Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe.
But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't.
In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can't live without them.
Wildfires were once essential to the American West. Prairies and forests burned regularly, and those fires not only determined the mix of flora and fauna that made up the ecosystem, but they regenerated the land.
When people replaced wilderness with homes and ranches, they aggressively eliminated fire. But now, scientists are trying to bring fire back to the wilderness, to recreate what nature once did on its own.
One place they're doing this is Centennial Valley, in southwestern Montana.
When a young Indian-American woman walked into the funky L.A. jewelry boutique Tarina Tarantino, store manager Lauren Twisselman thought she was just like any other customer. She didn't realize the woman was actress and writer Mindy Kaling.
"I hadn't watched The Office,"Twisselman says. Kaling both wrote and appeared in the NBC hit.
Can astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's "giant leap for mankind" be permanently preserved? Two House Democrats want to do just that: They proposed a bill to create a national historic park for the Apollo 11 mission â€” on the moon. The legislation would designate a park on the moon to honor that first mission, as well as preserve artifacts from other lunar missions
Scientific research can be expensive, but a lack of funds did not stop one scientist in Buffalo from moving forward with his project. State University of New York professor Chris Lowry came up with a creative and cheap way to get measurements on stream levels across the state by crowdsourcing his research.
Chris Lowry joins us from member station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. Professor Lowry, thank you very much for coming in.
More than a century after the invention of powered flight, birds are still teaching us something about how to fly airplanes, with the Air Force studying the V-shaped formation of airborne geese as a way to save fuel.
The technical term is "vortex surfing" and it's already well-known â€” NASCAR drivers and Tour de France cyclists use it to "draft" off competitors.
Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 12:25 pm
So much fascinating tech and culture news, so little time. But we certainly think you should see the journalism that's catching our curiosity each week, so each Friday we'll round up the week that was â€” the work that appeared in this blog, and from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
Two recent eruptions on the sun sent solar tsunamis sweeping across its surface. Physicist David Long reported on the tsunamis in the journal Solar Physics, and he says the waves allowed him to calculate the magnetic field of a "quiet" area on the solar surface, which is 10 times weaker than a fridge magnet.
If you can't get to a beach this weekend, you can still see waves. Just look up.
Clouds, after all, are sculpted by waves of air. These clouds, in Birmingham, Ala., were formed when two layers of air â€” one fast, the other slow â€” collided at just the right speed to create rises and dips that caused the clouds to curl in on themselves and crash, just like waves on a beach.