Science

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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1:01pm

Mon November 12, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

An American Family

A sea of self-motivated individuals or a web of interdependent talents? Both, of course.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

... we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

... our destiny is shared ...

... this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among these are love and charity and duty and patriotism.

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3:23am

Mon November 12, 2012
Environment

Weighing The Prospects Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:17 am

President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in May in Cushing, Okla. Obama is under pressure to make a decision on the future of the pipeline during his second term.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Among the difficult decisions facing President Obama is whether to give the go-ahead for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada down to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Environmentalists want it blocked. They are concerned about endangering the Nebraska sand hills, under which is the largest aquifer in the country. It provides drinking water and irrigation water for several states.

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10:04am

Sun November 11, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Winner Is: Cloud Atlas

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Neo-Seoul: an inside joke in a movie about reincarnation?
Warner Bros.

Everything becomes and recurs eternally — escape is impossible!

--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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8:34am

Sat November 10, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Finnish Underwater Ice Fishing Mystery Finally Solved

That's ordinary air pouring out of the pail.
YouTube

I'm going to take you somewhere, but before I do, I should warn you that there's something not quite right about what you'll see. This place I'm going to show you will be astonishingly beautiful. It will be cold. It will be wet. But it will also be a touch — more than a touch — mysterious. So watch carefully.

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3:31pm

Fri November 9, 2012
The Salt

Sky-High Vegetables: Vertical Farming Sprouts In Singapore

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 3:44 pm

Mah Bow Tan, a member of Singapore's Parliament, inspects Chinese cabbage growing at the commercial vertical farm. Troughs of the veggies stack up to 30 feet in the greenhouse.
Courtesy of MNDsingapore.

Singapore is taking local farming to the next level, literally, with the opening of its first commercial vertical farm.

Entrepreneur Jack Ng says he can produce five times as many vegetables as regular farming looking up instead of out. Half a ton of his Sky Greens bok choy and Chinese cabbages, grown inside 120 slender 30-foot towers, are already finding their way into Singapore's grocery stores.

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12:02pm

Fri November 9, 2012
NPR Story

Climate Change Takes Flight in New Novel

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:53 am

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

Here's a big, giant question for you: Why do we believe what we believe? And how is it that two people can look at the exact same set of circumstances and see two completely different things? That philosophical question is at the center of a new book where, to put it another way, one person's beautiful miracle is another person's ecological crisis.

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