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All Things Considered

Giant Lizards Rise In Fla. — And They've Got Quite An Appetite

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Giant lizards are coming out of hibernation in Florida. Trouble is, Robin Sussingham of WUSF reports, they're members of an invasive species with a taste for the eggs and hatchlings of native animals.

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Radiolab

Radiolab and Physicists, On The Same Wavelength

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's like physicists were just waiting for our latest Radiolab episode, before making that big announcement about the beginning of the universe.

 

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Thank Your Gut Bacteria For Making Chocolate Healthful

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dark chocolate may help the heart and waistline. Now scientists have figured out one reason why: Bacteria in the gut turn cocoa into compounds that lower inflammation and make us feel full.

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WATCH: Physicist Gets 'Smoking Gun' Proof Of His Theory

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Andrei Linde, one of the founding fathers of cosmological inflation, answers the door to the news that his theory appears to have been confirmed.

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Morning Edition

Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In the 1980s, NASA engineer Robert Farquhar came up with a sly plan to divert the ISEE-3 satellite from its original path to visit a comet instead. Now Farquhar has another big plan for his "baby."

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Morning Edition

Ripples In Space Could Point To The Universe's Beginnings

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Physicists say they've discovered a faint signal from just moments after the universe began. If confirmed, it could revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos. But not everyone is convinced.

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The Takeaway

Russia's Neighbors on Edge Over Crimea Crisis | Scientists Discover Major Evidence for Big Bang | The Jeffrey Sinclair Case & Sexual Assault in the Military

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russia's Neighbors on Edge Over Crimea Crisis | Flight 370 Shows Challenges of Searching the Ocean Floor | Scientists Discover Major Evidence for Big Bang | Why the NRA is Targeting Obama's Surgeon General Pick | The Jeffrey Sinclair Case & Sexual Assault in the Military | New Play Looks at Life & Work of Bruce Lee

The Takeaway

We Have an Update On What Started the Universe

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

After a decades-long search for answers about the creation of the universe, scientists believe they have found a smoking gun. On Monday, a team of scientists announced the first direct evidence for what's known as cosmic inflation, or proof of the first fractions of a second that were initiated after the Big Bang. Clem Pryke is an experimental cosmologist at the University of Minnesota and one of the principal investigators on the team that made the discovery.

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All Things Considered

Hoping To Clear The Air In Paris, Officials Ration The Rue

Monday, March 17, 2014

Paris is suffering from the worst smog it's seen in decades. Associated Press Paris Bureau Chief Angela Charlton explains the ways the city's dealing with the smog, including restrictions on drivers.

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All Things Considered

Out Of Antarctica, A 'Grand Slam' That Leads Back To The Big Bang

Monday, March 17, 2014

Physicists using data from an Antarctica telescope say they've observed evidence of primordial gravity waves — in other words, echoes of the Big Bang. If real, this may be a big advance for physics.

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All Things Considered

Dispute And Suspicion Swirl About Iranian Water Reactor

Monday, March 17, 2014

At issue in Iran nuclear talks is a heavy water reactor the country is building. Iran says it wants the reactor for medical research, but the West is worried that such reactors can produce plutonium.

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Scientists Search For Toxins In Cigarette Smoke Residue

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chemicals in cigarette smoke can settle on clothes, furniture and walls. Researchers call this thirdhand smoke and say laboratory experiments suggest it could be hazardous.

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All Things Considered

Computers That Know What You Need, Before You Ask

Monday, March 17, 2014

Programs — some already on your smartphone — are preparing useful information based on your past behavior, ushering in the era of predictive, or anticipatory, computing.

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Even If You Don't Have Symptoms, You May Still Have The Flu

Monday, March 17, 2014

Roughly 1 in 5 unvaccinated people had the flu between 2006 and 2011, but only a quarter of them had symptoms, a study found. That could affect how the virus spreads.

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Scientists Announce A Big-Bang Breakthrough

Monday, March 17, 2014

Researchers say they have found direct evidence of a mysterious and ultrarapid expansion of the universe in the first sliver of a second after the Big Bang.

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A New Window On The Big Bang Has Been Opened

Monday, March 17, 2014

The very first moments of the universe hold secrets we'd very much like to know. Commentator Adam Frank says news today takes us a step closer to understanding the origins of the cosmos.

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Radiolab

A Flash Freeze, In High-Def

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not only did we get to see water freeze into ice instantaneously, Rockefeller University set it up like a Vogue fashion shoot.

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The Green You See Is Not The Green You See

Monday, March 17, 2014

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, commentator Tania Lombrozo brings us two illusions in green. Look at them long and hard, if you dare.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

CAFFEINE!; the Metro-North report; Crimea’s Decision

Monday, March 17, 2014

Did you know that the caffeine in soda is usually made in China? Murray Carpenter is author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us and he’ll explain the drug. Plus: what a federal report on the Metro-North crash found about how the rail service was too lax about safety; the latest on the Crimean referendum; and more.

PRI's The World

As the air clears in Paris, here's a look beyond the smog emergency

Monday, March 17, 2014

Parisians are breathing a little easier Monday, quite literally.

An air pollution emergency over the last few days is abating and life is more or less returning to normal.

The BBC's Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield says the air had already started to improve over the weekend after "really bad days" on Thursday and Friday. But officials nonetheless imposed alternate — or "odd/even" — driving restrictions for Monday as a precaution against a resurgence of dangerous levels of particulate smog.

The restrictions allowed only cars with odd-numbered license plates on the road on odd-numbered days, and only those with even-numbered plates on even-numbered days. But the rules were in place for just one day. Authorities called them off on Monday after the pollution improved.

On Friday, the city made its Metro rail system and car and bike share programs free for the duration of the crisis.

The smog emergency started last week when a stalled high-pressure system cut down on air circulation and trapped vehicle exhaust and other emissions over the city. It worsened on Friday when a northerly wind blew in emissions from industrialized areas of Germany and beyond.

It had been 17 years since the last smog emergency in Paris and, even at its worst, Schofield says, the air was nowhere near as bad as it often is these days in developing world cities like Beijing, São Paolo and Mumbai.

"It was certainly annoying and bad and I felt a catch in my throat when I went cycling and so on," he says. "But it was nothing like the levels of smog that you could experience" in those cities, he says.

Schofield explains that the emergency steps were taken because Paris has a much lower pollution threshold for such actions. There was also "a certain amount of politics involved ... because we do have the city mayoral elections coming up the end of the week, and that is very much on everyone's minds."

The weather was the immediate culprit, but Schofield says the pollution came from emissions from diesel engines and other sources in and around Paris. He says Paris is trying to phase out diesel buses and take other steps to cut pollution.

"Everyone knows that to address this problem deeply, you can't have these one-off, urgent, emergency reactions like alternate driving ... We're all responsible in the way we consume energy and the way we drive our cars," he says.

But Paris is not particularly guilty. "It's got a very good public transport system, " he says. "It's just that maybe it needs to be extended in certain areas and more incentives put in place for people to leave their cars at home."

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