Science

The Salt
2:43 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Incredibly Shrinking Avocados: Why This Year's Fruit Are So Tiny

We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:40 am

What's thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?

No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

How One Plus One Became Everything: A Puzzle of Life

Courtesy of Paolo Ceric

It's one of life's great mysteries ...

Four billion years ago, or thereabouts, organic chemicals in the sea somehow spun themselves into little homes, with insides and outsides. We call them cells.

They did this in different ways, but always keeping their insides in, protected from the outside world ...

... surrounded by walls or skins of different types ...

... but letting in essentials, nutrients. Some even learned to eat sunshine, capturing energy ...

... which gave them a pulse of their own ...

... so they could move ...

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The Two-Way
1:25 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Has Voyager 1 Left The Solar System?

This artist rendering provided by NASA shows Voyager 1 at the edge of the solar system.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 1:52 pm

The Voyager 1 spacecraft launched in 1977 on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. It kept on going. Today it's billions of miles from Earth, and scientists have been predicting it will soon leave the solar system.

NPR has been on Voyager watch since at least 2003, when longtime science correspondent Richard Harris provided this warning of Voyager's impending departure.

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Shots - Health News
1:47 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

What's My Real Cancer Risk? When Online Calculators Don't Compute

Whether or not you'll someday get cancer or any disease can feel like a roll of hundreds of dice. Calculating the odds --€” and knowing what they mean --€” is tricky.
Katie Harbath Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:31 am

Online risk calculators are all the rage these days among public health groups trying to get us to change our unhealthful ways. The World Health Organization developed an online tool that lets you estimate your personal risk of cracking a hip in the next 10 years, for example. You just plug in data about yourself, your lifestyle, and your family medical history.

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Dolphin Die-Off Leaves Scientists Puzzled

An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key in Marathon, Fla., in July.
Wilfredo Lee Associated Press

Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 6:25 pm

Dead dolphins have been washing up in alarming numbers on mid-Atlantic beaches since July as scientists struggle to find a cause for the largest such die-off in a quarter-century.

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