Tue March 4, 2014
The Salt

In The New Globalized Diet, Wheat, Soy And Palm Oil Rule

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:21 am

The world is increasingly relying on a few dozen megacrops, like wheat and potatoes, for survival. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas.
Danny Johnston AP

These days you can fly to far corners of the world and eat pretty much the same food you can get back home. There's pizza in China and sushi in Ethiopia.

A new scientific study shows that something similar is true of the crops that farmers grow. Increasingly, there's a standard global diet, and the human race is depending more and more on a handful of major crops for much of its food.

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Mon March 3, 2014
The Salt

The Secret Lives Of Cows: Jumping For Joy

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:26 am

Not quite jumping over the moon but ... : An animal named Luna (get it?) jumps over an obstacle with rider Regina Mayer on her back in the Bavarian town of Traunstein, in southern Germany.
Michael Hudelist AFP/Getty Images

Ah, cows. They're big, lumbering, earthbound beasts, right? But sometimes, Bessie and pals just have to get airborne.

That gif of dairy cows "jumping for joy" is from a video that's been making the rounds on the Internet. We spotted it last week when food journalist Michael Pollan tweeted it out:

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Sun March 2, 2014
The Salt

Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:09 pm

No snowpack, no hay: In the northern Nevada, cattle feed is getting hard to come by, as sources of water diminish in supply.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought.

Much of the state is desert, so when people talk about drought, they're really talking about the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. It's at barely 20 percent of average.

This is a huge concern for farmers and ranchers like Julie Wolf, because the mountains store the snow that melts and feeds rivers and reservoirs. These bodies of water then allow the desert to bloom with grass and alfalfa for her cattle.

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Sun March 2, 2014

Ecological Stories Uncovered With Whale Bones In Chile

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 11:30 am



Now some years ago, road workers in the South American country of Chile discovered something big, really big - whale bones. And not just one or two of them, 40 giant skeletons including those of adult whales cradled together with juveniles. Scientists were called in, including my guest, Nick Pyenson.

Nick is the curator of Fossil Marine Mammals at the Smithsonian. He has to look after these things there. And this past week, he and his colleagues released their most comprehensive review yet of the site in Chile.

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Sat March 1, 2014
The Two-Way

Creation Museum: Bill Nye Debate Sparked Funding 'Miracle'

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 2:12 pm

TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham on Feb. 4 at the Petersburg, Ky, museum.
Dylan Lovan AP

Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum who last month debated TV personality Bill Nye "The Science Guy" pitting his Biblical literalism against Darwinian evolution, says the highly publicized showdown has been like manna from heaven for a foundering $73 million Noah's Ark theme park.

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Sat March 1, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Polar Bear Flip-Flop: People Hated, Then Loved These Photos. What Changed?

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 12:56 am

Norbert Rosing National Geographic/Getty

This couldn't be.

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Fri February 28, 2014
The Two-Way

A Pelican Shows Us What It's Like To Fly

A peli-cam captures the flight of a bird on Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika.

Pelicans have the life. They live by the water, fly over the ocean, and eat lots of fish. Among humans, only T.C. from Magnum P.I. comes close to matching them. And he's just a fictional character, played by Roger E. Mosley.

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Fri February 28, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Limits Of Simulation

Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, a man living in someone else's dream. The 1998 movie The Truman Show asks us to look at experience and reality with fresh eyes.
Melinda Sue Gordon The Kobal Collection/Paramount

The idea that the world might be living in a simulation — discussed in Marcelo's post this week — is brought to life with wit and power in Peter Weir's 1998 film The Truman Show. Young Truman, who has been raised inside a simulation — a reality TV show! — is free to explore his environment; he can move around and pursue his interests and interrogate and probe.

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Fri February 28, 2014
The Two-Way

Stunning And Amazing: Northern Lights Wow U.K.

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 6:15 pm

People view the Northern Lights over Bamburgh Castle Beach Thursday in Northumberland, England. A powerful solar flare caused the aurora borealis to be visible farther south than usual.
Josh Maidwell Barcroft Media/Landov


Fri February 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Strong Sex Life Helps Couples Cope With The Trials Of Aging

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:32 am

Intimacy in a marriage becomes even more important as we get older.
Radius Images Corbis

Health problems can put a strain on a marriage at any age. But as we get older, chronic illnesses can make it even tougher to keep the spark alive.

Scientists at the University of Chicago have uncovered one way couples can offset the stresses of illness and aging: more physical intimacy.

Couples who continue to be sexually active over the years report higher levels of satisfaction in their marriages, the sociologists reported last month.

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