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Science
5:44 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Big Shelves Of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

A 2008 view of the leading edge of the Larsen B ice shelf, extending into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea. Huge, floating ice shelves that line the Antarctic coast help hold back sheets of ice that cover land.
Mariano Caravaca Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 8:01 pm

The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

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The Salt
5:42 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Think Nobody Wants To Buy Ugly Fruits And Veggies? Think Again

Not so ugly, eh? Supposedly imperfect produce rescued and reclaimed for consumption by Bon Appetit and Better Harvests.
Far left and far right: Courtesy of Ron Clark/Better Harvests. Center three images: Courtesy of Bon Appétit Management Company

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:28 pm

Remember that old movie trope, in which the mousy girl who never gets noticed takes off her eyeglasses and — voila! — suddenly, everyone can see she was beautiful all along?

Well, a similar sort of scenario is starting to play out in the world of produce in the U.S. (minus the sexist subtext).

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Animals
5:08 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

'Super-Termite' Could Be Even More Destructive Than Parent Species

The male Asian subterranean termite (brown abdomen) and the female Formosan subterranean termite (orange abdomen) are surrounded by their hybrid offspring (eggs, larvae, workers, soldiers) in an eight-month-old colony.
Thomas Chouvenc University of Florida

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 8:40 am

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.

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The Salt
1:07 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Meet The Cool Beans Designed To Beat Climate Change

These beans, grown on test plots at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans.
Courtesy of CIAT/Neil Palmer

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:16 pm

A planet that is warming at extraordinary speed may require extraordinary new food crops. The latest great agricultural hope is beans that can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans. They're now growing in test plots of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, in Colombia.

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Around the Nation
4:34 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

California Plastic Bag Referendum Could Spark Environmental Showdown

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 12:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Salt
4:00 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared?

Central Illinois corn farmer Jerry McCulley refills his sprayer with the weedkiller glyphosate on a farm near Auburn, Ill. A new assessment of the chemical finds that the (uncertain) risks mainly affect the people who work with it or who come in direct contact with areas where it's applied.
Seth Perlman AP

An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world a few days ago when it announced that two widely used pesticides are "probably carcinogenic to humans." The well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year.

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Animals
3:40 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Sea Turtles Test Urban Waters In Southern California 'Jacuzzi'

A recently rescued sea turtle recovering on the banks of the San Gabriel River.
Sanden Totten Southern California Public Radio/KPCC

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 11:59 am

The green sea turtle typically lives in tropical waters, like the shores of Mexico or Hawaii.

But recently, scientists have discovered a population swimming year-round in a river just south of Los Angeles. It's the northernmost group of these turtles known to science.

Visit the 3-mile stretch of the San Gabriel River in Long Beach, wait a few a minutes, and Cassandra Davis says you'll usually see their heads above the water.

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The Salt
5:03 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs

Neil deGrasse Tyson with a Cambodian cricket rumaki canape, wrapped in bacon. "I have come to surmise, in the culinary universe, that anytime someone feels compelled to wrap something in bacon, it probably doesn't taste very good," he said skeptically before taking a bite.
Carole Zimmer for NPR

More than 1,000 guests in gowns and tuxedos crowded into a two-story hall on Saturday night at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Standing among a pack of well-preserved African elephants, they sampled the delicacies offered by waiters wending their way through the throngs. They had come for the annual dinner of the Explorers Club — and the cocktail-hour fare certainly required an adventurous palate: All of it was made of insects.

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Goats and Soda
12:56 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

You Think Your City Is Full Of Trash? Ha!

Even Oscar the Grouch might be put off by the growing heaps of trash in the center of Kathmandu.
Donatella Lorch

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 6:51 pm

They don't call it Trashmandu for nothing.

In Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu, garbage is pretty much everywhere. It's stuffed in plastic bags and dropped in drainage ditches. It's piled high in empty lots, on the roadside and on the edges of the city's sewage-filled rivers.

It is thrown out of bus windows and off rooftops into neighbors' yards.

It's hard to believe Kathmandu could get any worse. But this month, it did.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Paris Bans Some Cars For A Day To Battle Smog

A photo taken on Feb. 12 shows the Eiffel Tower in Paris through thick smog.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 2:05 pm

Paris has banned cars with license plates ending in even numbers from its roads today to reduce smog that last week briefly made the City of Lights among the world's most polluted places.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, who is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit, says the Paris Metro and other public transportation are free for the next few days to encourage people to use them. The ban on cars doesn't extend to electric, hybrid or emergency vehicles.

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