Health, Science, Environment

Environment - Pollution
1:29 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Former Doe Run subsidiary criticized for smelter pollution in Peru

The Doe Run facility in La Oroya, Peru.
Courtesy Tim Campion

Updated 1:20 p.m. August 1 with reopening of smelter

The Doe Run Peru smelter in La Oroya, which had been clsoed due to financial and environmental compliance issues since 2009, resumed zinc processing operations over the weekend.

Peru's Minister of Energy and Mines, Jorge Merino Tafur, is reported to have said that lead smelting would also resume in the not too distant future. Restarting copper production would likely take longer, since that would require building a plant to control sulfuric acid emissions.

Doe Run Peru is owned by the Renco Group, which also owns the St. Louis-based Doe Run Resources Corporation. The metal smelting companies in Missouri and Peru have operated independently since 2007.

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Climate Change
4:20 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

New report: in St. Louis, higher temps are the new normal

(via Flickr/Paulo Otavio)

St. Louis is getting hotter. With this summer’s record-breaking temperatures, that probably doesn’t sound like news.

But a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows our hot weather isn’t an anomaly — things have been heating up across the Midwest for the past six decades.

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Agriculture / Honey
3:35 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Missouri drought could mean extra 'sweet' honey harvest

(via Flickr/BotheredByBees)

Reporting for this story by KRCU’s Jacob McCleland.

The ongoing drought obviously hurts most crops, but not honey. The dry weather actually helps beekeepers.

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Saint Louis Zoo
6:20 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Harvesting poop to help Peruvian penguins: Saint Louis Zoo digs in

Humboldt penguins can swim at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. There are only about 40,000 left in the wild.
(wwarby via Flickr)

Unlike their cold-weather relatives, Humboldt penguins live only in South America, along the rocky Pacific coast of Chile and Peru.

The Saint Louis Zoo’s Michael Macek has been monitoring the penguins there, tracking their health and numbers.

Macek is back in Peru again, in a coastal reserve called Punta San Juan, where Humboldt penguins nest by the thousands.

Before he left, he told St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra that this time he’s helping to lead a sustainable guano harvest.

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Is Dead

Ride and her crewmates rocketed into space aboard Challenger at 7:33 a.m. Eastern Time on June 18, 1983. Ride later described the launch as "exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time."
NASA

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 6:42 pm

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D. candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.

In a lecture she gave at Berkeley, Ride said she saw the ad on Page 3 of the student newspaper.

"The moment I saw that ad, I knew that's what I wanted to do," she said.

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Drought
9:42 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

On Monday, a weed was growing through the dry earth at Marion Kujawa's pond, which he normally uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 4:16 pm

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

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Genetics - Cancer
6:43 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Unwinding the helix: using genetics to treat childhood cancer

Washington University’s Todd Druley uses a magnet to separate DNA-coated magnetic beads from a liquid reaction buffer, to isolate specific genes from patient DNA for sequencing analysis.
Scott Supplesa

Pediatric leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. There are about 3,000 new cases in the United States every year, typically in children between the ages of four and six.

With treatment, about three-quarters of affected children are able to beat the disease.

But for those with what’s known as “high risk” leukemia, the odds of survival are much worse.

Washington University pediatric oncologist Dr. Todd Druley has been trying to use genetics to understand why some leukemia is so hard to treat. He spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.

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4:29 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Gene mutation offers clue for drugs to stave off Alzheimer's

Lead in text: 
In addition to the story we reported this afternoon, NPR's Jon Hamilton offers this report on another development in Alzheimer's research.
  • Source: Npr
  • | Via: NPR
Finally, there's some good news about Alzheimer's disease. It turns out that a few lucky people carry a genetic mutation that greatly reduces their risk of getting the disease, an Icelandic team reports in the journal Nature . The mutation also seems to protect people who don't have Alzheimer's disease from the cognitive decline that typically occurs with age.
Alzheimer's Disease
4:00 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

New research takes step toward catching Alzheimer's early

Brain scans illustrating the changes occurring in brains of those who carry inherited Alzheimer's disease, even decades before symptoms surface.
The New England Journal of Medicine ©2012

A new study led by Washington University confirms that the brains of people with a very rare, early-onset form of Alzheimer's disease begin to change long before they first show signs of dementia.

The research brings us a step closer to early diagnosis of the more common type Alzheimer's that produces symptoms after age 60.

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The Salt
2:33 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Cool down with a hot drink? It's not as crazy as you think

Joe Palca serves up some hot tea on a very hot day at Teaism in Washington, D.C., last week.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 8:47 pm

Hot tea on a hot day? Not for me, thank you. Not my idea of how to cool down.

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