Science

5:00am

Wed August 20, 2014
Biofuel

Squeezing Diesel From A Seed

Camelina seeds, with a 35 percent oil content, could be a perfect crop for farmers wishing to grow their own fuel.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

On a windy August day outside of Fort Collins, three Colorado State University students crouch in a field, harvesting a crop by hand. The plants in the field, which are browning slower than usual during a wet, cool summer, are a light tan color and about knee high.

The crop is called camelina, and the researchers believe these plants, which produce tiny, oil-filled seeds, could provide farmers with the ability to grow their own fuel on the farm.

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3:01am

Tue August 19, 2014
Science

Elephant Slaughter, African Slavery And America's Pianos

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 5:35 am

Louis E. Pratt, master ivory cutter for Pratt, Read & Co., shows off eight ivory tusks, April 1, 1955.
Courtesy of Deep River Historical Society

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants has tripled in the past 15 years, to the extent that biologists fear for the creatures' future existence.

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1:34am

Thu July 17, 2014
Science

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Originally published on Sun August 3, 2014 6:20 am

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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5:09am

Wed June 18, 2014
Science

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 6:29 am

DNA from these crab plovers, collected in Djibouti, Africa, should help scientists figure out how the unusual species fits into the family tree, says the Smithsonian's Helen James.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, there's a vast, warehouse-like room that's filled with metal cabinets painted a drab institutional green. Inside the cabinets are more than a half-million birds — and these birds are not drab. Their colorful feathers make them seem to almost glow.

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6:23am

Tue June 10, 2014
Science

Spiders Tune In To Web's Music To Size Up Meals And Mates

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 3:03 pm

Hairlike sensors on the the legs of the golden silk spider help it "listen" to the thrum of its web.
I'll Never Grow Up Flickr

Some of the toughest stuff in nature is spider silk — as strong, ounce for ounce, as nylon. And a silk web makes a great trap for prey, as well as a nice place for a spider to live.

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