Science & Health

Goats and Soda
9:38 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Facing A Toxic Dump In South Africa, He Cleaned Up

Desmond D'Sa stands by the landfill he helped shut down in Durban.
Goldman Environmental Prize

Desmond D'Sa helped shut down a toxic landfill.

The landfill was located in South Durban – an industrialized city teeming with petrochemical plants, paper mills and oil refineries. D'Sa and his family had been forcibly relocated to the area by the apartheid government in the 1970s, together with thousands of other Indian and black South Africans. The apartheid government was notorious for forcing non-white laborers to live in the industrial areas where they worked.

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Space
4:12 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Mark Your Calendars: In A Year, We'll Arrive At Pluto

An artist's concept shows the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:36 am

Planetary scientist Alan Stern is counting down the days — just 365 of them now. He has spent the past 8 1/2 years waiting for the New Horizons spacecraft to make a close encounter with Pluto. Next year, on July 14, the spacecraft will reach its destination.

"Not only did we choose the date, by the way, we chose the hour and the minute. And we're on track," says Stern, the principal investigator for NASA's Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission.

In January 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft left Earth on the 3-billion-mile journey to Pluto and beyond.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Antares Blasts Off On ISS Supply Mission

In a photo provided by NASA, the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket launches with the Cygnus spacecraft aboard, on Sunday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Bill Ingalls AP

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 1:07 pm

This post was updated at 2:05 p.m. ET.

Private space venture Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its second resupply mission to the International Space Station in a perfect launch from at Wallops Island, Va, after several delays.

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Science
8:52 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Like Humans, Chimps Fall For Fashion Trends

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:47 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

You're not special. Sorry, not to be rude. I don't mean just you in particular. I mean the whole human species. We used to think using tools and complex problem-solving set us apart, but crows proved us wrong. Songbirds got us on culture. Now a new study adds to the list what seem to be fashion trends. Katherine Cronin of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics co-authored the study. And she joins me now from the Netherlands. Welcome to the program, Katherine.

KATHERINE CRONIN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

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Krulwich Wonders...
4:30 am
Sun July 13, 2014

The Most Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment Ever

Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:58 am

I'm standing on a beach and I see, a few hundred yards out, a mound of water heading right at me. It's not a wave, not yet, but a swollen patch of ocean, like the top of a moving beach ball, what sailors call a "swell." As it gets closer, its bottom hits the rising shore below, forcing the water up, then over, sending it tumbling onto the beach, a tongue of foam coming right up to my toes — and that's when I look down, as the wave melts into the sand and I say,

"Hi, I'm from New York. But what about you? Where are you from?"

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Environment
3:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Well, I'll Be Un-Dammed: Colorado River (Briefly) Reached The Sea

Twelve hours after they had halted at the river's end, the team woke up to see that the previous night's small stream had become a river. Two weeks after this photo was taken, the leading edge of the water reached the estuary that was the river's final destination.
Courtesy Fred Phillips

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:20 am

For a few weeks this spring, the Colorado River flowed all the way to the sea for the first time in a half a century. And during that window of opportunity, writer Rowan Jacobsen took the paddleboarding trip of a lifetime.

The river starts in the Rocky Mountains, and for more than 1,400 miles, it wends its way south. Along the way it's dammed and diverted dozens of times, to cities and fields all over the American West. Tens of millions of people depend on the river as a water source.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Sat July 12, 2014

The Moon Puts On A Triple Super Summer Spectacle

The moon appeared bigger and brighter when it went supermoon on June 23, 2013 — especially when it was seen next to objects on the horizon, such as the helicopter from the original Batman television show at the New Jersey State Fair last year.
Julio Cortez AP

Summer 2014 promises to be more super than most, and not just because of the World Cup or LeBron James returning to Cleveland.

This summer, the moon will reach "super" status not once, not twice, but three times — and the first time happens Saturday night.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

WATCH: Giant Undulating Anchovy School

A massive school of anchovies off La Jolla, filmed on Tuesday.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography — UC San Diego

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 2:35 pm

It's the biggest aggregation of anchovies seen in near-shore waters in three decades, according to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Elephant Featured In Film 'Alexander' Killed By Thai Poachers

A photo released by the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, shows Thai police officers examining the slain elephant.
AP

Poachers in Thailand killed a 50-year-old elephant who appeared in Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander before crudely hacking off the animal's giant tusks, according to The Bangkok Post.

The Asian elephant, named Phlai Khlao, was used in scenes from the movie starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie. The animal had also been part of ceremonial performances for Thailand's royal family.

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Shots - Health News
7:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Mississippi Child Thought Cured Of HIV Shows Signs Of Infection

Human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 inserts its genetic material into the DNA of human cells, turning them into little HIV factories.
Eye of Science Science Source

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:21 am

A baby who generated great excitement last year because it appeared she had been cured of HIV is infected with the virus after all, health officials say.

This discovery is a setback for the child known as the "Mississippi baby." It also complicates efforts to test what had seemed like a promising new treatment for infants born with HIV.

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The Salt
3:33 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Alcohol Test: Does Eating Yeast Keep You From Getting Drunk?

The idea that it might be possible to keep drinking a delicious bottle of pinot noir or tall bottle of beer and go right back to work is a tempting one.
Alex Eben Meyer for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:52 pm

Sometimes we drink with the sole purpose of relaxing, or drowning the week's worries. But other times we just want to savor a special craft beer or vintage wine, or make that good meal taste even better.

And as we get older, we're warier of that third or fourth glass. The consequences of too much alcohol — the drowsiness, the confusion and the wobbling — are a bigger hindrance. And let's face it: A hangover at 36 isn't the same as one at 22.

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Shots - Health News
2:36 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Why HIV Spreads Less Easily In Heterosexual Couples

HIV particles (red) invade a human immune cell. When HIV is transmitted through sex, only the strongest versions of the virus establish long-term infection.
Chris Bjornberg/ScienceSource

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:07 pm

HIV is sexist.

A woman is twice as likely to catch the virus from an infected partner in a heterosexual relationship than a man is.

And homosexual men are at even greater risk. They're more than 20 times as likely to get infected from an HIV-positive partner than partners in a heterosexual relationship.

Now scientists at Microsoft Research and the Zambia-Emory HIV Project have a clue about why these disparities exist.

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Shots - Health News
8:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Math Nerd Or Bookworm? Many Of The Same Genes Shape Both Abilities

A study of twins shows why being a good reader and a good math student may go hand in hand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Many of us tend to align ourselves with either numbers or words. We're either math brains or we're reading brains.

In college, my fellow English majors joked about how none of us could long-divide to save our lives, while our friends in engineering groaned about the fact that Lit 101 was a graduation requirement.

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Arts & Life
6:16 am
Thu July 10, 2014

The Science Of Settling: Calculate Your Mate With Moneyball

What do you look for in a partner?
Spiderstock Getty Images/Vetta

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:39 am

In case you missed the buzz on Facebook, scientists recently determined that "beer goggles" do in fact exist, though not precisely in the way we thought. Consuming alcohol, it seems, tends to elevate desire and reduce inhibitions more than alter our actual perception of another person's attractiveness.

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Space
2:28 am
Thu July 10, 2014

The Little Spacecraft That Couldn't

Early days: NASA's International Sun-Earth Explorer C (also known as ISEE-3 and ICE) was undergoing testing and evaluation inside the Goddard Space Flight Center's dynamic test chamber when this photo was snapped in 1976.
NASA

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:03 pm

An audacious quest to reconnect with a vintage NASA spacecraft has suffered a serious setback and is now pretty much over.

The satellite launched in 1978 and has been in a long, looping orbit around the sun for about three decades. Earlier this year, NPR told you about an effort to get in touch with this venerable piece of NASA hardware and send it on one more adventure.

But there are no guarantees when you try to recapture the past.

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