Science

The Salt
7:28 am
Thu October 30, 2014

VIDEO: You Don't Know Jack-O-Lanterns

Adam Cole/NPR

Decorative gourd season has arrived, and we decided to celebrate by investigating the science and history of pumpkins.

Do you know what happens when you feed ostriches pumpkin seeds? Or when the first pumpkin beer was brewed? Or what a zucchini-pumpkin hybrid? Watch our new video to find out.

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Space
5:02 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

18 Student Science Experiments Lost In Rocket Explosion

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
3:39 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Monsanto Hired This Guy To Help It Win Over Millennials

The headquarters of Monsanto, near St. Louis, Mo. Monsanto is the world's largest seed supplier.
Juliette Michel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:45 pm

As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.

Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.

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Space
3:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Rocket Explosion Comes At A Tough Time For NASA

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism

iStockphoto

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But those efforts are starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

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The Two-Way
2:16 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Russian Engines Could Be Focus Of Antares Launch Failure Probe

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday.
Joel Kowsky AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 8:34 am

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that as investigators examine what went wrong with the launch of an unmanned Antares rocket on Tuesday, they'll likely take a hard look at powerful engines originally destined to send cosmonauts to the moon, a project that was scrapped by the USSR more than four decades ago.

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The Salt
5:01 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Who Should Pay To Fix The World's Salt-Damaged Soils?

Farms outside Baghdad as seen from a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter. Much of Iraq's soil has a high salt content because of flooding and poor drainage.
Jim Gordon U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr

Imagine losing about 5,000 acres, or 15 average-sized farms in Iowa, every day. That's how much productive farmland has succumbed to salt damage in the last 20 or so years, according to a paper published Tuesday by a group of international researchers. And, they say, all that degraded land is costing farmers $27.3 billion a year.

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Shots - Health News
3:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Blood Test For Ebola Doesn't Catch Infection Early

Magnified 25,000 times, this digitally colorized scanning electron micrograph shows Ebola virus particles (green) budding from an infected cell (blue).
CDC/NIAD

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:48 am

In an ideal world, health care workers returning from West Africa would get a quick blood test to prove they aren't carrying the Ebola virus. A test like that would likely put to rest some of the anxiety surrounding these doctors, nurses and scientists.

Unfortunately, even the best blood test in the world can't do that.

The test uses a technology called PCR, for polymerase chain reaction. It can detect extraordinarily small traces of genetic material from the Ebola virus.

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Hawaii Lava Flow Less Than 100 Yards From Homes In Pahoa Village

A geologist maps the margin of the lava flow in the open field below Cemetery Road near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dozens of residents from the village may be forced to evacuate.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 8:10 am

Dozens of residents from the village of Pahoa on Hawaii's Big Island are preparing to watch their homes be engulfed by a slow-moving finger of lava that has traced a scorched path for months from its origin at Kilauea volcano.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira has said residents will be allowed to watch Mother Nature consume their homes to "provide for a means of closure.

"You can only imagine the frustration as well as ... despair they're going through," he said, according to The Associated Press.

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Health
5:16 am
Tue October 28, 2014

The Case Against Mandatory Ebola Quarantines For Health Workers

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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