Science

The Two-Way
11:33 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Monarch Butterfy Population Falls To Record Low, Mexican Scientists Say

Monarch butterflies in December 2008 at the Sierra del Chincua sanctuary in Angangueo, in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Mario Vazquez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:47 pm

Monarch butterflies that once covered 50 square acres of forest during their summer layover in central Mexico now occupy fewer than 3 acres, according to the latest census.

The numbers of the orange-and-black butterflies have crashed in the two decades since scientists began making a rough count of them, according to Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.

At a news conference Wednesday, the commission said the count was down 59 percent from December 2011 levels, when the insects filled 7.14 acres of fir trees in central Mexico.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Thu March 14, 2013

'God Particle' Update: Scientists Think They've Pinned Down The Higgs Boson

This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
ATLAS Experiment/CERN

"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.

Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).

Joe reports that:

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The Salt
4:13 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Sorry, But Bananas Won't Calm Your Caffeine Jitters

Some baristas swear that bananas can cure your coffee jitters, but the science just doesn't add up.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 8:43 am

It happens to the best of us. You drink one too many cups of coffee and, for the next few hours, you end up acting like a hyper preschooler who just can't sit still.

Which can be pretty inconvenient if it's, say, noon and you're at the office, or if it's midnight and you can't fall asleep.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were something quick and easy that you could take to combat the effects of over-caffeination? Something like ... a banana?

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The Salt
5:24 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Can Dunkin' Donuts Really Turn Its Palm Oil Green?

Dunkin' Donuts plans to go green by committing to purchasing all of its palm oil from sustainable sources.
Andrew Huff/via Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 6:13 pm

Dunkin' Donuts is changing its recipes — though you may not notice much difference the next time you bite into a cruller. In response to pressure from one of New York's top elected officials, the company recently announced that it will set a goal of using only 100 percent sustainable palm oil in making its donuts.

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