Science & Health

NPR Ed
8:03 am
Sun June 15, 2014

How Trauma Affects The Brain Of A Learner

Chronic stress can cause deficiencies in the pre-frontal cortex, which is essential for learning.
John M Flickr

Our public media colleagues over at KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, have a fascinating two-part report on the efforts of schools in the Los Angeles area to address the effects of "toxic stress" on student learning.

Read more
Technology
4:07 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

Moving Beyond The Turing Test To Judge Artificial Intelligence

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. The code breaking skills of mathematician Alan Turing helped the Allies win World War II. He also devised the Turing Test, a measure of artificial intelligence. Last week, a computer program pretending to be a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Gustman was the first to pass the test - meaning the age of artificial intelligence has begun - maybe. Gary Marcus is a professor of cognitive science at New York University. I asked him to explain how the test works.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
4:48 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Unstealing Treasures: A Reverse Burglary

MinutePhysics and RadioLab

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 1:58 pm

I've got this friend, Craig. He's not exactly an outlaw, but if the world needs something moved that is not supposed to be moved, he will move it anyway. Only in the interest of justice. Like Batman.

Read more
Science & Health
6:36 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Alabama Wildlife Officials Tag Endangered Woodpeckers

Red cockaded woodpecker
Credit nature.org

Eric Spadgenske carefully places a noose of twine inside the cavity of a long-leaf pine and fishes out a rare thing — a red cockaded woodpecker nestling.

He balances atop a narrow, aluminum ladder, some 20 feet above the ground and carefully places the seven-day-old chick in a padded metal coffee can held in a pocket of his orange safety vest. The creak of his leather safety belt signals his attention has returned to the tree to bring out the other nestling.

Read more
Health Care-Alabama
4:11 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

AP Interview: VA Leader Talks About Patient Delays

The director of the Veterans Administration health services in central Alabama says he's eliminated paper waiting lists, added staff and worked to bring stability to an operation that has some of the longest patient waiting lists in the country.

The director of the Veterans Administration health services in central Alabama says he's eliminated paper waiting lists, added staff and worked to bring stability to an operation that has some of the longest patient waiting lists in the country.

James Talton talked about the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System after a VA report Monday showed it had an average wait time for new patients of 75 days. Talton says that's too high.

Read more
Hospital-Legionella Cases
3:58 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Ala. Hospital Patient Tests Positive For Legionella

UAB Hospital officials said Thursday that a ninth patient tested positive for legionella bacteria.

University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital officials say another patient has tested positive for a bacteria that can lead to a type of pneumonia.

UAB Hospital officials said Thursday that a ninth patient tested positive for legionella bacteria. The Jefferson County Department of Health has also said a hospital visitor tested positive for the bacteria.

Two of the eight patients who initially tested positive for legionella later died. Their causes of death are unclear.

Read more
Whooping Cough Outbreak
3:55 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Mobile Sees Alarming Rise In Whooping Cough Cases

Health officials in Mobile say there's been an alarming recent rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the area.
Credit Mobile County Public Works

Health officials in Mobile say there's been an alarming recent rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the area.

Whooping cough, the common name for pertussis, is highly contagious. Those infected experience uncontrollable violent coughing that can make it hard to breathe.

Local media reports say the Mobile County Health Department has recorded 18 cases, 10 of which have been confirmed, between May 25 and June 11. Multiple other possible cases were being investigated.

There were just eight confirmed and probable cases in the county last year.

Read more
Science & Health
1:40 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

'Carbon Capture' One Key to Combating Global Warming

Lester Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The question of how to reduce the pollution that causes global warming is now a hot topic since new carbon limits were announced by the EPA earlier this month.  Those proposed rules aim to reduce national carbon emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by the year 2030.  In Alabama, the goal is 27 percent.  The boom in natural gas could help, as could investments in renewable energy like wind and solar.  Another method is what’s called “carbon capture.”  Dr.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:36 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Cool Kids Lose, Though It May Take A Few Years

As Lindsay Lohan's character (far left) learned in the movie Mean Girls, popularity comes at a price.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 7:07 am

Parents, teachers and cheesy after-school specials have long tried to convince kids that being cool and popular isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Now scientists are chiming in as well.

Read more
Science
1:03 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Maybe Dinosaurs Were A Coldblooded, Warmblooded Mix

Being a bit coldblooded has its charms, scientists say. A mammal the size of a T. rex, for example, would have to eat constantly to feed its supercharged metabolism — and would probably starve.
Publiphoto Science Source

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:23 am

If you go to a zoo on a cold day and watch the snakes, you'll see what it means to be coldblooded. Not much action going on — most reptiles and other coldblooded creatures take on the temperature of their surroundings, so they tend to be most sluggish when the outside temperature is cool. The monkeys, however, act like they've had one too many cappuccinos.

Read more
The Salt
11:39 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Has The FDA Brought On A Cheese Apocalypse? Probably Not

The Food and Drug Administration official who recently suggested that the wooden boards used to age cheese for centuries may be unsafe probably did not expect to start a cheese storm. But she did.

In a letter to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, FDA dairy safety chief Monica Metz wrote:

Read more
The Salt
2:09 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Fight Over Calif. Oyster Company Splits Chefs And Land Defenders

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm caters to local residents and restaurants. But unless its lease is renewed, its days are numbered.
Richard Gonzales NPR

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 3:38 pm

Drive just an hour and a half north of San Francisco, and you're in Drakes Estero, named for the first English explorer to lay claim to California.

This near-pristine, wind-whipped marine wilderness is a federally protected home for large beds of eelgrass, the base of the marine food chain. The estuary hosts the largest colony of harbor seals on the West Coast, and tens of thousands of resident and migratory birds.

It's also home to the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Read more
Shots - Health News
7:45 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Suicide Rate In U.S. And Europe Climbed During Great Recession

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 1:12 pm

When trying to tease out the painful effects of the Great Recession, economists often point to the unemployment rate. The global economic crisis, which first took hold in 2007, left thousands jobless and financially insecure.

Read more
The Salt
3:42 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Can You Call Yourself An Environmentalist And Still Eat Meat?

There's little consensus in the debate on how meat consumption fits into environmentalism.
Jit Lim iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 3:28 pm

Earlier this week, we told you about a school backed by director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, that may become the first vegan school in the U.S.

Read more
Health Care-Alabama
3:41 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Alabama Rep. Says VA Official Misled Her

Republican Rep. Martha Roby announced over the weekend that the director of VA facilities in Montgomery and Tuskegee had told her some employees were terminated.
Credit roby.house.gov

An Alabama congresswoman says she was misled about steps being taken to correct the falsification of records at Veterans Administration health centers in central Alabama.

Republican Rep. Martha Roby announced over the weekend that the director of VA facilities in Montgomery and Tuskegee had told her some employees were terminated. She said she contacted Director James Talton on Tuesday and he told her there had been a misunderstanding about what he meant when he said the employees were "relieved of their duties." They were not terminated.

Read more

Pages