Science and Environment

Hurricanes, oil spills, and the latest efforts to manage them.

Termites are among the world's most destructive pests, causing more than a billion dollars in damage each year in the U.S. alone. Scientists in Florida have tracked the development of a new hybrid species of termite — one whose colonies grow twice as fast as the parent species.

Researchers say the new "super-termite" is even more destructive than other species and may carry a significant economic cost.

Mosquitoes Can Smell Inside Your Blood

Mar 25, 2015

Garlic lovers: You can smell them before you see them. Some people would say they even stink!

Hours after you eat garlic, your breath can still smell bad, as your body digests compounds in the plant and releases them into your blood.

Now scientists say a similar process might explain why people infected with malaria attract more mosquitoes than those not infected.

The Supreme Court hears a challenge Wednesday to Obama administration rules aimed at limiting the amount of mercury and other hazardous pollutants emitted from coal- and oil-fired utility plants. The regulations are being challenged by major industry groups like the National Mining Association and more than 20 states.

The regulations have been in the works for nearly two decades. Work on them began in the Clinton administration, got derailed in the George W. Bush administration, and then were revived and adopted in the Obama administration.

Cockroaches are widely despised. They're attracted to filth. They frighten people, even give them nightmares.

But for a team of scientists at Texas A&M University, the roach is a hero: the first animal that humans might successfully transform into a robot, a hybrid of insect and machine that we can send anywhere to be our eyes and ears.

The Perfect Roach

Professor Hong Liang opens the door to a small laboratory with hundreds, maybe thousands, of cockroaches. It's not for the faint of heart.

What happens when you combine the most popular sport in the U.S. with one of the most dire environmental situations in the country? The catchy analogy that a football field sized piece of Louisiana coastal wetlands is lost every half-hour.

It's March. It's freezing. And there's half a foot of snow on the ground. When is this winter going to end?

For years, some small towns and farmers along the Mississippi River have been battling each other over a flood project set up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On the western shore, farmers in southeast Missouri need the project to protect their valuable farmland. But small river towns on the eastern side of the river say the project protects those influential farmers at the cost of their small communities. As a last-ditch effort, the opposition to the project is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to kill the project all together.

The hunt for coyotes starts in Dan Eaton's truck.

Eaton is a professional trapper. He's been doing it for a long time — since he was 10 years old — so he's nonchalant about the dead beaver in the truck bed that he sometimes uses to attract coyotes.

On a recent day, Eaton heads to a trap line set on private hunting land outside Augusta, Ga.

"Everybody wants you to trap coyotes for free until you tell them you're collaring them and letting them go," Eaton says.

Bad news for bivalves comes this week from scientists studying ocean acidification.

Ocean water in parts of the world is changing. Its chemistry is very slowly becoming more acidic, like lemon juice, and less alkaline, a la baking soda.

The change so far is small — you wouldn't notice if you swam in the ocean or even drank it (not recommended, in any case). But numerous scientific studies show that it could get worse. One reason is that as humans produce more carbon dioxide, a lot is absorbed into the oceans. That makes the water more acidic.

Plastic is one of those inventions that transformed the world. It's light, durable and you can make lots of things with it.

But it's also transforming Earth's oceans — and not in a good way. A lot of plastic ends up there. Scientists are just now getting a handle on how much plastic has gone to sea.

Up until now, estimates have been very rough. It's hard to measure waste in the oceans; after all, salt water covers 70 percent of the planet.

But another way to figure out what's out there is to measure how much debris is coming off the land.

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