Science

The Salt
12:31 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How Yosemite Keeps Its Bears' Paws Off Campers' Hamburgers

Researcher Jack Hopkins used barbed-wire snares to collect hair samples from bears in Yosemite. Analysis of isotope ratios in hair samples showed how much of the bears' diets came from human food.
Courtesy of Jack Hopkins

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:33 pm

One of the great joys of camping out in a national park is chowing down by the fire. But campers aren't the only ones drawn to burgers and s'mores roasting over an open flame, beneath a mass of twinkling stars.

Those rich aromas can also prove irresistible to the local critters. From bears to foxes to coyotes, biologists have documented wildlife getting irrevocably hooked on our food and food waste. And for good reason: Our food is way more calorie-rich — and thus, better for making babies — than the standard black bear fare of insects and leaves.

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The Salt
9:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Moo-d Music: Do Cows Really Prefer Slow Jams?

The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.
Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:46 pm

When it's time to buckle down and focus, plenty of office workers will put on headphones to help them drown out distractions and be more productive. But can music also help dairy cows get down to business?

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Beer As A Post-Workout Recovery Drink? Not As Crazy As It Sounds

An ad for Vampt's Lean Machine "recovery ale," which will be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows. Researchers say drinking beer after working out has some advantages, but there are big caveats.
Courtesy of VAMPT

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:49 pm

There may be some good news brewing for fitness and beer enthusiasts: Somewhere in the north, a Canadian beverage company has concocted a low-alcohol, protein-packed "fit beer" that is expected to be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows.

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Shots - Health News
3:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:25 pm

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Environment
3:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

With Waste Dump Closed, Where To Put Nuclear Leftovers?

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In New Mexico, the nation's only nuclear waste dump is closed. It's been several weeks since radioactive material was detected in the air at the site. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, the incident is shaping up to be yet another setback in the quest to find a home for America's nuclear waste.

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