In sub-Saharan Africa, where agricultural productivity is lowest and food shortages are most common, "huge volumes of rainwater are lost or never used," says Alain Vidal, director of the Challenge Program on Water and Food, which commissioned the studies.
The military is trying to make big changes in what fuel it uses. The Air Force and Navy have been testing their aircraft — everything from fighters to unmanned spy planes — on fuel made from vegetable oil or even animal fat. One catch: It costs 10 times the price of traditional fuel.
New York state is poised to implement new rules that could have a major impact on the global shipping industry. Invasive species sometimes move from place to place in "ballast water" — that's the water ships suck in and discharge to level their loads. Officials in New York want all that ballast water treated to kill any "living pollution" before it reaches their harbors. But the treatment technology is expensive and untested. Because the state serves as a gateway to the Great Lakes and ports in New Jersey, other states and countries are disputing the new rules.
The Flagstaff Festival of Science gets underway this week. Ira Flatow talks with two festival participants about some of the highlights: Astronaut John Grunsfeld previews a talk on the Hubble Telescope and archeoastronomer Bryan Bates tells what the Mayans knew about 2012.
Archaeologist Constanza Ceruti braves blistering winds and altitude sickness to research ancient Andean civilizations. Environmental anthropologist Kenny Broad dives deep into ocean caves to study fresh water reserves. The two explorers explain the limits, risks and rewards of their work.
Record breaking fires in the Southwest have burned thousands of acres, disrupting people and animals, and leaving muddy, flood-prone landscapes in their wake. Ira Flatow and guests discuss fire ecology, and how new forest management strategies may help stifle the blazes.
The Grand Canyon may seem to be a simple case of "river carves rock," but to geologists, its formation is still puzzling. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the canyon's mysteries, and the scientific sleuthing being done to solve them--millions of years after the Colorado River carried off the evidence.
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