Science & Health

The Salt
4:11 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops.

And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land.

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Science
3:34 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Could You Talk To A Caveman? Scientists Say It's Possible

Would Mel Brooks' famous 2,000-Year-Old Man have understood modern language? Researchers say there's a possibility.
ABC/Photofest

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 4:41 pm

In 1961, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner came up with some basic theories of caveman linguistics in their 2,000-Year-Old Man skit. Most of them had to do with rocks, as in, "What are you doing with that rock there?"

Now, a professor in England has questioned the validity of the famous caveman's rock-centric theories. And Mark Pagel of the University of Reading is reaching even further back, to the time of the 15,000-year-old man.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

How Can Identical Twins Turn Out So Different?

But what about their personalities?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 4:41 pm

A study of genetically identical mice is providing some hints about humans. How can one identical twin be a wallflower while the other is the life of the party?

The study of 40 young mice found that their behavior grew increasingly different over three months, even though the mice shared the same genes and lived in the same five-level cage, researchers report Thursday in the journal Science.

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Shots - Health News
1:14 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Using Bacteria To Swat Malaria Inside Mosquitoes

More than a hundred different species of Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria to people.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 10:10 am

It's a bit like probiotics for mosquitoes.

When scientists infect mosquitoes with a specific bacterium, the insects become resistant to the malaria parasite.

Sounds like an easy way to stamp out malaria, right? Just introduce the infected mosquitoes into an area and let the bugs take over the natural population.

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Health
1:00 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

No Longer Experimental, Egg Freezing May Appeal To More Women

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 1:44 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Between the ages of 36 and 38, Sarah Elizabeth Richards spent $50,000 to have her eggs frozen. That wiped out her savings and the money her parents had set aside for a wedding, and she writes, it was the best investment I ever made. Improved technology gives women the choice to freeze their eggs when they're younger and schedule motherhood when they're ready. The experimental status of this procedure was lifted last year.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:20 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Moths That Drive Cars (Really)

YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:07 am

What you are about to see — and I'm not making this up — is a moth driving a car.

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The Salt
11:37 am
Wed May 8, 2013

With Warming Climes, How Long Will A Bordeaux Be A Bordeaux?

A worker harvests cabernet sauvignon grapes at a vineyard near Bordeaux, France, in September.
Caroline Blumberg EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 2:25 pm

Bordeauxs and Burgundys haven't changed much since the days when famous wine-lover Thomas Jefferson kept the cellars of his Parisian home well-stocked with both wines.

But now, some worry that the regional rules and traditions that have defined top winemaking regions like Champagne, Burgundy and Chianti for centuries could melt away as climate change takes effect.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:48 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Wildlife That Isn't Wild And Isn't Alive

YouTube

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:33 pm

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The Two-Way
6:06 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Study: 'Fossil' Words Are Older Than We Thought

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 7:58 pm

The origin of some of the words we use today goes back much further than scientists once thought, suggesting an Ice Age-era proto-language that spawned many of the world's contemporary linguistic groups, according to a new study by a group of U.K.-based scientists.

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The Salt
5:12 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops

A bee inspector checks on a frame of bees to assess the colony strength near Turlock, Calif., in February. More than 30 percent of America's bee colonies died off over the winter.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:56 pm

According to a new survey of America's beekeepers, almost a third of the country's honeybee colonies did not make it through the winter.

That's been the case, in fact, almost every year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began this annual survey, six years ago.

Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died.

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Health Overhaul-Alabama
4:47 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Alabama Passes Managed Care Medicaid Revision

The Alabama Legislature has passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed care operators.
Credit Microsoft images

The Alabama Legislature passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed care operators.

Under the legislation passed Tuesday, the State Medicaid Agency will no longer bear financial risks but will instead assume the role of contract administrators. Savings of $50 million to $75 million over five years and future cost containment is expected.

Privately owned Regional Care Organizations won't deal directly with patients, but will contract directly with doctors to provide care.

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Asia
4:37 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Are Those North Korean Long-Range Missiles For Real?

What appears to be a missile is carried during a mass military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 15, 2012. Some analysts say the half-dozen missiles showcased at the military parade were fakes.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:56 pm

When President Obama met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday, one item was high on the agenda: how to handle North Korea, which has in recent months threatened to strike both countries.

Obama called such threats "a dead end."

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Environment
3:58 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Filling In The Gap On Climate Education In Classrooms

Cy Maramangalam gives a presentation about climate change for the Alliance for Climate Education.
Courtesy of Alliance for Climate Education

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:50 pm

The auditorium at James Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., is packed when Cy Maramangalam strolls onstage, sporting jeans and a shaved head.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:53 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Our Very Normal Solar System Isn't Normal Anymore

Robert Krulwich NPR

Some things you just count on. Like if we ever meet a space alien, it should have eyes (and maybe a head). Like somewhere out there, there are planets like ours. Like we have an ordinary solar system — "ordinary" because you know what it looks like ...

It's got a sun in the middle, little planets on the inside, bigger ones farther out. That's what most of them should look like, no?

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Animals
2:04 am
Tue May 7, 2013

This Bat Knows How To Drink

The Pallas' long-tongued bat.
B. G. Thomson Science Source

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:15 pm

Imagine it's a hot day, and you're craving some cold lemonade. Someone offers you a glass, but with one condition: You can drink it only using your tongue, with no lips touching the glass. No straw.

You might have a problem.

But many animals — bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats — have tongues specifically designed to do this. All drink nectar from flowers using only their tongues.

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