Science & Health

Krulwich Wonders...
8:53 am
Fri February 15, 2013

A Crazy But Rational Solution To Our Electoral College Problem

Courtesy of Fake Is The New Real

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:26 pm

Let's pretend. Let's pretend that politics doesn't matter, politicians don't matter, history doesn't matter, nostalgia doesn't matter, emotion doesn't matter, habit doesn't matter, romance doesn't matter, prejudice doesn't matter — all that matters is good old rational, mathematical, look-at-the-numbers common sense.

And now let's look at the Electoral College.

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Research News
5:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Scientists Look To The Internet To Raise Research Funds

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Scientists have made an important discovery, and not really a scientific one. They've learned they can raise money for their research simply by going on the Internet and asking people for support. We heard yesterday how that worked for one researcher. Still, scientists have no idea why this approach is working or how much money they can raise this way. Here's NPR's Joe Palca with the next installment of his project Joe's Big Idea.

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Shots - Health News
4:02 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Darkness Provides A Fix For Kittens With Bad Vision

Scientists found that darkness worked far better than they expected as a treatment for kittens with lazy eye.
Bill Rhodes/Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 7:57 am

When it comes to treating a lazy eye, there's evidence that turning the lights off may help — if you're a kitten.

A study in the latest issue of Current Biology reports that kittens with a type of visual impairment known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, were able to regain normal eyesight after being plunged into total darkness for 10 days.

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Animals
3:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

With Brawls And Calls, Love Is In The Air For Elephant Seals

A male northern elephant seal calling near Santa Cruz, Calif.
A. Friendlaender NMFS Permit No. 14636

On this Valentine's Day, we bring you a story from the California coast, where love is in the air. It sounds something like this:

That's a male northern elephant seal. It's the peak of their mating season right now. Elephant seals spend of the most of the year alone, out in the Pacific Ocean. So you can probably guess what happens when they get together every winter.

Naturalist Lisa Wolfklain is leading a public tour at Ano Nuevo State Reserve, two hours south of San Francisco, where hundreds of elephant seals are packed together on a narrow strip of beach.

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Shots - Health News
2:34 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Traces Of Anxiety Drugs May Make Fish Act Funny

Perch exposed to the anxiety drug oxazepam were more daring and ate more quickly than fish that lived in drug-free water.
Courtesy of Bent Christensen

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:40 pm

Many of the drugs we take aren't actually digested — they pass through our bodies, and down through the sewer pipes. Traces of those drugs end up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife. Nobody's sure what effect they have.

Now, a paper being published in Science magazine finds that drugs for anxiety drugs — even at these very low levels — can affect the behavior of fish.

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The Salt
12:39 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

When Resistance Is Futile: Bring In The Robots To Pull Superweeds

An illustration imagines what a weed-seeking robot could look like, armed with different tools to attack different problem plants.
Courtesy Steve Young

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 1:08 pm

A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.

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Shots - Health News
7:40 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Scientists Pass The Hat For Research Funding

Car commercial? Nope. Jessica Richman, Zachary Apte (center) and William Ludington are looking to the crowd for money to fund uBiome, which will sequence the genetic code of microbes that live on and inside humans.
Courtesy of uBiome

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:28 pm

When the X-ray was invented, people clamored to get one. Not for any medical reason, but just to see what was typically hidden inside their bodies.

Something like that seems to be happening with DNA sequencing technology. First it was companies offering to sequence people's genomes. Now it's learning all about your microbiome, the collection of microorganisms living on and in your body.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:09 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Guy Pumps Out A Valentine — Literally

Courtesy of Payam Rajabi

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 12:47 pm

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NPR Story
5:05 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Scientist Gets Research Donations From Crowd Funding

Vimeo

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:44 am

What do you do when you're a scientist and you have no job and no money for your research? If you're Ethan Perlstein, you try crowd funding. He raised $25,000 to investigate where the drug methamphetamine is stored in the brain.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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The Salt
11:33 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Marine Stewardship Council Responds To NPR Series On Sustainable Seafood

Swordfish from Canada feature a label from the Marine Stewardship Council at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C.
Margot Williams NPR

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 1:32 pm

Earlier this week, NPR aired a three-part investigation of the Marine Stewardship Council on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

As Daniel Zwerdling and Margot Williams reported, the MSC certifies seafood that is supposed to be good for the environment. But some environmental groups argue that the label is misleading, and that as more retailers promise to sell only sustainable-labeled seafood, the program is certifying fisheries that don't deserve it.

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Science & Health
3:59 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids' Autism Risk

Despite public health campaigns urging women in the U.S. to take folic acid, many are still not taking the supplements when they become pregnant.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

A common vitamin supplement appears to dramatically reduce a woman's risk of having a child with autism.

A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Asia
3:09 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Did North Korea Test A 'Miniature' Nuclear Bomb?

An official with the Korea Meteorological Administration shows a seismic image of a tremor caused by North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul on Tuesday.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

North Korea's latest nuclear weapons test is much more powerful than the previous two, according to estimates made by instruments that measure seismic waves from the blast. It's about the size of the bomb that devastated Hiroshima in World War II.

But it's not so easy to verify the claim that the nuclear explosive has also been miniaturized. That's a critical claim because a small warhead would be essential if the rogue regime chose to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Big bombs are easier to make, but they aren't all that useful as a threat.

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All Tech Considered
2:09 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

This App Uses The Power Of You To Report The Weather

map shows data reported by users of the mPING app during Friday's blizzard in the Northeast." href="/post/app-uses-power-you-report-weather" class="noexit lightbox">
This map shows data reported by users of the mPING app during Friday's blizzard in the Northeast.
The PING Project

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:19 pm

If you love to talk about the weather — or want to help collect information about it — a new smartphone app may be for you.

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Science & Health
1:57 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

'Heart Attack Grill' Greeter Dies After Heart Attack

One of the Heart Attack Grill's "triple bypass" burgers.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 2:22 pm

Two customers' collapses last year didn't seem to faze fans of Las Vegas' Heart Attack Grill.

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The Salt
12:52 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Most Americans Eager To Buy Seafood That's 'Sustainable'

Swordfish from Canada are marked with a label from the Marine Stewardship Council at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C. The MSC says its label means the fish were caught by a sustainable fishery, but critics says it's not always so clear.
Margot Williams NPR

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:31 pm

This week, our colleagues Daniel Zwerdling and Margot Williams with NPR's investigations unit have a terrific three-part series on the Marine Stewardship Council. As they report, the MSC's labels tell consumers which seafood is supposed to be good or bad for the environment.

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