Science

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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6:32am

Sun March 10, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

An Eclectic Mix Of Giants Takes On The Origin Of Life

Many of life's building blocks can be found in the objects bombarding Earth from outer space. Does that mean that life, too, developed elsewhere before arriving here?
Mary P. Hrybyk-Keith NASA

Recently I had the honor of speaking at the Origin of Life conference organized by the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. It was an exciting and humbling experience.

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5:11pm

Sat March 9, 2013
Science

Scientists Make Plans To Blast Threatening Asteroids

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 7:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARMAGEDDON")

STANLEY ANDERSON: (as the President) What is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's enormous.

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (as Dan Truman) It's an asteroid, sir.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

In the 1998 film "Armageddon," the character played by Bruce Willis saves the Earth by knocking aside an asteroid headed straight for us. Pure fiction, right? Well, maybe not.

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6:22am

Sat March 9, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Guy Builds Solar-Powered Death Ray In His Backyard (Yawn)

YouTube

Aatish, a guy I follow on Twitter, tosses this stuff off like it's no biggie, but that's because he's a physics grad student. He knows things I don't know. And because I don't know them, what he finds mildly amusing makes me gasp. Really.

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6:03pm

Fri March 8, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Listening To Freud: Sometimes A Voice Is More Than A Voice

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 7:13 pm

Sigmund Freud, circa 1935
Hans Casparius Getty Images

There is an old puzzle in philosophy: would a blind person who knew the world by touch instantly recognize familiar objects if suddenly given the ability to see?

This puzzle — known as Molyneux's question, because it was posed in a letter to the great British philosopher John Locke by William Molyneux — has an interesting emotional analog.

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4:43pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Animals

Adult Prairie Dogs Dig Living In Mom's Burrow

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:47 pm

John Hoogland of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science holds up a female prairie dog to check for signs of pregnancy, nursing or injury.
Courtesy of Elaine Miller Bond

Like many humans, most young animals approaching adulthood tend to leave their parents and siblings and strike out on their own. They want to avoid competing with relatives. They want to avoid incest. In certain species, they want to avoid nagging.

But a new paper published in Thursday's Science shows there's at least one species that bucks this trend. Prairie dogs, especially female prairie dogs, stay home. They tend to only leave their native territories when all of their relatives are gone.

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1:59pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Author Interviews

Al Gore Envisions 'The Future'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

My next guest really needs almost no introduction. He's former vice president of the United States. He's one of the most well-known communicators of the risks of climate change. He shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for those efforts. I'm guessing a lot of you have read his book, "An Inconvenient Truth," or you've seen the movie.

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