Science & Health

Alabama-Emergency Rooms
4:46 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Ala. Clears Way For Stand-Alone Emergency Rooms

State officials have adopted rules to establish stand-alone emergency medical centers in Alabama like this one planned by Brookwood Medical Center.
Credit Shelby County Reporter

State officials have adopted rules to establish stand-alone emergency medical centers in Alabama.

The rules are also expected to regulate the stand-alone emergency rooms, which are typically miles from their parent hospitals.

Stand-alone emergency departments don't exist in the state yet, although three in the Birmingham area have already been approved for construction.

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Auburn-Smoking Ban
4:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Smoking Banned At Auburn University

A new policy has banned smoking on the campus of Auburn University. The ban will go into effect on Aug. 21.
Credit Auburn University

A new policy has banned smoking on the campus of Auburn University.


Four campus groups passed resolutions to ban smoking on campus and officials say the ban will go into effect on Aug. 21.


Auburn University student Liz Howerton told the newspaper that most students she's talked to are supportive of the idea and that it "can only do good for the campus."


Lee Bradberry, who owns a nearby cigar shop, says he applauds the school's concerns for public health but has misgivings about the policy because he thinks it infringes on individual rights.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Help! My Egg Yolks Are Freakishly White

The white egg yolk at left, seen next to a yellow yolk, may seem strange, but it's just a result of the chicken feed used, scientists say.
Junko Kimura Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 9:19 am

Dear Salt,

I recently joined President Obama on his trip through Africa, and I brought a mystery home with me. I wonder if you can help me solve it.

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Space
3:36 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Helmet Scare Shuts Down Space Walk

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:11 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We want to warn claustrophobics about our next story and alert aspiring screenwriters because in space, no one expects to drown. Yesterday, more than 200 miles above earth at the International Space Station, Luca Parmitano was about 90 minutes into a spacewalk when he noticed that his head was wet and getting wetter. Water then got into the Italian astronaut's eyes.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Sure Had One 'Supersize Schnoz'

An artist's image of Nasutoceratops titusi.
Lukas Panzarin for the Natural History Museum of Utah

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:11 pm

The Proceedings of the Royal Society politely refers to it as a "short-snouted horned dinosaur."

National Geographic is less reserved and gets right to the obvious point: "Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur, a Triceratops relative with a supersize schnoz that once roamed present-day Utah."

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Joe's Big Idea
2:01 am
Wed July 17, 2013

All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood

Wood fibers are coated with carbon nanotubes and then packed into small disks of metal. The sodium ions moving around in the wood fibers create an electric current.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 4:08 am

The big idea behind Joe's Big Idea is to report on interesting inventions and inventors. When I saw the headline "An Environmentally Friendly Battery Made From Wood," on a press release recently, I figured it fit the bill, so went to investigate.

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The Salt
2:00 am
Wed July 17, 2013

In Oregon, The GMO Wheat Mystery Deepens

Wheat grows in a test field at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Some scientists believe that there's a chance that genetically modified wheat found in one farmer's field in May is still in the seed supply.
Natalie Behring Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 3:34 pm

The strange case of genetically engineered wheat on a farm in Oregon remains as mysterious as ever. If anything, it's grown more baffling.

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Science
4:23 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Eavesdropping On Nature Gives Clues To Biodiversity

Scientists could use recordings of wildlife to monitor the movements of invasive species like the European starling.
Liz Leyden iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:00 pm

Biology professor Mitch Aide uses his ears to learn about the frogs, birds and insects that are all around him. This scientist at the University of Puerto Rico is trying to track how animal populations are affected by a world that's under increasing pressure from human activities.

Aide says, "We would like to have five, 10, 20 years of data of how populations are changing."

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The Salt
3:49 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Can Oysters With No Sex Life Repopulate The Chesapeake Bay?

Young oysters live on old oyster shells and slowly mature while forming a complete shell.
Astrid Riecken Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 7:00 pm

The Chesapeake Bay once supplied half the world's oyster market. But pollution, disease and over-harvesting have nearly wiped out the population. It's a dire situation that's united former adversaries to revive the oyster ecosystem and industry.

Scientists and watermen have joined forces to plant underwater farms in the bay with a special oyster bred in a lab. Called triploid oysters, they have been selected for attributes like disease tolerance and fast growth.

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Animals
2:16 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Om Nom Nom: T. Rex Was, Indeed, A Voracious Hunter

Mind The Teeth: Fossils indicate that Tyrannosaurus rex was an active hunter, in addition to being a scavenger. And in Jurassic Park, it also had a sweet tooth for lawyers.
Universal Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:44 am

Tyrannosaurus rex is perhaps one of the most famous animals to have ever roamed the Earth. This huge, fierce meat-eater has graced Hollywood films as the perpetual villain, and it has played a notorious role in the science community that studies it, too.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:08 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

I Bet I Can Create A 25 Million-Year-Old False Alarm, Says Biologist E.O. Wilson

Noah Poritz Science Source

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 3:33 pm

The world's most famous ant-scholar likes to daydream. "So much good science — and perhaps all of great science," he writes in his new book "has its roots in fantasy."

Here's his.

After seeing Jurassic Park, where scientists clone dinosaurs from the blood of ancient dino-biting mosquitoes,Wilson thought: Hmmm, that's a little far-fetched, but I bet I can do a version that might be "really and truly possible."

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Shots - Health News
2:02 am
Mon July 15, 2013

BPA-Free Plastics Going On Trial In Texas

PlastiPure helps manufacturers create water bottles and other plastic products that have no estrogenic activity.
PlastiPure

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 9:05 am

Scientists and lawyers are scheduled to debate the safety of certain "BPA-free" plastics this week in a U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas.

At issue is whether a line of plastic resins marketed by Eastman Chemical contains chemicals that can act like the hormone estrogen, and perhaps cause health problems.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:03 am
Sat July 13, 2013

'Why You? Why Now?' A Med Student's Journal

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 7:02 am

I guess doctors, especially doctors-in-training, have to get used to sudden, inexplicable endings. You are trained to heal. That's the goal, that's the point. But every so often, you don't win. Something you didn't see coming, comes. I don't know which hurts more, the 'suddenly' or the 'why?" If the patient is clearly dying, it's easier. You can prepare.

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The Two-Way
1:26 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

5 Stars: A Mosquito's Idea Of A Delicious Human

Many criteria — from blood type to body temperature — can play a role in affecting who attracts mosquitoes.
abadonian iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 1:48 pm

If mosquitoes used Yelp, they might look for their next meal by searching nearby for a heavy-breathing human with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer.

That's some of what we take away from a post today on the Surprising Science blog from the Smithsonian.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:31 am
Fri July 12, 2013

The Hardest Thing To Find In The Universe?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 2:06 am

What is rarer than a shooting star?

Rarer than a diamond?

Rarer than any metal, any mineral, so rare that if you scan the entire earth, all six million billion billion kilos or 13,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of our planet, you would find only one ounce of it?

What is so rare it has never been seen directly, because if you could get enough of it together, it would self-vaporize from its own radioactive heat?

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