Science

3:22am

Fri November 9, 2012
It's All Politics

What Earthquakes Can Teach Us About Elections

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University, discusses his 13 keys to a successful election campaign on April 13 in his office in Washington, D.C.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

In January 2010, more than a year before Mitt Romney had formally announced he was running for president, political historian Allan Lichtman predicted President Obama would be re-elected in 2012.

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4:41pm

Thu November 8, 2012
The Salt

You Can Thank A Whey Refinery For That Protein Smoothie

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:52 am

Tim Opper, of Cabot Cheese, inspects equipment that separates whey protein from sugar in the company's whey processing plant.
Dan Charles NPR

If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.

This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods — milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.

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1:23pm

Thu November 8, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

From A Tennessee Forest, Singing The Beauty Of Nature And Science

Moss and a cup fungus growing amid the decomposing leaves of Shakerag Hollow in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Courtesy of David Haskell

A scientist enters a hardwood forest in Tennessee. He doesn't collect soil, map the distribution of tree types or statistically sample the behavior of animals who live there.

Instead, he settles down in a patch of ground, one tiny bit of the forest he visits over and over. He watches, listens and takes notes. Eventually, he writes a book about what he learned. It's called The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch In Nature.

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11:18am

Thu November 8, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Mathematically Challenging Bagels

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:33 pm

A guide to making a Mobius bagel. Cut along the black line.
George W. Hart

3:21am

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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4:54pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Environment

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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1:55pm

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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12:05pm

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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11:04am

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.
cheeseslave Flickr.com

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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5:08pm

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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