Science

10:10am

Sun December 22, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Amazing Snow Art Of Simon Beck

The artist stands above one of his creations.
Courtesy of Simon Beck

As a good portion of the country grapples with snow, here's a fresh way to think about those accumulating — and sometimes aggravating — inches of pure whiteness: as art canvas. That's how Simon Beck sees them.

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10:05am

Sun December 22, 2013
Science

Joe's Biggest Ideas From 2013

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the past year or so, NPR's Joe Palca has been on a new beat. He's calling it Joe's Big Idea. And it's been a chance for him to explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors, to find out what really makes them tick. We thought it might be a good time to check in with Joe and see what big ideas he has encountered along his journey. Hey Joe, thanks for being with us.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Oh, it's great to be here.

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5:10am

Sun December 22, 2013
The Salt

Flying This Holiday? Here Are A Few Tips To Survive Airline Food

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:56 am

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."
iStockphoto

When you think about a scrumptious meal, airline food does not come to mind.

There are plenty of challenges to tasty airline meals, like the fact that many airlines now charge you for anything more than a tiny bag of chips and a plastic cup of non-alcoholic drink, at least on domestic flights. Plus, you can't cook on an airplane, so anything you're served has probably been chilled, then reheated. And flight delays certainly don't help with the freshness factor.

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5:05am

Sun December 22, 2013
The Salt

Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:59 pm

Retired farmer Joe Govert looks at a parcel of family land near Tribune, Kan. It has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Charlie Riedel AP

As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.

Today's number: 1.6 million.

That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.

That's how much land was removed this year from the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat.

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5:33pm

Sat December 21, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

On Failing To Spot Gibberish

President Barack Obama speaks at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg. Standing to his right, Thamsanqa Jantjie gestures as if he is interpreting the speech for the deaf community.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

5:32pm

Sat December 21, 2013
Space

Astronauts On Spacewalk Begin Space Station Repair

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This morning, astronauts Michael Hopkins and Richard Mastracchio stepped outside the International Space Station. Their mission: to conduct one of three urgent spacewalks to repair a coolant system. Mission Control seemed happy with today's effort.

(SOUNDBITE OF MISSION CONTROL RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: OK. Really nice work, guys. We're about an hour and a half ahead. Let's take some steps beforehand. First, we want to do an ammonia inspection.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Copy that.

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8:23am

Sat December 21, 2013
Number Of The Year

And The Number Of The Year Is... The Lowly 2!

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There are lots of lists as the year draws to a close: best films, best books, Persons of the Year. This year, NPR is looking at the numbers that tell this year's story. So, our math guy, Keith Devlin, has a nomination for number of the year. He joins us now from Stanford University, where he's a professor of something that's too long for me to state. Keith, thanks very much for being with us.

KEITH DEVLIN: Hi, Scott. Good to be with you again.

SIMON: All right. Drum roll, please: the number of the year is...

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5:15am

Sat December 21, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Weekend Special: Name That Sound!

Dan Quinn YouTube

6:18pm

Fri December 20, 2013
All Tech Considered

Robot 'Olympics' Test Machines On Human Skills

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 6:46 pm

Atlas, a humanoid robot, is competing against 16 other robots in a Pentagon-sponsored contest this weekend.
Greg Allen NPR

Under throbbing loudspeakers at a NASCAR track south of Miami, vaguely humanoid robots with two legs, four legs and tank treads take up garages that normally house race cars.

The robots, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lockheed Martin, NASA and 13 other teams from around the world, are in Homestead, Fla., for the robot Olympics on Friday and Saturday.

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5:47pm

Fri December 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Astronauts Ready For Marathon Spacewalks

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 6:46 pm

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy performs a spacewalk in May to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. On Saturday, two astronauts will perform the first in a series of similar spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line on the ISS.
AP

NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.

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