A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.
On a Sunday at dusk, Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder train is jampacked, filled with people heading to their jobs in North Dakota towns like Minot, Williston and Watford City.
In 2008, as scientists documented a record melt in the Arctic ice and Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth was in theaters, a half dozen major investment houses launched mutual funds designed to take advantage of financial opportunities offered by climate change.
Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 2:26 pm
By Adam Frank
Odds are good that there's a mass extinction going on right now. It will be only one of six in the entire history of the planet. In the past these great die-offs have been caused by asteroid impacts and rapid, devastating climate change driven by volcanism.
This time it's driven by you and me.
How does that make you feel? How should that make you feel? The answer to this question depends mightily on what you think of as nature and where you think we fit into it.
The clinical definition for when a child has some form of autism has been tightened. And these narrower criteria for autism spectrum disorder probably will reduce the number of kids who meet the new standard.
But researchers say the changes, which were rolled out last May, are likely to have a bigger effect on government statistics than on the care of the nation's children.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:56 am
By Tania Lombrozo
"The great tragedy of Science," wrote Thomas Henry Huxley, is "the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."
Of course, part of what makes science so powerful is its very willingness to see its darlings go by the wayside. New facts come in, new ideas emerge and once-valued notions make their way from science texts to history books.
In recent years geologists have hotly debated the age of the Grand Canyon. Some think it's young (just 6 million years old), while others argue that it dates back 70 million years â€” to the days of dinosaurs.
Now one group says the Grand Canyon is neither young nor old. Instead, these geologists say, it's both.