This cousin of the raccoon is the first new carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. Native to the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Ecuador where it's still living, the olinguito was actually first identified in a Field Museum specimen storage room in Chicago.
The animals are washing ashore at a higher rate than the last 26 years. Host Scott Simon speaks with Charley Potter, collection manager for marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, about the response along the Mid-Atlantic.
The carvings etched into limestone boulders near Pyramid Lake in western Nevada show that the early North Americans were surprisingly creative artists. The carvings, which are at least 10,000 years old, are abstract, geometric designs including shapes that look like diamonds and trees.
Think of everything your brain processes in a single day: your breakfast, a stain on a book cover, a meeting at work. If you remembered all those things, your brain would reach capacity. Author and neuroscientist Penelope Lewis says sleep helps sort through the memories that are worth keeping.
Existing concepts in science like linear induction motors and magnetic levitation are back in the spotlight thanks to Elon Musk's proposal for a rail system that can travel faster than the speed of sound.
At Colorado State University, billions of seeds and other genetic material sit inside a giant storage vault. They're kept there in case of a loss of plant or animal life on a regional or global scale. But the investigation into GMO wheat in Oregon has raised questions about security at the facility.
Sagging power lines and computer glitches led to a power outage that left 50 million people across the Northeast U.S. and part of Canada in darkness on Aug. 14, 2003. New sensors have been installed, and operator training and computer systems have been upgraded. But is that enough to prevent another massive blackout?
An ecologist wondered if Hawaiian menus might help explain what happened to Hawaii's sea turtle population. But the menus revealed another marine tragedy: that local fish numbers had dropped to about a tenth of what they once were.
Researchers discovered what appears to be a momentary increase in electrical activity in the brain associated with consciousness. As the brain struggles to survive, it also struggles to make sense of many neurons firing in the survival attempt.
High-energy physicists are still riding high from last year's discovery of the Higgs particle, a major finding decades in the making. Now they want a big new machine to study the Higgs, but budget cuts and the high costs of building a new particle accelerator mean the world can afford only one.