The sand is pumped underground along with water and other chemicals to extract oil and natural gas trapped deep in rock. But researchers found that air samples taken at some drilling sites contained high enough levels of very fine silica particles to be dangerous to workers.
Fly from Angola down to South Africa and you'll see thousands of circles of bare dirt covering the land. They're up to 30 feet across and ringed by tufts of grass. The origin of the shapes has long been a mystery, but researchers now say hordes of termites may be acting as engineers.
How do oysters attach themselves to rocks? They need a glue, but a glue that can set in a watery environment. In this installment of "Joe's Big Idea," NPR's Joe Palca reports that glue could lead to medical advances.
Doctors are desperate for better treatments for hepatitis C, which now affects about 4 million Americans. A new kind of drug that "mops up" molecules in the cells stopped the virus in a small clinical study, offering hope for a quicker cure with few side effects.
Building huge turbine farms too close together might significantly reduce their power, some atmospheric scientists say. The problem is "wind shadow" — the turbulence created by one big cluster of turbines that steals wind from another cluster down the road.
For the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend teaching K-12 students about climate change. Educators say many teachers have shied away from the polarizing topic, and an organized campaign to promote it as "controversial" leaves many students confused.
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