Maple trees + good timing + basic chemistry = maple syrup. But Science Friday takes us behind the scenes of maple syrup research to show that there’s much more to it than that. While the tradition has been to tap fully grown wild trees – commercially with lots of plastic tubing – recent experiments at University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center have found that harvesting from the cut tops of juvenile trees might yield 5 to 6 times per acre, surprisingly without harming the young trees.

Lots of questions about this one: What are the other differences between the farm vs forest model of growing trees? Does this new process affect the local birds or creatures underground? What do these young trees look like in 20 years? What questions do you have?

File under: food, trees, and how things are made.

From Science Friday.

From the BBC’s Ocean Giants documentary, watch this incredible clip to hear the extraordinary and mysterious song of the Humpback Whale. Why do they sing (or hum)? Does it serve a purpose? Are they making music for pleasure? Are they talking?

If this clip disappears, you can find the entire documentary on Amazon. And in the archives: watch more whale videos, including a surprise diving encounter with a Humpback Whalethis huge baby Sperm Whale, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).