The electricity system is experiencing growing pains as the grid is beginning to rely on an increasing amount of renewable, particularly unpredictable sources of power like wind farms and solar panels. So grid operators are turning to individual customers to beef up redundancy and capacity.
At the farmers market this time of year, tomatoes are strutting their stuff in all sorts of glorious and quirky colors: green striped, white, pink, purplish-brown. Consumers have seed savers and amateur breeders to thank for discovering and sharing some of these heirloom varieties, like the Cherokee Purple.
As Morning Edition looks back on the blackout of 2003, David Greene talks to Steven Weissman, the director of the Energy Program at the University of California Berkeley, about how the country's electrical systems work, and how to manage them in the future.
Sagging power lines and computer glitches led to a power outage that left 50 million people across the Northeast U.S. and part of Canada in darkness on Aug. 14, 2003. New sensors have been installed, and operator training and computer systems have been upgraded. But is that enough to prevent another massive blackout?
The rise in urban beekeeping could end up resulting in too many bees with too few flowers to feed on, two U.K. scientists warn. That's already the case in London, where the number of urban hives has doubled over the past five years, they say.
At Colorado State University, billions of seeds and other genetic material sit inside a giant storage vault. They're kept there in case of a loss of plant or animal life on a regional or global scale. But the investigation into GMO wheat in Oregon has raised questions about security at the facility.
Existing concepts in science like linear induction motors and magnetic levitation are back in the spotlight thanks to Elon Musk's proposal for a rail system that can travel faster than the speed of sound.
People famous to one generation may be unknown to another. Getting an accurate diagnosis of dementia for younger patients may require a test that includes the faces of younger celebrities, researchers say.
High-energy physicists are still riding high from last year's discovery of the Higgs particle, a major finding decades in the making. Now they want a big new machine to study the Higgs, but budget cuts and the high costs of building a new particle accelerator mean the world can afford only one.
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