Thu November 8, 2012
Shots - Health News

The Beatles' Surprising Contribution To Brain Science

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:18 am

The Beatles rehearse for that night's Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1963.
Central/Hulton Achive/Getty Images

The same brain system that controls our muscles also helps us remember music, scientists say.

When we listen to a new musical phrase, it is the brain's motor system — not areas involved in hearing — that helps us remember what we've heard, researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans last month.

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Wed November 7, 2012

Can Dumping Iron Into The Sea Fight Climate Change?

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

John Disney (second from left) looks over the underwater probe used in his company's ocean fertilization project, at a news conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in October.
Andy Clark Reuters/Landov

Environmental officials in Canada are investigating what some have called a "rogue climate change experiment." Over the summer, a native village on the coast of British Columbia dumped more than 100 tons of iron sulfate into the ocean. The idea was to cause a bloom of plankton, which would then capture greenhouse gases.

That's the theory, anyway. The reality is a bit more complicated.

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Wed November 7, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Freedom Has Its Own Constraints

The relationship between science and the government shifted dramatically in the wake of World War II, when the fruits of basic research resulted in an applied technology that changed the course of the war and world forever. Above, a nuclear explosion at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945.
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Now that the election is over and we have a winner, we can move on to consider questions that are of concern to any presidency. In fact, the question I'd like to consider today goes to the very core of scientific research and the way it functions in modern democracies, fomenting intellectual and technological innovation.

Are scientists who receive funds from the government free to create?

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Wed November 7, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

When You're Visited By A Copy of Yourself, Stay Calm

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:18 pm

Charles Michelet for NPR

You know Carl Linnaeus, right? The great Swedish naturalist who categorized plants and animals in the 1750s? He was a singular figure in botany. But when he got a headache, he stopped being singular. He doubled, from one Carl to two.

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Wed November 7, 2012
The Salt

California Rejects Labeling Of Genetically Modified Food; Supporters Vow To Fight On

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 1:14 pm

Supporters of genetically modified food labeling rally last month at Los Angeles City Hall.

What a difference $46 million in TV ad spending can make.

At least that was the consensus in the wee hours of the morning at the Yes on Proposition 37 party, held at a performance art space in San Francisco's Mission District, even before the final votes were tallied.

Outspent many times over, "we couldn't get up on the air," organizer Stacy Malkan told The Salt when it appeared the measure was going down. "You need a certain saturation to have an impact."

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Tue November 6, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Protection From The Sea Is Possible, But Expensive

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 9:14 am

Residents of the Colonial Place neighborhood watch as heavy rain from Hurricane Sandy floods the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 28.
Rich-Joseph Facun Reuters/Landov

While New York City and other places along the Northeast coast are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, they're also looking ahead to how they can prevent flooding in the future, when sea level rise will make the problem worse. They may be able to take some lessons from coastal Norfolk, Va., which is far ahead of most cities when it comes to flood protection.

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Tue November 6, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

An Empty Debate: Politics Without Science

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 10:11 am

Navy specialists repair a weather buoy collecting data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) off the Atlantic coast of Africa. President Richard Nixon, a Republican, created NOAA, one of our principal resources for understanding the Earth's climate.
Elizabeth Merriam U.S. Navy

Where is "science" this election season? It's everywhere and nowhere.

From the big race on down to local contests, we just haven't heard much talk about it during the campaign season that ends today. That's a pretty startling omission when you realize that almost all of the pressing, complex problems we face as a nation have roots in science and technology.

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Tue November 6, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Norfolk, Va., Puts Flooding Survival Plan To The Test

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 12:18 pm

Motorists drive through standing water at an intersection flooded from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida in the Ocean View area of Norfolk, Va., in November 2009.
Steve Helber AP

Superstorm Sandy got officials in New York and New Jersey talking about how to prevent flooding in a time of global warming and sea level rise.

But the place on the East Coast that's most vulnerable to flooding is several hundred miles south, around Norfolk, Va. — and Norfolk has already spent many years studying how to survive the rising waters.

Scientists say what Norfolk has learned is especially important in light of new research showing that the coastline from North Carolina to Boston will experience even more sea level rise than other areas.

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Mon November 5, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Are You Responsible For The Outcome Of The Election?

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

A voter fills out a ballot Sunday in Jersey City, New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie ordered early-voting stations to stay open through the weekend.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

We've all heard arguments that go something like this: it's not rational to vote, because the probability that your vote will make a difference is vanishingly small. This idea is formalized as "the paradox of not voting," and follows from a simple application of rational-choice theory.

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Sun November 4, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is It Safe For Pre-Teen Girls To Run Long Distances Competitively?

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:22 pm

The two sisters, Kaytlynn and Heather Welsch, have competed in over 70 endurance events, including rugged 13-mile trail runs, triathlons, and half-marathons. They are earning national attention, even more for their youth than their impressive athletic performances: They are 12 and 10 years old.

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