Science & Health

Shots - Health News
3:19 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Vaccine Court Aims To Protect Patients And Vaccines

TS Photography Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 5:35 pm

It was a beautiful Saturday in the fall of 2005. The leaves in Cincinnati were changing colors, and Lisa Smith had just finished watching her son's soccer game.

She ran some errands, including something she'd been meaning to do for a week — get a flu shot. She stopped by her local pharmacy.

She didn't think about the shot again until a few days later, when she woke up feeling a bit strange. She had an odd tickle in her throat and her leg muscles were sore.

"Almost like I'd been exercising," she says.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

The White House Has A New Visitor, And It's Got Feathers

A bird seemingly attacks a hawk sitting on a ledge of the White House on May 19.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 1:52 pm

When you hear about hawks on Capitol Hill, it's usually in regard to a politician. But political agendas aside, the most hawkish character at the White House is probably an actual red-tailed hawk.

It's become something of a fixture on the White House grounds, according to the White House Blog.

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Shots - Health News
2:38 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Texas Puts Brakes On Telemedicine — And Teladoc Cries Foul

Diagnosis by text or a phone call is often convenient and popular with patients. But is it good medicine?
Apriori iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 1:06 pm

On a recent trip to Chicago, Patti Broyles felt like she was looking at the world from the bottom of a fish bowl.

"This weather was really cold and rainy and I had a lot of pressure in my sinus areas," Broyles says.

Since she was nowhere near her primary care doctor in Dallas, she called Teladoc, the largest telemedicine provider in the U.S., for advice. Patients whose employers or insurers have deals with the Dallas-based company can call any time and be connected with a physician on duty within minutes.

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The Salt
4:32 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

It's Raining Nitrogen In A Colorado Park. Farmers Can Help Make It Stop

Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service, studies the ways nitrogen in the air has been disrupting the ecological balance of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn/KUNC

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 11:29 pm

It's May in Rocky Mountain National Park, but on a mountainside 10,829 feet above sea level, snow is falling. It's pelting Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service. Shrugging off the cold, Cheatham seizes a teachable moment. This snow, he says, holds more than just water.

"Chances are it's carrying the excess nitrogen we're talking about," says Cheatham.

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The Salt
1:31 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

As Caviar Prices Skyrocket, Sturgeon Poachers Invade Pacific Northwest

Tucker Jones, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, counts sturgeon in the Columbia River. He says only 1 percent of sturgeon survive the 15 to 25 years it takes for them to start reproducing.
Courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

There's no good reason for a live, 8-foot sturgeon to be tied by the tail and tethered to the shore of the Columbia River, in the Pacific Northwest.

But this is how poachers steal the giant fish: They keep the sturgeon alive and hidden underwater while they look for black-market buyers.

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NPR Story
4:08 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Researchers Link Feelings Of Disgust And Ethical Behavior

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 6:36 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

2:34 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Editing The Climate Talkers: Punctuation's Effect On Earth's Fate

Gustav Dejert Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 1:39 pm

In Bonn, Germany, hundreds of people have gathered to work on a draft version of a major United Nations agreement to control greenhouse gas emissions that are changing the Earth's climate.

And when I found out that climate change negotiations basically all boil down to writing and editing a document, I was intrigued.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Sun May 31, 2015

Planetary Society Regains Communication With LightSail Spacecraft

Planetary Society's LightSail experiment.
Planetary Society

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 6:29 am

The Planetary Society says it has regained contact with its LightSail satellite. Last week fears arose that the organization had permanently lost touch with the tiny spacecraft, which launched earlier this month to lay the groundwork for testing a solar sail in Earth orbit.

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The Salt
7:03 am
Sun May 31, 2015

At World's Fair In Italy, The Future Of Food Is On The Table

Carlo Ratti of MIT designed this "supermarket of the future" exhibit. If you move a hand close to a product, a digital display lights up, providing information on origin, nutritional value and carbon footprint.
Courtesy of COOP Italia

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 4:57 pm

For the next six months, Italy is hosting a dinner party — and the entire world is invited to attend.

The event, called Expo Milano 2015, is the latest World's Fair. This year's theme is "feeding the planet, energy for life." The global population is projected to pass 9 billion by 2050, and Expo organizers want to start a global conversation now about sustainability, biodiversity and food security.

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Movie Interviews
4:05 pm
Sat May 30, 2015

Fact-Checking 'San Andreas': Are Earthquake Swarms For Real?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Carla Gugino star in the action thriller San Andreas.
Jasin Boland Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 12:11 am

The new movie San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson (better known as The Rock), is about a California earthquake so powerful that it destroys Los Angeles and San Francisco, and people can feel it all the way over on the East Coast.

Could this really happen? And can earthquakes ever be predicted, as one scientist (played by Paul Giamatti) succeeds in doing in this movie? We did some fact-checking with seismologist Lucile Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Shots - Health News
4:05 pm
Sat May 30, 2015

Seeing What Isn't There: Inside Alzheimer's Hallucinations

Russell Cobb Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 3:57 pm

In this episode of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we hear from Greg O'Brien about his struggle to deal with the hallucinations that are an increasing part of his illness. O'Brien, a longtime journalist in Cape Cod, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Sat May 30, 2015

Manhattanhenge Set To Wow New Yorkers Tonight

The sun sets along 42nd Street in Manhattan in 2013 during a semi-annual phenomenon known as "Manhattanhenge," when the sun aligns perfectly with the city's transit grid.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 1:14 pm

It's a semi-annual alignment of sun and skyscrapers in downtown New York and it's happening tonight at 8:12 p.m. ET.

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The Salt
5:21 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Trickster Journalist Explains Why He Duped The Media On Chocolate Study

Why did a deliberately bad study showing the weight-loss benefits of chocolate get picked up by many news outlets? Science journalist John Bohannon — the man behind the study — says reporting on junk nutrition studies happens all the time.

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 6:15 pm

On Thursday we told you about an elaborate hoax carried out by a science journalist who wanted to teach the media a lesson about being more responsible in reporting on nutrition science.

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Shots - Health News
4:28 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

When Are Employee Wellness Incentives No Longer Voluntary?

There are legal questions about how far employers can go to encourage participation in wellness programs.
Bjorn Rune Lie Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 5:49 pm

Scotts Miracle-Gro makes products for the care and health of lawns. The Marysville, Ohio, company says it wants to nurture its 8,000 employees the same way.

"It's very much of a family culture here," says Jim King, a spokesman for the Scotts company, which offers discounted prescriptions, annual health screenings and some free medical care.

In states where it's legal, the company refuses to hire people who smoke.

"We've been screening for tobacco use for about a decade," King says. "We no longer employ tobacco users."

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The Salt
1:56 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

America's Elite Cows Don't Give Birth — Their Surrogates Do

Dan Byers, an elite-cattle breeder, checks the heartbeat on a newborn calf, born from an embryo implanted in a surrogate heifer. Because the calf was delivered via C-section, he sprinkles sweet molasses powder on her to prompt the surrogate mother cow to lick her clean.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 1:38 pm

Panda, standing six feet tall and weighing almost a ton, is everything a show cow should be: broad-backed and round-rumped, with sturdy legs holding up her heft. Her hide — thick and black, with splotches of creamy white — fits her name.

"She's a big-time cow," says Dan Byers, owner of Byers Premium Cattle, Inc. "She's a freak of nature is what she is."

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