Mon February 4, 2013

Tsunami Debris On Alaska's Shores Like 'Standing In Landfill'

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:51 am

Trash, much of it believed to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, litters the beach on Montague Island, Alaska, on Jan. 26.
Annie Feidt for NPR

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.

At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.

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Mon February 4, 2013

Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power?

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:15 pm

The reactor room at Babcock & Wilcox's prototype reactor outside Lynchburg, Va. The reactor vessel is behind the orange curtain.
Ben Bradford WFAE

The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.

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Sun February 3, 2013
Medical Treatments

Research Shows Placebos May Have Place In Everyday Treatments

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 6:16 pm

The placebo effect, in which patients perceive an effect from a fake drug, is even stronger than once believed. Host Laura Sullivan talks to Ted Kaptchuk, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, about his research on how sham treatments affect the way we feel.


Sun February 3, 2013

Wood Stork's Endangered Status Is Up In The Air

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 6:16 pm

A wood stork soars over its nest in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Fort Myers, Fla., in 2008, as baby wood storks wait in their nest for an adult to bring food.
Peter Andrew Bosch MCT /Landov

The last few years have been especially tough in South Florida for wading birds such as egrets, herons, ibises and wood storks that feed and nest in the region's wetlands.

The problem is there are fewer wetlands, and the last few years have been dry, reducing water levels in critical areas.

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Sun February 3, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Do We Really Know That Cats Kill By The Billions? Not So Fast


On NBC Nightly News on Thursday evening, Brian Williams revealed there's a backlash underway to all the cat-killer headlines of this past week.

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Sat February 2, 2013

Did You Hear That? I Think It Was A Walrus

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 10:15 pm

claumoho flickr

Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.

"It represents the voice of the world — all the voices of the world," Greg Budney, audio curator for the archive, tells NPR's Scott Simon. Among the vast collection are birds, mammals, insects and amphibians, Budney says, all made available "to anyone who has an interest in nature, in conservation and in the world around them."

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Fri February 1, 2013

Birds May Use 'Sound Maps' To Navigate Huge Distances

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:17 pm



Now the curious case of the homing pigeon and the mystery of just how they do what they do: navigate over huge distances to find their way home. We know they use the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Well, Jonathan Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey believes the birds also use sound maps. His study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental biology. And he joins us now to explain how he thinks this works. Welcome to the program.


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Fri February 1, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Poetry In Motion: Why I'll Be Watching The Super Bowl

Randy Moss of the 49ers glides down the field, under an arcing football, on his way to a touchdown against the Patriots on December 16, 2012.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

I don't blame professional footballers for suing the NFL for supposedly having failed adequately to protect them from head injury.

That's the way we do things in our society. We see a problem and start suing; it's our way of trying to figure out what changes need to be made and whose insurance companies are going to pay for them.

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Fri February 1, 2013

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.


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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