Science & Health

The Salt
9:25 am
Wed February 18, 2015

How Marijuana Highjacks Your Brain To Give You The Munchies

After the pot-smoking comes the insatiable hunger. Just ask James Franco and Seth Rogen's weed-loving characters in Pineapple Express.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 11:20 am

Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there's one burning question on their minds: "Why am I so hungry?" Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists report that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.

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NPR Story
4:12 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Examining The Entourage Effect

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 6:24 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's Shankar Vedantam regularly comes in to talk about social science research. He's here now for a brief chat about a phenomenon he's going to introduce us to. It's called the entourage effect. What is it, Shankar?

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Goats and Soda
10:26 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Tough As Nails: Female Scientists Rise Up In Nigeria

Rabia Salihu Sai'id, Mojisola Usikalu, Nashwa Eassa, Mojisola Oluwayemisi and Dang Thi Oanh won the Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World
Alison Bert Elsevier Connect

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:59 pm

Four hours. That's how much time physicist Rabia Salihu Sa'id has each day to get her research done at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria.

"Each day, my university is giving me only four hours of electricity. I can't do research in four hours!" Sa'id says, laughing, despite her frustration.

She studies how deforestation may change air temperatures in Nigeria. Computing power is essential for her research.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Pity For Penguins: They Can't Taste Their Dinner

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 11:08 am

The emperor penguin chases its prey through nearly freezing waters. Once it locates food, usually a fish or squid, it catches the animal in its powerful jaws and devours it.

But after all that work, the penguin can't actually taste the savory flavor of its meal.

Researcher Jianzhi Zhang, a molecular and genomic evolution professor at the University of Michigan, recently examined the emperor penguin's genome. But he says he couldn't find the bird's genes to taste umami, the savory flavor of meat or fish.

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Shots - Health News
3:09 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Female Libido Pill Fires Up Debate About Women And Sex

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:35 am

For 15 years, Carla Price and her husband's sex life was great. But then things began to change.

"Before, I would want to have sex," says Price, who is 50 and lives in central Missouri. "But over the years my sexual desire has just dwindled to nothing."

Price has no idea why. She's healthy. She's not really stressed out about anything. And she's still totally crazy about her husband.

"It's not that our relationship got boring," Price says. "Because it's actually the opposite — we became closer as we got older together."

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Joe's Big Idea
3:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Climate Scientist Tries Arts To Stir Hearts Regarding Earth's Fate

Robert Davies (standing) and the quartet during a performance of "The Crossroads Project." Musicians include (left to right) Robert Waters, Rebecca McFaul, Anne Francis Bayless and Bradley Ottesen.
Andrew McCallister Courtesy of The Crossroads Project

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 11:45 am

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Research News
4:10 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Scientists Weigh In On What Can Mend A Broken Heart

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 6:57 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, here's a fun topic to cover post-Valentine's Day - breakups. When they happen, you might be tempted to hide with ice cream and bad movies, but scientific research suggests that is not the best idea. Maanvi Singh reports.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Sun February 15, 2015

Commercial Drone Rules To Limit Their Weight, Speed And Altitude

Drones are displayed at an event with the Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Coalition, last month. The FAA's proposed new rules for their commercial use require certified pilots to fly them and limit their speed, altitude and area of operation.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 2:59 pm

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

The Federal Aviation Administration has released long-awaited draft rules on the operation of pilotless drones, opening the nation's airspace to the commercial possibilities of the burgeoning technology, but not without restrictions.

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Science
6:27 am
Sun February 15, 2015

Navy Funds A Small Robot Army To Study The Arctic

To put their probes into the Arctic Ice, researchers hitched a ride on a South Korean icebreaker.
Courtesy of Craig M. Lee/University of Washington

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 11:49 am

Earlier this month the U.S. Navy's research office rented out a conference center in Washington, D.C., to show off some of its hottest new technology.

On display was an electromagnetic gun, and drones that could swarm around an enemy ship. But it wasn't all James Bond-style gadgets.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

WATCH: The Sun Like You've Never Seen It

View of the Sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) NASA

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 3:11 pm

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which keeps a 24/7 vigil on the sun, just released this spectacular video composite to mark five years since the spacecraft was launched.

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Animals
6:23 am
Sat February 14, 2015

Thanks To Technology, Toucan Gets A Second Beak On Life

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 9:15 am

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

The Salt
4:48 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

GMO Apples Get The Nod, But Not Much Of A Welcoming Party

Arctic Granny (right), a GMO variety created by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, got the gren light from federal regulators Friday. The apple doesn't turn brown like a conventional Granny Smith apple (left).
Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:47 pm

We have good news for all of you who find browned apple slices unappetizing. It's bad news, though, if you don't like scientists fiddling with your food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given a green light to apples that have been genetically modified so that they don't turn brown when you cut them open.

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Goats and Soda
11:12 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Your Brain May Want That Bottle Of Soda Because It's Easy To Pick Up

You want that soda bottle. But it may not be because you crave soda. It might just be that you love the idea of wrapping your fingers around its enticing shape.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 11:41 am

Here at Goats and Soda, we can't resist a good story about goats. (See our story about how you know if your goat is happy.) The same goes for soda.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Internet Pioneer Warns Our Era Could Become The 'Digital Dark Ages'

Vint Cerf in a photo from last year. Cerf is warning of a possible "digital Dark Ages" if the world's data isn't permanently preserved.
Andre Penner AP

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 11:31 am

What happens when today's high-tech data storage systems become tomorrow's floppy discs?

Google Vice President Vint Cerf is concerned about the answer and its implications for preserving history. Speaking at an annual conference of top American scientists, Cerf described such a loss of important information as a possible "digital Dark Ages."

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Shots - Health News
2:31 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Can A Computer Change The Essence Of Who You Are?

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 11:46 am

For the past month and a half, we've been exploring the invisible forces that shape our lives in NPR's newest program, Invisibilia. Now we're ending the pilot season with a visible twist — exploring the ways computers shape our behavior, and the way we see the world.

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