Science & Health

Science
4:43 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

If You Want A Doughnut Hole, Don't Ask A Mathematician

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:27 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

A program such as ours is timed to the exact second, and occasionally, there are small holes when our mix of news and features doesn't quite fill up our two-hour slot.

So NPR's Joe Palca offered to come to our rescue with some short math and sciencey hole-filling stories, stories about what else - holes.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:48 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Look What You've Done, North America!

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:25 pm

This is the story of two continents doing battle, North America versus South America. It is also a biological mystery.

For a very long time, North America and South America were separate land masses. The Pacific Ocean slipped between them, flowing into the Caribbean. The Isthmus of Panama was there, but it was underwater. The two continents didn't touch.

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Science & Health
7:31 am
Thu July 25, 2013

New Boat Accommodates Disabled Ala. Veterans

The Warrior is a boat at Fort Rucker customized to fit the needs of physically disabled people.
army.mil

The outdoor recreation branch at Fort Rucker has developed a boat to allow wounded warriors and disabled people go fishing and participate in other boating adventures.

   Fort Rucker spokeswoman Janice Erdlitz tells AL.com (http://bit.ly/19iqTWj ) the boat, named "The Warrior," is customized to fit the needs of physically disabled people. She says the decision to build the boat came after veterans offered feedback on things they felt could improve their quality of life.

The Two-Way
4:27 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Steam And Groundwater Raise Concern At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) workers work on waste water tanks at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture in Japan on June 12, 2013.
Noboru Hashimoto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:01 am

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Environment
2:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

La. Flood Board Sues Oil Industry Over Wetlands

Canals created for navigation and oil and gas pipelines cut through the marsh off the coast of Louisiana, seen in 2010.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 10:49 am

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost roughly as much land as makes up the state of Delaware.

"If you put the state of Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't need any levees at all," says John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. "There is this large buffer of land that has disappeared, and that buffer makes New Orleans much more vulnerable to hurricanes."

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Environment
4:48 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

What's Swimming In The River? Just Look For DNA

Biologists normally look for the hellbender slamander, which is known by the nickname "snot otter," under rocks in streams. But now there's a gentler way: They can take water samples and look for traces of the animals' DNA.
Robert J. Erwin Science Source

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 6:34 pm

If you want to protect rare species, first you have to find them. In the past few years, biologists have developed a powerful new tool to do that. They've discovered that they can often find traces of animal DNA in streams, ponds — even oceans.

The idea took root just five years ago, when biologists in France found they could detect invasive American bullfrogs simply by sampling pond water and looking for an exact genetic match to the frogs' DNA.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:13 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Who Does A Better Wave? Sports Fans Or Hippos?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:43 am

Professor William Barklow was on vacation when this happened. He was in Tanzania sitting on a river bank gazing about, when all of a sudden a hippopotamus pushed its head out of the river right in front of him, opened its huge mouth and bellowed.

It was really loud. Barklow could feel sound waves hitting his chest, his neck; he could hear the cry echoing along the riverbank. He knew next to nothing about hippos being himself a bird man, a specialist on the North American loon, but he was intrigued by what happened next.

Hippo Chorusing

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Code Switch
2:04 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Being In The Minority Can Cost You And Your Company

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 10:59 am

The racial wage gap in the United States — the gap in salary between whites and blacks with similar levels of education and experience — is shaped by geography, according to new social science research.

The larger the city, the larger the racial wage gap, according to researchers Elizabeth Ananat, Shihe Fu and Stephen L. Ross, whose findings were recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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Animals
5:16 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Nevada Wildfire Could Snuff Out A Rare Butterfly

The Mount Charleston blue butterfly is a rare species found only in a few small areas high up in Nevada's Spring Mountains.
Corey Kallstrom USFWS

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:10 pm

A big wildfire in a mountain range just west of Las Vegas has put at risk the Mount Charleston blue butterfly, a rare species found in the U.S.

The fire is dying down, but it may be weeks before experts can get to the remarkable area where this butterfly lives to see if it made it through.

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Space
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

NASA Uses Photo Of Earth From Saturn To Boost Space Interest

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:29 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, NASA is trying to do its part to raise science literacy. To give people a better understanding of Earth's position in the solar system, the agency's posted a picture of our planet taken from a billion miles away, give or take 100 million miles or so. And joining me now to talk about the picture, and why NASA took it, is NPR's Joe Palca. Joe, good to see you.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Good to see you.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Big Stink: D.C.'s Corpse Flower Put On A Show

The color of the corpse flower is meant to mimic the color of rotting flesh and raw meat.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:50 pm

The line to see the thing that was supposed to smell like rotting flesh wrapped around the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Most folks who braved the heat and hourlong wait weren't greeted with the overwhelming stench of death, but rather the smell of sweat and intense, intense humidity.

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Shots - Health News
9:42 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Unusual Tick-Borne Virus Lurks In Missouri's Woods

A harmful trio (from left): a deer tick, lone star tick and dog tick.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:11 am

Last year, scientists got the chance to solve a medical mystery — well, at least half of it. This week the final puzzle pieces fell into place, as investigators tracked the newly identified virus to an eight-legged bug.

The mystery actually began with two Missouri farmers who came down with a strange illness in 2009. They had high fevers, diarrhea and nausea. Their platelet counts dropped dramatically, though they didn't experience any abnormal bleeding.

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Shots - Health News
5:28 am
Tue July 23, 2013

A Scientist Debunks The 'Magic' Of Vitamins And Supplements

Ads often tout dietary supplements and vitamins as "natural" remedies. But studies show megadoses of some vitamins can actually boost the risk of heart disease and cancer, warns Dr. Paul Offit.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 3:21 pm

A pediatrician who spent years defending childhood vaccines against the likes of actress/activist Jenny McCarthy has launched an assault on megavitamins and dietary supplements.

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Animals
4:40 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

We Call Him Flipper. But What Do The Dolphins Call Him?

Bottle-nosed dolphins leap out of the water near Dana Point, Calif.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:02 pm

Dolphins are like humans in many ways: They're part of complex social networks and, just as in people, a dolphin's brain is big, relative to the size of its body. But there's something else, too — a study published Monday shows these acrobats of the sea use name-like whistles to identify and communicate with each other.

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Strange News
3:09 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Lure Of Flower's Putrid Essence Draws Crowd

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A crowd formed today at the U.S. Botanic Garden here in Washington, D.C. It's a place to see beautiful flowers and usually ones that smell fantastic. But today, one exotic specimen on display was the opposite of that. It's the titan arum and NPR's Allison Keyes tells us people flocked to the greenhouse in hopes of getting a rare whiff of the flower's putrid essence.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: From the line and the excited faces of titan arum fans hurrying down the path to the door, you'd think The Beatles were here.

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