A retired professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has developed a sensor that goes beyond the usual chemical monitor. This portable device checks the air for smog components that hurt human health.
The book club regulars gather to chat about the best-sellingA Walk in the Woods, writer Bill Bryson's 1998 account of a hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail. Plus, journalist Deborah Blum joins the club to talk about the best science books to stash in your beach bag (or backpack).
The space rock, which is nine times the size of a cruise ship, is dropping by Earth and it's not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 has already given scientists a surprise: It has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.
Houston's air quality improved dramatically over the past decade, but the city is still short of meeting the latest smog standards. Getting there isn't simply a matter of cracking down more on the petrochemical industry — the city needs to deal with cars on its sprawling roads, and bad air blowing from out of town.
As humans have cut into Brazil's forests, the toucan population has taken a dive. The trees, in turn, have changed, too: Without large-billed birds to eat fruit with big seeds, only trees with small seeds thrive. Eventually, one scientist says, "the impacts on the forest could be quite dramatic."
Would you like to know the life history of that steak before you eat it? Technology exists to give you that information, at least in Michigan, where the state government requires all cattle to carry an electronic tag for tracking purposes.
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