Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:03 pm
Over the past 27 years, Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its live coral cover, and a type of starfish is partly to blame for the alarming decline. Mark Eakin, head of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program, discusses how to save the world's largest coral reef system.
Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.
FLATOW: What you got for us this week?
LICHTMAN: This week's video pick is about a very menacing creature, and I want to give our listeners a chance to guess what it is based on some clues from University of Montana, biologist Doug Emlen and Erin McCullough.
ERIN MCCULLOUGH: These males have a giant pitchfork sticking out of their forehead.
Scientists have, for the first time, used stem cells to create eggs in mice. This long-sought breakthrough raises the possibility of some day doing the same thing to help treat infertility in people. As NPR's Rob Stein reports, that's generating a lot of debate.
How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:11 am
In an essay titled "How to be Gay" written for the review section of The Chronicle of Higher Education last month, David M. Halperin offered this provocative passage:
"Same-sex desire alone does not equal gayness. 'Gay' refers not just to something you are, but also to something you do. Which means that you don't have to be homosexual in order to do it. ... In short, it is a practice. And if gayness is a practice, it is something you can do well or badly."
You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 2:36 pm
When Einstein proposed the first cosmological model of the modern era in 1917, he had no reason to suppose that the Universe had a beginning. Everything indicated that the Universe was static and infinitely old, without an "origin" event. (A few redshift measurements made by Vesto Slipher in the United States were inconclusive and probably didn't make it to Europe, anyway.) Everything also indicated that the Milky Way was all there was out there. Other nebulae, seen with telescopes, were considered to be part of our galaxy.