According to new research, plants can actually hear the sounds of insects chewing. A University of Missouri study is the first work to report that plants can recognize the sound of a predator through the vibrations of their leaves. To learn more, Robert Siegel speaks with Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri.
Somewhere in Iowa, volunteers are earning $900 apiece by providing blood samples after eating bits of a banana kissed with a curious tinge of orange.
It's the first human trial of a banana that's been genetically engineered to contain higher levels of beta carotene, the nutrient that our body converts into vitamin A. Researchers want to confirm that eating the fruit does, in fact, lead to higher vitamin A levels in the volunteers' blood.
The volunteers in Iowa may not realize it, but they're playing a small part in a story that spans the globe.
The secret to more productive meetings? You might simply need to stand up.
This we know, to some degree. Just take as examples the growing popularity of standing desks, which took off after a flurry of reports found that sitting for long periods of time can significantly, negatively, impact employees' health.
The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.
This was 1936 and by that point the owner of the rats, an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, had become expert at making rats suffer for science.
"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian Mark Jackson says. "Then what he would do is kill the rats and look at their organs."
Yesterday on the show, we played a couple of sounds for you.
(SOUNDBITE OF WATER POURING)
MCEVERS: One is the sound of hot water being poured into a glass, the other is of cold water being poured into an identical glass. We asked you to go on our website and tell us whether you could tell which was which. And a lot of you took us up on it - like 30,000 of you. And 80 percent of you guessed that this...
(SOUNDBITE OF WATER POURING)
MCEVERS: ...Was cold water. You were right. This...
You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. A study published in the journal "Nature Climate Change" says, the population of Emperor penguins in Antarctica is in danger. Hal Caswell is a scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He co-authored the report. And he joins us from Amsterdam. Welcome.
HAL CASWELL: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: You've been studying the Emperor penguin population in Antarctica. What's happening to them?
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama chemical facility is getting an $11.2 million upgrade as part of plans for expanded operations. A top official at the 3M Co.'s facility on State Docks Road in Decatur told the Decatur Daily that the facility is on track to begin producing "fine chemicals" in the second quarter of 2015. Site operations manager Robin Higgs told the newspaper that the chemicals are something that no 3M plant has produced before. The Decatur plant mostly produces adhesives in batches ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 gallons.
A trio of anthropologists has decided it's time to rewrite the story of human evolution.
That narrative has always been a work in progress, because almost every time scientists dig up a new fossil bone or a stone tool, it adds a new twist to the story. Discoveries lead to new arguments over the details of how we became who we are.
Alabama has one of the worst rates of diabetes in the nation. Harvard doctor Osama Hamdy says the rate of diabetes has increased 82 percent in the nation over the last 15 years. And Alabama has seen an increase of about 140 percent. Hamdy says one key to battling the problem is tackling its chief driver: obesity. The other is increased activity.