Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.
As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.
It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.
Native Americans and Pilgrims were onto something when they turned to cranberries as an infection fighter. American settlers believed the bitter food could stave off scurvy. But there's more than just Vitamin C in this indigenous berry.
If it hasn't happened to you, count yourself as lucky. For many people, eating ice cream or drinking an icy drink too fast can produce a really painful headache. It usually hits in the front of the brain, behind the forehead.
The technical name for this phenomenon is cold-stimulus headache, but people also refer to it as "ice cream headache" or "brain freeze."
The good news is that brain freeze is easy to prevent — just eat more slowly. The other bit of good news is these headaches don't last very long — a minute at the outside.
Scientists from Louisiana and Michigan have very different predictions for the size of this year's "dead zone" of low-oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be the smallest in nearly a quarter century at just under 1,200 square miles — or five times that size.
It's the epic quest of campers everywhere: How do you get the perfectly toasted marshmallow? In our inaugural installment of NPR's Summer Science series, we gave some guidance on the first key ingredient: how to build the campfire. (Later this summer, we'll attempt to answer the vexing question of how to stave off brain freeze.)
Summer living is supposed to be easy — school is out, the days are long, the traffic eases. But it's not all inner tubes and lemonade: Summer can throw us some curveballs, too. How can I avoid sunburn? What can I do to stave off that brain freeze? Why do my s'mores always burn?
Fear not; NPR is here to help. As part of our new Summer Science series, we'll turn to science to tackle these vexing questions, starting with how to build the perfect campfire.