Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Victoria LaBarre was climbing out of a canyon and into a bright, vast, seemingly lifeless landscape when she started to experience an astronaut's nightmare.

"Suddenly," she said, "I couldn't breathe."

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 startled many people out of their sleep in western Montana early Thursday. The shallow quake was felt for hundreds of miles from its epicenter southeast of Lincoln, including in parts of neighboring states and in Canada.

"We have no reports of injuries due to the earthquake at this time," member station Montana Public Radio reports. "Shockwaves are still being felt with decreasing intensity in parts of western Montana."

When Kelly Barrales-Saylor was a new mom, she got a lot of children's books as gifts. Most were simple books about shapes, colors and letters. There were none about science — or math.

"My editorial brain lit up and said there must be a need for this," says Barrales-Saylor, who works as an editor for a publishing company outside Chicago.

Halfway across the world, Chris Ferrie was similarly unsatisfied.

When reading to his kids, Ferrie noticed that most books used animals to introduce new words. In today's world, that just didn't make sense to him.

Two weeks ago, in a remarkable move, the State Plant Board of Arkansas voted to ban the sale and use of a weedkiller called dicamba. It took that action after a wave of complaints about dicamba drifting into neighboring fields and damaging other crops, especially soybeans.

That ban is still waiting to go into force. It requires approval from a committee of the state legislature, which will meet on Friday.

If you're one of those rare individuals defined as a "top performer" in your field, you might do well to watch your back. That's according to new research highlighted in Scientific American.

Coworkers of top performers – think Bill Gates or LeBron James, researchers say – pay a "social penalty" for their excellence. Colleagues are more likely to try to damage the reputations of stars and otherwise undermine their efforts.

For nearly five centuries, Huey Tzompantli, a tower of skulls from the victims of Aztec ritual sacrifice, has remained little more than an intriguing rumor.

But a dig by archeologists in Mexico that began two years ago appears to have unearthed the site of the legendary remains — at least 650 skulls — that was first described in 1521 in an account by Andres de Tapia, a Spanish soldier who accompanied the conquistador Hernan Cortes.

An appeals court in Washington, D.C., has blocked an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to delay Obama-era methane regulations, rejecting claims by the EPA that the oil and gas industry wasn't allowed to comment on the rules.

The agency could choose to rewrite the rules, but it overstepped in trying to delay them for years, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided.

Science relies on the careful collection and analysis of facts. Science also benefits from human judgment, but that intuition isn't necessarily reliable. A study finds that scientists did a poor job forecasting whether a successful experiment would work on a second try.

That matters, because scientists can waste a lot of time if they read the results from another lab and eagerly chase after bum leads.

Residents in a suburb of Siberia's capital, Novosibirsk, like to say the world's smartest street runs through their leafy community.

The broad avenue that cuts through the taiga, or Siberian woodland, is named after Mikhail Lavrentyev, a mathematician who established the Soviet Union's version of Silicon Valley here during the Cold War.

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You've heard the stereotypes - firstborn children are spoiled, middle kids get ignored, and the youngest kids act out because they crave attention. Well, new research shows that birth order really does matter.

Natural disasters in the United States may cause an increase in poverty and a widening economic gap between rich and poor, according to a new study published in Scientific American.

The magazine looks at events in the United States from 1920 to 2010 and finds that major natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes resulted on average in a 1-percentage-point increase in poverty in affected areas.

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Twenty years ago Tuesday, a plucky little probe named Pathfinder landed at Ares Vallis on the surface of Mars.

It didn't land in the traditional way, with retrorockets firing until it reached the surface. No, Pathfinder bounced down to its landing site, cushioned by giant air bags. It was a novel approach, and the successful maneuver paved the way for a similar system used by the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2003.

The asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago spelled disaster for the dinosaurs.

But scientists say they've found one silver lining to the mass extinction — turns out, it was really good for frogs.

The resilient animals date back some 200 million years. And in the aftermath of the extinction event, they survived and thrived, taking advantage of an ecological vacuum other animals left behind.

The world's best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, "turning the Earth into Venus."

The Cambridge professor and renowned cosmologist made the remarks in an interview with the BBC that aired Sunday.

In the the 1960s, a Stanford psychologist ran an experiment to study children's self-control.

It's called the marshmallow test. And it's super simple.

Kids ages 3 to 5 choose a treat — an Oreo cookie, a pretzel stick or a marshmallow. Then researchers give the child brief instructions: You can eat the treat now, but if you can wait for me to return, you'll get two treats.

The researchers leave the room. And the child just has to sit there staring at a marshmallow — and deciding whether to exert self-control or to dig in.

Small cradles of chrysanthemums, illuminated by a single candle, flicker in the moonlight, bobbing along the fast-flowing Ganges River.

They are offerings. For hundreds of millions of Hindus around the world, the river is the goddess Ganga, or Mother Ganga, who descended to Earth from her home in the Milky Way.

Devotees murmur prayers and chant her praises in riverside cities along their ghats, the cement embankments that lead into the river.

There is a little room at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that is filled with the eyeballs of animals — everything from the duck-billed platypus to the two-toed sloth to the boa constrictor.

Before she confronts death straight on, Melissa Connor always puts on a pair of rubber boots. The shelf she takes the shoes from includes a bottle of hand sanitizer, a sign warning people to check their shoes for scorpions and a bundle of wooden stakes, each of which will eventually be marked with the abbreviation "Mr." or "Ms." followed by a number.

Updated at 4:02 p.m. ET on Aug. 30: The Northern Cheyenne tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association have filed their lawsuit against the secretary of the interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. Read their full complaint here.

On Monday, Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will be visible across America. The last time the contiguous United States saw a total eclipse was 1979, and it will be the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years, reports The Associated Press.

He is sometimes known as the Indiana Jones of his area of research — ancient ales, wines and extreme beverages. Others call him Dr. Pat.

Patrick McGovern has spent decades searching for and analyzing the residues of fermented drinks that can be hundreds or thousands of years old — and then re-creating them.

In the global debate over neonicotinoid pesticides, the company that makes most of them has relied on one primary argument to defend its product: The evidence that these chemicals, commonly called "neonics," are harmful to bees has been gathered in artificial conditions, force-feeding bees in the laboratory, rather than in the real world of farm fields.

Climate scientists agree that this century is getting much warmer and that such warming will likely bring economic pain to the U.S., but economists aren't sure how much. Now, a team of scientists and economists, writing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science, says it can at least tell which parts of the country are likely to suffer the most.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Three people in New Mexico caught the plague, according to health officials there, who reported the two most recent cases this week.

Yes, this is the same illness that killed an estimated 50 million people across three continents in the 1300s, though these days common antibiotics will get rid of it.

The risk of getting a deadly, treatment-resistant infection in a hospital or nursing home is dropping for the first time in decades, thanks to new guidelines on antibiotic use and stricter cleaning standards in care facilities.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Oh, summertime - laying out on the beach, taking in sun, swimming. And if you're in the Pacific Northwest, that might mean encountering a strange creature called a sea pickle.

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