Science and Environment

Science & Environment
3:50 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

4-D Printing Means Building Things That Build Themselves

H. Jerry Qi, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado University, holds simple models printed using polymers that have "shape memory." The flat piece on the left can reshape itself into a box with the application of heat.
Glenn J. Asakawa University of Colorado

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 5:12 pm

In our Weekly Innovation series, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Got an innovation you think we should feature? Fill out our form.

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Science & Environment
3:13 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

The Louisiana Coast: Last Call — Diversions?

New Orleans' levee board is suing energy companies for damaging the Mississippi River delta by cutting canals through the marshland. The canals let in sea water, which kills marshes, eroding the city's protective buffer against storms. A map of the delta.
Frank Relle

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 2:22 pm

Anyone following the development of the Master Plan for the Louisiana coast knows that the central part of the plan is also its most controversial: large scale river diversions, opening the levees on the sides of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans to let the silt-carrying Mississippi out into these sinking deltas to begin rebuilding them.

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Science & Environment
3:10 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

BP Claims Settlement Heads To Appellate Court

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:03 am

The BP oil spill claims agreement is heading back to a courtroom in New Orleans on Monday. The oil company says fraudulent claims are being paid.

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Science & Environment
2:09 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Space Agencies Of The World, Unite: The U.N.'s Asteroid Defense Plan

This mosaic image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, captured between 2011 to 2012, shows the giant asteroid Vesta. The mountain at the south pole, seen at the bottom of the image, is more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
NASA

The United Nations General Assembly may approve a plan soon for the world's space agencies to defend the Earth against asteroids.

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Science & Environment
7:44 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Seeing In The Pitch-Dark Is All In Your Head

I think I can see something.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:13 am

A few years ago, cognitive scientist Duje Tadin and his colleague Randolph Blake decided to test blindfolds for an experiment they were cooking up.

They wanted an industrial-strength blindfold to make sure volunteers for their work wouldn't be able to see a thing. "We basically got the best blindfold you can get." Tadin tells Shots. "It's made of black plastic, and it should block all light."

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Science & Environment
2:48 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:17 pm

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

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Science & Environment
7:00 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Is Rebuilding Storm-Struck Coastlines Worth The Cost?

The Long Beach High School marching band prepares to march down the Long Beach boardwalk during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 1:10 pm

One year ago Tuesday, Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast, devastating shoreline communities from Florida to Maine.

Many of these areas have been rebuilt, including the Long Beach boardwalk, about 30 miles outside New York City. Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new boardwalk Friday.

Ninety percent of the funding for the restoration came from the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid $44 million to repair the devastation.

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Science & Environment
4:43 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 1:52 pm

In the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands.

They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home island and put the dust in the ocean.

When they spread the iron dust, it created a big algae bloom. They hoped the algae would soak up carbon dioxide and bring back the fish.

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Science & Environment
4:19 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

What's Creepy, Crawly And A Champion Of Neuroscience?

The RoboRoach device allows users to influence the movements of cockroaches with a smartphone.
Backyard Brains

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 7:02 pm

Soon you'll be able to direct the path of a cockroach with a smartphone and the swipe of your finger.

Greg Gage and his colleagues at Backyard Brains have developed a device called the RoboRoach that lets you control the path of an insect.

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Science & Environment
6:32 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Oily Material Increasing Along Louisiana Coast

Boom and oiled sand on Grand Isle soon after the Deepwater Horizon incident.
Jason Saul WWNO

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 11:49 am

Louisiana officials say they’re not sure why there’s been a surge of oily material washing up on the coastline three years after the BP oil spill. The amount is 20 times more than what was found over the same period last year.

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