Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:51 pm
Economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gazing into their crystal ball, see American farmers planting and harvesting huge amounts of corn, soybeans, and wheat this year. They're predicting a record harvest of corn: 14 billion bushels, up nearly 40 percent over last year's drought-crippled level.
With supply up, prices will fall. The USDA thinks that the price of the average bushel of corn could fall by a third. And soybean production and price are expected to follow a similar track.
The Venezuelan government released an update on ailing President Hugo Chávez late Thursday.
"The respiratory deficiency that arose in the course of the postoperative period persists, and its tendency has not been favorable, for which reason he continues to be treated," the information minister, Ernesto Villegas, said according to The New York Times.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:04 pm
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:34 am
An ear, unsurprisingly, is difficult to make from scratch. Ear cartilage is uniquely flexible and strong and has been impossible for scientists to reproduce with synthetic prostheses.
If a child is born without one, doctors typically carve a replacement ear out of rib cartilage, but it lacks the wonderfully firm yet springy qualities of the original ear. And it often doesn't look so good.
At the Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.
Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the bipolar Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he and director David O. Russell approached the role with the idea that Cooper would "play as real and authentic as [h]e could."
Four former executives from Peanut Corp. of America and a related company are facing federal criminal charges for covering up information that their peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
The charges are related to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella back in 2009. More than 700 people became ill, and federal investigators traced the source of the bacteria to peanut butter manufactured in Blakely, Ga., by the Peanut Corp. of America. The company is no longer in business.
Feeble human eyes require a certain level of light to see color. Cameras, though, have the magical ability to expose the world at night. Husband-and-wife photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel have been playing with long-exposure photography for years — more specifically, in moonlit gardens.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. The Internet is the new battleground.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.
How much is a best-picture Oscar worth? Not the statuette — winners are required to sell that back to the Academy for a buck if they want to get rid of it. No, what's the Oscar worth at the box office?
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:38 pm
Here's the latest plan scientists have come up with to kill some of the estimated 2 million brown tree snakes that have wiped out many other animals on Guam:
In April or May they're going to lace dead mice with painkillers, attach them to little parachutes, drop them from helicopters and hope that they get snagged in the jungle foliage. Then, if all goes well, the snakes — which as their name implies hang out in trees — will eat the mice and die from ingesting the painkillers' active ingredients.
South African Olympian and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail, but the hearing brought to light bizarre details about the murder charges against him. So will the case turn into another O.J. Simpson fiasco? Host Michel Martin asks the barbershop guys for their thoughts.
It took Danica Patrick 45.817 seconds to circle the track and win the pole position for the Daytona 500. It'll take about four hours to determine who wins the famed race that starts the Sprint Cup season at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
By taking the No. 1 slot, Patrick made history as the first woman to win a pole in NASCAR's elite division. And she made some people wonder whether the pole position — and her light weight — might give her an advantage.
President Obama's plan to jump-start the economy starts with increasing the minimum wage and avoiding sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks about those challenges and others, like rising gas prices and expanding waist lines. She's joined by NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and Wall Street Journal economics reporter Sudeep Reddy.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:55 am
It's a moment many parents dread — sitting down to talk with their kid about drugs. What should they say? Will the conversation have any effect? And should they mention their own youthful indiscretions?
Parents can get advice from the family doctor or pediatrician and places like the Partnership at Drugfree.org (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), though there's not been much evidence to back up the recommendations.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:48 pm
No place has been as riveted by Oscar Pistorius and the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend as South Africa.
But even before this sensational story burst into the headlines, South Africans were fiercely debating issues that are more or less permanent fixtures in this country — crime, and violence against women.