Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

John Eric Goff, the chair of the physics department at Lynchburg College, explains the science of the 2014 World Cup soccer ball. The Adidas Brazuca is expected to perform better than the version used in South Africa in 2010.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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A moment now remember how the future looked 50 years ago today.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Welcome to a journey into the future, a journey for everyone today, into the everywhere of tomorrow.

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On this date in 1964, the New York World's Fair opened. It offered visions of a better future, much of it based on technology. A popular exhibit was this one: General Motors' "Futurama."

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There is love. And then there's albatross love.

In his new book, The Thing With Feathers, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. "These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet," he writes.

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether to approve a powerful new prescription painkiller that's designed to relieve severe pain quickly, and with fewer side effects than other opioids.

While some pain experts say the medicine could provide a valuable alternative for some patients in intense pain, the drug (called Moxduo) is also prompting concern that it could exacerbate the epidemic of abuse of prescription painkillers and overdoses.

Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose.

The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific openness with the worry that biological information could potentially be misused.

UPDATE at 10:29 a.m. Tuesday: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau told CNN that its approval of Palchohol was an error. We've amended our headline and Monday's story accordingly.

We're growing accustomed to mixologist mavericks vaporizing, freezing and whipping our cocktails. So why not turn a margarita or cosmopolitan into a powder?

Several bio-tech companies are developing exoskeletons that give people superhuman abilities. These robotic suits are also doing something simpler: They're helping people who are paralyzed, including many veterans, stand up and walk. As Erin Toner of WUWM reports, the technology helps improve patients' mental and physical health, but it's far from changing their lives entirely.

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Many commercial fishermen in Florida faced a tough decision 20 years ago: retire or find another way to make a living. That reality set in after voters passed a constitutional amendment intended to prevent overfishing. It banned the use of gill nets in state waters. Gill nets are large nets that are suspended vertically in the water. NPR's Greg Allen went to an island where former fishermen have found new careers since the ban.

A growing number of American mothers are staying home to raise their children, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Listeners share their own stories about making that choice.

You can see the video here. New Delhi Television calls it "an indication of increased conflicts between man and animal."

In the footage, a leopard is seen bursting through roof tiles of a one-story building in the central city of Chandrapur, Maharashtra, about 400 miles east of Mumbai.

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In a classroom across from the coal mine exhibit at the Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, students are huddled around tables, studying petri dishes of bacteria.

But these aren't school-age kids — these students are all teachers, responsible for imparting science to upper-elementary or middle-school students.

That's a job that many here — and many teachers in grammar schools around the country — feel unprepared for.

Here's a stumper: How many parts can you divide a line into?

It seems like a simple question. You can cut it in half. Then you can cut those lines in half, then cut those lines in half again. Just how many parts can you make? A hundred? A billion? Why not more?

You can keep on dividing forever, so every line has an infinite amount of parts. But how long are those parts? If they're anything greater than zero, then the line would seem to be infinitely long. And if they're zero, well, then no matter how many parts there are, the length of the line would still be zero.

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