Geoff Brumfiel http://kasu.org en To Stop Cheating, Nuclear Officers Ditch The Grades http://kasu.org/post/stop-cheating-nuclear-officers-ditch-grades The young officers at <a href="http://www.warren.af.mil/">F.E. Warren Air Force Base</a> have an enormous job: to keep 150 nuclear-tipped missiles ready to launch at a moment's notice.<p>Understandably, they're expected to know exactly what they're doing.<p>Three times a month, they're tested on the weapons and the codes used to launch them. Anything less than 90 percent is a fail.<p>But until recently, even 90 percent wasn't really good enough. "I was told that if I got a 90 on a test, I was a D student — and I would be treated that way," says Lt. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:19:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 47586 at http://kasu.org To Stop Cheating, Nuclear Officers Ditch The Grades What Brought Down The Malaysian Airliner? http://kasu.org/post/what-brought-down-malaysian-airliner Shortly after news broke that a Malaysia Airlines flight crashed in eastern Ukraine, suspicions began to swirl that the plane had been shot down. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel speaks with Audie Cornish about the feasibility that a missile brought down the airliner. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:53:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 47123 at http://kasu.org Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser http://kasu.org/post/physicists-crush-diamonds-giant-laser Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.<p>"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says <a href="https://www-pls.llnl.gov/?url=about_pls-scientific_staff-smith_r">Raymond Smith</a>, a researcher at <a href="https://www.llnl.gov/">Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory</a> in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."<p>And diamonds aren't just here on Earth. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 07:34:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 47081 at http://kasu.org Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser In A Lab Store Room, An Unsettling Surprise: Lost Vials Of Smallpox http://kasu.org/post/lab-fridge-unsettling-surprise-lost-vials-smallpox Scientists at the National Institutes of Health made an unpleasant discovery last week as they cleaned out an old laboratory: The lab contained vials of the smallpox virus, previously unknown to authorities. The vials have since been transferred to a secure lab at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Tue, 08 Jul 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 46687 at http://kasu.org Carbon Observatory To Monitor Greenhouse Gas From Space http://kasu.org/post/carbon-observatory-monitor-greenhouse-gas-space NASA is preparing to launch a new satellite to observe carbon dioxide from space. The satellite could revolutionize our understanding of where this greenhouse gas comes from and where it goes. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:21:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 46350 at http://kasu.org Carbon-Sensing Satellite Prepares For Second Launch http://kasu.org/post/carbon-sensing-satellite-prepares-second-launch NASA is preparing to launch a satellite capable of monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from space. The <a href="http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/">Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2</a> (OCO-2) will be the first U.S. spacecraft dedicated to seeing the greenhouse gas from orbit, and could pave the way for new technology to enforce future global warming treaties.<p>But first OCO-2 needs to make it off the ground. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:16:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 46329 at http://kasu.org Carbon-Sensing Satellite Prepares For Second Launch World's Chemical Weapons Watchdog Clears Syria http://kasu.org/post/worlds-chemical-weapons-watchdog-clears-syria Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish. Syria has handed over the last of its declared chemical weapons. That's according to the world's chemical weapons watchdog. The move is a key step in a deal negotiated last fall, after the U.S. had threatened to conduct airstrikes against Syria. But many questions remain about Syria's use of chemical weapons and whether remnants of its chemical stockpile remain. Joining me to discuss all this is NPR's Geoff Brumfiel. Mon, 23 Jun 2014 20:07:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 46008 at http://kasu.org Dust Clouds Big Bang Signal http://kasu.org/post/dust-clouds-big-bang-signal In March, a team of physicists announced <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/17/290866227/scientists-announce-a-big-bang-breakthrough">it had found a signal from the very first moments after the Big Bang</a>. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:35:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 45912 at http://kasu.org Dust Clouds Big Bang Signal Scientists Keep A Careful Eye On The World Cup Ball http://kasu.org/post/scientists-keep-careful-eye-world-cup-ball <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH7cbLfxmbM</p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 07:38:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 45874 at http://kasu.org Scientists Keep A Careful Eye On The World Cup Ball Bye-Bye To The Home Of A Favorite Internet Conspiracy Theory http://kasu.org/post/bye-bye-home-favorite-internet-conspiracy-theory It sure <em>looks</em> suspicious: a remote military compound in the south-central Alaskan wilderness filled with 180 weird-looking antennas.<p>It's the home of the <a href="http://www.nrl.navy.mil/research/nrl-review/2004/atmospheric-science-and-technology/kennedy/">High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program</a> (HAARP). Conspiracy theorists have accused the program of doing everything from mind control to global communications jamming.<p>Now HAARP's many conspiracies, along with its legitimate research, may finally be at an end. Tue, 10 Jun 2014 20:13:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 45422 at http://kasu.org Bye-Bye To The Home Of A Favorite Internet Conspiracy Theory SpaceX Unveils A Sleek New Ride To Orbit http://kasu.org/post/spacex-unveils-sleek-new-ride-orbit <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf_-g3UWQ04</p> Fri, 30 May 2014 20:38:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 44956 at http://kasu.org SpaceX Unveils A Sleek New Ride To Orbit Rumors Of An Intergalactic Explosion Are Greatly Exaggerated http://kasu.org/post/rumors-intergalactic-explosion-are-greatly-exaggerated Tuesday afternoon, astronomers thought they saw a powerful explosion in the nearby Andromeda galaxy.<p>The Internet went wild with speculation about what it could be: Had two superdense neutron stars collided? Did a supermassive star explode?<p>"When I got up this morning and turned on my phone, I had a lot of emails and my Twitter feed was burning," says <a href="http://www.star.le.ac.uk/~pae9/">Phil Evans</a>, an astronomer at the University of Leicester in Britain.<p>Evans is on a small team of intergalactic storm chasers. Wed, 28 May 2014 17:55:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 44841 at http://kasu.org Rumors Of An Intergalactic Explosion Are Greatly Exaggerated Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident http://kasu.org/post/organic-cat-litter-chief-suspect-nuclear-waste-accident In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, <a href="http://wipp.energy.gov/wipprecovery/recovery.html">the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant</a> in New Mexico.<p>Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.<p>"It was the wrong kitty litter," says <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/">James Conca</a>, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.<p>It turns out there's more to cat litter than you think. Fri, 23 May 2014 20:57:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 44652 at http://kasu.org Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident Big Bang's Ripples: Two Scientists Recall Their Big Discovery http://kasu.org/post/big-bangs-afterglow-two-scientists-recall-their-big-discovery On May 20, 1964, two astronomers working at a New Jersey laboratory turned a giant microwave antenna toward what they thought would be a quiet part of the Milky Way. Tue, 20 May 2014 21:09:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 44489 at http://kasu.org Big Bang's Ripples: Two Scientists Recall Their Big Discovery Rocket Wars: Will A Suit By SpaceX Get Off The Ground? http://kasu.org/post/rocket-wars-will-suit-spacex-get-ground The two rockets pictured above may look the same, and in many ways they are: Both are launched pointy-end up, and both can carry a satellite into orbit.<p>But the rocket on the left, known as an <a href="http://www.ulalaunch.com/products_atlasv.aspx">Atlas V</a>, costs between $100 million and $300 million more to launch (depending on whom you ask) than the one on the right, the <a href="http://www.spacex.com/falcon9">Falcon 9</a>.<p>So why has the U.S. Mon, 12 May 2014 09:03:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 44082 at http://kasu.org Rocket Wars: Will A Suit By SpaceX Get Off The Ground? Mars Rover Takes A Break To Drill A Hole http://kasu.org/post/mars-rover-takes-break-drill-hole NASA's Curiosity rover is on an epic trip to a distant mountain, but it took a brief break Wednesday to dip its drill into the Martian soil.<p>The drilling is taking place at a place called Waypoint Kimberley. The area is a point of convergence for several different types of terrain, says <a href="http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~grotz/Grotz/Home.html">John Grotzinger</a>, the rover's project scientist. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 19:33:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 43611 at http://kasu.org Mars Rover Takes A Break To Drill A Hole Scientists Pinpoint Source Of Antarctic 'Quack' http://kasu.org/post/scientists-pinpoint-source-antarctic-quack For decades, researchers and submarine crews in icy waters off the coast of Antarctica have been picking up a mysterious quacking sound.<p>The "bio-duck," as its called, has been heard on and off since Cold War patrols picked it up on sonar during the 1960s.<p>"It goes 'quack, quack, quack, quack,' " says <a href="http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/psb/acoustics/psbAcousticsPeople.html">Denise Risch</a>, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "It has this almost mechanical feel to it."<p>Some thought it might be a secret Soviet sub. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:24:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 43321 at http://kasu.org Scientists Pinpoint Source Of Antarctic 'Quack' New Fossil Takes A Bite Out Of Theory That Sharks Barely Evolved http://kasu.org/post/new-fossil-takes-bite-out-theory-sharks-barely-evolved Sharks have looked more or less the same for hundreds of millions of years. But a newly discovered fossil suggests that under the hood, a modern shark is very different from its ancient ancestors.<p>The finding, <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13195.html">published in the journal Nature</a>, strongly implies that sharks are not the "living fossils" many paleontologists once thought they were. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 42993 at http://kasu.org New Fossil Takes A Bite Out Of Theory That Sharks Barely Evolved Flight 370 Vanished A Month Ago. What Happens Now? http://kasu.org/post/flight-370-vanished-month-ago-what-happens-now One month ago, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/08/287754774/malaysian-jetliner-has-been-missing-for-24-hours-search-goes-on">Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared</a> during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. An international search team has spent weeks combing the Indian Ocean for signs of the missing Boeing 777. Here's a summary of where we are with the hunt for the jetliner.<p><strong>What do we know?</strong><p>Flight 370 took off at 12:40 a.m. local time on March 8 — that's midday March 7 on the U.S. East Coast — with 239 passengers and crew on board. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:12:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 42610 at http://kasu.org Flight 370 Vanished A Month Ago. What Happens Now? Deep-Sea Ping May Lead To Malaysian Jet — But Time's Running Out http://kasu.org/post/deep-sea-ping-may-lead-malaysian-jet-times-running-out Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Earlier today, Australian authorities said they may have a signal from the missing Malaysian airliner that disappeared a month ago on its way to Beijing. A ship far out in the Indian Ocean has picked up a signal that could be from the missing airliner's black boxes. Mon, 07 Apr 2014 20:23:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 42565 at http://kasu.org Is The Latest Climate Report Too Much Of A Downer? http://kasu.org/post/empty-space-name-not-added-climate-report-reveals-discord Reading through the <a href="http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/">latest report</a> from the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it's hard not to feel despondent about the state of the world.<p>The report's colorful charts and tables tell of droughts and fires; depleted fisheries and strained cropland; a world in which heat-related disease is on the rise and freshwater is growing scarce.<p>"It's risk, risk, risk, risk, risk," says <a href="https://twitter.com/RichardTol">Richard Tol</a>, a climate economist at the University of Sussex. Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:37:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 42269 at http://kasu.org Is The Latest Climate Report Too Much Of A Downer? Can A 250-Year-Old Mathematical Theorem Find A Missing Plane? http://kasu.org/post/can-250-year-old-mathematical-theorem-find-missing-plane Searchers are feeling overwhelmed by the task of locating the wreckage of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.<p>"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack — we're still trying to define where the haystack is," Australian Air Marshal Mark Binskin <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=294184094">said Tuesday</a>. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 21:55:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 42029 at http://kasu.org Can A 250-Year-Old Mathematical Theorem Find A Missing Plane? Missing Jet May Be Thought Lost At Sea, But The Search Carries On http://kasu.org/post/missing-jet-may-be-thought-lost-sea-search-carries The Malaysian prime minister announced that the missing airliner was likely lost in the Indian Ocean. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel discusses how this was determined and where the search will go from here. Mon, 24 Mar 2014 20:33:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 41973 at http://kasu.org Russia-U.S. Tensions Could Stall Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal http://kasu.org/post/russia-us-tensions-could-stall-syrian-chemical-weapons-removal As U.S.-Russian relations sour, some observers fear the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal might stall.<p>This past week, the removal of chemicals from Syria reached the halfway mark. Sat, 22 Mar 2014 14:02:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 41887 at http://kasu.org Russia-U.S. Tensions Could Stall Syrian Chemical Weapons Removal Einstein's Lost Theory Discovered ... And It's Wrong http://kasu.org/post/einsteins-lost-theory-discovered-and-its-wrong Earlier this week, physicists <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/03/17/290862157/a-new-window-on-the-big-bang-has-been-opened">announced</a> they'd seen evidence of ripples in the fabric of space and time from just moments after the Big Bang. Such ripples were predicted almost a century ago by Albert Einstein.<p>Einstein's theory of relativity is arguably the 20th century's greatest idea. But not everything he did was right: Some newly uncovered work from the brilliant physicist was wrong. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:31:00 +0000 Geoff Brumfiel 41771 at http://kasu.org Einstein's Lost Theory Discovered ... And It's Wrong