Science

10:59am

Tue January 1, 2013
The Two-Way

Oil Drilling Rig Runs Aground In Gulf Of Alaska

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 6:44 am

Waves crash over the Kulluk oil rig, which washed aground on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska. Officials say aircraft have not spotted any signs of a fuel leak from the rig, which reportedly does not contain crude oil.
PA3 Jon Klingenberg Coast Guard

An oil drilling rig holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel, lubricating oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after it was being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.

"The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour," reports Jeff Brady, on NPR's Newscast. The Shell Oil rig is "about 250 miles south of Anchorage," Jeff says.

Update at 6:13 p.m. ET. No Sign of a Leak.

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3:00am

Tue January 1, 2013
Science

The Year Of The Higgs, And Other Tiny Advances In Science

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 9:44 am

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, the long-sought building block of the universe. This image shows a computer-simulation of data from the collider.
Barcroft Media/Landov

It's a year-end tradition to cobble together a list of the most important advances in science. But, truth be told, many ideas that change the world don't tend to spring from these flashy moments of discovery. Our view of nature — and our technology — often evolve from a sequence of more subtle advances.

Even so, chances are good that this year's list-makers will choose the discovery of the Higgs boson as the most important discovery of 2012.

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12:26pm

Mon December 31, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Another Year And I'm Still Here: A New Year's Meditation

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 12:17 pm

Rogier Wieland Vimeo

Updated Jan. 1, 2013: I've added a postscript to this post. You can find it at the bottom of this page.

Look at yourself. Right now.

You are muscle,skin, bone, brain, blood, warmed by energy, and all of you, every cell, even the subsets of those cells, all trillions and trillions of them, are going to tire, waste and depart. In 10 years almost every bit of you will have been replaced by new bits.

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5:49am

Mon December 31, 2012
Research News

Why Charities Need To Consider Donors' Politics

As American make contributions to various charities at the end of the year, there is increasing evidence that politics is playing a role in their decisions. Research suggests that the way the charity presses certain ideological buttons predicts whether liberals or conservatives will pony up a donation.

3:30am

Mon December 31, 2012
Shots - Health News

Research Moratoriums And Recipes For Superbugs: Bird Flu In 2012

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., use eggs to see if the Asian strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus has entered the U.S. in this photo from 2006.
Andy Manis AP

For scientists who study a dangerous form of bird flu, 2012 is ending as it began — with uncertainty about what the future holds for their research, but a hope that some contentious issues will soon be resolved.

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3:29am

Mon December 31, 2012
Environment

A Busy And Head-Scratching 2012 Hurricane Season

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

This satellite image from Oct. 28 shows Hurricane Sandy in the Atlantic Ocean before making landfall.
NASA via Getty Images

Superstorm Sandy is what most people will remember from the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. But Sandy was just one of 10 hurricanes this year — a hurricane season that was both busy and strange.

Late summer is when the hurricane season usually gets busy. But Greg Jenkins, a professor of atmospheric science at Howard University, says this year was different.

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3:29am

Mon December 31, 2012
The Salt

Cheap Bubbly Or Expensive Sparkling Wine? Look To The Bubbles For Clues

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:03 am

The bubbles in champagne tickle the tongue and transfer wonderful aromas to the nose.
iStockphoto.com

There's nothing like the distinctive "pop" of the uncorking of a bottle of bubbly to create a sense of celebration. Whether it's Dom Perignon or a $10 sparkling wine, bubbles add pizazz.

Sparkling-wine lovers sometimes point to the glittering streams of tiny bubbles as an important attribute. Why? Well, tiny bubbles are a sign of age, explains French chemist Gerard Liger-Belair, author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne.

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7:42am

Sat December 29, 2012
Shots - Health News

As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 9:24 am

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever, which may become a bigger problem in some regions as biodiversity is lost.
James Gathany CDC Public Health Image Library

Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines.

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3:32pm

Fri December 28, 2012
The Picture Show

This Milk Production Was Brought To You By A Robot

Photographer Freya Najade journeys into the weird sci-fi world of Europe's agricultural production. In one cow-milking facility she visited, "two people are needed to milk twice a day 300 cows," she writes.
Freya Najade

We all have an inkling of how our food is grown these days, but increasingly we don't really know what it looks like. You'd probably recognize a tomato plant or a cornfield — but these photos offer a perspective that a lot of us haven't seen.

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12:00pm

Fri December 28, 2012
NPR Story

The Renaissance Man Who Got It All Wrong

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. You've heard of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton, maybe even Pascal and Hooke, all Renaissance men who, between them, innovated in painting, sculpture, physics, math, chemistry, astronomy, architecture, philosophy, the list goes on. But how about Athanasius Kircher? Yeah, have you heard of him? Not ringing - no bells are ringing?

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