Science & Health

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What if I told you there was a way to use technology to save an estimated $100 billion to $300 billion dollars a year in health care spending in the U.S.? That's the estimated cost incurred because people don't take the medications they're prescribed.

The horror of last week's events was a wake up call for many Americans about the rise of American groups dedicated to the tenets of fascism.

To get a sense of how severe the opioid crisis is in the U.S., you can look at the number of fatal overdoses — more than 33,000 in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means, on average, 91 people are dying after overdosing on opioids each day. And for every fatal overdose, there are believed to be roughly 30 nonfatal overdoses.

Less than an hour after the Great American Eclipse completed its coast-to-coast show on Monday, people's fascination with the sun and the moon quickly turned to concern about their eyes.

We're hoping all you Shots readers heeded our words of caution and wore eclipse glasses or enjoyed the show indirectly.

Eclipses are among the most predictable events on the planet. This one was known about for many decades before it crossed the U.S. earlier Monday.

Accordingly, people had been planning eclipse road trips for weeks in advance. They piled into planes and cars and made their way to the 70-mile-wide swath of land where the total eclipse would be visible. They checked online calculators, which told them the time of totality down to the second.

The Environmental Defense Fund opened an office near Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., 10 years ago. It was part of a carefully plotted strategy to persuade the giant retailer that going green could be good for business. If it worked, it certainly could be good for the planet — Walmart's revenues are bigger than the entire economy of most countries.

"We really saw that working with companies could be transformative at a scale that was pretty unmatched," says Suzy Friedman, a senior director at EDF.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And now another moment from today's total eclipse of the sun. Here are Carlyn (ph), Steven (ph) and 3-year-old Grace Meyer (ph) in Russellville, Ky.

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KEVIN BUNCH: Hello, this is Kevin Bunch (ph). I was in Lebanon, Tenn., for the eclipse, came down here to get married.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

NPR listeners are sharing their stories of the eclipse today.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And now another moment from the eclipse.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET

As the solar eclipse made its way from the West Coast to the East Coast, NASA shared its expertise live.

Eclipse Map: Tracking The Astronomical Show

Aug 21, 2017

Updated at 3:47 p.m. ET

The United States was treated to a solar eclipse Monday, but where you were in the country affected whether you saw a total eclipse or a partial one. The map reflects the time zone you're in.

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By now you likely know an eclipse is happening Monday, Aug. 21. There have been countless stories about the celestial event, how to view it, the science behind it and hotels that were booked more than a year in advance. But even with all that coverage, you might not have heard details about a small town in deep Southern Illinois that is expected to almost triple in size just for the eclipse.

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DWANE BROWN, HOST:

And finally, yesterday, we asked you to contribute to our solar eclipse soundtrack. Here's what you came up with.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THAT'S AMORE")

Words You'll Hear: Eclipse Cheap Seats

Aug 20, 2017

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On a recent weekday, Vamsi Komarala guides me up to the rooftop of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, where he teaches physics. Fields of solar panels adorn the buildings.

I swipe an index finger across one of the panels to see if weeks of monsoon rains have washed it clean. My finger comes back filthy with grit.

Vamsi tells me the panels are washed twice a week, then explains the grime: "That is because in New Delhi, we have a lot of dust."

When children in Turkey head back to school this fall, something will be missing from their textbooks: any mention of evolution.

The Turkish government is phasing in what it calls a values-based curriculum. Critics accuse Turkey's president of pushing a more conservative, religious ideology — at the expense of young people's education.

At a playground in an upscale, secular area of Istanbul, parents and grandparents express concern over the new policy.

Last week, NPR had a story that garnered a huge response from listeners and Shots readers.

The day of the long-awaited coast-to-coast solar eclipse has arrived — and if history is any guide, it's likely that somebody's eyes are going to get hurt.

One of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's companies, the nonprofit start-up OpenAI, manufactures a device that last week was victorious in defeating some of the world's top gamers in an international video game (e-sport) tournament with a multi-million-dollar pot of prize money.

We're getting very good, it seems, at making machines that can outplay us at our favorite pastimes. Machines dominate Go, Jeopardy, Chess and — as of now — at least some video games.

From the thirteenth floor of a glass tower at the Oregon Health & Science University, you get a panoramic view of downtown Portland and the majestic mountains in the distance. But it's what's happening inside the building that's brought me here.

"Should we go do this thing?" lab manager Amy Koski asks.

Spectators around the country are gearing up, eclipse glasses at the ready, for the solar eclipse on Monday. But another group — perhaps more anxious than eager — is preparing as well: the people who run California's electric grid.

California is home to almost half of all the solar power in the country. So even a partial loss of the sun will mean a major dip in the energy supply.

On Aug. 21, a 70-mile-wide ribbon from Oregon to South Carolina called the "path of totality" will experience a total solar eclipse. Large swaths of farmland in the Great Plains and Midwest will be plunged into darkness for 2 1/2 minutes, and temperatures will drop about 10 degrees in the middle of the day.

But as millions of people look up at the sky, many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras toward the plants and animals on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

All this summer, bears have been on my mind.

Last month, Undark Magazine published an essay I wrote about the time I thought I was a bear.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET

It's a common refrain among whiskey enthusiasts: Add a few drops of water to a glass to open up the flavors and aroma of the drink.

For example, hard-liquor expert Alice Lascelles said in a demonstration for The Sunday Times that "if you're tasting with a master blender, they will always add some water at some stage."

During the full moon in my small border town in Arizona, my mom and I would pack into her car, drive up towards the mountains, and hike to a boulder she called Full Moon Rock. We'd set out jars and create moon water, drink wine, eat snacks and watch the moon cast an evening shadow over our quiet two-person picnic.

My mom and I were following centuries of tradition by devoting time and energy towards capturing the powers of the full moon. This week, I'll be practicing rituals focused on the solar eclipse, along with astrologer Sarolta DeFaltay and author Jaya Saxena.

Hundreds of years before solar viewing glasses were readily available, scientists and casual spectators could still enjoy these rare celestial events without frying their eyeballs. They'd use a combination of pinholes and mirrors to redirect the sun's rays onto a screen.

If one glass of wine takes the edge off, why not drink a few more?

This thinking may help explain the findings of a new study that points to an increase in drinking among adults in the U.S., especially women.

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