Science

5:36am

Mon February 11, 2013
Energy

U.S. Natural Gas Exports Stirs Debate

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, tomorrow President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, and may well discuss energy, as he did four years ago. But energy analyst Sarah Ladislaw says a daunting goal is getting trickier.

SARAH LADISLAW: This administration did not come in with small plans for energy markets or for energy policy. Their big plan was to try and de-carbonize the energy sector.

INSKEEP: Reduce carbon emissions by relying less on coal, oil and gas.

LADISLAW: Primarily done for the purpose of battling climate change.

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4:54pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Space

To Infinity And Beyond: Would-Be Astronauts Keep Faith In Uncertain Era

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

A child poses for a picture in front of an astronaut space suit at the Kennedy Space Center on the eve of the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour July 14, 2009 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Space exploration has stirred imaginations and piloted hopes and dreams, but the future of space travel looks very different from the age in which Neil Armstrong made it to the moon.

Since NASA is no longer doing manned missions, astronaut hopefuls have turned their sites on the private sector.

Private Adventurism

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4:54pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Space

Want To Create A Space Symphony? Wait For A Solar Storm

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 4:58 pm

In photo from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a major solar eruption is shown in progress Oct. 29, 2003. A large coronal mass ejection is being hurled toward the Earth.
NASA Getty Images

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick evokes the immense and powerful nature of outer space with Richard Strauss' score, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

The music is now inextricably linked to the idea of space exploration. But what if, instead, you could create music from solar eruptions?

That's exactly what sonification specialist Robert Alexander does.

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5:03am

Sun February 10, 2013
Environment

Is The Earth Cooking Up A Super Volcano?

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 8:38 am

Plosky Tolbachnik volcano erupts in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula on Jan. 6, 2013. It's not a so-called "super volcano," but every million years or so scientists say the Earth burps up volcanoes that can erupt for thousands of years.
Alexander Petrov AP

Every few million years or so, the Earth burps up a gargantuan volcano.

These aren't like volcanoes in our lifetimes; these "super volcanoes" can erupt continuously for thousands of years. While they might be rare, you'd best look out when one hits.

The ash and volcanic gases from these volcanoes can wipe out most living things over large parts of the planet. Michael Thorne, a seismologist at the University of Utah, has some clues about what causes these big eruptions.

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5:05pm

Sat February 9, 2013
Animals

Vultures Beware: Virginia Town Targets Flock Of Unwanted Visitors

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 7:34 am

Turkey vulture droppings can strip paint, kill grass and sicken pets. The droppings also smell really bad.
Holly Kuchera iStockphoto.com

It sounds like a horror story: Every few years, usually in the winter months, residents of the town of Leesburg, Va., come home from work to find their backyards overrun with turkey vultures. Not just a few birds, but hundreds of them. Everywhere.

Lt. Jeff Dube is with the town's police department. For a whole week, he spent every evening driving around town, looking for the latest vulture hotspots.

"They like Leesburg. There's really no rhyme or reason. Every three to five years they come back en mass, like this year, 2- to 300," Dube says.

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4:59am

Sat February 9, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Yes, Cats Know How To Fall On Their Feet. But These Guys Do It Better

Agence Nature Science Source

The champ has met its challenger.

Drop a cat and it will swing its head to a horizontal, rearrange its rear, arch its back, splay its legs, and — amazingly often — land on its feet.

This is what cats do. They're famous for it. But now they have a rival.

This is an aphid.

Aphids spend their days sucking sap from leaves. Those leaves can be high off the ground. "High" of course, being a relative term, but think of it this way: Five feet high up is 381 aphids tall. Which is why things get so dicey when a ladybug comes by.

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1:56pm

Fri February 8, 2013
Your Health

Science of Slumber: How Sleep Affects Your Memory

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 3:55 pm

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca, sitting in for Ira Flatow. If you add it up, we spend a lot of time sleeping, about a third of our lives, actually, and it turns out our bodies don't just power down as we slumber. Research is showing that sleep plays an important role in how our brains process and store the information that we learn throughout the day.

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1:42pm

Fri February 8, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Do We Know How Life Began? Not Really

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 12:41 pm

Egg reassembly machine?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

The account of evolution we call Darwinian can explain the great diversity of life on Earth. The origin of species and the descent of human beings are well understood.

Darwinism is silent on the question of life's first beginnings, however. This is not a hole or an omission; it represents no unfulfilled promise. The theory of evolution is not a theory of that.

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1:35pm

Fri February 8, 2013
Science

Researchers Point To The Demise of the Dinosaurs

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca.

You know the theory that a big collision, a comet or an asteroid, something like that, helped kill off the dinosaurs? The idea has been around for a while. But this week, new research published in journal Science provides more accurate dates for the giant impact and the dino demise.

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1:29pm

Fri February 8, 2013
Digital Life

Tracking Privacy and Ownership In An Online World

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 1:03 pm

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Joe Palca. Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched? These days if you're not careful, your phone knows where you are, and there's a good chance somebody else does, too. Or you've noticed that the ads on sites you visit are starting to look a little too personalized, like how did they know I was planning a vacation to New Orleans.

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