Science

8:07am

Sat January 18, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

A Supersilly Super Bowl 'What If ... ?'

Bad british NFL commentary.
TheExplodingHeads YouTube

We're only a few Sundays shy of the big game, so here's a Super Bowl warm-up video, a "What if ... ?"

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8:29pm

Fri January 17, 2014
The Two-Way

California's Governor Declares Drought State Of Emergency

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a chart showing California's average precipitation as he declares a drought state of emergency for the state Friday. Brown asked residents to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.

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12:18pm

Fri January 17, 2014
Shots - Health News

One Downside Of Home Wart Treatments: Bursting Into Flames

The chemicals in home wart-freezing treatments are flammable, the Food and Drug Administration warns.
Courtesy of FDA

Wart removal seems so simple a medical treatment that it would be hard to mess it up. Until you start a fire.

The Food and Drug Administration says that it has received reports of 14 people being burned or starting fires while using wart-freezing devices since 2009.

Cryogenic wart removers contain a mixture liquid dimethyl ether and propane, which is highly flammable and doesn't require very high temperatures to catch fire.

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11:12am

Fri January 17, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Katydid Dilemma: Will You Eat Insects?

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:30 pm

Dan Kitwood Getty Images

It's right there on the dinner menu at Oyamel (a Washington, D.C., restaurant), listed under the "authentic Mexican tacos" section:

Chapulines

The legendary Oaxacan specialty of sauteed grasshoppers, shallots, tequila and guacamole.

$5.00

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7:25pm

Thu January 16, 2014
Environment

About 6,000 Natural Gas Leaks Found In D.C.'s Aging Pipes

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:18 pm

A close-up schematic of leaks near the U.S. Capitol shows high leak densities east of the building, but few leaks over the National Mall, where very few natural gas pipelines exist.
Robert B. Jackson/Environmental Science and Technology

The nation's capital is a pretty old city by American standards. It dates back to the late 18th century. Despite frequent face-lifts, parts of it are wearing out — for example, its underground gas pipelines. New research shows that Washington, D.C., suffers from thousands of leaks of natural gas.

"We drove 1,500 road miles in Washington, D.C., and found about 6,000 leaks," says Robert Jackson, an ecologist and environmental scientist at Duke University. "That's roughly four leaks every mile."

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4:30pm

Thu January 16, 2014
The Two-Way

In Search For Habitable Planets, Why Stop At 'Earth-Like'?

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

Kepler-22b, seen in this artist's rendering, is a planet a bit larger than Earth that orbits in the habitable zone of its star. Some researchers think there might be "superhabitable" worlds that may not resemble Earth.
NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

In their hunt for potentially habitable planets around distant stars, scientists have been so focused on finding Earth-like planets that they're ignoring the possibility that other kinds of planets might be even friendlier to life, a new report says.

So-called superhabitable worlds wouldn't necessarily look like Earth but would nonetheless have conditions that are more suitable for life to emerge and evolve, according to the study published this month in the journal Astrobiology.

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4:11pm

Thu January 16, 2014
Animals

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

A northern spotted owl in a Redwood forest.
Michael Nichols Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

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1:42pm

Thu January 16, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Thomas Jefferson Needs A Dead Moose Right Now To Defend America

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:51 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

They were so young, the folks who invented America. James Madison, on July 4, 1776, was 25. James Monroe was 18, Alexander Hamilton, 21, Marquis de Lafayette, 18, Aaron Burr, 20, Betsy Ross, 24, Gilbert Stuart, 20. Ben Franklin, of course, was much older, grander and world famous. But he was the only one.

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9:58am

Thu January 16, 2014
The Salt

Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:59 pm

Dopamine levels change when food becomes boring.
TED-Ed/YouTube

3:27am

Thu January 16, 2014
Science

An Old Tree Doesn't Get Taller, But Bulks Up Like A Bodybuilder

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:12 am

The world's biggest trees, such as this large Scots pine in Spain's Sierra de Baza range, are also the world's fastest-growing trees, according to an analysis of 403 tree species spanning six continents.
Asier Herrero Nature

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.

Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.

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