Science

2:28pm

Wed July 10, 2013
The Salt

The Science Of Twinkies: How Do They Last So Darned Long?

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:56 am

Unlike the dodo that sits next to it on an NPR Science Desk shelf, this year-and-a-half-old Twinkie is still around — but that doesn't mean you want to eat it.
Heather Rousseau NPR

We have to confess: When we heard that Twinkies will have nearly double the shelf life, 45 days, when they return to stores next week, our first reaction was — days? Not years?

Urban legend has long deemed Twinkies the cockroaches of the snack food world, a treat that can survive for decades, what humanity would have left to eat come the apocalypse. The true shelf life — which used to be 26 days — seems somewhat less impressive by comparison.

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1:43am

Tue July 9, 2013
Games & Humor

A Zombie Horror Game, Inspired By ... A Nature Documentary?

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 9:20 am

In The Last of Us, a fungus called Cordyceps that commonly infects insects has jumped over to humans, creating a fungal zombie apocalypse.
Naughty Dog

The Last of Us is a new survival horror video game and it features — no big surprise — zombie-like creatures. But these are not the same old zombies that have dominated movie and TV screens in the past few years.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, says he wanted a fresh new way to wipe out humanity — and he found it in a BBC documentary series called Planet Earth, which depicts the scary effects of the Cordyceps fungus.

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4:55pm

Wed July 3, 2013
Space

Why You Can't Name New Moons And Planets Anything You Want

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:38 am

This artist's illustration shows Pluto and one of its moons, Charon. A global consortium of astronomers sets the rules for naming things like asteroids and moons throughout the solar system.
Detlev van Ravenswaay Science Source

A dispute over the names of two new moons of Pluto is highlighting a broader battle over who names what in our solar system and beyond. On one side is the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a venerable consortium of astronomers who have set the naming rules for the better part of a century. On the other side, a growing number of astronomers who feel the IAU has unfairly designated itself as the intergalactic naming police.

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2:12pm

Tue July 2, 2013
The Two-Way

NASA Has Shut Down Space Telescope Orbiting Earth

"The Galaxy Next Door" — This composite image of the Andromeda galaxy was produced by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer, showing Andromeda's ultraviolet side. NASA sent a decommission command to the space telescope Friday.
NASA

NASA is sending a reliable servant into a retirement that will end with a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere in about 65 years. That's the fate that awaits the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, the "galaxy hunter" space telescope whose original 29-month mission was extended to more than 10 years.

Along the way, the orbiting system, known as GALEX, helped scientists study how galaxies and stars are born, and how they change over time.

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10:53am

Tue July 2, 2013

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