Mon December 17, 2012

Photo Project Tracks Climate Change On Everest

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:18 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block.

Mount Everest is a symbol of excellence and of danger. The world's highest peak means success to mountaineers. And it's also, according to filmmaker David Breashears, a canary in the coalmine of climate change. Breashears has just returned from a trip to Nepal where he's been gathering extraordinary images of Everest's retreating glaciers.

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Mon December 17, 2012
Shots - Health News

Scientists Look For New Drugs In Skin Of Russian Frog

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:01 pm

Before the advent of refrigeration, Russians had a neat trick for keeping their milk from spoiling. They'd drop a live frog in the milk bucket.

The Russians weren't sure how this amphibian dairy treatment worked, but they were convinced it did.

Since then, researchers have discovered that the goo some frogs secrete through their skin has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

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Mon December 17, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

This Should Be A Hit In Texas: Puddle Of Oil Turns Into A Christmas Tree

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:41 am


We start with a pool of oil. We turn on a magnet. The oil travels up a superstructure and blossoms into a tree. Turn off the magnet, the branches, the needles, the tree melt away. It's a puddle again.

The perfect tree for an oil billionaire, no?

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Mon December 17, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Climate Change Revisited: It Isn't Just For Natural Scientists Anymore

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:41 am

Wind generators at Pacific Hydro's Cape Bridgewater wind farm in Warrnambool, Australia, in May 2012. Each generator produces roughly enough energy to meet the annual needs of 12,000 households.
Mark Dadswell Getty Images

Last week I shared an interview with Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive psychologist and Winthrop Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. Lewandowsky's recent research investigates why people do or don't accept the lessons of contemporary climate science, and in my post we discussed the provocative new finding that rejecting anthropogenic climate change is associated with conspiratorial thinking.

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Mon December 17, 2012
Shots - Health News

Herbs And Empires: A Brief, Animated History Of Malaria Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:57 am

Adam Cole NPR

What do Jesuit priests, gin and tonics, and ancient Chinese scrolls have in common? They all show up in our animated history of malaria.

It's a story of geopolitical struggles, traditional medicine, and above all, a war of escalation between scientists and a tiny parasite. Malaria has proved to be a wily foe: Every time we think we have it backed into a corner, it somehow escapes.

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Mon December 17, 2012
Research News

Why Tragedies Alter Risk Perception



After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.

Shankar, good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?

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Mon December 17, 2012

EPA Targets Deadliest Pollution: Soot

The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening the standard for how much soot in the air is safe to breathe. Fine particles come from the combustion of fossil fuels by cars and industrial facilities. They're linked to all kinds of health problems, including heart attacks and lung ailments like asthma. States will be required to clean up their air to the level specified by the new standard.


Sun December 16, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Science And The Allure Of 'Nothing But'

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 6:03 pm

A car cannot be reduced to an engine, just as a person cannot be reduced to a brain.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Science has yet to produce any robust theory of how neural activity gives rise to thought, feeling, emotion, personality, conscious experience.

Indeed, at the present time, we don't even have a good sketch of what such a brain-based theory would look like.

This not a controversial claim.

And yet it counts as one of the dogmas of our time that, in Francis Crick's words, you are your brain.

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Sat December 15, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Gift Giving: It Isn't Just The Thought That Counts

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 8:33 pm

Hulton Archive Getty Images

The winter holidays are upon us, and with them the excuse (or obligation) to buy presents for our loved ones. I was taught that it's the thought that counts; but recent findings in psychology suggest otherwise.

"It turns out it's not the thought that counts," says psychologist Nick Epley in a nice WSJ feature by Sumathi Reddy on gift giving. "It's the gift that counts."

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Sat December 15, 2012
The Salt

Your Kitchen Trash Reborn As Abstract Art

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:37 pm

Mixed Drinks
Courtesy of Huguette Roe

Consider the lowly soda can. After the pop, the fizz, the guzzle, it's dumped into a recycling bin and chucked curbside with the rest of the trash.

But just as it has reached a sort of existential low point — empty, forgotten, discarded — voila! The can transforms into a thing of beauty.

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