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All Things Considered

Ahead Of Wildfire Season, Scientists Study What Fuels Fires

Friday, May 09, 2014

The federal fire scientists hope to hand off their findings to fire managers, who have to make the quick decisions on where to deploy resources that could protect lives and property.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Fed Up" Shows That Sugar Makes People Fat and Sick

Friday, May 09, 2014

Added sugar in 80 percent of products sold in grocery stores has led to an epidemic in obesity in America.

Comments [43]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Please Explain: Polio and Why It's on the Rise

Friday, May 09, 2014

This week, for the first time ever, the World Health Organization declared the spread of polio an international public health emergency that undermine the nearly 30-year effort to eradicate disease.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Exercise Is Good for Your Brain

Friday, May 09, 2014

A new study shows that the more exercise you do at 25, the healthier your brain tends to be when you reach middle age.

Comments [2]

Morning Edition

Former Commando Turns Conservationist To Save Elephants Of Dzanga Bai

Friday, May 09, 2014

Nir Kalron was once an Israeli commando, then private security consultant to African leaders, and a dealer of legal arms. Today he's working with African locals to hunt ivory poachers via satellite.

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PRI's The World

If you drink wine and care about the planet, cork growers want your attention

Friday, May 09, 2014

You may have noticed that more and more wine bottles — even expensive ones — are increasingly coming with screw tops and synthetic stoppers. You might not think much about the stopper when you make a purchase, but cork producers want you to start. They're mounting a campaign to show that real cork is better for the planet.

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Mars Offers Humanity A Do-Over

Thursday, May 08, 2014

If projects to colonize Mars succeed, how will these new communities be run? Barbara J. King says they represent an opportunity to fashion a more egalitarian way of life than we have on Earth.

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All Things Considered

How To Tell When A Laugh Is Real: The Answer Is In A Breath

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Greg Bryant, a professor at UCLA, explains his studies on laughter. Using acoustic analysis, he found that real laughter was more emotional, closer to animals, and fake laughter was closer to speech.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Most Radioactive Place in New York Is Now a Superfund Site

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The former location of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company in Ridgewood, Queens is the most radioactive spot in New York City. Today the EPA added the property to the list of federal Superfund sites. The other two superfund sites in the city are Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal. Nate Lavey video producer for The New Yorker talks about the history of the property and the risks to people who work there now.

Work began at the site nearly 100 years ago, with the production of rare earth metals as additives to steel and lighter flints. One of the byproducts of that industrial process is thorium – a radioactive element. “At that time they took their thorium byproduct and dumped it into the city’s sewer system,” said Lavey. “[The owners] would have known that thorium was radioactive…but they probably didn’t have a good idea of how dangerous the chemicals they were handling were.” The contamination is fairly localized to the site, but Lavey noted that the EPA is looking at nearby blocks as well.

Currently the site (at 1125-1129 Irving Avenue) houses an auto-body shop, a deli and a construction company. “The amount of residual radiation is pretty low, especially when you compare it to nuclear disasters we’re all familiar with” said Lavey. While radiation levels are low, they are still elevated. Working on the site is equivalent to getting about 30 chest x-rays a year, which is well below the amount of radiation exposure deemed safe for nuclear power plant workers. The risk to customers is minimal. The EPA has already installed some shielding at the site.

Although the site is now designated for Superfund remediation, it’s unclear how the cleanup will proceed and who will pay for it. 

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All Things Considered

Anti-Aging Hormone Could Make You Smarter

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Scientists have found that a hormone associated with long life also seems to make people smarter. The gene strengthens the connections between brain cells, a process that's essential for learning.

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Rice Theory: Why Eastern Cultures Are More Cooperative

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Westerners tend to be more individualistic than Easterners. Did our ancestors plant these cultural differences hundreds of years ago when they chose which grains to grow?

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A Question Of Biggitude: What's The Largest Creature On Earth?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Is the largest creature on Earth a tree or a tree strangler? Both are candidates. Both are plausible. Neither is a blue whale.

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Science Friday

Young Blood Sharpens Memory in Old Mice

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The blood of young mice seems to rejuvenate older mice, both strengthening their muscles and improving their ability to learn and remember.

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Science Friday

What’s Shaking Up Oklahoma?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Earthquakes have increased by 50 percent in Oklahoma since 2013 and may be linked to drilling disposal wells.

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Science Friday

Science Goes to the Movies: 'Transcendence'

Thursday, May 08, 2014

SciFri’s scientist-film critics weigh in on the science behind the Hollywood techno-thriller Transcendence.

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Science Friday

Another Climate Report, But Who's Listening?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The White House released its latest climate report this week, with much the same message as recent IPCC findings—climate change is real, and it's happening fast.

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Science Friday

The Serious Science of Humor

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Author Scott Weems lets us in on the jokes and uncovers the science of humor.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Genes, Race, and Human History

Thursday, May 08, 2014

New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade discusses how the mapping of the genome is shaping new ideas about race and its role in the human story.

Comments [18]

If Polar Bears Can Eat A Ton Of Fat And Be Healthy, Why Can't We?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Baby polar bears slurp milk that's 27 percent fat, and adults dine on seal blubber. Scientists think bears' adaptation to a high-fat diet might lead to better ways to treat human obesity.

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Radiolab

A Question Of Biggitude: What's The Largest Creature On Earth?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

What's the biggest living thing on Earth? I can think of two. I'm not sure which is biggest, but neither of them is a blue whale. These are weirder. Much, much weirder.

One is a tree. The other eats trees.

This is the tree.

J. ...

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Comments [5]