A 3-D model of HIV peeled back to show its layers. HIV's genetic material sits inside a spherical shell (gray matrix) studded with spikes (dark gray and orange). The sphere pops open when a T cell tugs on a spike.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:40 pm
More than half the country is experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit NPR/U.S. Drought Monitor
Texas experienced its worst drought on record last year. Now that the state is seeing some relief, drought conditions have consumed more than half the United States. Use this interactive map and chart to see how conditions have changed over time. Related story: 1,200 counties affected.
This algae, called <em>Chaetoceros atlanticus</em>, can bloom in the ocean when iron is added to the water. It captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carries the carbon down underwater when it sinks.
Credit Marina Montresor, SZN / Alfred Wegener Institute
A noted oceanographer once quipped that if you gave him a tanker half-filled with iron, he could give you an ice age. He was only half-joking.
Adding iron to the ocean can cause blooms of algae, which have the potential to take huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air and by so doing, cool the planet. And a report in Nature magazine now offers some support for that idea.
And now we turn to the Mississippi River. The drought has brought parts of the Mississippi to near record low water levels. Those shallow conditions pose difficulties for barge traffic on the river and we turn now to Mark Mestemacher who is co-owner of Ceres Barge Line. It's based in East St. Louis. Welcome to the program.
MARK MESTEMACHER: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And how low is the river in East St. Louis?
Credit U.S. Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum / AP
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was late for work. It was August 1945, and he'd just finished designing a 5,000-ton tanker for his company, Mitsubishi. He was heading to the office to finish up, clear out and head home, and that's when he saw the plane, high up in the sky over Hiroshima. He watched it drop a silvery speck into the air, and instinctively, says science writer Sam Kean, "he dove to the ground and covered his eyes and plugged his ears with his thumbs."
This was no ordinary bomb. The earth below shook, Yamaguchi was thrown up in the air, then smashed down and lost consciousness.
This next story takes on some new scientific research involving wily rodents, rodents that run around through the rainforest stealing mercilessly from one another. That doesn't sound very nice, but they're actually providing a service for the forest that may once have been provided by wooly mammoths.
NPR's Richard Harris could not resist telling a story with such an intriguing cast of characters.