Science

9:41am

Wed January 8, 2014
The Two-Way

NASA Reportedly Gets OK To Keep Space Station Going Until 2024

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:25 am

Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio replace a pump on the International Space Station during a spacewalk last month.
NASA Reuters/Landov

The White House has approved NASA's call for four more years for the International Space Station, ensuring that the orbiting science laboratory will keep going for another decade, according to documents obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.

The newspaper writes:

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8:27am

Wed January 8, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 12:56 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinner asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thingand what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.

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7:21pm

Tue January 7, 2014
The Salt

Think You're Cold And Hungry? Try Eating In Antarctica

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:24 pm

Morrie Fisher drinks at Mawson Station, an Australian base in East Antarctica, in 1957. Apparently, these sorts of amusements tend to pop up when you're bored in a barren landscape.
Courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Division

If the icy blast of polar air that's descended upon much of the U.S. over the last couple of days has you reaching for the cookie jar for comfort — and ready to give up on those New Year's resolutions — then seriously? It's time to toughen up. Just think: At least you're not in the Antarctic.

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5:22pm

Tue January 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

50 Years After Landmark Warning, 8 Million Fewer Smoking Deaths

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:22 pm

Tobacco companies incorporated doctors in their ads, such as this 1930 Lucky Strike campaign, to convince the public that smoking wasn't harmful.
Stanford University

Saturday marks an important milestone in public health – the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health.

Few if any documents have had the impact of this one — both on the amount of disease and death prevented, and on the very scope of public health.

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3:51pm

Tue January 7, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

GMOs And The Dilemma Of Bias

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 7:20 pm

A field of transgenic soybeans, resistant to drought and salinity, in Argentina.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

We have taken on the issue of science and politics a lot in this blog. As a culture saturated with science, one of the most pressing issues we face is how to evaluate research when its conclusions challenge our world-views. This is certainly the issue with climate change, where Al Gore's championing the case for climate action galvanized many against it.

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8:42am

Tue January 7, 2014
The Salt

To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!)

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:27 pm

At NPR's Sound Bites Cafe, all food gets coded with one of three circles: Green is reserved for the most healthful dishes; yellow flags the "good choices;" and red signals the high-calorie foods to grab "on occasion."
NPR

Could a little red circle really make me bypass short ribs and mashed potatoes for some cod and rice instead? You've got to be kidding.

Well, a team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital sure think so — at least sometimes — and they have a study that backs them up.

It's research that hits close to home: Last April, when NPR moved into new headquarters, we got a snazzy new cafeteria. And little colored circles started popping up on menus.

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6:51am

Tue January 7, 2014
Science

Can't Stand The Cold Snap? Don't Go To Antarctica

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And with much of the nation is in the middle of this brutal cold snap, let's take a moment to hear from scientists who study other planets or even the chilliest places on Earth. Those researchers commonly encounter temperatures that make this news-making cold seem downright balmy. We asked NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel to find out just how low it can go.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: I caught up with researcher Paul Mayewski yesterday just as he was headed out of town.

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5:02am

Tue January 7, 2014
Science

Polar Vortex Blamed For Dangerously Cold Weather

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. Here are the voices of some meteorologists around the country. This was in Indianapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is the coldest wind chill I've ever reported in on the Weather Channel. It's 41 below zero. The air temperature is 13. In fact, it has dropped eight degrees in four hours this morning, as that wind just eats right through you.

GREENE: And no surprise, it is also cold in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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4:36pm

Mon January 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

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4:27pm

Mon January 6, 2014
Environment

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

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