Science

The Salt
3:09 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Why Are Pig Farmers Still Using Growth-Promoting Drugs?

In recent years, pork producers have found ways to keep the animals healthy through improved hygiene.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 6:42 pm

It's one of the most controversial practices in agriculture: feeding small amounts of antibiotics to animals in order to make them grow faster.

But what if the drugs don't even work very well?

There's some good evidence that they don't, at least in pigs. They used to deliver a boost in growth, but that effect has disappeared in recent years or declined greatly.

The reason for this is interesting and even paradoxical.

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World
4:07 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

As Mirrors Beam Light To Town, Norwegians Share Patch Of Sun

People gather in the central square of Rjukan, Norway, on Wednesday to bask in the sun reflected by mirrors on a nearby mountainside.
NTB Scanpix/Reuters/Landov

The small town of Rjukan has long had to make do without sunlight during the cold Norwegian winters.

But that changed Wednesday, when the town debuted a system of high-tech mirrors to reflect sunlight from neighboring peaks into the valley below.

Rjukan, originally founded 100 years ago as an industrial outpost for the energy company Norsk Hydro, is nestled between several mountains and does not receive direct sunlight from late September to mid-March — nearly six months out of the year.

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Space
2:09 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Space Agencies Of The World, Unite: The U.N.'s Asteroid Defense Plan

This mosaic image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, captured between 2011 to 2012, shows the giant asteroid Vesta. The mountain at the south pole, seen at the bottom of the image, is more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
NASA

The United Nations General Assembly may approve a plan soon for the world's space agencies to defend the Earth against asteroids.

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Shots - Health News
12:34 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Sorry, Red Sox, Heavy Stubble Beats Beards For Attractiveness

Hey man, that's sensitive: Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox pulls teammate Jonny Gomes' beard after hitting a three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series in St. Louis.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 3:02 pm

When Mike Napoli got up to bat in Game 6 of the World Series, my first thought was, "Oh my goodness, that beard is awful." But after the Red Sox's first baseman laid off a few bad pitches, I started liking the hair on his chin.

All that got me thinking about beards.

Sometime during evolution women lost their facial hair. This strong difference between the sexes implies that facial furriness, or the lack thereof, has played a role in how we picked our partners, at least at one point in human history.

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Space
11:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Chris Hadfield's Lessons from Life in Orbit

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, author of the new book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, has flown three space missions, including 144 days on the International Space Station. Hadfield talks about life in zero gravity, his one fear while in orbit, and how he went from test pilot to astronaut.

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