Science & Health

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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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Space Station Astronauts In Star Wars-Themed Crew Pic

Expedition 45 poses for a Star Wars themed portrait
NASA

Something's definitely going on at NASA. We're thinking someone in the public relations department is trying to blow the dust off the space agency's ever-serious image.

First there was the photo below, deemed by almost anyone with a pulse as unquestionably the best astronaut portrait ever:

And now, the Expedition 45 crew, scheduled to go to the International Space Station in September, is having fun with Jedi robes and light sabers:

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Science
3:39 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

8 Million Tons Of Plastic Clutter Our Seas

A fisherman collects water on a beach littered with trash at an ecological reserve south of Manila in 2013.
Francis R. Malasig EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:13 pm

Plastic is one of those inventions that transformed the world. It's light, durable and you can make lots of things with it.

But it's also transforming Earth's oceans — and not in a good way. A lot of plastic ends up there. Scientists are just now getting a handle on how much plastic has gone to sea.

Up until now, estimates have been very rough. It's hard to measure waste in the oceans; after all, salt water covers 70 percent of the planet.

But another way to figure out what's out there is to measure how much debris is coming off the land.

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The Salt
1:35 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Gardener's Twofer: First Ketchup 'N' Fries Plant Hits U.S. Market

The plant is an early tomato grafted to a late-producing potato. The two can be harvested throughout the season.
SuperNaturals

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:35 pm

Love growing potatoes and tomatoes? This spring, gardeners in the U.S. (and Europe) will be able to get both tuber and fruit from a single plant.

It even has a catchy name: Ketchup 'n' Fries.

"It's like a science project," says Alice Doyle of SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables, the company that's licensing the variety for U.S. markets from the U.K. company that developed it. "It's something that is really bizarre, but it's going to be fun [for gardeners] to measure and see how it grows."

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Shots - Health News
12:29 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Apps Can Speed The Search For Love, But Nothing Beats A Real Date

Meredith Rizzo/NPR; Source: iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 7:13 am

Trying to find a date on Tinder feels a bit like playing a video game. You quickly browse through photos on your phone. If he's cute swipe right, and the app will let you know if he likes you back. If he's posing with a fancy car or a baby tiger, make a gagging sound and swipe left.

Log into OkCupid, and the suitors are purportedly better curated. The app has you answer hundreds of hard-hitting questions like, "How often do you brush your teeth?" and, "Do you like scary movies?" The app then matches you with potential dates who supposedly share interests and values.

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Research News
4:28 am
Thu February 12, 2015

How Removing Checkpoints Could Make Israelis More Secure

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:33 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:42 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Smoking's Death Toll May Be Higher Than Anyone Knew

Tobacco smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to die from infection, kidney disease and, maybe, breast cancer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 8:09 am

The U.S. surgeon general lists 21 deadly diseases that are caused by smoking. Now, a study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine points to more than a dozen other diseases that apparently add to the tobacco death toll.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and several universities tracked nearly a million people for a decade and recorded their causes of death.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Wed February 11, 2015

PHOTO: Rosetta Sends 'An Impressive New Perspective' On Comet

An image of Comet 67P/C-G taken on Feb. 6 from a distance of about 77 miles to the comet center.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Space, Douglas Adams wrote, is big. Really big. And from this vastness comes "an impressive new perspective" on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko taken by the Rosetta probe from about 77 miles away.

We won't disagree.

The European Space Agency, which operates Rosetta, says, "The image is the first single frame image capturing the entire comet nucleus since leaving bound orbits last week."

The ESA adds:

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Wed February 11, 2015

From The Cold Depths Of Space, A Smile Emerges

An image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 shows that it seems to be smiling. The space agency says it's the result of a symmetrical alignment of the galaxy cluster and the telescope — along with a powerful gravity field that can bend light.
NASA & ESA

Space, you may have heard, can be a cold and lonely place. But the NASA/ESA Hubble telescope has identified a particularly well-adjusted corner of space — or at least that's what a recent image suggests, with the help of an effect called an Einstein Ring.

In the Hubble image of galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849, two bright galaxies resemble eyes, NASA says, "and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing."

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