Science and the Environment

Science and the Environment
11:25 am
Thu June 26, 2014

As Renewables Grow in Texas, Battles Over Fees and Subsidies Emerge

Wind turbines in West Texas help produce record amounts of electricity for the state.
Mose Buchele/StateImpact Texas

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 1:54 pm

From StateImpact Texas

In the coming years, the federal government wants Texas to reduce its carbon emissions by about 40 percent. With a goal like that, you might expect to see more programs aimed at promoting renewable energy in Texas. But something like the opposite appears to be happening.

Donna Nelson, chair of Texas’ Public Utility Commission, asked last month if wind power generators, not Texas utility customers, should pay for upgrades to transmission lines. The Commission regulates the state’s electric grid, among other things.

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Food
4:45 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Eating Broccoli May Give Harmful Chemicals The Boot

Researchers say eating broccoli sprouts could help protect against the harmful effects of air pollution.
Julie Gibbons/Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:14 am

We get a little suspicious when we hear the claims that it's possible to get rid of the gunk that accumulates in our cells by doing a cleanse with "clean" foods.

But what if some foods actually do help detox the body?

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Science and the Environment
8:52 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Your Brain's Got Rhythm, And Syncs When You Think

"Dance for PD" classes use music to temporarily ease tremors and get Parkinson's patients moving.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:47 pm

Even if you can't keep a beat, your brain can. "The brain absolutely has rhythm," says Nathan Urban, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

When you concentrate, Urban says, your brain produces rapid, rhythmic electrical impulses called gamma waves. When you relax, it generates much slower alpha waves.

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Science and the Environment
10:17 am
Tue June 10, 2014

From Genes To Fangs: Snake Venom Recipes Remain Mysterious

Saw-scaled vipers may be small, but they pack a nasty venomous punch. This one, Echis carinatus sochureki, was used in a study on snake venom.
Courtesy of Wolfgang Wüster

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:46 am

When a saw-scaled viper sinks its fangs into a person, it isn't pretty.

Toxins attack the victim's capillaries. The body launches an immune defense, as it would with an infection. But that takes time — too much time. The venom quickly dissolves the tiny blood vessels, and the body runs out of clotting materials before it can repair them.

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Science and the Environment
9:59 am
Tue June 10, 2014

With Concern For Environment, Illinois Bans Microbeads

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 12:27 pm

Illinois became the first state in the union to ban microbeads, the tiny bits of plastic found in consumer products like skin exfoliants and soap.

As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, environmentalists say that when microbeads wash down the drain, they're usually missed by filtration systems, which means they become food to fish and other wildlife.

Cheryl filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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