Science & Health

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People seeking answers to science questions face a constant reality. Many science experiments come up with fascinating results. But the results cannot be replicated as often as you'd think. David Greene spoke with NPR's Shankar Vedantam.

Picking a mate can be one of life's most important decisions. But sometimes people make a choice that seems to make no sense at all. And humans aren't the only ones — scientists have now seen apparently irrational romantic decisions in frogs.

Little tungara frogs live in Central America, and they're found everywhere from forests to ditches to parking lot puddles. These frogs are only about 2 centimeters long, but they are loud. The males make calls to woo the females.

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Dr. Bill Mahon was a young pediatrician in the early 1970s when he fell in love with the rugged coast and majestic redwoods of Mendocino County, Calif. Like other people who have moved to Mendocino from around the country, settling here for him was a personal choice that prioritized lifestyle over money.

The prospect of practicing medicine in a small community also called to him. In 1977 he left his well-paying job at Kaiser Sacramento to join a practice with two other pediatricians in Fort Bragg.

Still, the move was a risk.

Animals, including humans, feel sound as well as hear it, and some of the most meaningful audio communication happens at frequencies that people can't hear. Elephants, for example, use these low-frequency rumbles to, among other things, find family or a mate across long distances. Whales do it, too.

Angelo Alonzo, a resident of Portland, Maine, says he nearly died last month after injecting what he believed to be a safe dose of heroin — the same amount he's taken before. But this time, he says, the drug knocked him to his knees.

"An amount that usually gives me a good mellow high was just way too much," he says, "and I woke up in the shower and I was cold. And I didn't put myself there."

There's a new candidate in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness.

I encountered it at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, a combination of Super Bowl, Mecca, and Disneyland for the folks who put the processing in processed food.

It's one of the greatest, and most disturbing, questions of the Fukushima disaster: What happened to the nuclear fuel inside the plant? Now physicists are trying to shed some light on the problem using particles from the edge of space.

The Fukushima accident was broadcast around the world. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami struck the plant, knocking out cooling in three working reactors. The uranium fuel inside melted down.

But nobody's quite sure where it went.

Five years ago, New Orleans attorney Ermence Parent was struggling to find out what was wrong with her leg. She was 58 years old, and her right leg hurt so much that she needed a cane. That was not only painful, but frustrating for a woman who routinely exercised and enjoyed it. Parent sought advice from several doctors and a chiropractor, but got no diagnosis.

It's time for consumers to wake up to the risks of sleep disorders, scientists say.

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Soon after their wedding, Dr. Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to create five embryos. Lee had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she worried that treatment would leave her infertile. Now that they're divorced, Lee wants to use them; Findley, however, does not.

Those embryos are at the heart of a court case that will soon decide a very modern problem: Which member of a divorced couple gets control of their frozen embryos?

Friday afternoon, Danny became the first major hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season, after it was upgraded to a Category 3 storm. It's still very far out in the Atlantic, and so far there's no sign it'll pose a threat to the United States.

That leads to a question: When was the last time a big hurricane hit the U.S.?

It might surprise you, but the country is experiencing a historic, nine-year lucky streak when it comes to major hurricanes.

Have you heard that a giant asteroid is due to strike Earth sometime between Sept. 15 and Sept. 28?

If so, you probably thought it was a hoax. And you'd be right.

But some people who read "numerous recent blogs and web postings" about impending doom from space weren't sufficiently skeptical. NASA on Thursday sought to clarify:

Food Waste And Beef Fat Will Be Making Airplanes Soar

Aug 20, 2015

What do beef tallow and manure have in common with t-shirts and pine needles? Turns out you can make high-quality, low-carbon transportation fuel with all of them. A growing number of biofuel producers are teaming up with farms, meatpackers and waste management companies to tap gassy waste to meet new demand for renewable jet fuel and diesel for vehicles.