From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
On the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, scientists are doing something astonishing. They're creating a white dwarf star - not a whole star but enough of one to study in minute detail. As part of his series, "Joe's Big Idea," NPR's Joe Palca introduces us to the astronomer behind this exotic project and explains why he's determined to learn all he can about this interesting stellar object.
Chinese leaders and lawmakers are huddled in Beijing for the annual session of parliament, and one man towers above the rest. That's because he's seven feet, six inches tall. The former Houston Rocket center Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes. He's also in his second year as a member of China's nominal Upper House of Parliament.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn has this report from Beijing on the former basketball star's foray into law and politics.
Researcher Jack Hopkins used barbed-wire snares to collect hair samples from bears in Yosemite. Analysis of isotope ratios in hair samples showed how much of the bears' diets came from human food.
Credit Courtesy of Jack Hopkins
One of the great joys of camping out in a national park is chowing down by the fire. But campers aren't the only ones drawn to burgers and s'mores roasting over an open flame, beneath a mass of twinkling stars.
Those rich aromas can also prove irresistible to the local critters. From bears to foxes to coyotes, biologists have documented wildlife getting irrevocably hooked on our food and food waste. And for good reason: Our food is way more calorie-rich — and thus, better for making babies — than the standard black bear fare of insects and leaves.
"Without original research or new data, Dominguez-Rodrigo attempts to resurrect 'the spirit of the old savanna hypothesis' via word games and revisionist history ... This attempted resurrection of an obsolete mind-set will stand as a monument to futility. — paleoanthropologist Tim White, in response to prehistorian M.
The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.
Credit Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society
An ad for Vampt's Lean Machine "recovery ale," which will be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows. Researchers say drinking beer after working out has some advantages, but there are big caveats.
Credit Courtesy of VAMPT
There may be some good news brewing for fitness and beer enthusiasts: Somewhere in the north, a Canadian beverage company has concocted a low-alcohol, protein-packed "fit beer" that is expected to be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows.
In New Mexico, the nation's only nuclear waste dump is closed. It's been several weeks since radioactive material was detected in the air at the site. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, the incident is shaping up to be yet another setback in the quest to find a home for America's nuclear waste.