Adam Cole

NPR's Skunk Bear / YouTube

Editor's note: It's National Popcorn Day!

The armed militants occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon come from as far away as Texas and Montana. But they are hardly the refuge's first out-of-state visitors.

On Monday, NASA started accepting applications for its new class of astronauts. Applying is simple: Just log in to USAjobs.gov, search for "astronaut," and upload your resume and references. The job description says "Frequent travel may be required."

NPR's Skunk Bear / YouTube

Watch a scary movie and your skin crawls. Goose bumps have become so associated with fear that the word is synonymous with thrills and chills.

When it comes to feats of speed and strength, Homo sapiens is a pretty pitiful species. The list of animals that can outsprint us is embarrassing. There's the cheetah, of course, but also horses, ostriches, greyhounds, grizzly bears, kangaroos, wild boars, even some house cats.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. A cheetah has done it in 5.95.

The Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded Monday to three scientists for their work on parasitic diseases.

William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura were recognized for discovering a compound that effectively kills roundworm parasites. A Chinese scientist, Dr. Youyou Tu, won for her work in isolating a powerful drug in the 1970s to fight malaria.

Hundreds of you sent in questions for Skunk Bear's live conversation with three astronauts and NASA's chief scientist on Tuesday. Thanks! The most common question was: "What happens when you get your period in space?"

I didn't end up asking them this question because:

a) The question itself has a lot of historical baggage;
b) The answer is pretty boring.

But since people were genuinely curious, I decided to answer it here.

NPR's Skunk Bear / YouTube

In the history of life on Earth, evolutionary forces have pushed some species to become incredibly large.

Make Lava, Not War

Jun 25, 2015

Artist Bob Wysocki and geologist Jeff Karson, both of Syracuse University in upstate New York, have their own personal volcano. It's an old furnace that used to melt bronze for statues. Now, it melts hundreds of pounds of basaltic gravel at a time, mimicking the process inside the earth's crust that creates lava.

The Man v. Horse Marathon starts out like a typical cross-country race. Hundreds of runners stream past the starting line, through the town of Llanwrtyd Wells and then up into the Welsh hills.

But 15 minutes later, a second set of competitors takes off. Fifty horses and their riders chase the runners up and down ridges, across streams, and past hundreds of bewildered sheep.

It's March, and that means college basketball fans are gearing up for the NCAA tournament. But there's another tournament taking place this month — and animals aren't the mascots, they're the competitors.

"Mammal March Madness" is organized by a team of evolutionary biologists. They choose 65 animal competitors and then imagine the outcome of a series of simulated interspecies battles. Who would win if a kangaroo took on a warthog? Or if an orca fought a polar bear?

George Dante fell in love with taxidermy as a young child. His parents took him to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and he couldn't tear his eyes away from the dioramas in the Hall of African Mammals.

When Dante was 7, he preserved his first specimen: a small fish he caught in Barnegat Bay. He formed the body with green floral foam, added a pair of dolls' eyes that his mother bought at a craft store, and painted the faded scales with watercolors.

Lonesome George was a celebrity tortoise. Millions of humans made the pilgrimage to see him while he lived, and his death was international news.

Why?

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