Science & Health

Shots - Health News
8:48 am
Fri February 28, 2014

A Strong Sex Life Helps Couples Cope With The Trials Of Aging

Intimacy in a marriage becomes even more important as we get older.
Radius Images Corbis

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 6:32 am

Health problems can put a strain on a marriage at any age. But as we get older, chronic illnesses can make it even tougher to keep the spark alive.

Scientists at the University of Chicago have uncovered one way couples can offset the stresses of illness and aging: more physical intimacy.

Couples who continue to be sexually active over the years report higher levels of satisfaction in their marriages, the sociologists reported last month.

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NPR Story
4:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

13 Workers Exposed To Radiation At N.M. Nuclear Waste Dump

A hunk of salt from the underground nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad, New Mexico. A piece of salt is believed to have fallen from a cavern ceiling and crushed drums of waste.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:21 pm

There's never a good week for nuclear waste, but this week has been a particularly bad one. Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico have disclosed that 13 employees inhaled radioactive material after a major accident earlier this month.

While there's no risk to the public and the exposed workers did not need immediate medical treatment, the incident is shaping up to be a major setback for the nation's only dedicated nuclear waste dump.

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The Salt
4:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey

Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:26 am

The other morning, I found myself staring at something strange and unfamiliar: empty grocery shelves with the word "eggs" above them. The store, a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., blamed, in another sign, the dearth on "increased demand for organic eggs."

This scene is unfolding in grocery stores across the country. But Whole Foods' sign wasn't telling the whole truth. Demand for organic eggs is indeed increasing, but production is also down.

The reason behind that shortfall highlights an increasingly acute problem in the organic industry.

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The Salt
2:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

U.S. Lets 141 Trillion Calories Of Food Go To Waste Each Year

Nectarines are sorted at Eastern ProPak Farmers Cooperative in Glassboro, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:32 pm

The sheer volume of food wasted in the U.S. each year should cause us some shame, given how many people are hungry both in our own backyard and abroad.

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided us with a way to understand our flagrant annual waste in terms of calories, too. It's pretty mind-boggling — 141 trillion calories down the drain, so to speak, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.

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Space
1:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:45 am

When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."

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Science & Health
7:41 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Updated: Future of Wind Power in Alabama at a Defining Moment

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania stateimpact.npr.org

A bill now before the Alabama House would set the state’s first regulations on wind farms.  The plan would mean building large wind mills to generate electricity. The plan to regulate wind power in Alabama passed the Senate last week by a vote of 24-to-6.  Bill sponsor Republican Phil Williams represents Etowah and Cherokee Counties. He says he started looking into wind farms when he learned of two projects planned for his district.

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Food
4:04 am
Thu February 27, 2014

From Aztecs To Oscars: Popcorn's Beautiful, Explosive Journey

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

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Shots - Health News
6:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

More Hints That Dad's Age At Conception Helps Shape A Child's Brain

Boy meets girl, sperm meets egg — how much does the age of each matter?
James Steidl/Kyle Gruba iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 4:05 pm

Traditionally, research has focused on women's "biological clock." But in recent years, scientists have been looking more and more at how the father's age at conception might affect the baby, too.

A study published Wednesday hints that age really might matter — in terms of the child's mental health.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Robot Swarm: A Flock Of Drones That Fly Autonomously

An image from a video by the COLLMOT Robotic Research Project shows a group of drones flying autonomously across a field.
COLLMOT Robotic Research Project

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:31 pm

Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.

The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters — drones with four rotors — with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.

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News
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Feeling The Fiscal Squeeze, EPA Seeks To Slim Down

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Environmental Protection Agency has a lot on its plate, now add to that budget concerns. The agency is hoping to trim its staff. Like a number of other government agencies, the EPA is offering buyouts to employees.

As NPR's Brian Naylor reports, it's all part of a shrinking federal workforce.

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Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Portable Potables: How To Fight Drought By Reusing Water

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Desalination is just one way of tackling the drought. Another technique to conserve water is quite simply to reuse it. David Sedlak is professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California Berkeley. David, welcome to the program.

DAVID SEDLAK: Thank you for having me, Audie.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

'Planet Bonanza' Indeed: NASA Unveils 715 New Worlds

This artist rendering provided by NASA, shows Kepler-11, a sunlike star around which six planets orbit.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 3:47 pm

The job of NASA's Kepler mission is to peek at the far reaches of space in the hopes of finding potentially habitable planets. The space agency announced a stunning success, saying that Kepler had identified 715 new planets that orbit 305 stars. The discovery boosts the number of verified planets by around 70 percent.

"Four of the planets are about twice the size of Earth and orbit in their star's so-called habitable zone," NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for our Newscast unit, "where temperatures might be suitable for liquid water."

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Is Planet Earth Under New Management?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:31 am

A hundred million years from now, when we're all dead and gone, a team of geologists will be digging in a field somewhere ...

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Research News
5:43 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Why We Miss Creative Ideas That Are Right Under Our Noses

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 6:43 am

In crowdsourcing, a big challenge is not with coming up with creative ideas, but identifying creative ideas. A bias makes us bad at spotting creative ideas when they come from those working around us.

Science
3:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

The Galaxy In Your Toilet Bowl

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:22 pm

Our resident physicist, Adam Frank, likes to point out the great science happening around us all the time. Even there in your toilet bowl, that whirl of water is similar to a spiraling galaxy.

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