Science

The Salt
9:50 am
Tue June 4, 2013

The French Learned To Make Wine From Italians 2,400 Years Ago

This French tapestry depicts noblemen and women treading and pressing grapes to make wine circa 1500. By then, the French had already been making wine for at least 2,000 years.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:38 am

The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.

So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.

Read more
The Salt
2:06 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Grass: It's What's For Dinner (3.5 Million Years Ago)

Some 3.5 million years ago, our ancestors put grass on the menu.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:49 pm

If you could travel back in time about 8 million years, you'd find a creature in an African tree that was the ancestor of all current apes and humans. And that creature in all likelihood would have spent a big part of its day munching leaves and fruit — pretty much what apes eat now.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
12:46 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What Did Rachel Carson Hear? The Mystery of the 'Fairy Bell Ringer'

Bob Schutz AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:08 pm

This is the season of night noises, chirps, buzzes, little cries. The air is telling you, "Things are going on out here," and if you like you can step out onto the porch and do what the writer Rachel Carson did back in 1956: She played a hunting game. The rules were simple: You stand outdoors, near the house. You go quiet. When you hear something interesting, you either: a) take a flashlight and go hunt for it; or b) you don't go anywhere. You just imagine it.

The best find Rachel Carson ever made, she never found.

Read more
The Deadly Tornado In Moore, Okla.
5:11 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

No 'Universal' Best Practice To Save Yourself From Tornadoes

A tornado forms over I-40 in Midwest City, Okla., during rush hour on Friday.
Alonzo Adams AP

Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?

For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.

Read more
Environment
5:39 am
Sat June 1, 2013

New Maps Aim To Raise Awareness Of Storm Surge Danger

Streets flooded in the Staten Island borough of New York after Superstorm Sandy hit in October. The storm caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 11:39 am

Hurricane season begins Saturday, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an active season, with perhaps seven to 11 hurricanes.

With memories of last year's destruction from Hurricane Sandy still fresh, meteorologists are working on ways to improve how they forecast storms and communicate warnings to the public.

When Sandy was making its way northward in the Atlantic and began to turn toward the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center tried to emphasize the danger that storm surge posed for residents, especially those near New York City.

Read more

Pages