Science & Health

TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Could Technology Change The Way We Evolve?

Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg says "neo-evolution" is on the horizon.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Harvey Fineberg's TED Talk

Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg says "neo-evolution" is on the horizon. When it becomes easier to eliminate disease through gene therapy, will we change the trajectory of evolution?

About Harvey Fineberg

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TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Do You Make An Elderly Worm Feel Young Again?

"We can harness our bodies' own abilities that are kind of kept under wraps to allow the aging process to be slowed down." - Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Cynthia Kenyon's TED Talk

What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a genetic mutation that can more than double the lifespan of a tiny worm, which points to how we might one day significantly extend human life.

About Cynthia Kenyon

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Goats and Soda
6:36 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

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The Salt
2:55 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Revealed: The Ocean's Tiniest Life At The Bottom Of The Food Chain

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain.
Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 4:54 pm

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Tiny life forms in the ocean, too small for the naked eye to see.

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Chew On This: The Science Of Great NYC Bagels (It's Not The Water)

Steaming-hot bagels are scooped out of the water in which they were boiled and dumped onto a stainless steel drain board at a bagel bakery in Queens, New York City, 1963. Traditionally, bagels were boiled, but bakers who use the modern method skip this step.
Dan Grossi AP

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 9:55 am

One of the first life lessons I picked up in college was this: The secret to the shiny crust and chewy bite prized in New York bagels is boiling. Any other way of cooking them, my Brooklyn born-and-raised, freshman-year roommate told me, is simply unacceptable.

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Shots - Health News
1:10 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

You And Yeast Have More In Common Than You Might Think

This fungus among us — baker's yeast, aka Saccharomyces cerevisiae — is useful for more than just making bread.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 3:02 pm

Rip open a little package of baker's yeast from the supermarket, peer inside, and you'll see your distant cousin.

That's because we share a common ancestor with yeast, and a new study in the journal Science suggest that we also share hundreds of genes that haven't really changed in a billion years.

Edward Marcotte, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, knew that humans and yeast have thousands of similar genes. But, he wondered, how similar are they?

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The Salt
10:57 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Urban Food Forests Make Fruit Free For The Picking

A morning's berry harvest from West Philadelphia's Ogden Orchard includes raspberries, gooseberries, currants, goumis and mulberries.
Courtesy of Philadelphia Orchard Project

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 2:41 pm

To discover the new frontier of urban farming, you'll have to look up — and look sharp — for hanging fruit.

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The Two-Way
6:37 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Pipeline Operator In Calif. Spill Reportedly Had History Of Infractions

A helicopter coordinates ships below pulling booms to collect oil from a spill near Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., on Wednesday.
Michael A. Mariant AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:29 pm

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The Texas-based company responsible for the undersea pipeline that has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea near the coast at Goleta, Calif., has a history of federal safety violations, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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The Salt
2:40 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Avian Flu Outbreak Takes Poultry Producers Into Uncharted Territory

"No trespassing" signs are posted on the edge of a field at a farm operated by Daybreak Foods near Eagle Grove, Iowa, which has been designated "bio security area," on May 17.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:25 pm

An avian flu outbreak is sweeping across the Midwest at a frightening pace, ravaging chicken and turkey farms and leaving officials stumped about the virus's seemingly unstoppable spread.

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Science
6:13 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Chipping Away At The Mystery Of The Oldest Tools Ever Found

An ancient stone tool unearthed at the excavation site near Kenya's Lake Turkana. It's not just the shape and sharp edges that suggest it was deliberately crafted, the researchers say, but also the dozens of stone flakes next to it that were part of the same kit.
MPK-WTAP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:07 pm

A scientific discovery in Kenya, first reported in April, challenges conventional wisdom about human history, say the scientists who made the discovery and are now releasing the details. The scientists say the collection of stone tools they turned up near Lake Turkana were made long before the first humans are thought to have evolved.

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The Salt
4:58 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

FDA Wants To Pull Back The Curtain, Slightly, On Farm Antibiotics

Cattle that are grass-fed and free of antibiotics and growth hormones are seen at Kookoolan Farm in Yamhill, Ore.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 8:16 pm

Farmers and public health advocates have been arguing for many years now about the use of antibiotics on farm animals, yet that argument takes place in a fog of uncertainty, because a lot of information simply isn't available.

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Education
4:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Energy Companies Step In To Fund STEM Education

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 7:15 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Maine Bill Aims To Make Abuse-Deterrent Painkillers More Affordable

Sales of prescription opioid painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 6:17 pm

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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The Salt
2:30 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama Plan To Save Bees

The White House announced an action plan Tuesday aimed at reversing dramatic declines in pollinators like honeybees, which play a vital role in agriculture, pollinating everything from apples and almonds to squash.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 11:09 am

The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

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Goats and Soda
2:25 am
Wed May 20, 2015

She's Got One Of The Toughest Diseases To Cure. And She's Hopeful

Jenny Tenorio Gallegos, 35, in Lima, Peru, is being treated for drug-resistant TB. The treatment lasts two years and may rob her of her hearing.
Jason Beaubien/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 1:44 pm

Drug-resistant tuberculosis is not only airborne and lethal; it's one of the most difficult diseases in the world to cure.

In Peru, 35-year-old Jenny Tenorio Gallegos wheezes even when she's sitting still. That's because of the damage tuberculosis has done to her lungs. The antibiotics she's taking to treat extensively drug-resistant TB nauseate her, give her headaches, leave her exhausted and are destroying her hearing.

"At times I don't hear well," she says. "You have to speak loud for me to be able to understand."

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