Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 2:13 pm
By Marcelo Gleiser
Credit JPL-Caltech / NASA
This month, for the first time in history, a probe built by humans left the confines of the solar system for the depths of interstellar space. NASA launched Voyager 1 in September 1977, when Jimmy Carter was president and I had just finished high school.
The era of interstellar travel, up to now the exclusive province of sci-fi, has officially begun.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:03 pm
Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden's 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.
Credit Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden
From vacant lots to vertical "pinkhouses," urban farmers are scouring cities for spaces to grow food. But their options vary widely from place to place.
While farmers in post-industrial cities like Detroit and Cleveland are claiming unused land for cultivation, in New York and Chicago, land comes at a high premium. That's why farmers there are increasingly eyeing spaces that they might not have to wrestle from developers: rooftops that are already green.
There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.
According to a venerable way of thinking about science and its place in our lives, science is value-free. Science sets its sights on the facts. It is interested in the way the world is apart from inherently subjective matters of interpretation. Science can learn the facts without needing to take a stand on values. Science needn't concern itself with tedious and undecidable debates about matters of value.
Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.
That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.
Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly — so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.
But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.
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When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.