Science & Health

The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

In The Name Of Science, Head-Bobbing Sea Lion Keeps The Beat

Ronan, a 3-year-old female sea lion, has learned to keep a beat, something researchers previously thought was tied to vocal mimicry.
Screengrab via YouTube

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 3:30 pm

While rhythm can often be hard enough to find among humans, finding it in the animal kingdom has been even more rare.

But thanks to a 3-year-old sea lion named Ronan who knows how to keep the beat, previous notions of rhythmic ability among animals are now being challenged.

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Shots - Health News
2:55 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Could Wind Turbines Be Toxic To The Ear?

A maintenance worker looks out over an off-shore wind farm in Liverpool, England in 2008. Some people are concerned about the potential health effects of noise from wind turbines.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 10:18 am

The U.S. is embracing wind energy, with wind turbines making up half of the new electricity added to the power grid last year. But a smattering of people who live near the turbines say they're a nuisance — and making them ill.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

DNA-Mapped Furniture Really Ties The Room Together — With You

The Darwin Table is created from a person's unique DNA profile.
Tjep. via Wired Magazine

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 2:53 pm

Furnishing a new apartment or house can be tough; sometimes you just can't find that end table or couch that is uniquely "you."

Well, as Wired reports, a Dutch design studio is trying to change that.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Fruit, Not Fries: Lunchroom Makeovers Nudge Kids Toward Better Choices

Students select blueberries and rolls from the food line at Lincoln Elementary in Olympia, Wash., in 2004.
John Froschauer AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 3:49 pm

Gone are the days of serving up tater tots and French toast sticks to students. Here are the days of carrot sticks and quinoa.

New nutritional guidelines, announced in 2012, require public school lunchrooms to offer more whole grains, low-fat milk and fewer starchy sides like french fries. But short of stationing grandmothers in every cafeteria, how do you ensure that students actually eat the fruits and veggies they're being offered?

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Science
1:03 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

The Buzz On Bees: Why Many Colonies Are Collapsing

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 1:57 pm

Bees have been dying off in increasing numbers over the past few years. Experts say that habitat loss and disease are the biggest culprits, and some believe that pesticides are to blame. NPR science correspondent Dan Charles explains the possible causes and what is being done to stop this trend.

Krulwich Wonders...
12:58 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Sing, Fly, Mate, Die — Here Come The Cicadas!

Joel Anderson Copyright 2013 Anderson Design Group

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 11:33 am

If you live in Missouri, they've already gone.

But back East, cicadas are about to climb out of their little holes in the ground, wriggle out of their skins, like this ...

... so after 17 years of getting ready, they can now do the thing they hope, hope, hope to do — which is, if at all possible, make a baby.

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The Salt
12:32 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

From Pets To Plates: Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs on the grill
Courtesy of Curtiss Calleo

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:00 pm

You may best know the guinea pig as a nervous little pet that lives in a cage and eats alfalfa pellets.

Now, the rodents are increasingly showing up on plates in the United States.

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Alabama Traffic Deaths
5:55 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Seatbelts Not Worn In 59 Percent Of Car Fatalities

Alabama Highway Patrol traffic statistics show that seatbelts weren't worn in 59 percent of traffic fatalities in 2012
Credit Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Alabama Department of Transportation officials say more than half of the people killed in car crashes last year were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.


State officials Monday released a report based on preliminary data from the Alabama State Troopers indicating that 59 percent of people who died in traffic accidents in 2012 were not wearing seatbelts.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:06 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Trapped By The Web — But For How Long? Take the Kelberman Challenge

I'm Google Dina Kilberman

You sit down, turn on the computer, up comes an image, could be anything, a cloud, a koala bear, a video. On the right side of the screen there are more images like it, or almost like it, so you click on one of those, just because ... because what? Because it's there? Because it's waiting? Because, for no conceivable reason, you suddenly have a yearning for balloon pictures? You don't plan this, you have no plan, but you keep going, gently pulled by the lure of "next."

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Business
2:23 am
Mon April 1, 2013

EPA's Push For More Ethanol Could Be Too Little, Too Late

A decal advertising E85 ethanol is displayed on a pump at a gas station in Johnston, Iowa.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:50 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon issue a final ruling that aims to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15.

This move could come just as widespread support for ethanol, which is made from corn, appears to be eroding.

Mike Mitchell was once a true believer in ethanol as a homegrown solution to foreign oil imports. He owns gas stations, and he went further than most, installing expensive blender pumps that let customers choose E15, E20 and all the way up to E85.

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Research News
2:16 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Why Not Apologizing Makes You Feel Better

Illustration by NPR

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:50 am

To err is human.

So is refusing to apologize for those errors.

From toddlers and talk show hosts to preteens and presidents, we all know people who have done stupid, silly and evil things, then squared their jaws and told the world they've done nothing wrong.

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Science
4:22 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Somewhere Over The Brainbow: The Journey To Map the Human Brain

More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 8:55 pm

During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

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Environment
3:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

EPA Proposes New Rule To Clean Up Gasoline And Reduce Smog

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 6:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule to clean up gasoline. The regulation would reduce ozone and other air pollutants by close to 30 percent. That would benefit 100 million people who now live in areas that at times have unhealthful air. NPR's Richard Harris reports.

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Science
3:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Biotech Rider' In Budget Angers Opponents Of Genetically-Modified Crops

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 6:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tucked away inside the new federal budget for this year - which President Obama signed yesterday - is one, small paragraph dealing with genetically engineered crops. That paragraph - actually, one long, complicated sentence - has the biotech industry smiling. But opponents of biotech crops are hopping mad. They say this biotech rider, as they call it, is a blatant attempt to shield biotech crops from all judicial oversight.

Joining me now to talk about this is NPR's Dan Charles. Welcome, Dan.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

U.S. Navy Funding Development Of Giant Jellyfish Robot

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 3:09 pm

We've already seen drones shaped like various animals, including humming birds and dogs. Next is one made to look (and swim) like a jellyfish.

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