Science

Ocean Exploration
9:59 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Fabien Cousteau On His Underwater Aquarius Lab Mission

Credit The Miami Herald

The Aquarius Reef Base is the first (and only) underwater research laboratory in the world -- and it lies just under the tip of South Florida, about 60 feet below the surface of the Florida Keys.

WLRN and the Miami Herald spoke to Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, in a live online chat on what it's like to live, work and research from the depths of the ocean.   

Read more at: MiamiHerald.com 

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Health
4:14 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

UM Study Finds Suburban Residents At Higher Risk Of Obesity

Credit www.futureatlas.com/blog

In a study conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the School of Architecture, researchers found that participants who live in suburban "sprawling communities" faced greater risks for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. 

The study looked at the walking habits of 400 Cuban immigrants in Miami-Dade County. Dr. Jose Szapocznik, principal investigator and chair of public health sciences, believes the results from this sample can apply to the community as a whole.

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Shots: Health News
5:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Entrepreneurs Buzzing Over Medical Marijuana In Florida

One of three marijuana plants growing in the backyard of a 65-year-old retiree from Pompano Beach, Fla. He grows and smokes his own "happy grass" to alleviate pain.
Carline Jean MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:05 am

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now have laws allowing for some form of medical marijuana.

Florida appears poised to join the club. Polls show that voters there are likely to approve a November ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical use.

If it passes, regulations that would set up a market for medical marijuana in Florida are still at least a year away. But cannabis entrepreneurs from around the country are already setting up shop in the state.

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Health
8:05 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Advice From Dr. Ruth: Seniors Should Have Sex In The Morning

Dr. Ruth, who always seems to be smiling, talks to senior citizens about sex at the Palace in Coral Gables.
Credit Shay Cohen

At 86, Dr. Ruth Westheimer proudly announces that she goes out every night. Maybe that explains why so many people seem to have a story about meeting the gregarious sex therapist. This one met her on a cruise. That one met her dancing the hora in a New York City synagogue. I met her waiting in line at the bathroom of Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. She lives in Manhattan but travels the country and the world (this summer she's headed to Israel and South Africa) having no-nonsense conversations about sex. 

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Saltwater
5:05 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

New Map Helps Water Managers Battle Salt

A cargo ship sails down one of Miami's many canals to the ocean. The canals are sometimes a source for saltwater intrusion into the region's groundwater.
Credit Elaine Chen

The U.S. Geological Survey and Miami-Dade County have mapped out the extent of saltwater seepage into our groundwater. The last comprehensive look was in 1995, and the good news is it hasn’t moved much since then.

South Florida is constantly battling against salt: keeping salty ocean water from getting into our groundwater.

The front in our battle, or the saltwater front keeps moving, mostly inland. As of 2011, it’s moved about 460 square miles inland in Miami-Dade. That is about 9 times the size of the city of Miami.

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Latin America Report
11:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Why Miami's Tech Scene Shouldn't Try To Compete With Silicon Valley

Miami often embraces trends later than other U.S. cities, as has been in the tech-industry boom. But as Latin America's tech hub, Miami is leading.
Credit Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr CC

A lot of people have been throwing a lot of cold water lately on the notion of Miami as a high-tech “Silicon Beach.”

Even Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine this year called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

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Environment
6:45 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Coping With Climate Change In Greenland

Credit Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Contribution from the Miami Herald

On an inlet nestled between soaring cliffs, huge chunks of ice shimmer from a distance like precious stones on a cocktail ring.

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Science Of Alcohol
5:23 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Does Champagne Actually Get You Drunk Faster?

Each bottle of Champagne contains around 50 million bubbles. But will any of them accelerate the inebriation process?
Victor Bezrukov Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 3:39 pm

Every time I spend New Year's Eve with my mom, she tells me the same thing: "Be careful with that Champagne, honey. The bubbles go straight to the head. And it won't be pretty tomorrow."

Thanks, Mom. Glad you're looking after me after all these years.

But is she right?

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DARPA
3:43 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Simple Tasks, Heavy Burdens: Robot Engineers Compete To 'Save Humanity'

THOR OP competes in the terrain task.
Credit Maria Murriel / WLRN

The Pentagon hosted a robotics competition at the Homestead Miami Speedway over the weekend. It’s being called the "Robot Olympics."

Teams from all over the world came to prove their robots’ agility at the Robotics Challenge trials. The teams whose robots earn the top scores would get a shot at winning $2 million in the finals next year.

But the games are about much more than the cash:

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Science
2:11 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Robots Are Invading Homestead

Yong Lin works on RoboSimian, the entry of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs, before the Robotics Challenge Trials begin at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Credit CAMMY CLARK / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The qualifying trials for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge start Friday. The robot races are sponsored by the Pentagon’s research unit.

Teams of engineers from all over the world are vying for a chance to compete for a $2 million prize. But sponsors hope much more will come of the event.

Here’s the challenge: Create a robot that can walk on rocky terrain, open doors, remove debris, close a valve. Basically, do all the things a first responder would do.

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Science
9:12 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Gorgeous Marine-Life Stills From UM's Underwater-Photo Contest

Mating Mandarin dragonets
Credit Pietro Cremone / Courtesy UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

It's not easy to get an amazing shot of marine animals or an arresting fish photo when you're in over your head and trolling camera equipment. But each spring, hopeful amateur snappers from around the globe enter the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science's annual underwater-photography contest.

And each year, the winning photos are breathtaking. This year's fan favorite is of a pair of amorous dragonets. Even their name titillates.

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Science
6:36 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

How We Left Hurricanes In Our Dust This Year – Literally

What we dodged this year: Haitians struggle through Hurricane Sandy's devastating floods last year.
Credit Carl Juste / Miami Herald

It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.

And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.

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Elevation Zero
8:15 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Puddles After A Rain-Free Night? It's Probably Sea-Level Rise

Oceanographer and author John Englander sees sea-level rise in a storm drain.
Credit Christine DiMattei

In an upscale section of east Fort Lauderdale near the Intracoastal Waterway, John Englander kneels down and examines a storm drain.

“This is where we’re going to see the first evidence of sea-level rise,” says Englander, who points out the water in the drain has risen several inches within only 20 minutes.

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Elevation Zero
8:05 am
Mon November 18, 2013

For A Future Glimpse Of Sea-Level Rise, Check Out The King Tide

The Ghost of Sea-Level Rise Future? Last month's King Tide had pedestrians wading through knee-deep water in Miami Beach.
Credit Arianna Prothero

Want to see the effects of sea-level rise?  Don’t want to wait 50 years?  Just walk to virtually any coastal area during the natural phenomenon called “King Tide.”

There are plenty of charts, graphs and artist renderings hinting at what South Florida will look like once sea-level rise gets a foothold.  But experts say it’s probably Mother Nature who offers the most vivid preview of things to come.

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Elevation Zero
4:00 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Sea-Level Rise Taking The Pines Out Of Big Pine Key

Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Big Pine Key takes its name from the pine forests that cover the island, about 30 miles from Key West. Rare plants and endangered animals — such as the Key deer — live in those forests.

But now the forests and hammocks are threatened by the rising seas around and beneath them.

Robert Ehrig points to a piece of land that was hardwood hammock when he came to live here 35 years ago.

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