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The Picture Show
12:21 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russia By Rail: Getting Into Hot Water

The hot water boiler on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a social gathering place, as well as a convenient way to prepare tea, coffee, oatmeal or instant meals.
Laura Krantz NPR

In American offices, it's the water cooler.

On Russian trains? The boiler.

It's where passengers gather to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, soup, instant pasta or instant anything whose preparation demands hot water.

The boiler – standing proud and tall near the train attendant's compartment in each rail car – is a metal canister keeping water scalding and available at any hour.

Occasional passengers - including myself - refer at times to the appliance as a "samovar."

But this risks offending traditionalists.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Japan's Prime Minister Says Crippled Nuke Plant Will Be Stable By Year's End

This file handout picture shows workers spraying water to cool down the spent nuclear fuel in the fourth reactor building at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO via AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 2:54 pm

Japan's prime minister said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March is on schedule to be stabilized by the end of the year.

The AP reports:

"Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Inbreeding To Blame For Bedbug Renaissance

Presenting at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers said bedbugs can survive many generations of inbreeding, allowing one pregnant female to cause a building-wide infestation. Biologist Rajeev Vaidyanathan discusses that study, and another on pesticide resistance.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Engineers Give The Jump Rope A Spin

When they both worked at Princeton, Howard Stone and Jeff Aristoff used to play basketball at lunchtime. One day, when Dr. Stone was warming up with his jump rope, the two wondered if anyone had mathematically modeled the shape of the rope. The two researchers decided to give it a whirl.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Debating Genetically Modified Salmon

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 12:37 pm

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca. Ira Flatow is away this week. The biotech company AquaBounty Technologies of Waltham, Massachusetts, has developed a genetically modified Atlantic salmon that grows twice as fast as regular salmon. How has it done this? By tinkering with the salmon's genome, adding a growth hormone gene from one fish plus an antifreeze gene from another.

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