Science

10:00am

Thu January 24, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

House Cat-Odyssey Highlights The Mysteries Of Animal Migration

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:50 pm

A Sandhill Crane flies in at sunset to roost for the night in the wetlands of the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. Migrating along the same route they've followed for thousands of years, about 25,000 Greater Sandhill Cranes pass through the San Luis Valley in late winter every year.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Early in November, a tortoiseshell cat named Holly jumped out of her human family's RV in Daytona Beach, Florida, and ran off. After a fruitless search, the husband and wife returned home to West Palm Beach without their cat.

Holly showed up back in West Palm Beach, only a mile from her house, on New Year's Eve. Because she had been micro-chipped, the family, two surprised and grateful humans and one bedraggled cat, were readily reunited.

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8:34am

Thu January 24, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Wile E. Coyote Teaches Math (And Despair) To Lucky Students In New Zealand

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 10:07 am

There's something about being upside down (from all of us in the Northern Hemisphere) that makes New Zealanders a little melancholy. At least that's my theory.

My evidence? Well, the other day, I was looking at a curriculum guide for math teachers ("maths" teachers, they would say) on the New Zealand Ministry of Education's site, where the text on top says, We want to equip "all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century."

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5:17am

Thu January 24, 2013
Animals

Research: Wolves Starchy Diet Led To Domesticated Dogs

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 9:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It took a very long time for this...

(SOUNDBITE OF WOLF HOWLING)

MONTAGNE: ...to evolve into this:

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

MONTAGNE: But the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs, including that Jack Russell terrier we just heard. Just how wolves came to live with people isn't really known. But as NPR's Veronique LaCapra reports, a new study suggests that food may have played a role.

VERONIQUE LACAPRA, BYLINE: Most dogs will eat just about anything.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG EATING)

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3:37am

Thu January 24, 2013
Research News

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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3:35pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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12:13pm

Wed January 23, 2013
The Salt

How The Sweet Potato Crossed The Pacific Before Columbus

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 11:15 am

A well-traveled root: A vendor sells sweet potatoes at a market near Manila in 2011. The Portuguese brought the root to the Philippines all the way from the Caribbean.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to spreading food around the world, Christopher Columbus and his European compatriots get most of the credit.

Yes, they introduced some quintessential ingredients into European and Asian cuisine. Who could imagine Italian food without the tomato? Or Indian and Chinese dishes without the spicy kick of chili peppers?

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11:38am

Wed January 23, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Can You Be In Two Places At Once? Let's Find Out!

It is rather rough to see that we are still in the stage of our swaddling clothes, and it is not surprising that the fellows struggle against admitting it (even to themselves).

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5:23am

Wed January 23, 2013
Politics

Obama Wants To Build On Climate Accomplishments

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:13 am

President Obama vowed in this week's inaugural speech to address climate change. The comments recevied a chilly reception in Congress. There are, however, steps the administration can take on its own.

3:39am

Wed January 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Rules Would Retire Most Research Chimps

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 3:56 pm

Two chimps groom each other at the Save the Chimps facility in Florida. The National Institutes of Health owns about 360 chimpanzees that aren't yet retired and that are living at research facilities; new guidelines say most of its chimps should be retired.
Save the Chimps

The National Institutes of Health should retire most of its chimps that are currently living in research facilities, according to a working group put together by the NIH to look at the future need for biomedical research on chimps.

The group did recommend keeping a small number of chimps in reserve in case they are needed for studies later on. But it also laid out a detailed description of the kind of living conditions that would be needed for those chimps, and said any proposed research should go through a review committee that includes members of the public.

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5:52pm

Tue January 22, 2013
Environment

In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address.
John Moore Getty Images

President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.

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