Sun May 4, 2014

Climate Change Warming Up Business In The Arctic

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 6:19 pm



And if you're just joining us, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. Climate change is melting polar ice at an alarming rate. While this terrifies many people, especially those living near sea level, some businesses are seeing an opportunity, a big opportunity. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the year-round ice cover in the Arctic is now half the size it was in the 1980s. And previously inaccessible natural resources are now there for the taking.

Read more


Sun May 4, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

When Science Becomes News, The Facts Can Go Up In Smoke

People smoke marijuana, presumably, because it affects their brains, not despite that fact. Above, people in Sao Paulo, Brazil, campaign for the legalization of marijuana.
Nelson Almeida AFP/Getty Images

At dinner the other night with an experimental psychologist, we turned to the topic of science in the popular media. She bemoaned the fact that it's hard to get newspapers to get the facts right; even when you help reporters describe results correctly, she said, there is a tendency for headlines to bypass the subtlety and go for sensation. If it were up to her, she said, she'd simply refuse to return calls from science journalists and stick to taking care of business inside the lab.

Read more


Sun May 4, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Listen To These Lovely Cats. No, Actually, Don't

John Pitcher iStockphoto


Sat May 3, 2014

Playing Matchmaker To Empty Jobs And Those Seeking Them

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 9:50 pm

Chevron's El Segundo Refinery is just one of many in the Los Angeles area that must stock up on workers during fast turnaround projects.
David McNew Getty Images

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

Read more


Sat May 3, 2014
The Salt

Organic Farming Factions Spat Over Synthetic Substances

The National Organic Standards Board voted to no longer allow farmers to use the antibiotic streptomycin on organic apple and pear trees.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Here in the news biz, we rely on thumbnail descriptions, sparing you the details. We'll tell you, for instance, that organic farmers aren't allowed to use synthetic pesticides and factory-made fertilizer.

In general, that's true. But there's also a long list of pesky exceptions to the rule. And this week, a battle erupted over those exceptions: the synthetic or factory-made substances that organic farmers are still allowed to use because the farmers say they couldn't survive without them.

Read more


Fri May 2, 2014

How A Pan, A Lamp And A Little Bit Of Water Can Trap A Stink Bug

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:17 am



The brown marmorated stink bug is a real pest. It can be found now in 41 states, the District of Columbia and also Canada. The bugs destroy crops and frustrate humans because they, too, like to shelter indoors when it's cold outside. Scientists at Virginia Tech say they have come up with a trap that can be made for just a couple of dollars.

From member station WVTF, Robbie Harris has the story.

ROBBIE HARRIS, BYLINE: No matter how good a housekeeper you are, it's not easy to keep stink bugs from ruining your image.

Read more


Fri May 2, 2014
The Two-Way

Rock-Paper-Scissors Strategy Could Be More Than Mere Child's Play

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 4:22 pm

Contestants compete in a rock-paper-scissors tournament in Gainesville, Fla., in 2012. A new study indicates it's not as random as it seems.
Matt Stamey Gainesville Sun/Landov

The child's game rock-paper-scissors is designed for a random outcome in which no player has an advantage over any other.

While that might be true based solely on random probability, it ignores the way humans actually play the game, according to a new study published by Cornell University.

Read more


Fri May 2, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

'Wassup, Sheep?' He Asked

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:39 pm



Thu May 1, 2014

'Provocative' Research Turns Skin Cells Into Sperm

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:46 am

New research could be promising for infertile men. Scientists were able to make immature sperm cells from skin cells. Their next challenge is to make that sperm viable.

Scientists reported Thursday they had figured out a way to make primitive human sperm out of skin cells, an advance that could someday help infertile men have children.

"I probably get 200 emails a year from people who are infertile, and very often the heading on the emails is: Can you help me?" says Renee Reijo Pera of Montana State University, who led the research when she was at Stanford University.

Read more


Thu May 1, 2014
Shots - Health News

Contagious Aphrodisiac? Virus Makes Crickets Have More Sex

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:47 am

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Imagine if there were a virus that could get inside you and dial up your libido, so that you all of a sudden start mating more (more frequently and with more partners), so that the virus — the tricky, tricky, clever, little virus — could transmit itself through your lovemaking to somebody else, then somebody else, and somebody else after that.

Read more