Science and Environment

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

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

A baby's first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their "Mamas" and "Dadas" for months in their minds.

Using what looks like a hair dryer from Mars, researchers from the University of Washington have taken the most precise peeks yet into the fireworks display of neural activity that occurs when infants listen to people speak.

People often talk about how their friends feel like family. Well, there's some new research out that suggests there's more to that than just a feeling. People appear to be more like their friends genetically than they are to strangers, the research found.

The 2010 BP Oil Spill ruined the Cat Island bird sanctuary, a pelican nesting site. Plaquemines Parish got initial funds to restore the island, but has failed to raise the rest needed. Now, the project leader is starting restoration anyway.

This spring a state committee approved $477 million for coastal protection and restoration. When you throw in federal dollars, and private funding as well, fixing Louisiana's coast is becoming big business.

Here are some of the people who stand to benefit.

Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they "totally get" apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

The U.S. Supreme Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency the green light to regulate greenhouse gases that are emitted from new and modified utility plants and factories on Monday.

Greenhouse gases are blamed for global warming, and the court's 7-2 decision gave the EPA most of what it wanted. But in a separate 5-4 vote, the justices rejected the agency's broad assertion of regulatory power under one section of the Clean Air Act.

Land, Air, Water, Wildlife: Why Does it Matter to You?

Jun 20, 2014
NASA Observatory

Saturday June 21, 2014 is the first day of summer; the season for play-time, vacations and - if you can take the heat - enjoying the great outdoors.

Back in April, we set up our recording booth at the Earth Day Festival in downtown Baton Rouge and we heard from people about their love for the environment.

They told us about things like growing up with recycling parents and watching the Louisiana coastline recede when we asked a simple question: Land, Air, Water, Wildlife - Why does it matter to you?

That was Freda Yarborough Dunne, Bob Williamson, Lindsey Short, Ramesh Subramanian, Amy Canada, Marifer Manns, Antoine Mitchell, Kyle Hymell, and kids Ethan Ferguson and Christa Bartholomew.

They stepped into the WRKF Recording Booth at the Earth Day Festival in April to tell us why the environment matters.

Look for the WRKF Recording Booth at events near you in the year to come.

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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