

iStockphoto.com

Debates about whether it's rational to have children are nothing new.

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12:21pm

Mon March 11, 2013
The Two-Way

International Convention Moves To Limit Shark 'Finning' Trade

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 2:33 pm

Indonesian fishermen unload their catch, including sharks and baby sharks, in Lampulo fish market in Banda Aceh last week.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Delegates to an international species conservation conference in Bangkok, Thailand, this week have agreed to limit the trade of shark fins and meat.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that government representatives to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, have agreed to put the porbeagle, oceanic whitetip, three kinds of hammerhead shark and two kinds of manta ray on its Appendix II list, which places restrictions on fishing but still allows limited trade.

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11:56am

Mon March 11, 2013
Author Interviews

'Frankenstein's Cat': Bioengineering The Animals Of The Future

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 1:52 pm

Cover of Frankenstein's Cat

In her new book, Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how the landscape of bioengineering has expanded since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. Scientists, she says, are now working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant, goats that produce valuable protein-rich milk, and cockroaches that could potentially serve as tiny scouts into danger zones for the military.

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11:49am

Mon March 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Hardening Of Human Arteries Turns Out To Be A Very Old Story

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:23 pm

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries.
Courtesy of The Lancet

Going "paleo" may not be the answer to heart disease, after all.

A few years ago, a team of researchers challenged our understanding of heart disease as a modern affliction. They found evidence of hardened arteries in the CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies.

It was a little surprising since our predecessors didn't have fried chicken or cars.

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4:41am

Mon March 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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