Of the 100 "top science stories for 2012" chosen by Discover Magazine, I am most fascinated by #42: "The Myth of Choosy Women, Promiscuous Men." It reports a serious challenge to an experiment that has remained a touchstone in evolutionary biology for over 50 years.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, those apps you've been downloading to keep the kids occupied during car rides and sports practices? It turns out, according to federal regulators, they are collecting all kinds of information that they aren't telling you about. So we will. In a few minutes.
As any cheese maker will tell you, it's not that hard to make cheese. You just take some fresh milk, warm it up a bit, and add something acidic to curdle it. Then, once it has cooled, you drain off the whey — the liquid part — and you're left with cheese.
It will take tens of billions of dollars to repair the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But scientists who study climate change say repair is not enough. As the climate warms, ice sheets and glaciers will melt, raising the sea level. That means coastal storms will more likely cause flooding.
So New Yorkers, local politicians and scientists face a tough decision: How to spend limited funds to defend themselves from what climate experts call "the new normal."
Cartoonists have found many clever ways to depict the conventional wisdom that complex life evolved in the sea and then crawled up onto land. But a provocative new study suggests that the procession might be drawn in the wrong direction. The earliest large life forms may have appeared on land long before the oceans filled with creatures that swam and crawled and burrowed in the mud.
Credit VPHAS Consortium/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit / ESO
It's painful to say this, but our universe is fading, not that any of us would notice. Looking up at the sky, the stars are not disappearing from sight (in spite of regular apocalyptic predictions rippling through our culture). But the rate at which the cosmos makes new stars has been declining sharply over the past few billion years. The age of splendor, of countless lights born anew in the heavens, is long gone.
The Bureau of Land Management is auctioning off 18,000 acres of oil leases in California Wednesday. The state has one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the country. And it's attracting new attention because of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking.