Science

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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12:24pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The End Of The World, My Way

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:06 am

YouTube

The Mayans being before my time, I'm too young for their End of the World.

Theirs comes from an ancient calendar that says "the fourteenth baktun" — a new era --will commence on Dec. 21, 2012.

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3:28am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:37 am

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

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11:52am

Wed December 19, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Guarantee: The World Will Not End On Friday

A replica Mayan Calendar Round showing the date September 21, 2004, opening day for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
Molly Stephey Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

According to countless prophecies, terrorizing people across the world, this will be my last contribution to 13.7. On Friday, December 21, the world will come to an end. I have been receiving dozens of concerned email messages from otherwise reasonable people, convinced that this time it is for real, that there is no escape.

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11:20am

Wed December 19, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Suddenly There's A Meadow In The Ocean With 'Flowers' Everywhere

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 1:40 pm

Courtesy of Matthias Wietz

It was three, maybe four o'clock in the morning when he first saw them. Grad student Jeff Bowman was on the deck of a ship; he and a University of Washington biology team were on their way back from the North Pole. It was cold outside, the temperature had just dropped, and as the dawn broke, he could see a few, then more, then even more of these little flowery things, growing on the frozen sea.

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5:43pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Shots - Health News

Research Chimps Get Permanent Retirement Home

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:27 pm

Chimpanzees check out a termite mound at the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Louisiana.
Chimp Haven

More than 100 chimps retired from medical research are about to get a new home.

Most of the primates who have been living at the New Iberia Research Center will soon make their permanent residence at the Chimp Haven sanctuary, the National Institutes of Health said Wednesday.

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3:59pm

Tue December 18, 2012
The Salt

Building A Rover Of The Edible Kind

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:47 pm

The other Mars Curiosity rover, made of gingerbread and on display on the Caltech campus.
Brian Bell courtesy California Institute of Technology

The folks at the California Institute of Technology have built another Mars rover, but this one will never get to leave Earth. Not surprising, really, since it's made of gingerbread.

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