September 22, 2006 A controversial new research paper in Science magazine says Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helped build new coastal wetlands. The report concludes that big storms -- rather than rivers -- are the main source of new material for the marshlands that help protect the coast.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/6123022/6123023" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
September 12, 2006 Every young scientist dreams of doing an experiment that changes the world. A remarkable biologist at Princeton University has done just that. Bonnie Bassler's discovery about how bacteria talk to one another has led to a whole new field of research -- and maybe someday drugs that would be effective against all bacteria.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/6061852/6061874" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
September 8, 2006 A faulty fuel tank sensor forces NASA to reschedule the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis again. The space agency now hopes to send the spacecraft up on Saturday morning. It will be the fourth attempt to send Atlantis up for a construction mission at the international space station.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5788214/5788349" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
September 7, 2006 There's a news item running on the wires about a young woman who fell into a vegetative state following a traumatic brain injury. She shows no outward signs of consciousness, but researchers were curious to know whether brain scanners would pick up any activity. So they talked to her. Among other things, they asked her to imagine walking through her house. As she did that, her brain scans looked similar to those of healthy volunteers. Now, this is simply an anecdote. This 23-year-old woman doesn't really tell us anything about anybody else in a vegetative state. Science magazine, which is publishing the finding, also published a commentary warning people not to leap to broader conclusions about brain activity in people in this state. (No responsible physician would suggest that the physically atrophied brain of Terry Schiavo could have responded in this way)...
September 7, 2006 NASA not only keeps America's aerospace contractors in business, the space agency does a wonderful job supplying material for NPR newscasts. Whenever a shuttle launch is approaching, you can count on frequent reports about whether or not the shuttle will fly. We learn about frost ramps, faulty fuel cell sensors, weather forecasts and all sorts of other minutiae. This is all irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, of course. After all, shuttle flights are ostensibly made to support the space station, and the main purpose of the space station is to be completed so it can be phased out and superseded by something more visionary. My colleague Nell Boyce has been camped out at the Kennedy Space Center once again this week, waiting for the shuttle Atlantis to be launched. She tells me there's now a joke running around the space center. Some folks are now calling Atlantis the penguin. Why? Because it's black and white and flightless...
September 7, 2006 Anne Garrels has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. Today she was in the Iraqi parliament when the session erupted in chaos. Members had to be led out by armed guards. This seems to be a more realistic view of what's happening in Iraq than the purported handover of military control from the U.S. to the Iraqi government. In reality, our correspondents say the U.S. military has not been relieved of its duties at all. You can hear about both those developments on All Things Considered tonight. And since Iraq is not a winning political topic these days for the White House, we'll be hearing more about the "war on terrorism." In addition to another presidential speech on the topic today, Capitol Hill is buzzing with discussions of torture policies, eavesdropping policies and similar topics that, among other things, could provide rhetorical ammunition for the November 7 election...
September 7, 2006 I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, so I must confess, we in "superior California" always sneered at the lower life forms down the coast in Los Angeles. After all, we had the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane -- not to mention Country Joe and the Fish. OK, I wasn't quite old enough to hear them live at the Fillmore, but we all basked in their reflected glory. Well, today on Morning Edition, Renee Montagne gave me a little lesson in rock history...
August 21, 2006 Astronomers say they have proven that a mysterious material that fills our universe, called dark matter, actually exists. Dark matter is dark, so it can't be seen directly. But it is thought to account for 90 percent of the matter in our universe. Now, astronomers studying the collision of two galaxies say that cosmic crash reveals the presence of dark matter. But what the matter is actually composed of remains one of the biggest mysteries in our universe.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5685244/5685245" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 6, 2006 Astronomers say they finally found lakes on Saturn's moon, Titan. But they don't hold water, they hold liquid natural gas. This discovery, from the Cassini space probe, is revealing Titan to have striking similarities with Earth.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5621436/5621437" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 20, 2006 A congressional committee took up the topic of global climate change Wednesday, focusing on an eight-year-old study suggesting that the world is warmer now than it has been in a thousand years. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) used the hearing to question the study and the debate over global warming.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5569901/5569902" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 12, 2006 A committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences says the Environmental Protection Agency's review of dangers posed by the chemical dioxin is flawed and needs to be reworked. Despite decades of research, scientists have been unable to agree for certain on whether dioxin causes cancer in humans.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5550093/5550124" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 8, 2006 Scientists studying raindrop residue say California's Sierra Nevada mountains may date nearly to the dinosaurs' era. That conflicts with evidence suggesting the mountains are much younger.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5543557/5543558" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 6, 2006 A new study finds that heat waves are the most significant driving force in western wildfires. Since 1980, when fire activity increased sharply, the weather has mattered far more than the amount of built-up brush and other factors that are often blamed for destructive fires. Researchers say hot and early spring seasons make the forests tinder-dry by summer -- and more likely to burn out of control. As a result, they say, global warming could intensify fires in the American West.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5539114/5539115" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 3, 2006 Desert ants are very good at finding their way home. How they do that has been a mystery, until now. A clever experiment in Germany finds that these ants get home by counting their steps. Ants with shortened legs stopped short of their nests, while ants outfitted with stilts walked too far.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5529214/5529215" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
June 29, 2006 Spring is coming earlier to Europe, thanks to global warming. And at least some birds have adjusted to the change. A new study finds that migrating songbirds from Africa are showing up earlier on their breeding grounds, to take advantage of abundant food. Scientists suggest these bird species are actually evolving rapidly to keep up with our changing world.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5521938/5521939" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor