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What's Behind The 'Fairy Circles' That Dot West Africa?

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.

Mapping The Microbes That Flourish On Fruits And Veggies

Salad is not just a food; it's home to a flourishing community of mostly benign microbes. A new inventory finds surprising differences in the bacteria growing on popular fruits and vegetables.

Why A Hoosier State Scientist Is Stuck On Oysters

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.

'Sponge' Drug Shows Promise For Treating Hepatitis C

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.

Is The Sky The Limit For Wind Power?

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.

A Hot Topic: Climate Change Coming To Classrooms

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.

Op-Ed: It's Time To Beef Up The U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Navy estimates that by 2035 the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free for a month each year. In an op-ed for Foreign Policy, James Holmes, U.S. Naval War College, argues that in preparation for the increased activity in the Northwest Passage, the U.S. needs a Coast Guard that can fight.
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Dan Fagin: "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation"

For two generations, chemical companies in Toms River, N.J., dumped toxic waste. For this month’s Environmental Outlook, Diane and her guest discuss the life of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution.