Science and Environment

Science and Environment
2:44 am
Tue April 8, 2014

How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends

I'm not trying to lead you astray. It's just that scientists are not skeptical enough about their mouse studies.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 7:59 am

Most experimental drugs fail before they make it through all the tests required to figure out if they actually work and if they're safe. But some drugs get fairly far down that road, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, based on poorly conducted studies at the outset.

Medical researchers reviewing this sorry state of affairs say the drug-development process needs serious improvement.

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Science and Environment
12:08 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Old And Mysterious Practice Of Eating Dirt, Revealed

Dr. William Rawlings holds a piece of kaolin from his hometown of Sandersville, Ga.
Courtesy of Adam Forrester

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:51 am

There's an old saying in the South: "A child's gotta eat their share of dirt."

Mamie Lee Hillman's family took this literally, but they weren't after just any old dirt.

"I remember my mom and my aunties eating that white dirt like it was nothing," says Hillman, who grew up in Greene County, Ga., and used to go with her family to dig for their own dirt to snack on. "It was an acceptable thing that people did."

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Science and Environment
10:54 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Bringing A 'Million Orchids' To Florida's Trees

The dollar orchid (Prosthechea boothiana) is among the native species soon to be planted in South Florida trees.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:28 pm

Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory.

When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Millions of orchids were plucked and sent north as potted plants. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here.

But if researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden succeed with their Million Orchid Project, the flowers will soon bloom amid the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Science and Environment
3:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

After Oil Spill, Ships Start Moving — But Cleanup Has Just Begun

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Vessels are moving once again in the Houston ship channel. The waterway was closed after a barge crash over the weekend spilled thousands of gallons of oil. The Coast Guard now says the channel on the Gulf of Mexico had been cleared enough to allow barge traffic to enter and exit. Still, the cleanup of one of the world's busiest waterways, which is also a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife, continues.

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Remembering The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
2:20 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Why Oil Drilling Is Both Safer And Riskier Since Exxon Valdez

The Ohmsett research facility, which researches oil spill response, was closed just before the Exxon Valdez accident. It was reopened as part of the measures included in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 1:59 pm

A lot has changed for the energy industry since the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in 1989 and began spilling oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. The outcry over images of oil-soaked wildlife and a once-pristine shoreline dirtied by crude ushered in greater scrutiny of oil operations and increased interest in research on how to clean up oil spills.

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Science and Environment
4:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

25 Years After Spill, Alaska Town Struggles Back From 'Dead Zone'

Orca Inlet, Cordova's fishing harbor, on a blustery day this month. Commercial fishing is the small Alaskan town's primary industry.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:25 am

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

It's a blustery, snowy March day when Michelle Hahn O'Leary offers a tour of Cordova, Alaska, situated on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound.

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Science and Environment
5:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Gallup: Americans Put The Environment Over Economic Growth Again

Gallup

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:27 pm

In 2009, when the Great Recession took hold of the United States, Americans reversed a long-running trend in polling: For the first time since Gallup first asked the question in the 1980s, more Americans said they favored economic growth over protecting the environment.

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Science and Environment
4:01 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Rethinking The Five-Second Rule: With Carpet, There's No Rush

Bacteria don't wear wristwatches. But they can take their sweet time hopping onto a potato chip.
Greg Williams/Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:47 pm

Many of us will happily eat a gummy bear or cookie after it falls on the floor, as long as we snatch it up quickly. Say, five seconds or less, right?

Well, science just gave us another excuse to continue this food-saving habit, especially when it comes to carpet-dusted snacks.

Biology students at the Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., measured how quickly two common bacteria hop aboard foods dropped on tiles, linoleum and carpet.

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Science and Environment
5:16 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida's Everglades

Drilling companies have new interest in southern Florida's Big Cypress preserve. The prospect of large-scale operations and possibly fracking worries environmentalists and residents.
Sue Cocking MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:35 pm

As oil production goes, Florida isn't much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.

That's about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.

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Science and Environment
12:55 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Why Did The Possibly Pregnant Shark Cross The Atlantic?

"Lydia" shortly before a tracking device was attached to her last year near Jacksonville, Fla.
OCEARCH.org

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 3:55 pm

You kind of have to admire headlines such as this:

"UK-bound great white shark Lydia could be PREGNANT"

That's the Mirror doing its best to scare folks into reading its report.

The story behind the scary headline, though, is interesting.

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