Science

5:11pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Science

Greenland, Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 5:44 pm

An iceberg that likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland.
Ian Joughin Science/AAAS

Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.

But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.

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4:57pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Business

Lower Water Levels Dry Up Business On Great Lakes

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 5:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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3:44pm

Thu November 29, 2012
The Salt

Tastier Winter Tomatoes, Thanks to A Boom in Greenhouse Growing

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:36 am

The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Allison Aubrey NPR

It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.

But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.

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2:58pm

Thu November 29, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Story Of Bill And Lou: A Life And Death Animal Rights Controversy

Michael Sharry visits with Bill, front, and Lou (now deceased) on Nov. 8, 2012, at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.
Toby Talbot AP

At the dining halls of Green Mountain College in Vermont, one long-term goal is to offer meat only from animals raised and slaughtered in a humane way. Thirty percent of the student body is vegan or vegetarian, but that leaves 70 percent as meat eaters. Given the reality of meat-eating and meat-slaughtering habits in this country, this Green Mountain goal should be welcome news.

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2:05pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Space

Space Probe Finds Ice In Mercury's Craters

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 5:37 pm

Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.

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12:33pm

Thu November 29, 2012
The Salt

Quinoa Craze Inspires North America To Start Growing Its Own

The seeds of this goosefoot plant are known as quinoa, a superfood now in high demand and grown almost exclusively in South America. But some growers think they have the formula to grow it up north.
Janet Matanguihan courtesy Kevin Murphy

The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.

But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.

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9:52am

Thu November 29, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The Rubik's Cube That Isn't

YouTube

This is your brain making things up.

What you see isn't really there.

Even if I tell you "this isn't what you think," you'll think it anyway — until I make a simple move, and suddenly — you know.

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8:59am

Thu November 29, 2012
The Salt

Key To E. Coli-Free Spinach May Be An Ultrasonic Spa Treatment

Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
John Moore Getty Images

Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.

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5:43pm

Wed November 28, 2012
Research News

A Short Fuse For Fusion As Ignition Misses Deadline

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:07 am

A worker inspects a huge target chamber at the National Ignition Facility in California, in 2001, where beams from 192 lasers are aimed at a pellet of fusion fuel in the hopes of creating nuclear fusion.
Joe McNally Getty Images

The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif., has been called a modern-day moonshot, a project of "revolutionary science," and "the mother of all boondoggles."

NIF, as it's called, is a $5 billion, taxpayer-funded superlaser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion — basically a tiny star inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.

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2:12pm

Wed November 28, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Astrotheology: Do Gods Need To Be Supernatural?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:08 am

Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Call it the ponderous effect of the holidays, but today I'd like to share some reflections on our search for meaning.

Humans are limited beings. We are also creative and innovative, and by the diligent application of reason and, in different but complementary ways, by exercising our artistic expression, we manage to amplify our understanding of the world and of ourselves.

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