Science

Business
3:57 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Lower Water Levels Dry Up Business On Great Lakes

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Environment
3:57 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Water Levels Dangerously Low On Mississippi River

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:37 pm

Mississippi River water levels are reaching near-record lows. Sections of the middle Mississippi River may become obstructed in December by rock outcrops in southern Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers plan to remove the rock pinnacles in February, but river navigation industry leaders say that's not soon enough.

The Salt
3:10 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Tastier Winter Tomatoes, Thanks To A Boom In Greenhouse Growing

The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Allison Aubrey NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:36 am

It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.

But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.

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Space
1:05 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Space Probe Finds Ice In Mercury's Craters

Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:37 pm

Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.

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The Salt
11:33 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Quinoa Craze Inspires North America To Start Growing Its Own

The seeds of this goosefoot plant are known as quinoa, a superfood now in high demand and grown almost exclusively in South America. But some growers think they have the formula to grow it up north.
Janet Matanguihan courtesy Kevin Murphy

The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.

But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:52 am
Thu November 29, 2012

The Rubik's Cube That Isn't

YouTube

This is your brain making things up.

What you see isn't really there.

Even if I tell you "this isn't what you think," you'll think it anyway — until I make a simple move, and suddenly — you know.

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The Salt
7:59 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Key To E. Coli-Free Spinach May Be An Ultrasonic Spa Treatment

Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
John Moore Getty Images

Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.

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Research News
4:38 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

A Short Fuse For Fusion As Ignition Misses Deadline

A worker inspects a huge target chamber at the National Ignition Facility in California, in 2001, where beams from 192 lasers are aimed at a pellet of fusion fuel in the hopes of creating nuclear fusion.
Joe McNally Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 2:07 am

The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif., has been called a modern-day moonshot, a project of "revolutionary science," and "the mother of all boondoggles."

NIF, as it's called, is a $5 billion, taxpayer-funded superlaser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion — basically a tiny star inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:59 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Is Life A Smoother Ride If You're A Chicken?

YouTube

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 10:02 am

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Deceptive Cadence
1:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

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