Science

Krulwich Wonders...
8:51 am
Tue May 14, 2013

What Is It About Bees And Hexagons?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:26 pm

Solved! A bee-buzzing, honey-licking 2,000-year-old mystery that begins here, with this beehive. Look at the honeycomb in the photo and ask yourself: (I know you've been wondering this all your life, but have been too shy to ask out loud ... ) Why is every cell in this honeycomb a hexagon?

Bees, after all, could build honeycombs from rectangles or squares or triangles ...

But for some reason, bees choose hexagons. Always hexagons.

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The Salt
5:00 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff

Prehistoric "pantries": This illustration is based on archaeological findings in Jordan of structures built to store extra grain some 11,000-12,000 years ago.
Illustration by E. Carlson Courtesy of Dr. Ian Kuijt/University of Notre Dame

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 10:06 am

For decades, scientists have believed our ancestors took up farming some 12,000 years ago because it was a more efficient way of getting food. But a growing body of research suggests that wasn't the case at all.

"We know that the first farmers were shorter, they were more prone to disease than the hunter-gatherers," says Samuel Bowles, the director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, describing recent archaeological research.

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The Salt
3:27 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 10:46 am

Any gardener will tell you that compost is "black gold," essential to cultivating vigorous, flavorful crops. But it always feels like there's never enough, and its weight and bulk make it tough stuff to cart around.

I belong to a community garden in Washington, D.C., that can't get its hands on enough compost. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the U.S. Composting Council was connecting community gardeners with free material from local facilities through its Million Tomato Compost Campaign.

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Around the Nation
12:47 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

For Year-Round Buzz, Beekeepers 'Fast-Forward Darwinism'

The Plymouth County Beekeepers Association distributed more than 500 crates of honeybees this spring.
Katherine Perry for NPR

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 5:51 pm

Beekeepers In Massachusetts are taking the mission to save the bees into their own hands.

There has been a dramatic disappearance of honeybees across the U.S. since 2006. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report blamed a combination of problems, including mites, disease, poor nutrition and pesticides.

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Schools? How About A Science Laureate At The Super Bowl?

Beyonce took the stage at this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Imagine a scientist instead. Perhaps dressed differently.
Michael DeMocker The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 9:11 am

The same scientist who famously "killed Pluto" (as a planet, that is) says it's "brilliant" that there's an effort underway in Congress to name a science laureate.

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