Science & Health

NPR Story
10:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

How Wood Smoke is Dirtying Alaska's Air

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:03 pm

In Fairbanks, Alaska, residents are using wood stoves to heat their homes during the frigid winter months. But, smoke created by these wood burners is contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country. Cathy Cahill discusses air quality in the Last Frontier.

NPR Story
10:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

The SciFri Book Club Visits "Gorillas in the Mist"

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next - let me get a cup of coffee, put my feet down, get cozy, because it's our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. We have the book club regulars here with us. Flora's still with us. And joining us now is Annette Heist, senior producer for SCIENCE FRIDAY. Welcome to the program, Anette?

ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

FLATOW: And we had another classic book this month which is...

HEIST: "Gorillas in the Mist" by Dian Fossey.

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The Salt
9:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

For Fruit Flies, Alcohol Really Is Mommy's Little Helper

Alcohol: a key babyproofing product for this little mother.
Illustration by Daniel M.N. Turner Photos via istockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:26 am

Many a mom has reached for a glass of wine after a long day of tending children. But only fruit fly moms use their version of Chardonnay to guard their babies from harm.

When fly moms see marauding wasps, they seek out the alcohol in fermenting fruit, and lay their eggs there, according to new research. The alcohol is toxic to the wasps, but not to the fruit flies. They've evolved a tolerance for hooch.

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Marshall Space Flight Center
6:31 am
Fri February 22, 2013

NASA Administrator Bolden Visits North Ala Center

NASA administrator Charles Bolden will visit Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center on Friday, February 22, 2013.
NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA administrator Charles Bolden is scheduled for a stop in north Alabama.

The space agency says Bolden will visit the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville on Friday afternoon.


Marshall is NASA's main center dedicated to developing space propulsion systems. Engineers there are now working on the Space Launch System, which are heavy-lift rockets being designed to take U.S. astronauts back into space.

Animals
2:27 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Honey, It's Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:47 am

Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.

Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.

Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.

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Science & Health
6:16 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Feds Set New Rules For Controversial Bird Flu Research

Health officials around the world are on constant lookout for the deadly bird flu. Here a worker collects chickens on a farm in Kathamndu, Nepal, where the virus was suspected of infecting poultry last October.
Prakas Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:25 am

Government-funded scientists here in the U.S. are a step closer to being able to resume some controversial experiments with lab-altered bird flu viruses.

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:51 pm

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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Science & Health
3:54 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Flu Vaccine Has Been Feeble For Elderly This Season

Kimberly Delp gives a flu shot to Carleen Matthews at the Homewood Senior Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., last September.
Andrew Rush AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 12:25 pm

This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Medicaid Funding
7:35 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Williamson Says Money Runs Out For Medicaid After 2014

State health officer Don Williamson says he doesn't know where funding for Alabama's Medicaid Program will come from after 2014.
Credit al.com

State Health Officer Don Williamson told Alabama lawmakers that money will be available to fund Alabama's Medicaid program at a minimal level through 2014.

But Williamson told a joint meeting of the House and Senate General Fund budget committees Wednesday he did not know where the money would come from after 2014 to run the health insurance program for the economically disadvantaged.

Williamson is also the interim director of the Alabama Medicaid Program.

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U.S.
4:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Breakthrough Prize Awards Research To Cure Disease

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:11 pm

Melissa Block speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple chairman Art Levinson about the multimillion-dollar prize they've created with other Silicon Valley illuminati to award advancements in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists have been named winners of the Breakthrough Prize this year.

The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Nation's West, Midwest In Path Of Massive Winter Storm

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 5:44 am

As many as 30 million people living from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley are in the path of a storm moving east out of California that could dump several inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain and sleet elsewhere in the next few days.

According to the Weather Channel, the storm is caused by an "upper-level dip in the jet stream," on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition 'Touch And Go'

The original "Happy Feet" ready for release aboard The New Zealand research vessel Tangaroa in Aug. 2011.
Hagen Hopkins Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:47 pm

New Zealand seems to be the destination of choice for wayward Antarctic penguins.

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The Picture Show
10:49 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Earth As Art: 'How Did Nature Do That?'

Carnegie Lake, Australia, 1999 Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
NASA

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:04 pm

Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.

This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "

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The Two-Way
9:52 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Japan: Probe Of Battery Fire On Boeing 787 Finds Improper Wiring

The first Boeing 787-881 Dreamliner delivered to All Nippon Airlines.
Keith Draycott FlickrVision

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:33 pm

Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:

In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
1:58 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?

Intelligence Squared U.S. debate." href="/post/should-we-prohibit-genetically-engineered-babies" class="noexit lightbox">
Nita Farahany and Lee Silver argue against the motion "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Samuel LaHoz

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 2:59 pm

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

What if, before your children were born, you could make sure they had the genes to be taller or smarter? Would that tempt you, or would you find it unnerving?

What if that genetic engineering would save a child from a rare disease?

As advancements in science bring these ideas closer to reality, a group of experts faced off two against two in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the proposition: "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies."

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