Science

12:42pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Space

Could Life Exist on Newfound Alien Planet?

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

In a paper to be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers identified five possible planets around the star Tau Ceti. One of these alien worlds is within the star's habitable zone. Study co-author Steven Vogt discusses whether life could exist on the planet.

12:42pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Books

The SciFri Book Club Tours 'The Planets'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

The SciFri Book Club is touring the solar system, with Dava Sobel's 2005 The Planets. Call in with a review of the book. Plus Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, joins the club to give an update on what's happened planet-wise since the book was published.

3:52am

Fri December 21, 2012
Research News

Why Some Kids Have An Inflated Sense Of Their Science Skills

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:49 pm

If you're a student at the halfway point of the academic year, and you've just taken stock of your performance, perhaps you have reason to feel proud of yourself.

But a recent study suggests some of the pride you feel at having done well — especially in science — may be unfounded. Or at least your sense of your performance may not be a very accurate picture of how good you actually are.

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3:21am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Salt

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:16 am

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

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5:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Energy

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Most hydraulic fracturing in California is done to extract to oil in areas like this field in Kern County. The state is drafting fracking regulations for the first time.
Craig Miller KQED

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.

Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.

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4:23pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Space

In Calif. Gold Country, A Rush That's Out Of This World

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
UC Davis

On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.

"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."

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4:02pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

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3:35pm

Thu December 20, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Holiday Wish: 2013, The Year Of The Chimpanzee

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:50 pm

Rufus, 46, now lives on an island in a Florida sanctuary run by Save the Chimps. Before his rescue, Rufus lived in a facility Save the Chimps calls "the dungeon."
Courtesy of Save the Chimps

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2013 will be "The Year of the Snake." I'm hopeful that in the United States it will become "The Year of the Chimpanzee."

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12:44pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:23 am

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

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12:34pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Environment

A 3.8 Billion-Pixel Tour Of Mount Everest

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:57 pm

A screen grab of an interactive image of Mount Everest by GlacierWorks
GlacierWorks

Photographer David Breashears of GlacierWorks was on All Things Considered Monday to talk about a new way of photographing the Himalayan region: By stitching together 400-plus images into one giant, zoomable, interactive image — or a "gigapan" containing more than a billion pixels.

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