Dear EarthTalk: Do environmentalists think the Endangered Species Act has been a success or failure with regard to protecting biodiversity in the U.S.?-- Ron McKnight, Trenton, NJ
While that very question has been a subject of debate already for decades, most environmental advocates are thankful such legislation is in place and proud of their government for upholding such high standards when it comes to preserving rare species of plants and animals.
Remember how people used to joke about online dating? What once was an easy target for digs about desperate singles and social pariahs is now a success story for oodles of couples and dozens of highly profitable dating services. Among the unabashed masses of online daters these days is an unlikely demographic – the animal kingdom. Reyhan Harmancy is a staffer at Buzzfeed, where she wrote about how zoos use online dating methods to profile and pair species together.
A note to listeners: This interview was supposed to include Jim Gorant, a Senior Editor for Sports Illustrated, and author of The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Unfortunately, we lost our connection with him shortly after his part of the interview began. /RL
New research shows that first-graders and baboons have at least one thing in common: Both can tell the difference between actual written words and random sequences of letters. This finding challenges some conventional ideas about what goes on in the human brain when we read.
Scientists have assumed that reading relies on the same brain circuits involved in spoken language, but now they are considering a more complicated explanation, thanks to six baboons who took part in an unusual experiment.
Researchers haven't given much thought to the effect of noise and noise pollution on plants. After all, plants don't have ears — at least, not the kind you hear with — so there doesn't seem to be much point. But thanks to ecologist Clinton Francis, that could be about to change.
Francis is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. But he has spent the past few years in northwestern New Mexico, studying noise pollution in Rattlesnake Canyon.
Giant and colossal squids can be more than 40 feet long, if you measure all the way out to the tip of their two long feeding tentacles. But it's their eyes that are truly huge — the size of basketballs.
Now, scientists say these squids may have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom because they need to detect a major predator, the sperm whale, as it moves toward them through the underwater darkness.
For tens of thousands of years, humans relied on animals to sustain life: their skins kept us warm, their oils provided fuel. But the 7-billion of us stomping the earth today? Our relationship with the creatures around us is vastly different. Around the globe, species big and small remain under intense threat of extinction. A new book, ‘Wildlife Heroes’ tells the story of forty leading conservationists who are fighting behind the scenes to save these animals.
After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.
In this photo from 2009, David Cameron (left) attends a book launch for Charlie Brooks in London. Cameron, who has since become Britain's prime minister, went to Eton with Brooks, husband of Rebekah Brooks, the former News International executive toppled by Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The latest twist in that scandal involves Rebekah Brooks, Cameron and a retired police horse.
Ryan Shank-Rowe, 9, takes part in a therapeutic riding program at Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton, Va., last month.
Credit Melissa Forsyth / NPR
Thelma Balmaceda, age, 4, pets Viola, the resident canine at the Children's Inn on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Families stay at the inn when their children are undergoing experimental therapies at NIH.
Credit Maggie Starbard / NPR
Cathy Coleman is a speech pathologist for the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. She uses a horse named Happy in her therapy sessions with 9-year-old Ryan Shank-Rowe, who has autism.
Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.
That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions.