Christopher Joyce http://kasu.org en A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame http://kasu.org/post/t-rex-reveal-itself-smithsonian This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.<p>Most people don't know it, but the T. rex that's standing tall in the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., is a fake — a cast, a copy of the bones. It's an accurate replica, but for decades the Smithsonian has coveted a real skeleton of a T. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:43:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 42952 at http://kasu.org A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame Methane-Producing Microbes Caused 'The Great Dying' http://kasu.org/post/methane-producing-microbes-caused-great-dying Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>And I'm David Greene. Good morning. The biggest extinction the Earth has ever seen took place 250 million years ago and it remains something of a mystery. Scientists suspected giant volcanoes or perhaps an asteroid caused it, but NPR's Christopher Joyce has seen new research suggesting the cause might not have been so cataclysmic - maybe something much more subtle.<p>CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: It's sometimes called the Great Dying. Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:46:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 42292 at http://kasu.org The 500-Pound 'Chicken From Hell' Likely Ate Whatever It Wanted http://kasu.org/post/500-pound-chicken-hell-likely-ate-whatever-it-wanted For the past decade, dinosaur scientists have been puzzling over a set of fossil bones they variously describe as weird and bizarre. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:31:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 41769 at http://kasu.org The 500-Pound 'Chicken From Hell' Likely Ate Whatever It Wanted When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit http://kasu.org/post/when-big-carnivores-go-down-even-vegetarians-take-hit Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.<p>But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of disappearing. That's creating ripple effects throughout the natural world that scientists are still trying to figure out.<p>What they're exploring is ecology — the interplay of animals and plants in nature. It's not rocket science. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 08:00:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 39033 at http://kasu.org When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth http://kasu.org/post/looks-paleo-diet-wasnt-so-hot-ancient-hunters-teeth One of the hinge points in human history was the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/07/08/198453031/farming-got-hip-in-iran-some-12-000-years-ago-ancient-seeds-reveal">invention of agriculture</a>. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.<p>When hunter-gatherers started adding grains and starches to their diet, it brought about the "age of cavities." At least that's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/02/24/172688806/ancient-chompers-were-healthier-than-ours">what a lot of people thought</a>. Mon, 06 Jan 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 38882 at http://kasu.org Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth Federal Flood Insurance Program Drowning In Debt. Who Will Pay? http://kasu.org/post/federal-flood-insurance-program-drowning-debt-who-will-pay Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government, and a lot of them get a hefty discount. But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge amounts of money after floods, and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red.<p>Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. Now <em>that</em> move has created such uproar among property owners that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear.<p>Caught in the middle is the <a href="http://www.fema.gov/">Federal Emergency Management Agency</a>. Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:03:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 38695 at http://kasu.org Federal Flood Insurance Program Drowning In Debt. Who Will Pay? Centuries Before China's 'Great Wall,' There Was Another http://kasu.org/post/centuries-chinas-great-wall-there-was-another The Great Wall of China, built more than 2,000 years ago, stands as one of the monumental feats of ancient engineering. Stretching thousands of miles, it protected the newly unified country from foreign invaders.<p>But before the Great Wall, warring Chinese dynasties built many other walls for protection. Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:04:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 38584 at http://kasu.org Centuries Before China's 'Great Wall,' There Was Another More People Have More To Eat, But It's Not All Good News http://kasu.org/post/more-people-have-more-eat-its-not-all-good-news Among the things to celebrate this holiday season is the fact that there are fewer hungry people in the world. Just how many? Well, since 1965, researchers in Europe have been tracking the world's food supply and where it's going.<p>The good news is: The percentage of the world's population getting what the researchers say is a sufficient diet has grown from 30 percent to 61 percent.<p>In 1965, a majority of the world survived on less than 2,000 calories a day per person. This was especially true in parts of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China and Southeast Asia. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 08:18:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 38489 at http://kasu.org More People Have More To Eat, But It's Not All Good News Scientists Battle Over Fate Of Yellowstone's Grizzlies http://kasu.org/post/scientists-battle-over-fate-yellowstones-grizzlies Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>The North America's grizzly bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Its population was virtually wiped out in the lower 48 states. One group of bears, though, may soon lose that protection - the Yellowstone grizzly. Some scientists say that group is thriving. Others disagree. NPR's Christopher Joyce has more on the battle over the bear.<p>CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: The U.S. Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:52:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 37987 at http://kasu.org Long Island Wins Ultimate Faceoff Against Hurricane Sandy http://kasu.org/post/long-island-wins-ultimate-faceoff-against-hurricane-sandy Hurricane Sandy last year did more harm to coastal cities and homes than any hurricane in U.S. history, except Katrina. Most of that damage has been repaired. But there's other damage that people can't see to the underwater coastline, known as the shore face.<p>Apparently, Long Island's shore face did remarkably well against the storm of the 21st century.<p>The shore face is the underwater slope that runs up to the shore. Its shape influences how fast and high water moves onto land. Sandy pushed water up the shore face and into towns and bays. Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:13:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 37971 at http://kasu.org Long Island Wins Ultimate Faceoff Against Hurricane Sandy U.S. May Be Producing 50 Percent More Methane Than EPA Thinks http://kasu.org/post/us-may-be-producing-50-percent-more-methane-epa-thinks Methane is the source of the gas we burn in stoves. You can also use it to make plastics, antifreeze or fertilizer. It comes out of underground deposits, but it also seeps up from swamps, landfills, even the stomachs of cows.<p>And while methane is valuable, a lot of it gets up into the atmosphere, where it becomes a very damaging greenhouse gas.<p>Scientists have been trying to find out, with varying success, exactly how much of this climate-warming gas gets into the atmosphere. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 23:09:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 37266 at http://kasu.org U.S. May Be Producing 50 Percent More Methane Than EPA Thinks How And Where Should We Rebuild After Natural Disasters? http://kasu.org/post/how-and-where-should-we-rebuild-after-natural-disasters The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.<p>Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.<p>How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 21:36:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36984 at http://kasu.org How And Where Should We Rebuild After Natural Disasters? Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife http://kasu.org/post/meat-mummies-how-ancient-egyptians-prepared-feasts-afterlife Meat mummies.<p>It's a word pairing that is, I dare say, pretty rare. Who among us has heard those two words together? What, indeed, could a "meat mummy" be?<p>Indiana Jones, of course, would have known the answer right away. A meat mummy is a section of animal prepared as if for eating, then bandaged and placed in a sarcophagus by ancient Egyptians. Egyptian royalty, even after death, got hungry. And royalty deserved something more than oats and tubers. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 21:16:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36979 at http://kasu.org Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife A Rancher And A Conservationist Forge An Unlikely Alliance http://kasu.org/post/rancher-and-conservationist-forge-unlikely-alliance Trout fishing is a magnet that draws people from around the world to places like Ovando, Mont. Just ask the owner of Blackfoot Angler and Supplies, Kathy Schoendoerfer.<p>"Every state in the nation has been through this little shop in Ovando, Montana, population 50," says Schoendoerfer with a mix of pride and perhaps a little fatigue. "And we've also had everybody from Russia, Latvia. We get a lot of Canadians, France, Finland, Brazil, Scotland, Germany, South Africa. We get a lot of business out here. You know, fly-fishing is huge."<p>But Western trout may be in trouble. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:04:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36834 at http://kasu.org A Rancher And A Conservationist Forge An Unlikely Alliance As Climate Warms American West, Iconic Trout In Jeopardy http://kasu.org/post/climate-warms-american-west-iconic-trout-jeopardy In the mountain streams of the American West, the trout rules. People don't just catch this fish; they honor it. And spend lots of money pursuing it.<p>But some western trout may be in trouble. Rivers and streams are getting warmer and there's often less water in them. Scientists suspect a changing climate is threatening this iconic fish.<p>I joined two such scientists from the U.S. Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:07:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36785 at http://kasu.org As Climate Warms American West, Iconic Trout In Jeopardy How'd They Do That? The Story Of A Giant Rock And A Road Of Ice http://kasu.org/post/howd-they-do-story-giant-rock-and-road-ice Great works of ancient engineering, like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, inspire awe in every beholder. But some onlookers also get inspired to figure out exactly how these structures were made.<p><a href="http://www.princeton.edu/mae/people/faculty/stone/">Howard Stone</a>, an engineer from Princeton University, had such a moment in Beijing's Forbidden City — a city-within-a-city of palaces and temples built in the 15th and 16th centuries. A carved, 300-ton slab that formed a ramp to one structure particularly caught Stone's eye. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 21:51:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36364 at http://kasu.org How'd They Do That? The Story Of A Giant Rock And A Road Of Ice In Sandy's Wake, Flood Zones And Insurance Rates Re-Examined http://kasu.org/post/sandys-wake-fema-re-examines-flood-insurance-rates When Sandy blew into East Coast communities a year ago, it was flooding that did the most damage.<p>That's in part because the average sea level has risen over the past century — about a foot along the mid-Atlantic coast. That made it easier for the storm to push the ocean onto the land.<p>And scientists say there will be many more Sandy-style storms — that is, torrential rain and wind that create heavy coastal flooding — and they'll be more frequent than in the past. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 20:49:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 36148 at http://kasu.org In Sandy's Wake, Flood Zones And Insurance Rates Re-Examined Fossil Find Points To A Streamlined Human Lineage http://kasu.org/post/fossil-find-points-streamlined-human-lineage Fossils of human ancestors are rare. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 21:54:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 35608 at http://kasu.org Fossil Find Points To A Streamlined Human Lineage Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal http://kasu.org/post/trapped-fossil-remnants-46-million-year-old-meal Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.<p>Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.<p>They started with a fossilized mosquito. Mon, 14 Oct 2013 18:16:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 35439 at http://kasu.org Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal Flood Forensics: Why Colorado's Floods Were So Destructive http://kasu.org/post/flood-forensics-why-colorados-floods-were-so-destructive Parts of Colorado are still drying out after floods hit the state last month. Eight people died, and damage from the worst flooding in decades is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.<p>Scientists are now venturing into the hardest-hit areas to do a sort of "flood forensics" to understand why the floods were so bad.<p>Geologist Jonathan Godt takes Peak Highway in northern Colorado up into the Rockies. Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:00:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 35204 at http://kasu.org Flood Forensics: Why Colorado's Floods Were So Destructive After Disasters, DNA Science Is Helpful, But Often Too Pricey http://kasu.org/post/dna-science-helpful-too-pricey-many-countries Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.<p>The technology is often too expensive or too complicated, and where there are large numbers of unknown dead, you need far more than just DNA profiling equipment. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 22:04:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 34146 at http://kasu.org After Disasters, DNA Science Is Helpful, But Often Too Pricey 'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways http://kasu.org/post/rivers-rolaids-how-acid-rain-changing-waterways Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 07:06:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 34095 at http://kasu.org 'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways Immense Underwater Volcano Is The Biggest On Earth http://kasu.org/post/immense-underwater-volcano-biggest-earth Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>In the northwestern Pacific Ocean, scientists have found what they believe to be the biggest volcano on Earth. In fact, to find a volcano of a similar size, you'd have to go to Mars. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the volcano is, fortunately, dormant, but in its prime, it changed the face of the Earth.<p>CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: William Sager says he brings conversations to a halt when he tells people he's a geophysicist. Fri, 06 Sep 2013 21:20:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 33821 at http://kasu.org Wise Old Whooping Cranes Keep Captive-Bred Fledglings On Track http://kasu.org/post/wise-old-whooping-cranes-keep-captive-bred-fledglings-track Being a wildlife biologist in the 21st century increasingly means rescuing rare animals from extinction. Among the success stories is the whooping crane. Seventy years ago there were only about 16 birds left on the planet. Now there are about 600.<p>But breeding more birds isn't enough. Scientists want to restore the crane's way of life, too. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 07:03:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 33488 at http://kasu.org Wise Old Whooping Cranes Keep Captive-Bred Fledglings On Track Can A Big Earthquake Trigger Another One? http://kasu.org/post/can-big-earthquake-trigger-another-one There's a joke among scientists: Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. For Ross Stein, it wasn't a joke after the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004. It killed some 275,000 people. "I just felt almost a sense of shame," Stein says, "that this tragedy could have been so immense in a world where we have so much intense research effort."<p>Stein's a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey. He says quake experts have learned a couple of important things over the past few years. Fri, 23 Aug 2013 07:22:00 +0000 Christopher Joyce 33164 at http://kasu.org Can A Big Earthquake Trigger Another One?