Science & Health

Science
3:51 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

A Ball Dropped Through The Earth Becomes A Permanent Pendulum

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 5:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Occasionally, when it's a slow news day, we wind up with holes in the show; gaps of a minute or two that the news of the day doesn't quite fill.

NPR science correspondent Joe Palca offered to fill those with science stories about holes.

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Shots - Health News
3:47 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Dementia Test Tweaked For Gen X: Hirohito Out, Oprah In

Is Oprah Winfrey a celebrity for the ages?
Surian Soosay Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 6:56 am

It's bad enough to have to be tested for dementia. It's even worse if the test isn't fair. Researchers in Chicago found they needed to update the screening test for a type of early onset dementia so that the measure would more accurately pick up symptoms among a new wave of patients — baby boomers and Gen Xers.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Brains Of Dying Rats Yield Clues About Near-Death Experiences

Could the images common in accounts of near-death experiences be explained by a rush of electrical activity in the brain?
Odina iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 6:57 am

A burst of brain activity just after the heart stops may be the cause of so-called near-death experiences, scientists say.

The insight comes from research involving nine lab rats whose brains were analyzed as they were being euthanized. Researchers discovered what appears to be a momentary increase in electrical activity in the brain associated with consciousness.

Although the experiment relied on animals, the results could apply to humans, too, the researchers say.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

This Pulsing Earth

John Nelson IDV Solutions

It's breathing, he thought. "All of a sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat."

John Nelson is a designer, well known for tracing complex weather patterns or cultural information on maps, so considering what he usually does, this was easy. NASA's Visible Earth team publishes pictures of our planet every month of the year, so John thought, why not stitch them together, and see what the seasons look like from outer space?

So he stitched, and then looked.

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Science & Health
8:14 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Stingray Influx Prompts Warning on Ala Coast

Beach officials posted purple flags on Alabama beaches after several beachgoers reported being stung by stingrays.
iamwilderness.org

Officials say a stingray invasion prompted warnings for beachgoers along the Alabama coast.

   Purple flags are flying on beaches because of a large number of stingray sightings, and more than 20 people have complained about coming into contact with them.

   The beach safety director in Orange Beach, Melvin Shepard, tells WALA-TV (http://bit.ly/14CyMSR ) several people have been stung.

   Stingrays get their name from a barb in their tail, which they swing as a defense mechanism. The barb can hit anyone walking in the water on the lower leg.

Monkey See
7:31 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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Environment
4:49 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

The Algae Is Coming, But Its Impact Is Felt Far From Water

Chinese beachgoers walk by an algae-covered public beach in Qingdao, China, in July. The seas off China have been hit by their largest-ever growth of algae, ocean officials say, with waves of green growth washing onto the shores.
AFP/Getty Images

Algae blooms are green or red or brown, slimy, smelly and you don't want it coming soon to a waterfront near you.

Most of us don't give a lot of thought to algae until the furry-like monstrosity is spreading over beaches, rivers, lakes and bays, but gigantic algae blooms have become an increasing problem around the world.

The danger algae blooms pose is that they sap the body of water where they are growing of nutrients and oxygen; they then die, decompose and rot.

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Space
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

Sending Poetry To Mars

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, to a story I'll do entirely in haiku, so bear with me. And just in case you need a primmer: just three lines of verse. Syllables are what counts here - five, seven, then five. For the last few months, scientists have collected haikus meant for Mars. Thousands of poets, pros and amateurs alike, submitted their work. The public then picked their favorite Mars haikus. We are fans of these, by Anonymous.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Reading) Mars, oh. Do forgive. We never meant to obstruct Your view of Venus.

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Food
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

With Ice Cubes, The Larger The Better

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It is August. Chances are where you are it's hot. So, maybe you want a drink to cool off. Will it be fruity or fizzy, maybe boozy? Whatever it is, Dan Pashman, host of the Sporkful podcast, thinks you may be overlooking one key ingredient: the ice. He joins us now from our New York studios. Hey Dan.

DAN PASHMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, ice. This seems like a fairly forgettable part of a beverage experience. You say, no. Why?

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Science
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

An Engineer Beats The Physics Of Traffic

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ah, the road trip - one of the great American summer rituals. But sharing this great tradition with other road trippers can also be intensely frustrating. Perhaps you've found yourself wondering why traffic jams take so long to clear up or why they seem to last so much longer than a crash. Well, Bill Beaty is a research engineer at the University of Washington. He has a little advice about that.

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Shots - Health News
5:12 pm
Sat August 10, 2013

Booze Restores Vigor, Nine Of 10 Charlatans Agree

When dealing with aches and pains, sometimes the best way to get better is to feel better — and fast. Some popular medicines of old favored additives like cocaine.
Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 7:05 pm

Feeling bilious? Have a swig of tonic. Got a kid with a toothache? A dab of cocaine tooth powder could do the trick.

Much to the shock of our 21st-century sensibilities, popular remedies of the late 19th century often contained strong mind-altering substances like cocaine and opium. And while patients may not have understood what the ingredients were or what they did, these heavy-hitting patent drugs could deliver a feeling of well-being, which may, in some cases, have led to actual well-being.

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Digital Life
11:24 am
Sat August 10, 2013

TED Radio Hour: The Hackers

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 6:43 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Time now for an idea worth spreading from the TED Radio Hour. What if there were a way to hack into your brain and make your life better. Neurosurgeon Andres Lozano is doing just that. He told host Guy Raz how.

DR. ANDRES LOZANO: We are able to adjust the activity of circuits in the brain by using electricity...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Science
6:41 am
Sat August 10, 2013

When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart

Neuroscientists have found evidence to suggest feeling powerful dampens a part of our brain that helps with empathy.
Vladgrin istockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 8:52 am

Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You've probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they're a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

So here's a question that may seem too simple: Why?

If you ask a psychologist, he or she may tell you that the powerful are simply too busy. They don't have the time to fully attend to their less powerful counterparts.

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The Salt
11:40 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Wine Waste Finds Sweet Afterlife In Baked Goods

At her bakery in Costa Mesa, Calif., Rachel Klemek sells cabernet brownies made with a flour substitute derived from grape pomace, a byproduct of winemaking packed with nutrients known as polyphenols.
Mariana Dale NPR

Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 10:26 am

When winemakers crush the juice from grapes, what's left is a goopy pile of seeds, stems and skins called pomace. Until several years ago, these remains were more than likely destined for the dump.

"The pomace pile was one of the largest problems that the wine industry had with sustainability," says Paul Novak, general manager for WholeVine Products, a sister company to winemaker Kendall-Jackson in Northern California.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:20 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Mosquito Exclusive! Yes, They Bite, But Half The Time They Miss

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