Science

11:40am

Tue March 5, 2013
The Two-Way

Study Finds Climate Change To Open Arctic Sea Routes By 2050

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 1:22 pm

An iceberg in or just outside the Ilulissat fjord, which likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland, in May 2012. Polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than in the 1990s.
Ian Joughin AP

Climate change will make commercial shipping possible from North America to Russia or Asia over the North Pole by the middle of the century, a new study says.

Two researchers at the University of California ran seven different climate models simulating two classes of vessels to see if they could make a relatively ice-free passage through the Arctic Ocean. In each case, the sea routes are sufficiently clear after 2049, they say.

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3:39am

Tue March 5, 2013
Joe's Big Idea

Wanna Play? Computer Gamers Help Push Frontier Of Brain Research

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 3:39 pm

This image represents a chunk, or "cube," of brain. Each different color represents a different neuron, and the goal of the EyeWire game is to figure out how these tangled neurons connect to each other. Players look at a slice from this cube and try to identify the boundaries of each cell. It isn't easy, and it takes practice. You can try it for yourself at eyewire.org.
EyeWire

People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them. Now some scientists are hoping to make use of all that human capital and harness it for a good cause.

Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. EyeWire is designed to solve a real science problem — it aims to chart the billions of nerve connections in the brain.

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5:17pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Medical Treatments

Mississippi Toddler Could Be First Child Cured Of HIV

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 5:34 pm

A child born with HIV has been cured of the virus, researchers say. Audie Cornish talks to Richard Knox about what was different about this child among the millions who've been treated in the past and what it means for the prospect of an HIV cure in adults.

5:17pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Animals

Kentucky City Fights Migratory Bird Invasion With Air Cannons, Lasers

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 5:34 pm

Audie Cornish talks with Geoff LaBaron, an ornithologist with National Audubon Society, about a strange blackbird invasion in the town of Hopkinsville, Ky.

12:49pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

How To Produce A Billion Flowers On The Very Same Day

Robert Krulwich NPR

Before we get to today's topic (flower blooming), let's take a Sloth Break. I know this isn't usual, but hey, I think everybody should see this adorable baby sloth named Matty giving his human caretaker, Claire, a flower. If you've already seen it, jump ahead to my essay. But if you haven't? Well, your day is about to get a wee bit lovelier.

OK, I just had to. Now we can start.

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11:19am

Mon March 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mouse Study Sheds Light On Why Some Cancer Vaccines Fail

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 2:31 pm

A simple switch of ingredients made a big difference in how mice responded to experimental cancer vaccines.
Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

In the quest for better cancer medicines, vaccines that treat rather than prevent disease are getting lots of attention.

More than 90 clinical trials have tested therapeutic vaccines in cancer patients, but the results have been a mixed bag.

A recent study in mice suggests that changing a traditional ingredient in the vaccines could make a big difference.

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8:18am

Mon March 4, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Can We Ever Explain Human Tragedy?

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 1:43 pm

Cousin Kyle Balcom (L) and brother Dustin Bush console each other after the disappearance of Jeffrey Bush into a Seffner, Florida, sinkhole.
Edward Linsmier Getty Images

Sinkholes can occur when porous limestone or other soluble bedrock dissolves in water, creating underground caverns that collapse.

Last Thursday evening, a man was in the bedroom of his home in Seffner, Florida.

These are typical narratives — one about scientific facts, the other about everyday life. We accept each narrative as neither shocking nor mysterious. Water and rock interact in particular ways. People go about their daily lives. This is familiar.

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12:52am

Mon March 4, 2013
Environment

After Keystone Review, Environmentalists Vow To Continue Fight

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:33 pm

Demonstrators carry a mock pipeline as they pass the White House to protest the Keystone Pipeline, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18, 2012.
Rod Lamkey Jr. The Washington Times /Landov

Environmentalists have a hope.

If they can block the Keystone XL pipeline, they can keep Canada from developing more of its dirty tar sands oil. It takes a lot of energy to get it out of the ground and turn it into gasoline, so it has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional oil.

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4:41pm

Sun March 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

Scientists Report First Cure Of HIV In A Child, Say It's A Game-Changer

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:35 pm

HIV particles, yellow, infect an immune cell, blue.
NIAID_Flickr

Scientists believe a little girl born with HIV has been cured of the infection.

She's the first child and only the second person in the world known to have been cured since the virus touched off a global pandemic nearly 32 years ago.

Doctors aren't releasing the child's name, but we know she was born in Mississippi and is now 2 1/2 years old — and healthy. Scientists presented details of the case Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.

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4:37pm

Sun March 3, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

More on Beyonce and Science - Aristotle Chimes In.

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:43 pm

So, last tuesday I explained why (in my humble opinion) the pop diva Beyoncé provided us with a nice example of overlap between Science and Art. In particular, I was thinking that, even though Beyoncé is not producing sonnets that will be read in 1000 years, she provides an example of a dedication to craft and excellence that is what scientists (at their best) also expect from themselves (minus the thumping beats — bummer).

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