Science

12:30pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

When You're Almost Extinct, Your Price Goes Up

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 12:35 pm

Illustration by NPR

When a species gets rare, its market value rises. The higher its price, the more it's hunted. The more it's hunted, the rarer it gets. Not a happy cycle, and this keeps happening ...

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10:45am

Wed October 24, 2012
The Salt

When Fire Met Meat, The Brains Of Early Humans Grew Bigger

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:08 pm

Actors Stan Laurel and Edna Marlon play at socializing around the campfire. It turns out that early man's brain developed in part thanks to cooking.
Hulton Archive Getty

If you're reading this blog, you're probably into food. Perhaps you're even one of those people whose world revolves around your Viking stove and who believes that cooking defines us as civilized creatures.

Well, on the latter part, you'd be right. At least according to some neuroscientists from Brazil.

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5:21pm

Tue October 23, 2012
Science

Italian Seismologists Convicted Of Manslaughter

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:18 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Scientists around the world were stunned yesterday when a judge in Italy found six Italian earthquake experts and a government official guilty of manslaughter. The judge found that the men downplayed the risk of a major earthquake in the city of L'Aquila. A 6.3 magnitude quake struck in early April 2009 and killed more than 300 people. Shortly before that earthquake struck, the scientists had held a meeting in L'Aquila to examine a recent spate of tremors, a so-called swarm of seismic activity.

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1:53pm

Tue October 23, 2012
Animals

Baby Beluga, Swim So Wild And Sing For Me

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:18 am

This image, from an archival video, shows the white whale NOC swimming around and under researchers' boats.
Current Biology

Whales are among the great communicators of the animal world. They produce all sorts of sounds: squeaks, whistles and even epic arias worthy of an opera house.

And one whale in particular has apparently done something that's never been documented before: He imitated human speech.

The beluga, or white whale, is smallish as whales go and very cute, if you're into marine mammals. Belugas are called the "canaries of the sea" because they're very vocal.

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1:21pm

Tue October 23, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

See No Evil, Say No Evil. But As for Hearing? Hmmm

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:07 pm

Dorit Hockman Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

These are baby bats — embryos actually. They remind me of those See No Evil, Say No Evil, Hear No Evil monkey pictures I saw growing up, but these little guys are much, much cuter. And, of course, being bats, the hearing thing doesn't apply. Bats don't hear with our kind of ears, so of course, there's no covering-ears-up picture. That wouldn't make bat sense.

This photograph was taken by Dorit Hockman of Cambridge University. It's the 20th place winner in the Nikon Small World 2012 Photomicrography Competition.

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12:41pm

Tue October 23, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Cities: Salvation Or Infestation?

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 4:30 pm

Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Last week I completed my series on physics and cities for the NPR Cities Project and, in the process, managed to piss off a more than a few people.

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12:33pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

How Human Beings Almost Vanished From Earth In 70,000 B.C.

Robert Krulwich NPR

Add all of us up, all 7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then?

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8:11am

Mon October 22, 2012
Science

Research Highlights Strengths Of Adolescent Brain

Adolescent brains have gotten a bad rap, according to neuroscientists. It's true that teenage brains can be impulsive, scientists reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans. But adolescent brains are also vulnerable, dynamic and highly responsive to positive feedback.

8:11am

Mon October 22, 2012
Science

Amateur 'Planet Hunters' Find One With Four Suns

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now is the moment in the program when I admit that I am a total Star Wars nut. Those of you with me, you might recall that Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine enjoyed the warmth of not one but two suns. That dramatic scene, you remember Luke at dusk gazing at the weird peaceful sunset.

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6:32am

Sun October 21, 2012
The Salt

Despite Protest, College Plans To Slaughter, Serve Farm's Beloved Oxen

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 8:03 am

After a leg injury didn't heal well earlier this year, Lou has difficulty walking. He and his partner, Bill, will be slaughtered at the end of the month, and their meat will be used to feed students at Green Mountain College in Vermont.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

If the thought of eating horse meat makes you queasy, what about strong, sturdy oxen? A small Vermont college that emphasizes sustainable living will soon slaughter two beloved campus residents: Bill and Lou, a pair of oxen. Green Mountain College plans to serve the meat from the oxen in its dining hall, but the plan has drawn international outcry and a massive Facebook petition to save the oxen.

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