Science

10:50am

Fri January 4, 2013
NPR Story

A Journey To The Oort Cloud, Where Comets Are Born

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 1:33 pm

The comet ISON, discovered by two amateur astronomers last year, will zoom past the Earth next fall. But where did it come from? Astronomer Andrew Fraknoi says a passing star could have flung the comet our way from the Oort Cloud, a distant realm of ice chunks at the outer limits of the solar system.

4:41am

Fri January 4, 2013
Energy

Budget Deal Provides Tax Brakes For Green Energy

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:27 pm

Ruben Fragoso checks out appliances at Best Buy in Miami in April 2010, when Florida residents were taking advantage of a federally funded discount for Energy Star-rated appliances. Legislation just passed by Congress as part of the fiscal-cliff deal includes tax breaks for energy-efficient appliances.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Whether you're a homeowner who bought an energy-saving refrigerator last year or a company hoping to build a wind farm, the tax package Congress just approved may give you a reason to cheer.

"It's got something in there, a Christmas gift if you will, for almost everyone — American homeowners, workers who commute via transit, and manufacturers of efficient equipment like clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators," says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

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3:28am

Fri January 4, 2013
Science

From Canada To Latin America, The Christmas Bird Count Is On

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:46 am

From left, bird-watchers John Williamson, Donna Quinn, Bruce Hill and Frances Raskin try to spot as many different species as possible during this season's bird count in Loudoun County, Va.
Veronique LaCapra NPR

Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.

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6:17pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

You Can't See It, But You'll Be A Different Person In 10 Years

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am

iStockphoto.com

No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.

That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.

Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.

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5:36pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Energy

Wind Industry Secures Tax Credit, But Damage May Be Done

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:10 pm

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. Although Congress voted to extend a wind energy tax credit, the temporary uncertainty dealt a blow to the industry.
Charlie Riedel AP

The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.

Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.

Growing Uncertainty

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10:59am

Thu January 3, 2013
The Salt

Apes Have Food, Will Share For A Social Payoff

Bonobos sharing food and friendship.
JingZhi Tan Duke University

People have been sharing food with strangers since ancient days, offering up the household's finest fare to mysterious travelers. Think Abraham and the three men of Mamre in the Bible and the folks who take in strangers after natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. That deep tradition of generous hospitality has long been thought uniquely human.

If so, then bonobos, those gregarious African apes, may be more like us than we thought.

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5:40pm

Wed January 2, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Dark Matter In A Minute

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 10:43 am

See, it's not that hard to explain. Of course we still don't know what Dark Matter is yet.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:10pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Science

'Stand Your Ground' Linked To Increase In Homicides

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 10:54 am

George Zimmerman (left) and his attorney appear in court for a bond hearing in June. Zimmerman's case sparked a nationwide debate about so-called "stand your ground" laws.
Joe Burbank AP

If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.

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11:38am

Wed January 2, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Grrr, Said The Grylloblattid. I'm Not Leaving. Not Yet.

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:01 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

3:46am

Wed January 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Can Skinny Models Undermine Your Dieting Goals?

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:16 am

Posting a picture like this on the fridge might seem like good motivation for weight loss. But scientists say it might instead inspire weight gain.
iStockphoto.com

The millions of Americans who make New Year's resolutions to lose weight often have pictures in mind.

They're pictures that have been repeatedly supplied by the health and beauty magazines at supermarket checkout lines. They feature skinny models in bikinis, or toned guys with six-pack abs, and captions about how you could look like this by summer.

Some people go so far as to tape these pictures onto their refrigerators and cupboards. When they're tempted to reach for a cookie, they reason, the sight of that toned model might dissuade them from breaking their resolutions.

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