Science

2:26pm

Wed November 14, 2012
Sports

Out Of Bounds: High Schools Should Ban Football

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

There's been plenty of discussion about head injuries in professional football, new equipment, new lawsuits and new rules as well. Inevitably, the conversation came to include high schools, most prominently when a school board member in - near Philadelphia proposed to end the football program. There's also been, sometimes, angry pushback. Last month, the discussion opened again in Dover, New Hampshire.

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12:47pm

Wed November 14, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Embracing Your Inner Robot: A Singular Vision Of The Future

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:13 pm

"Child-robot with Biomimetic Body" (or CB2) at Osaka University in Japan in 2009, where the android was slowly developing social skills by interacting with humans and watching their facial expressions, mimicking a mother-baby relationship.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

10:19am

Wed November 14, 2012
The Salt

Raise A Toast To Building Better Beer Bubbles Through Chemistry

You'll be seeing more of this white foamy stuff on top of the beers of the future, thanks to a recent genetic discovery.
Enrico Boscariol iStockphoto

Scientists may have finally solved a problem that has plagued beer drinkers for ages: Insufficient foam resiliency.

As any beer drinker can tell you, a tall glass of lager without a white, foamy head on top just doesn't look right. And even if you start out with one, it can dissipate fast. And that's just sad.

Now, microbiologists have identified the specific gene in yeast responsible for a beer's head and they say this discovery can lead to stronger, longer lasting, more aesthetically pleasing foam on your favorite brews.

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3:19am

Wed November 14, 2012
Humans

Study: Reading 'Maxim' Can Make You A Theft Target

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:06 am

TK
iStockphoto.com

Some time ago, a man wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a hoodie drove a dirty Ford Explorer into a carwash in Fort Worth, Texas. As soon as the car came back clean, he got it filthy again, and drove to the next carwash. He did this with every single full-service carwash in town.

The man wasn't suffering from a strange mental disorder; Patrick Kinkade was a criminologist conducting an experiment.

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3:18am

Wed November 14, 2012
Environment

A 'Green' Gold Rush? Calif. Firm Turns Trash To Gas

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:17 pm

Energy Of The Future? California company Sierra Energy is testing out a reactor that turns garbage — like these wood chips, metal fragments and plastics — into synthetic gas that can then be turned into a low-carbon diesel fuel.
Christopher Joyce NPR

Second of a two-part series. Read Part 1

California starts the ball rolling Wednesday on a controversial scheme to keep the planet from overheating. Businesses will have to get a permit if they emit greenhouse gases.

Some permits will be auctioned today; the rest are free. The big idea here is the state is putting a ceiling on emissions.

It's a gamble. And for this top-down climate plan to work, it has to usher in a greener, more efficient economy.

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5:30pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Environment

Calif. To Begin Rationing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 6:18 pm

California begins a new plan to ration greenhouse gas emissions from large companies on Wednesday. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit and get permits for those emissions. Above, the Department of Water and Power San Fernando Valley Generating Station, in Sun Valley, Calif., in 2008.
David McNew Getty Images

California begins a controversial experiment to curb climate change on Wednesday: The state will start rationing the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit.

It's the most ambitious effort to control climate change in the country. Some say the plan will cost dearly; supporters say it's the route to a cleaner economy.

Here's how the climate deal works. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit — from smokestacks to tailpipes — and they have to get permits for those emissions. The clock starts Jan. 1.

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12:12pm

Tue November 13, 2012
The Salt

Adventurous Eating Helped Human Ancestors Boost Odds Of Survival

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 9:38 am

The first prehistoric chef who looked out at a field of grass in Africa and said, "dinner!" may have helped our ancestors use new resources in new locations.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Picture, if you can, a prehistoric Bobby Flay — an inventive 3 million-year-old version of the Food Network star chef. He's struggling to liven up yet another salad of herbs and twigs when inspiration strikes. "We've got grass here, and sedge," he says. "Grass and sedge, that's what this dish needs!"

His pals take a tentative taste of this nouvelle cuisine. Sedges usually aren't considered gourmet fare, after all, by these human ancestors. They're tough grasslike plants that grow in marshes. But wow! Not only is this a new taste sensation, it's found in many places.

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10:21am

Tue November 13, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Death, But Softly

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:35 pm

Michel de Montaigne
Wikimedia Commons

It was 1569, or maybe early 1570, when it happened: A young French gentleman was out for a ride with his workers, all of them on horseback, when suddenly, "like a thunderbolt," he felt something thick and fleshy slam him from behind. (It was an overzealous, galloping assistant who couldn't stop in time.) Michel de Montaigne's horse crumbled, he went flying up, then down, he crashed to the ground. Then things went black.

When he came to, a minute or so later, he says,

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10:07am

Tue November 13, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Would You Vote For An Atheist? Tell The Truth

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 11:44 am

Darren Hauck Getty Images

Last week's election boasted many firsts: Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly gay senator, Tulsi Gabbard as the country's first Hindu member of Congress and Barack Obama will continue as the first black president of the United States. But some demographic groups remain underrepresented in high-level government positions.

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3:43am

Tue November 13, 2012
Energy

Across Pa., Abandoned Wells Litter The Land

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:02 am

An abandoned, unplugged well near the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania.
Scott Detrow StateImpact Pennsylvania

In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in northeast Pennsylvania, the Morris Run Coal Co. had just finished drilling a 5,385-foot-deep gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.

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