Science

1:46pm

Fri February 1, 2013
Environment

Are We Losing The Race Against Climate Change?

China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.

12:32pm

Fri February 1, 2013
The Salt

Pig Out In The Winter Or When Money's Tight? Blame Evolution

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:39 pm

When times are tough, that prehistoric urge to splurge on high-calorie treats like M&Ms still kicks in.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Has the recession made you fat?

To the long and growing list of risk factors known to increase the risk of obesity, scientists recently added a new one: scarcity.

People given subtle cues that they may have to confront harsh conditions in the near future choose to eat higher-calorie food than they might do otherwise, a response that researchers believe is shaped by the long hand of evolution.

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11:57am

Fri February 1, 2013
NPR Story

How Owls Turn Heads

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, Flora Lichtman is here with Video Pick of the Week, fresh from being the recent winner of the Cyberscreen Film Festival. Well, congratulations, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Oh, thank you, Ira.

FLATOW: It was for optical illusion piece.

LICHTMAN: Yes. Step into an optical illusion was the winner. Thank you. But, really, I mean, I'm still stuck on dung beetles.

(LAUGHTER)

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11:57am

Fri February 1, 2013
NPR Story

Dung Beetles Use Cosmic GPS to Find Their Way

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Now for a surprising find from the insect world. The dung beetle, that insect known for sculpting little balls of animal feces that they roll around and later feast on. Well, it turns out that these beetles have a built-in cosmic GPS that helps them navigate around. Dung beetles use light - listen to this - use light from the Milky Way to orient themselves at night. It's all in a paper published earlier this month in the journal Current Biology.

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11:57am

Fri February 1, 2013
NPR Story

Preserving Science News in an Online World

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:49 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. When you read a news article online, how much attention do you pay to the comments that follow at the bottom? What about how many times the story has been re-tweeted or how many Facebook likes it has? Do you pay attention to those?

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3:27pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Owls Spin Their Heads Without Tearing Arteries

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 7:56 am

How does a great gray owl do that? Now we know.
Martin Meissner AP

The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.

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12:37pm

Thu January 31, 2013
The Two-Way

Portugal's Monster: The Mechanics Of A Massive Wave

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:07 am

American surfer Garrett "GMAC" McNamara rides what could be, if confirmed, the biggest wave conquered in history as a crowd watches Monday in Nazare, Portugal.
To Mane Barcroft Media /Landov

11:48am

Thu January 31, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Stop Ignoring Head Trauma: Turn Off The Super Bowl

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:44 pm

The brain of former NFL star Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, showed signs of the kind of neurodegenerative disease associated with repetitive head trauma.
Elsa Getty Images

The grim headlines just keep coming. This week it's former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey. Age 66, Dempsey suffers from dementia. During his football career he endured three diagnosed concussions and, almost certainly, several undiagnosed ones. As The New York Times notes, his neurologist was "astonished by the amount of damage" visible on Dempsey's brain scans.

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5:36pm

Wed January 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Gut Microbes May Play Deadly Role In Malnutrition

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:44 am

Researchers followed 300 sets of twins in Malawi for the first three years of their life. In many cases, only one twin developed severe malnutrition, while the other remained healthier.
Photograph courtesy of Tanya Yatsunenko

There's a part of our body that's only now getting mapped: the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that live in our guts.

Some scientists describe this community as a previously unnoticed vital organ. It appears to play a role in how quickly we gain weight and how well we fight off disease.

A study published in the journal Science suggests that changes in this community of microbes also may cause kwashiorkor, a kind of deadly malnutrition.

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4:01pm

Wed January 30, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Big Science Paves The Way Forward

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Big science in orbit: the Hubble Space Telescope
NASA

Arguments are often heard against big (read: expensive) scientific projects, especially those without an immediate pay off. "Why spend so much money building this machine or spacecraft, when there are so many pressing social issues we must deal with?"

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